Beginning in the early 1920’s the burgeoning film / entertainment industry began building very elaborate “Movie Palaces” to entice audiences inside to view the latest Hollywood efforts. One of the most beautiful I have ever seen was the Fox Arlington, located on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara California. It’s a classic building in the colonial Spanish style found in our city, and it must have been especially beautiful in the early 1930s, when it occupied and entire city block, almost exclusively. The Arlington is also a venue for music events, though the acoustics are pretty dreadful in a theater meant for film.
In 1971, historian Walker A Tompkins wrote a two long articles on the theater’s history, which I found so intriguing that I saved the clippings. I recently rediscovered them and thought I would share them with everyone. I also claim a tenuous connection with one the the architects involved, William Edwards, whose son Peter Edwards was a long-time next-door neighbor. I hope you enjoy this story and get a chance to pay a visit to the theater, which still survives. Many thanks to Wayne McCall for making his fine photo available.
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-Peter Feldmann [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
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