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The Players — Los paduanos

This site is a service project of Los californios®
This is a work continually in progress, which relies upon participation from visitors. If you have material (or usable scans of that material) that you would like to contribute to the effort, please communicate with us at info@loscalifornios.com. We especially need help identifying the names of Players shown in the photographs.

  Paduanos Image #1 Paduanos Image #2 Paduanos Image #3 Paduanos Image #4 Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre Historic flyer #2 Historic flyer #3 Paduanos Image #6 Paduanos Image #7
  Paduanos Image #8 Paduanos Image #9 Paduanos Image #10 Paduanos Image #11 Paduanos Image #12 Paduanos Image #13 Paduanos Image #14 Paduanos Image #15 Paduanos Image #16 Paduanos Image #17 Paduanos Image #18
  Paduanos Image #19></a>

                    <a href= Paduanos Image #20 Paduanos Image #21 Paduanos Image #22 Paduanos Image #23 Paduanos Image #24 Paduanos Image #26 Paduanos Image #27 Paduanos Image #28 Paduanos Image #29 Paduanos Image #30
                                               Paduanos Image #31 Paduanos Image #32 Paduanos Image #33 Paduanos Image #98 Paduanos Image #99 Paduanos Image #100


Paduanos Image #1 Paduanos Image #1 — Historic Postcard of Padua Hills Theatre Dining Room
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection


Please help us identify these women and the time period that they worked at the Theatre.

1. Conchita Gallardo, 2.Casilda Amador, 3.______ 4. ______ 5. ______ 6. ______

Thanks to Linda Cervon for identification.



In her book, Mexican Serenade: The Story of the Mexican Players and the Padua Hills Theatre (1961), Pauline B. Deuel tells how Bess Adams Garner and Herman Garner were inspired by a dining experience in Italy shortly before the opening of Padua Hills Theatre. She says they “were entertained by strolling musicians who played and sang for them. This dinner program so impressed the Garners that they decided to initiate it at home.”¹


The Garners hired Mexican and Mexican-American youth to serve as waiters and waitresses, and as musicians, singers and dancers in the dining room during the meals. Little did the Garners realize, when they hired their dining room and kitchen staff, that these talented, hard working performers would become the future and legacy of the Padua Hills Theatre.

Paduanos Image #2
                    Photo by Irene Welch Garner
                    Alfaro Family Collection

 

 

 

Mr. Garner with members of the Padua Hills Theatre staff. Please help us identify them.

Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner

Historic Flyer Promoting
Padua Hills Theatre Dining Room

Promotional Flyer
Promotional Flyer
Los californios® Collection

 

 

 

The Padua Hills Theatre opened its doors December 2, 1930² featuring The Claremont Community Players in the play The Royal Family. And in the Spring of 1931 the future Mexican Players had the opportunity to perform a production called Noche Mexicana, twice for The Community Players and twice for a Parent-Teachers’ Association benefit. This acclaimed production set the stage for these budding actors who were waiting in the wings.


In July of 1932, when the Theatre normally would go dark for most of the summer, the dining room staff presented a new production, opening Serenata Mexicana on July 2 as an attraction during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The popularity of the program finally caught the attention of the Theatre organizers who scheduled Serenata Mexicana in performances during the regular performing year, and The Mexican Players began their official existence.

Historic Postcard of entrance to the Padua Hills Theatre — 1934
Paduanos Image #3
                          Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner Paduanos Image #3 — Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection


Placard reads: Padua Players present: “A Woman of No Importance”
A comedy of Manners by Oscar Wilde. Opens Mar. 19.


This play ran from March 19 - 30, 1934, performed by the Pasadena Community Playhouse as The Padua Players. Members of The Mexican Players are shown in this photograph and the next.



The Claremont Community Players continued to present plays for three seasons, until June of 1933, before pressures from the Great Depression finally closed this community theater project. During the last season, they shared the stage with The Mexican Players who filled in for the struggling community theater group. Starting October 30, 1933, the Pasadena Community Playhouse as The Padua Players produced plays in the Padua Hills Theatre, sharing the space with The Mexican Players. They produced plays for two seasons. With the opening of the new season on October 9, 1935, The Mexican Players became Padua Hills’ only theater group.

