Crest Theatre

1160 Broadway Plaza,
Fresno, CA 93721

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reflectionscs
reflectionscs on December 3, 2004 at 12:44 pm

This is the movie palace where I saw most of the 1950s and 1960s movies from 20th Century-Fox. I always loved escaping the grueling Fresno summer heat in this Cooled by Refrigeration oasis.

Occasionally the Crest deviated from its A-list Fox films to show an exploitation epic. I remember when “Damaged Goods” played here many years ago. But mostly, I remember cuddling up to my box of hot, buttered popcorn, watching the likes of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Call Me Madam,” “Three Coins in The Fountain,” “Bus Stop,” and scores of Cinemascopic epics here.

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 25, 2004 at 2:29 am

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also show in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

William
William on October 24, 2003 at 4:37 am

The Fox Crest Theatre is located at 1170 Broadway and it once seated 1284 people.

GaryParks
GaryParks on January 11, 2003 at 12:04 pm

Though I don’t know who was the architect from the structural standpoint, this theatre was one of many which were conceptualized on the drawing boards of Carl G. Moeller, during the tenure of Charles P. Skouras at Fox West Coast Theatres. A couple of similar examples of such Skouras-era neon extravagance are the Crest in Sacramento (operating), and the Fox Belmont, Long Beach (standing but converted to a health club/gym).