Lido Theater Temporarily Closes for Interior ‘Refresh’

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The iconic Lido Theater temporarily closed its doors Monday for an “interior refresh” and is scheduled to reopen
— Photo by Bob Hodson Photography ©

The iconic Lido Theater is temporarily shut its doors this week for interior upgrades and a “refresh,” officials announced in a press release.

The historic theater, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last year, closed on Monday, officials explained in a message shared on Aug. 30. It is scheduled to reopen in spring 2020.

“A single screen auditorium that has kept an air of old Hollywood glamour, the Lido Theater will be refreshed while maintaining the integrity of the original theater,” officials wrote in the statement.

Improvements will include state-of-the-art-sound and projection, new paint, carpet and seating, as well as modern touches such as air conditioning and heating.

“The Lido Theater is an iconic art deco movie theater that we are committed to maintaining and improving,” said Paul Bernard, vice president of the western region for Fritz Duda Company, which owns the theater. “We are proud that the theater remains a cornerstone of Via Lido Plaza and the greater Lido community.”

Bernard added that the annual Bill Medley concert to benefit Lupus research and education, held in honor of Linda and Bobby Hatfield, is slated to return in May. Next year will be the 10th year that Medley has done the concert to honor his late musical partner in the Righteous Brothers, Hatfield and his wife Linda, who lost her battle with lupus in 2010.

In addition to its art deco architectural details, the Lido Theater features vintage movie poster cases, the original box office, and a red velvet waterfall-styled curtain on an elevated stage.

“The theater also has some of its original Catalina tilework, revered at the time for its colorful hand painted beauty, and rarely seen in Southern California today,” officials note in the announcement message. “Harkening back to the golden age of Hollywood, the Lido Theater also has a balcony, which is not seen in modern theaters.”

The local landmark opened in 1938 with the Oscar-winning movie “Jezebel,” starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda. A resident of nearby Corona del Mar, Davis is said to have traveled by the site daily while the theater was under construction, and requested a sitting parlor in the ladies’ room, which was built and remains today, the message reads.

The Lido Theater is located at 3459 Via Lido, off Newport Blvd., on the Balboa Peninsula.

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