Historic Postcard of Padua Hills Theatre — 1934
Paduanos Image #4 Paduanos Image #4 — Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection



Historic Flyers of Padua Hills Theatre

Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre

Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre - back Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre
Los californios® Collection


1947 Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre

1947 Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre - back Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre — 1947
Los californios® Collection


Historic flyer #3 front

Historic flyer #3 back Historic Flyer of Padua Hills Theatre
Los californios® Collection

 

The entrance to the Padua Hills Theatre and Dining Room was used often as a background for publicity photographs. It was an easily recognized icon for several generations of fans.

Historic Postcards and Photos of paduanos at Entrance to Padua Hills Theatre

Postcard photos attributed to Irene Welch Garner, and photos by Irene Welch Garner


Paduanos Image #5 — Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner Paduanos Image #5 — Los californios® Collection
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Alfonso and Conchita Gallardo of The Mexican Players


Paduanos Image #6 Paduanos Image #6 — Los californios® Collection
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner

Postcard mailed March 17, 1946


Paduanos Image #7 Paduanos Image #7 — Los californios® Collection
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner


Paduanos Image #8 Paduanos Image #8 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Celia García and Rogelio Alfaro at the entrance to the Padua Hills Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Esmeralda Marroquín for identification of Celia in this photograph.

Esmeralda adds: “She [Celia García] passed away a couple years ago, and was godmother to Angela Rubio. Yes, it truly became one big family to all that were there!”


Paduanos Image #9 Paduanos Image #9 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Front: María Abundis and Rogelio Alfaro
Back: José Guadalupe Rubio and Celia García


Paduanos Image #10 Paduanos Image #10 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Héctor Chávez, Gustavo Alfaro, Lupe Rubio, Viola Núñez, Celia García



The curtain at Padua Hills Theatre was a map of Mexico painted in bright colors. Pauline Deuel³ records that the map was “designed and painted by Charles Dickinson,” but paduanos also remember proudly being involved with the design and execution with particular credit going to Alfonso Gallardo.


Theatre Curtain with Cast
Paduanos Image #11 Paduanos Image #11 — Historic postcard
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection
Gilbert and Alicia Flores sitting on the floor in the middle of the picture.
Identification made by Carole Galvez Salazar.


Carole Galvez Salazar adds:
Gilbert also played the guitar and the harp. As a friend of my sister’s (fellow Paduano, Dolores Galvez) he played the harp at our mother’s funeral in March 1991.
Paduanos Image #12 Paduanos Image #12 — Historic postcard
Photo attributed to Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection

 

Historic Postcard Mailed in 1949 — The Mexican Players

Paduanos Image #13 Paduanos Image #13 — Historic postcard
Los californios® Collection

 

“Enjoyed these Mexican Players very much the other evening. One’s waitresses and bus boys turn actors and actresses following dinner for theater. All Spanish dialogue but a lot of fun nevertheless.”

Casilda Amador & Rogelio Alfaro in the Padua Gardens

Paduanos Image #14 Paduanos Image #14 — Historic postcard
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection

 

Color photos are historic postcards in the Los californios® Collection. The black and white photos, from the same photo session, are from the Alfaro Family Collection. All the photos are presumed to be the work of Irene Welch Garner

Paduanos Image #15 Paduanos Image #15 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

 



Paduanos Image #16 Paduanos Image #16 — Historic postcard
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection


Paduanos Image #17 Paduanos Image #17 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

 

Historic Photos and Postcards of Paduanos at Padua Hills Theatre

Paduanos Image #19 Paduanos Image #19 — Conchita Gallardo
Historic postcard — Los californios® Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Paduanos Image #18 Paduanos Image #18 — Casilda Amador
Historic postcard — Los californios®
Photo by Irene Welch Garner



Paduanos Image #20 Paduanos Image #20 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Casilda Amador, Gustavo Alfaro and Celia García at Padua Hills Theatre


