Alex Holds Tribute to Projectionist

George Crittenden, who worked at the theater for years, is remembered at a day dedicated to him.

By Veronica Rocha
Published: Last Updated Sunday, August 3, 2008 10:23 PM PDT
More than 300 people attended a free cartoon and movie showing on Sunday afternoon at the Alex Theatre dedicated to the theatre’s late chief film projectionist, George Crittenden. 

Filmgoers watched a Warner Bros. cartoon of Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, which were Crittenden favorite animated characters, Alex Film Society President Randy Carter told theater audience members.

Crittenden died June 4 in his childhood Glendale home of a brain tumor, his friends said. He was 80.

“There was nothing in this theatre he did not play a part in,” he said.

“There is nothing to do with film that George wasn’t a part of.” 

Crittenden, a lifelong Glendale resident, began working as an usher at the theatre in 1944.

In 1950, he began working as a film projectionist at the Alex and Temple theaters in Glendale and Magnolia Theatre in Burbank.

Crittenden served as the Los Angeles Branch manager of Films Incorporated from 1960 to 1983.

He returned to the Alex Theatre and worked as the chief film projectionist from 1985 to 1991.

Crittenden was a founding member of Alex Film Society and rebuilt the theatre’s projection equipment in 1994.

Sunday’s film of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical “State Fair” was one Crittenden had asked the society’s board to be shown at the theatre several times before his death.

“He pitched it year after year, but we were kind of like ‘Nah’,” the Alex Film Society board member Pam Ellis said. “But now we are showing it in George’s tribute.”

Crittenden always had a smile on his face, the theatre’s Event Services Manager Karen Smith said.

“I miss my George,” she said.

He was knowledgeable about films and knew who was dead or alive in each film, the society’s board member Brian Ellis said, adding that Crittenden, who was an only child and never married, was a perfectionist.

“There was a certain way of doing things the right way,” Ellis said.

Crittenden often held summer night film showings for his friends at his home, society board member Linda Harris said.

Her fondest memory of Crittenden was every time she met up with him.

“When he saw me he would say “Linda” very softly with a smile on his face,” Harris said.

“He was good-natured man.”