Showing 12 comments
Yhis theater is fully reopened as of Sept. 26, 2014. See photos and events https://www.facebook.com/AztecaTheater
This is an ad from The Fresno Bee. 1980s
Wow, I had just put the trash on the curve for morning pickup.
Here are some pictures of the 1922 Moller Organ from the Fox Orpheum in 2012. http://aztecatheater.com/fox_orpheum_moller_organ.html
A couple new pictures
Azteca Theater on Facebook
Azteca Theater on Twitter
Azteca Theater on YouTube
Azteca Theater on Wikipedia
Azteca Theater Blog
Photo of outside from Pop Laval on facebook
“Arturo Tirado and the Teatro Azteca: Mexican popular culture in the central San Joaquin Valley"
An article by Dr. Guzman the role of Tirado and the Azteca Theater in Hispanic culture in Central California appeared in California History magazine.
The Azteca Theater is online at http://www.aztecatheater.com
The facade is an art deco style even though it was built 1947-8.
I believe it was affiliated with Azteca Films from Mexico, thus the namesake.
The theater was built by Gustavo Acosta in 1948 who had several theaters and worked out of Los Angeles. It was the first Spanish-only theater in Fresno and served the whole San Joaquin valley. Sometime in the 1950s Arturo Tirado took over the Teatro Azteca in Fresno and received film distribution through Acosta in Los Angeles. Tirado was born in 1912 to a family of entertainors that moverd to Los Angeles around 1918 and he acted in theaters and some cinema and even played violin in a music group. He organized tours in the US for many famous actors and musicians from Mexico. He ran the Azteca until 1980. In later years it became more of a social center for the Mexican-American community helping those in need, charitable food drives and Tirado even wrote some Spanish language brochures on legal citizenship to help the many workers from Mexico who populated the San Joaquin valley. In the early 1980s the theater ran budget films in English and Spanish.
The theater was the center for music, vaudeville, comedy and theatrics as well a s cinema for the Mexican-American community. When Cesar Chavez made his famous march for farmworkers from Delano to Sacramento he stopped at the Azteca and rallied his followers. The mayor, Tirado and infamous Police Chief Morton escorted the march through the area to show respect and guarantee safe passage.
The theater fell into neglect in the late 1980s and by 1995 was in derelict condition with doors off, holes in the roof, all seats and equipment removed. There uswed to be 10 large murals of Azteca life on the wall and many framed photos of stars of Mexico. Now it is stabilized and under renovation and there is a desire to find old photos of what it used to look like.
It was designed by Johnson engineers who also designed the Biola Theater in a nearby community. The roof trusses were built by Sanger Iron and thanks to good construction the building is sound and has a good long future ahead.
The theater is under slow renovation along with the rest of Chinatown in Fresno. As Chinatown experiences expected renovations in 2007 the theater is expected to reopen as a multi-venue theater. There is a art gallery in the lobby www.ipacific.com but the major part of the building is not open. There are most of the parts of the theater organ from the Oakland Fox Orpheum Theater that may be incorporated to the uses of the theater in the future.