The Raymond Theater – Pasadena, California - Atlas Obscura

The Raymond Theater

From silent movie theater to rock &roll palace and beyond. 

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Built in 1921 as Jensen’s Raymond Theatre, this movie palace played host to a wide variety of performances over the years: silent films, talkies, vaudeville, legit theater, film production, and even symphonic music.

It was even briefly owned in the 1970s by singer David Lee Roth’s father, who sold the theater to businessman Mark Perkins. Perkins converted the space to a rock-and-roll venue called Perkins Palace, and soon acts like Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., and Guns N Roses were playing to packed houses.

Aside from its popularity as a live music venue, the theater also featured prominently in movies filmed in the area. The live performances in This is Spinal Tap were filmed on the Raymond’s stage, and Pulp Fiction used the theater’s exterior as the location for Bruce Willis’ boxing match. Unfortunately, the theater changed hands, and financial difficulties led to its closing in the 1990s. New owners decided to convert the building to retail and residential uses, and despite an award-winning decade-long battle to save the Raymond, the gutted theater re-opened as the lobby of a condominium block in 2009.

 

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