Fox Theatre

514 Center Street,
Taft, CA 93268

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Showing 26 - 36 of 36 comments

William
William on March 29, 2006 at 10:48 pm

The New Fox Taft Theatre reopened on May 1st, 1951.

tomdelay
tomdelay on August 18, 2005 at 4:40 am

Arthur Crowell was the name of the organist for the Hippodrome Theatre. He was just 17 or 18 at the time. He had been suggested for the job by Fox/West Coast staff organist Frank Lanterman.

In checking with the source of the above story, the previous organist had NOT been shot, but was regularly clobbered with flying debris tossed by the rowdies.

Sorry about the crappy editing above—it should read:

When the Hippodrome, this theatre contained a 2 manual 10 rank style 216 Wurlitzer. This was a very rare style of instrument built only for the Fox/West Coast chain, mostly in Southern California.

I was told the story of an organist for the Hippodrome who was shot and killed one evening while at the organ. It seems the audience tended to consist of rowdy oil riggers. This rowdiness was made worse if someone was “in-the-tank”. It seems the organ was so loud, it would drown-out the “conversations” prior to the show and thus the poor organist was shot.

A fellow took his place from southern CA and merely draped horse balnkets over the swell shutters and “tamed” the organ—and did not follow in the footsteps of the previous Hippodrome organist.

While the console was destroyed, parts of the organ survived the fire and can be found in composite organs in Hanford and Bakersfield, CA.

tomdelay
tomdelay on August 17, 2005 at 1:16 am

When the Hippodrome, this theatre contained a 2 manual 10 rank style 216 Wurlitzer. This was a very rare style of instrument built only for the Fox/West Coast chain, mostly in Southern California.

I was told the story of an organist for the Hippodrome who was shot and killed one evening while at the organ. It seems the audience tended to consist of rowdy oil riggers. This rowdiness was made worse if someone was “in-the-tank”. It seems the organ was so loud, it would drown-out the “conversations” prior to the show and thus the poor organist was shot.

While the consoel was destroyed, parts of the organ survived the fire and can be found in composite organs in Hanford and Bakersfield, CA.

A fellow took his place from southern CA and merely draped horse balnkets over the swell shutters and “tamed” the organ—and did not follow in the footsteps of the previous Hippodrome organist. As soon as I find out the name of the organist who did not get shot, I will post it.

Nickybkrsfld
Nickybkrsfld on August 16, 2005 at 10:14 pm

Can someone provide contact details for the theatre and where I can find “what’s on”?

Thanks
Nickybkrsfld

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 7, 2005 at 1:36 am

There are photos of the Fox Theater here and here.

moktay0000
moktay0000 on May 20, 2005 at 1:28 pm

theater was reopen on 19 May.

sdoerr
sdoerr on October 20, 2004 at 9:37 pm

It’s glad to know the theater was carefully restored and people care. Sadly theaters cannot run with multiplexes nearby :(

wade1015
wade1015 on September 2, 2004 at 4:23 pm

Well, I just did a google search on the Taft Fox Theatre and this was the first link listed. There doesn’t seem to be a lot listed about this theatre so let me see if I can help fill in some of the blanks. My family and I bought and restored the theatre in the 1995 and I was the General Manager of the theatre for over four years. The theatre started out as the Hippodrome, as listed above, in the early 20’s. After the fire the theatre reopened as the Fox in either 50 or 51 (used to have this knowledge on the tip of my tongue when I was running the place but it’s been several years now and the details are a little fuzzy). When we bought it in 1995, it was run down and had been closed for several years. We took about 9 months restoring it. We took out tons of asbestos, repaired seats, painted everything (I personally painted the entire marquee by hand), repaired neon, and did a lot of cleaning. The main auditorium originally would seat close to 1300 people I believe. We took out several rows of seats and added a much larger stage up front so we could have live performances. We also eventually took out several rows in back, added platforms, and put in leather recliners (talk about watching a movie in style). When we got done the seating capacity had been cut down to a mere 750. We reopened it in May, 1996. We originally showed only second-run movies, but eventually moved into some first-run stuff during the busy periods. After about a year and a half, we bought the empty lot next to the lobby and added two more smaller screens with about 300 seats between the two of them. We began running quite a bit more first-run movies then. After a few more years I left, but my family continued to operate it until September, 2003. There just wasn’t enough business to keep it open. The multiplexes of Bakersfield were just too close. The theatre was sold during the summer of 2004. I believe the current owners are planning to reopen it soon. It’s a beautiful theatre that I absolutely love. It was my life for a couple of years and they are years I look back on very fondly. I will do my best to get a picture posted so all can see what it looks like.

William
William on July 13, 2004 at 11:47 pm

The Fox Taft Theatre seated 1078 people.

GaryParks
GaryParks on July 2, 2004 at 10:27 pm

This theatre originally opened in either the Teens or early Twenties as the Hippodrome. It had a vaudeville stage with fly tower, which is where the “The Place to Go!” signage is. After World War II, there was a fire, and in remodeling it was decided to rotate the interior of the theatre 180 degrees, which explains why the fly tower is over the lobby now. If you look at the row of storefronts, you will see that the most elaborate part of the upper facade is down at the other end (there was a State Farm office there last time I was by there). This is where the original entrance was.
The marquee and the interior are a fine example of the Skouras style. The marquee is identical to that of the Fox Venice and others. As far as I know the Fox remained a single screen, firstrun theatre up until its recent closure.