Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theater

Arlington Theater

Arlington Theater, interior view, with stars in the sky! Wayne McCall photo.

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.

NOTE: There are eight thumbnails here – in order from left to right and top to bottom – , each linked to a larger image of the clipping. Click on a thumbnail in order to see to see larger versions. We hope you enjoy them. Please drop us a line with comments, etc.

-Peter Feldmann   [ peter@bluegrasswest.com ]

Click on the thumbnails for larger views of the text. 
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About Peter Feldmann

Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs. Peter founded Santa Barbara's Old Time Fiddler's Convention (1972), UCSB's Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps - three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled "The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music" (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 - 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, "BlueGrass West!", based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California. Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America's musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.
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1 Response to Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theater

  1. C-Marie says:

    Thank you, Peter! The Arlington is beautiful and it was astonishing to see dor the first time in 1961 !
    Great clippings!, God bless, C-Marie

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