Bijou Theatre

112 W. Main Street,
Visalia, CA 93291

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There was an earlier Bijou Theatre located at 307 E. Main Street that became the Roxy by 1941 and was demolished in the late 1940’s for the Visalia Theatre to be built on the site.

This Bijou Theatre is not listed in Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 but it is in the 1943 and up to the 1952 editions of F.D.Y. that I have.

Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Reuben
Reuben on March 26, 2005 at 8:19 pm

The Bijou Theater was on the north side of Main Street a half block east of the Hotel Johnson. That would put it across the street from Vic’s Cafe, a well known landmark. I don’t know when it closed or what took it’s place. The last movie I saw there was High Noon with Gary Cooper, 1952

Reuben
Hometown, Visalia, CA

jbj
jbj on March 26, 2005 at 10:02 pm

Thanks to all who contributed. Got input fram Ken Roe of England to local Reuben. As Reuben surely knows the territory, I believe this sites' address of WEST Main must be wrong. Is the 112 address also wrong for 1952? Proximity to Johnson Hotel and Vic’s may make it 2xx EAST! Any more help here?

—– I ushered at the Fox before Mt Whitney 1951 graduation, but have not lived there since.
—– RAGNAR is a psuedonym.

Reuben
Reuben on March 27, 2005 at 3:04 pm

I do not remember the first Bijou that was replaced by the Roxy but I am very familiar with the Roxy. I saw a lot of cowboy movies and Saturday serials as a little boy (mid-1940’s). The Roxy theater got very rundown and your feet would stick to the floor from all of the soft drinks and ice cream that had been spilled. The cotton stuffing was coming out of the seats at the end when it was mercifully put to rest. Lots of good boyhood memories there though. The Bijou on the other side of the street is positively a 2xx EAST Main Street address as the numbers started in the 100 series at Court Street and the Bijou was on the second block from Court Street. I graduated in the second class out of Mt. Whitney so it is possible that I knew RAGNAR. Also my best friend Freddie Kelm was an usher at the Fox Theater. The Bijou had a concession stand that faced the street. You could actually walk by and buy a treat without buying a ticket or going inside the theater.

jbj
jbj on March 27, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Thanks again, Reuben. Hope the webmaster gets this also to make the correction. Say hello to Krew Kut Kelm. Bryce. aka RAGNAR
— The plot thickens. I may be at the Mooney Picnic in Sept.

jbj
jbj on March 30, 2005 at 4:42 pm

I now have reference to yet another theater – the GRAND!!! A quandry!

Will fill in details after I reveive them. Right now I have only the NAME and a 1939 status date. How long was it there? Only the Shadow knows! But maybe Don Lesher also; he is the source for this reference and is sending me some written material.

To be continued …… not necessarily in Saturday Matinee Serial Form.

Reuben
Reuben on March 30, 2005 at 7:42 pm

Hey Jerlow, You must remember the Grand theater. Reuben

jbj
jbj on March 30, 2005 at 7:48 pm

Hey, De La Cruz (hope I am right), my memory is not that, uhh, well, grand!

jbj
jbj on August 10, 2005 at 5:50 pm

Reuben and whomever:

Just got a response to yet another theater query of mine, so decided to come back here. Lesher did send some ancient, informative and interesting data. I will post some of it another time.

If De La Cruz is right, Reuben, we also have a mutual friend beyond Kelm: Joe Flores of the OTHER Flores family. He is still in Visalia and told me some stories about you. I also understand through Betty Wilson that Fred has passed away. Sorry to hear that.

Theater comments are to be continued ….

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2010 at 2:11 am

The Bijou was mentioned at least twice in Boxoffice in 1939. The operator was named O. Nakamichi. The November 13 issue that year said that Nakamichi had bought 600 new seats for the house from National Theatre Supply, and was also planning minor alterations to the lobby.

The Bijou was mentioned in issues of Boxoffice as late as 1947, when it was being operated by Andy Gorblisch, but Nakamichi vanished from the pages of the magazine until 1946.

The October 7, 1946, issue of Boxoffice has a brief obituary of Okanosake Nakamichi. It said that he had operated a theater in Visalia from 1911 until he was relocated to a prison camp in 1942. It doesn’t mention any theater names.

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