As was noted in the previous installment of this series, Rizal Avenue or Avenida was once Manila’s movie theater lane that ran from Blumentritt to what is now Plaza Lacson (Plaza Goiti in the olden days) In contrast however to the movie theaters found at the south of the intersection of Rizal and Recto Avenues, the movie theaters north of that intersection are not as well-known. Nevertheless, they contributed to what was once a lively entertainment scene in that part of the city once before.
On the northbound side of Avenida just near Odeon and a bus terminal stood two movie theaters which were Capri and Roxan, both now closed though the building structures still remain.
Right across them was the Art Moderne-inspired Galaxy Theater which was designed by Pablo Antonio. Unfortunately Galaxy was demolished in 2006, despite the efforts of conservationists and other groups to save it. Now a parking lot-cum-bus terminal is now situated in the former theater.
A few blocks away right across Doroteo Jose was the Manila Grand Opera House. It was more than just a movie theater, as it also served as a venue for theatrical productions and live performances. A hotel that bears its name now stands in its former grounds. (a separate entry to come on this particular landmark soon)
A few blocks away near the corner of Lope De Vega Street was another Pablo Antonio-designed movie theater called Forum. Built in the 1960s, it was not only a movie theater but also served as shopping complex and office building as well. Unfortunately, the structure was badly damaged by a fire in the 1980s, leaving at least the theater component roofless to this day.
A few steps ahead, one would see what would be the funkiest movie theater building in Manila that still stands to this day: the Scala Theater. Like Forum and Galaxy, Scala was a Pablo Antonio theater as well, but unlike the two, the Scala bears a more playful design that still astounds the senses despite the fact that it no longer operating as a movie theater. Good thing that the building at least is still standing…for now at this time of posting.
Further up in Avenida, there were the movie theaters Apollo, Pearl, (I don’t know where it was located approximately) Lotus, Alegria, and Noli which was the northernmost movie theater in Manila. All of them have either disappeared or are still standing with their movie theater operations no longer running.
Before I forget, there is one theater worth mentioning which was along A. Mendoza St., the former Andalucia which runs parallel to Rizal Avenue. This is the New Love Theater located just right across the Central Market. It is said that back in the day, it had a dancing fountain that greeted moviegoers there. In recent years, it was the movie theater component was shut down and was converted into a music bar but I think that is no longer running as well. The building and its fresco art exterior however still stands.
To be continued…
Acknowledgements to the sources as enumerated in Part I
© the Urban Roamer