Silent Movie Mondays at the Balboa Theatre Featuring Live Organ


Step back in time and experience the magic of the 1920s at the historic Balboa Theatre, with a captivating series: Silent Movie Mondays at the Balboa Theatre! Continuing Balboa Theatre’s centennial celebration, this special event showcases five enchanting evenings filled with classic silent films from the 1920s, brought to life by expert melodic accompaniment of the theatre’s historic Wonder Morton theatre organ.

Though these films lack dialogue, the silent film “soundtrack” and musical accompaniment provided by talented organists, fills the Balboa with the original emotive songs alongside provocative and playful sound effects. Our Wonder Morton theatre organ, designed to replicate the grandeur of symphonic sounds from a singular musician, delivering a whimsical, atmospheric, and entirely unique auditory experience.

Balboa Theatre’s story began in 1924 when the theatre opened as a vibrant venue for vaudeville, music, and silent films; creating a vital cultural epicenter for art within the San Diego community, a reputation that endures a century later. The theatre's Wonder Morton organ, with its impressive 23 ranks (sets) of pipes, produces traditional pipe organ sounds imitating strings, clarinets, trumpets and orchestral voices, in addition to the real instruments like drums, tambourines, xylophone and chimes, which play through the keyboards at the organist's command. This unique theatre pipe organ provides the dynamic and immersive soundscape essential to enhancing the emotive facial gestures and expressive physical acting styles of silent films, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to relive cinematic history, celebrate a century of cultural artistry, and enjoy the rare experience of silent films accompanied by a majestic, live organ performance. Join us for Silent Movie Mondays and be transported to an era of cinematic wonder, all while honoring the enduring legacy of the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.

montage of silent films in two rows

Schedule of Events

  • The Phantom of the Opera (1925), accompanied by Russ Peck - October 28, 2024
  • Cops (1922) and Big Business (1929), accompanied by Ken Double - December 9, 2024
  • The Gold Rush (1925), accompanied by Russ Peck - February 24, 2025
  • The Mark of Zorro (1920), accompanied by Ken Double - April 14, 2025
  • Flesh and the Devil (1926), accompanied by Russ Peck - June 9, 2025

Additionally, there will be pre-show entertainment before every event — stay tuned to learn more!

All are welcome to Silent Movie Mondays with general admission tickets priced at $24.

For those who are interested in a more premium experience, and exclusive discussions with the organist, reserved VIP seating is available.

  • Includes premium seating and admission to a pre-show prelude that includes a discussion with the organist about the history and theme of the film.
  • Single show VIP ticket: $39

This is a rare opportunity to see historic films on the big screen, accompanied by the best theatre organ players in the country. We hope to see you there!

Series Package

Purchase the series package and enjoy all five silent film showings with live organ accompaniment, while celebrating a century of Balboa Theatre's contribution to the arts. Secure your discounted seat now for every event and experience some of the best silent films of the 1920’s.

  • VIP seating: $160 (saves $34 compared to single tickets)
  • GA seating: $100 (saves $18 compared to single tickets)

View Packages

  • The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

    Mon, October 28 @ 7:00 PM

    The perfect event for spooky season, The Phantom of the Opera stars Lon Chaney as the titular character, a talented but deformed virtuoso who haunts the halls of the Paris Opera House as he attempts to make his protégé and love interest, Christine, into a star.

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  • A Roaring 20's Holiday featuring Cops (1922) and Big Business (1929)

    Mon, December 9 @ 7:00 PM

    Join us for a merry evening featuring TWO famous silent films! In Cops (1922), a young man played by megastar Buster Keaton repeatedly falls foul of the city's police department, spending the film wooing his beloved while on the run. Big Business (1929) is a Christmas film starring the famous comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who play Christmas tree salesmen locked in a comedic back-and-forth with a local homeowner.

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  • The Gold Rush (1925)

    Mon, February 24 @ 7:00 PM

    The Gold Rush is one of Charlie Chaplin's most acclaimed films. Set during the Alaskan Gold Rush of the late 1800s, Chaplin plays a prospector who gets caught in a blizzard and stumbles upon a small cabin occupied by two other men. What follows is a tale of gold-tinged greed, temporary memory loss, love at first sight, and inconvenient mix-ups that all get resolved by the film's end.

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  • The Mark of Zorro (1920)

    Mon, April 14 @ 7:00 PM

    Renowned actor Douglas Fairbanks plays Don Diego Vega, a seemingly foolish and frivolous son of a wealthy landowner in colonial Spanish California. What his peers don't know is - he is the masked hero Señor Zorro, who defends his community from the corrupt and cruel Governor Alvarado. Zorro toys with his foes, using his expert fencing skills to carve the letter Z as a marker of his work.

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  • Flesh and the Devil (1926)

    Mon, June 9 @ 7:00 PM

    Lifelong friends Leo and Ulrich’s bond is tested by the beautiful Felicitas. After a passionate encounter, Leo is forced to duel and kills Felicitas' husband, resulting in his exile to Africa. Upon returning, he finds Felicitas married to Ulrich. Despite her marriage, Felicitas relentlessly pursues Leo, creating a dangerous love triangle that threatens the friends' relationship.

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