Hyatt Cinema | 1304 Bayshore Hwy Burlingame, CA 94010 | Opened: March 29, 1966
In 1964, the Hyatt Corporation of America wanted a theater-in-the-round where residents could see big stars in live musicals like “My Fair Lady” and “Flower Drum Song” without having to drive to San Francisco. It would be a 2500-seat “ultramodern” theater shaped like a big spiked salad bowl with a marquee out front. “We must use stars” Herb Rogers, producer of the Hyatt Music Theater, “but we intend to make use of local talent.” The opening announced Pat Suzuki in “Flower Drum Song”. The critics were not kind and, in particular, the show was likened to a “World War II USO road show designed to cheer the boys in remote camps, noting that these welcome diversions were not always first quality”.
The facility was criticized as “a dangle of microphones” hanging above the actors on the stage. Plastic glasses were used to serve beer and wine at the bar, the parking charge was fifty-cents and there were traffic jams after the show. The complaints also included no checkroom for coats, insufficient drinking fountains, inadequate air conditioning and troublesome equipment. Big Hollywood stars performed at the Hyatt Music Theater, but the promise of a complete cultural center on the Peninsula never materialized. It was subsequently used for a children’s theater and later for an acting school.
The Hyatt was converted to a single screen movie theater by Syufy Enterprises and opened on March 29, 1966. The theater was split on December 6, 1972 and again on October 12, 1984, resulting in three auditoriums.
Cinemark Theatres took over the operation of all Century Theatres (nee Syufy) locations on October 5, 2006. The Hyatt Cinema was closed after the last shows on Friday, April 20, 2007, and was stripped of equipment and fixtures the next day.
Information by Burlingame Historical Society & Adam Martin.