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Phone (818) 541-9522
Fax (818) 541-9524
Email RaymondTheatre@aol.com

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 91189
Pasadena, California 91109-1189
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

At the turn of the Century, a boarding house once stood where the Raymond Theatre stands today. The land was later sold to the Pasadena Odd Fellows where a billboard stood on the property for many years. Between 1918 and 1919 the land was sold to The Jensen Theatre Corporation as the new site for Jensen's Raymond Theatre.

Jensen's Raymond Theatre project was announced to the press in late 1919 and the groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 10th of that year. The Jensen Theatre Corporation included prominent Pasadenians Henry C. Jensen, B.O. Kendall, Willis M. Eason, L.A. Parmele, L.H. Turner and Henry D. Meyer.

The Raymond Theatre was designed by notable Pasadena architect Cyril Bennett (1891-1957). The majority of construction took place between 1920 and 1921, supervised by Pasadena contractor William Crowell. The Raymond was the built in a rare Adams and Beaux Arts style, with indoor fountains, spiral ramps leading to the mezzanine, orchestra balconies and intricate auditorium and lobby detail.

In 1919, The Jensen Theatre Corporation also purchased the vacant lot south of the theatre, which was described as an "auto park," a function this parcel still retains to this day.

The grand opening of Jensen's Raymond Theatre was held on April 5, 1921, with a gala vaudeville performance. It was heralded as one of the great legitimate theatres on the West Coast, which presented the top vaudeville performers of its day.  With a 2000-seat capacity, The Raymond Theatre was packing them in, with three shows a day, including a matinee, afternoon and late performances running daily.

The second phase of the Raymond Theatre's life began on February 13, 1948 when Jensen's Theatre Corporation sold The Raymond Theatre to The Crown Holding Corporation and it was reopened as The Crown Theatre.  From 1948 to 1974, the Raymond was Pasadena's premier movie house. As stated by the local Pasadena Star News, "The size of the Crown movie theatre put it in a class of its own, to rival only Grauman’s Chinese, The Los Angeles, Lowes State and the Million Dollar theatres in Los Angeles and Hollywood."

In 1976 Bruce E. Barkis acquired The Crown Theatre under a lease-purchase agreement with the owners, who were the Crown Holding Corporation. Though movies were still being shown, live performances were also popular. The Crown continued to present live plays, music and movies and many joint productions were presented with civic, business and educational organizations.

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