Paduanos Image #21 Paduanos Image #21 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner


Please help us identify these Players

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My grandparents are Alfonso Chavez and Jacinta Vigil, who met at Padua Theatre, married, and had four children. They live nearby in Montclair and have pictures from when they worked there. I will tell my Grampa Al about your website so you can have more memories to share. “And, when I get married, I want it to be at Padua! “Thank you, Emily T. Burgos”

 

Window at Padua Hills Theatre — Then and Now

Paduanos Image #23 Paduanos Image #23 — Historic postcard
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Los californios® Collection
Paduanos Image #22 Paduanos Image #22 — February 2004
Photo by Vykki Mende Gray


Historic postcard with detail — Frank “Panchito” Fonseca

Paduanos Image #24 Paduanos Image #24 — Historic postcard
Los californios® Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Paduanos Image #25 Paduanos Image #25 — Detail of postcard
Photo by Irene Welch Garner


Thanks to Claire Bridgman, daughter of Conchita and Alfonso Gallardo, for identification


Historic postcard of courtyard

Paduanos Image #26 Paduanos Image #26 — Los californios® Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner


Claremont Village Mural

This historic image of The Mexican Players has been recaptured in modern Claremont as part of the Claremont Village Mural.

Paduanos Image #27 Paduanos Image #27 — Historic postcard
Los californios® Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner
Paduanos Image #28 Paduanos Image #28 — Detail of mural based on the postcard image
Photo by Vykki Mende Gray, February 2004


Paduanos Image #29 Paduanos Image #29 — Part of Claremont Village Mural — Claremont, California
Photo by Vykki Mende Gray


Paduanos Image #30 Paduanos Image #30 — Alfaro Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Vida Amador, Luis Abundis & Ysabel Alba


Paduanos Image #31 Paduanos Image #31 — Suellen Family Collection
Anita de la Rosa Tolentino
“The painting is titled: Padua Girl and later her name was added.”
Paduanos Image #32 Paduanos Image #32 — Galvez Family Collection
Dolores Galvez
Carole Galvez Salazar contributed this picture of her sister, and says, “Here is another picture of my sister, Dolores Galvez, that was used in publicity for the Padua Hills Theater in the early 1950s. It also came out in the entertainment section of one of the Los Angeles newspapers.”


Paduanos Image #33 Paduanos Image #33 — Moreno Family Collection
Photo by Irene Welch Garner

Carmen Moreno

 

 

 

Carmencristina Moreno contributed this picture of her mother, and says, “My parents, EL DUETO DE LOS MORENO, Luis M. Moreno and Carmen Moreno, both sang and played guitar at Padua Hills Theatre circa 1946-47. I have just one faded newspaper clipping with photo to contribute to your website.”


Paduanos Image #98 Paduanos Image #98 — Alfaro Family Collection
Historical photograph by Irene Welch Garner

Front:

  1. Hector Chávez
  2. ________________
  3. Connie Aguilera

Middle:

  1. Isabel García
  2. María Abundis
  3. Casilda Amador

Back:

  1. Gustavo Alfaro
  2. Rogelio Alfaro
Thanks to Teresa García for identification of Isabel in this photograph.

Thanks to Claire Gallardo Bridgman for identification of María, Casilda, Connie and Hector in this photograph. Claire is the daughter of Conchita and Alfonso Gallardo.

Thanks to Linda Cervon for identification of Gustavo Alfaro.


Rogelio Alfaro in 2004 with David Swarens and Janet Martini of Los californios®

Paduanos Image #99 Paduanos Image #99 — Photograph by Vykki Mende Gray


Rogelio Alfaro in 2004 with his daughters

Paduanos Image #100 Paduanos Image #100 — Photograph by Vykki Mende Gray

 

Click here to find additional images in the Gallery.

If your family has recollections or images of Padua Hills Theatre that you would like to share on this web site, please contact Los californios® at info@loscalifornios.com.

© Vykki Mende Gray, 2008
All rights reserved.

Web design: Ellen Wallace and Vykki Mende Gray
All rights reserved.

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