Almanac

News - November 6, 2013

Pieces of Park Theatre sold off

by Renee Batti

They may not ever see their names on a movie house marquee, but many of the shoppers at the Park Theatre pre-demolition sale last weekend reached for the next best thing: marquee letters big and small.

"The biggest item seller was the marquee letters," said Rebecca Miller of Whole House Building Supply, which organized the Nov. 2-3 sale. "We saw people coming in to grab their families' initials or their house numbers," she said in an email.

A long list of items were sold off in preparation for the razing of the long-vacant Park Theatre at 1275 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Other big items grabbed up by shoppers wanting a piece of the Park included double doors with port holes, a neon light, stage curtains, theater seats, and the ticket booth, Ms. Miller said.

"There were conversations between customers and myself about ideas (for) repurposing the ticket booth to a shower, phone booth or a bar, although leaving it as a funky and functional ticket booth would also be a great conversation piece," she said.

The ticket booth was priced at $450 or "offer." Large marquee letters sold for $5 each or $20 for five; stage curtains were listed at $150; red theater seats were $1 each, while dark seats were listed at $3.

Buyers were responsible for removing their items before the demolition, using hand tools only. Owner Howard "Sandy" Crittenden told the Almanac last week that the demolition date hasn't been set.

Ms. Miller said many people who showed up at the sale "were disheartened to know the building would be torn down. These are folks in the area who used to attend movies. One customer said he came here when movies were 10 cents each."

The Park was built in 1947 and closed in 2002, although Landmark Theatres, which operated it as well as the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, indicated it wanted to continue leasing the building. Mr. Crittenden said late last year that he plans to develop the property as office and retail space.

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