This week in La Jolla history...
Published - 03/01/12 - 05:09 PM | 5206 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The Cove Theatre, briefly the Playhouse Theatre, in 1963. Photo courtesy of the La Jolla Historical Society
— From Linda Pequegnat’s book, “This Day in San Diego History,” available at Warwick’s and at

March 2, 1948

A new 650-seat movie theater, the Playhouse Theatre, opened in La Jolla on Girard Avenue. Many haven’t heard of the Playhouse Theater — the name was changed to the Cove Theatre four months later.

There was already a movie theater in La Jolla – the Granada Theatre – at the corner of Girard and Wall streets. The owners of the Granada Theatre, which seated 712 people, bought the Playhouse Theatre in July 1948 and changed its name shortly after.

Spencer Wilson became the manager of the theater when it opened and continued his tenure as manager for many years. He had come to La Jolla in the 1920s and graduated from La Jolla High School in 1931. He was manager of the Granada Theater until it closed down in 1952 — but he continued to manage the Cove until his retirement in 1992, serving for nearly 60 years managing La Jolla’s theaters. Many people who went to movies in La Jolla remember him fondly.

The last showing of a movie at the Cove was in January 2003, after which the owners decided not to renew the lease for a theater. The Cove Theater closed down for good after 55 years – the end of a nostalgic era in La Jolla history.

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September 22, 2016
So many of us growing up in the 50's, 60's and 70's remember the Cove fondly and Spencer even more so. He will always be remembered as La Jolla's Saturday morning baby sitter. My brothers and I loved him madly, along with his enormous (to us) tortoise. I worked behind the counter and as an usher in 1968-1969. Perfect job for a teenager. This picture, above, is how I remember the Cove Theatre before it's makeover, back in the day when it only cost 25c for a kid to see a movie on Saturday morning. Great memories!
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