........" Memories of the Allen Theatre"..
3809 Tweedy Blvd, South Gate, Ca
South Gate's classic small neighborhood movie house going back to at
least the 1930s and still showing movies on its single screen well
into the 1980s. A real survivor, in 2004 the exterior is little
changed except for removal of the ticket booth and it now is a venue
for live rock music performers. In its heyday, it was affectionately
known as "the flea pit". Contributed by Rick
|Click on any picture below to see a larger version.....Then hit your back button to return here....|
|"Allen 1980"||Original ticket booth||"Allen 2000"||Ticket booth gone..|
|Late 2000||Notice outline of old
ticket booth on floor
|Theatre built 1930
Major alterations 1936
Have any Allen memories ?
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|"Closed down now"||Just Click Here|
2-8-10... Knowing the "Fleapit" had talent shows on Saturday afternoons, Joanne Eads and myself decided we were going to be in the show. So one Saturday afternoon we got dressed up, got on stage and sang "Button And Bows". Remember?" East is east and west is west". We probably were about 10 or so at the time. I can't remember the words now, but it WAS FUN! My sister, Nancy and I would walk every Saturday to the Allen and every Sunday to the Vogue. The Vogue was further, but we didn't mind..... I also remember getting kicked out of the Allen for making out. I don't know now who it was, but it was a bit embarrassing......Earlene Baker ( Lefler), W'55 702/255-0753
I worked there as a usher, popcorn gal, and cashier in 54 & 56. I believe I started out and finished with a hourly @ .50 cents.
Oh, but it was fun to be in the cashiers box, as I could view everybody's Lowered cars and listen to the pipes as they put the pedal to the metal.
Nancy Rae (Fleming)
7-20-09....My strongest memories of the Allen are linked with Saturday matinee showings of war movies, westerns and a string of cartoons playing to a full house of screaming kids who were constantly in the disapproving beam of the usherette's flashlight. South Gate's other "walk-in" theatre, the Vogue, was a step up in quality. But nearby Huntington Park (the Warner's, the California, the Lyric -- where I joined the Navy upstairs, and the Nu-Park), Lynwood (the Arden) and North Long Beach (the Crest and the Towne) had the really nice nearby movie houses in the 1950s and early '60s. My choice for most unusual theatre in that area is the Fox Florence on the street of the same name. It had Spanish architecture, an open-air courtyard and a fountain/pond with live fish! Rick Albright S-'57....
I Joe Spendlove S/50 worked as the door man at the Allen Theater in 1949/50 .
Mr. Whitney was the manager, Lillian Waller and Bev Hadley worked the ticket booth. Betty Mc Donald, Barbara Ross and Marilyn Smith were usherettes, all South Gate Alumnus.
My job consisted of taking tickets and eating pop corn and taking tickets and eating pop corn and then after the last feature started it was off with the tie and coat and out with the ladder to change the marquee..
My Allen Theater career ended in Dec. 1950, we were having a Xmas staff party at the theater, Barbara and I were dating and I felt Mr. Whitney was paying to much attention to her and I voiced my opinion and needless to say he fired my butt. So I went across the street and went to work for the 76 station until I went in the Navy Aug. 1951.
Keep up the good work, the site is great.....Joe
7-4-09....…Reprint from Special Memories...... I have one special memory of the grand old theater that happened to me many years ago.. The time I was asked to leave the theater…. well not asked, told to leave… This goes way back when I was going to Bryson about the 4th or 5th grade…and I had this friend who was a very odd lot.. some thought crazy.. and who had no friends that I knew of except for me…Some of you may remember him… Gordon Moe… His mother was a teacher at Bryson.. Mrs Laura Moe…. Well Gordon could get in trouble no matter where he was.. nothing serious that I know of just caused problems where ever he went…We didn’t spend too much time together as my folks did not approve of him one bit…but one Saturday Gordon called and asked if I wanted to go to the Allen with him and I said ok…well I think I must have realized something would happen but I went anyway… What I didn’t know at the time but found out later was that Gordon had consumed a large amount of Sauerkraut and ribs the night before.. which in turn gave him a huge amount of gas… And let me tell you when Gordon had a gas problem the last place he should be was in a theater….. I didn’t know any of this when we sat down near the front of the theater and the cartoons started…Everything was ok for a while but then Gordon leaned over and said he had a problem and we had better move quick… He didn’t have to tell me twice… wow… we moved quickly out of that row, up the isle to some seats on the right side of the theater…as we were sitting down I heard someone down front say out loud in a nasty tone…”O my gawd…… Well it looked like we were ok for a few minutes when Gordon said one more time … we better move… well with no place to go we went to the lobby then back into the theater on the left side and sat down but was too late… A usher and manager wanted to see us in the lobby then told us to leave the theater… which we did… Gordon and I laughed all the way back to his house ..I then went home…. Gordon, his mom and dad moved to Downey a few years after that…and I didn’t see Gordon again…..except for a few times he dropped by when he was about 18… Many years later I found out Gordon had died at 50 years old in a emergency room in San Diego from a brain aneurysm and they had listed his occupation as a junk man….Gordon was an odd sort….. so long ago…….DM
Reprint from Special
Memories. Going to
the movies at the Allen Theater on Saturday; we walked. My mom
always telling me not to go into the Pool Hall that was right next
door. But....the pool hall had some real good candy, stuff you
couldn't get at the movie and cheaper. The smell of beer and
cigarettes was strong and the men looked scary but we went in
anyway. Then running home after the movie if it was starting to get
from.. Cinema Treasures.. I remember
the Allen’s Square Shooters every Saturday in the late 40’s and
tossing the popcorn box’s at the screen! How about the contests and
such like balancing a baseball bat on your shoe longer then anyone!
I lived just around the corner on San Carlos about in the middle of
the block and known as BUTCH... Any bells ring? How about all
the penny candy next door to the theater…
DO I HAVE ALLEN THEATER MEMORIES?
From about March of 53 to 54, I was the "Ticket Tearer" there and I worked with "Ticket Sellers, Candy Girls, & Usherettes," Janet Werkheiser, Marfae Masters, Juanita Escorza, Carole Adams, Nanette LeFever & Vivian Cannella.... South Gate Girls all!
We were kids working for about a buck an hour, but what we ended up with were incredible memories of all the MGM, 20th Century Fox, Columbia, RKO, Republic, Paramount, and Universal movies of the day.
The Tweedy Inn Bar was just across the street and a Gay Guy named "Clem" would hit on me every night when he would stagger out of the bar. But as that "dork" Kobe Bryant would say, "I wuz up to da challenge!"
There was soooooooo much more! Paul Cardinal S-54
Of course we called it the "Fleapit". I thought for years that my older cousin made up that name. Then I got into HS and found out everybody called it that. Many years ago there was a small restaurant across the street (before SavOns) called Lucill's. A big night out for us kids was to go to movies then Lucill's. My very first date was at the Fleapit, with Bobby Fernald. I think we were in 6th grade. Billie Holloway Marxmiller W'56