The Huntridge in 2013.
Backstory and Context
The Huntridge Theater, named after the founder Leigh S. J. Hunt, was designed and built in a “Streamline Moderne” style, with construction beginning on April 6th, 1944. Construction progressed quickly, and the Huntridge was open for business on October 10th of the same year. The Huntridge originally operated by simply playing films in the building, but over the years, it hosted numerous pop culture musical and film guests, such as Abbot and Costello, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra. Additionally, the Huntridge was well-known for its 25-cent “Kiddie Matinees,” which played on Saturday mornings in the 1950s, showcasing Disney movies, westerns, and Looney Toons shorts.
The Huntridge continued to operate until it closed in 1977. It was then sold in 1979 to Frank Silvaggio, who renovated the Theater and reopened it in 1981 as the Huntridge Twin Cinemas. The history of the Huntridge continues to be troubled, however, as the Twin Cinemas closes after only two years in business. It is once again sold and reopens again in 1983, this time staying in business until 1989. A nonprofit organization, Friends of the Huntridge, purchases the building in 1992, and transforms it into a performing arts venue, specializing in rock concerts. However, in 1995, the roof of the Huntridge falls in mere hours before a performance, but reopens in 1996 after extensive renovations. Since 2012, the Huntridge has been undergoing renovations.