San Jose Signs Index
560 S. Bascom Ave.
Marquee, Roof Sign
The unincorporated neighborhood of Burbank welcomed the Burbank Theater, built in a Streamline Moderne style, around 1950. Building architects were the father-son duo of Alexander and McKenzie Cantin, the same team behind the Studio Theatre at 396 S. First Street. The 900-seat Burbank, built with limited parking, struggled to keep its seats full. In the 1960s, the programming switched to art films. At this time, the Burbank’s towering three sided namesake sign was joined by a much smaller neon sign reading “Cinema,” in a bouncy mid-century script. Sadly, art films weren’t enough to keep the Burbank in business. And folks in the neighborhood were quite displeased when the programming changed to pornography. Years would pass and the theater would open and close its doors again, and again.
In 2018, the Burbank was listed in the Santa Clara County’s Heritage Resources Inventory. In early 2022, the Burbank was sold to a private investment firm. The Burbank’s neon tower sign has become such a beloved fixture
in the neighborhood, it serves as a visual place marker for both locals and out-of-towners. Let’s all hope that the building and signage can be repurposed.