Grand Theatre

212 E. Main Street,
Visalia, CA 93291

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 11 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 17, 2014 at 4:33 am

About halfway down this web page is a photo of Main Street with the Bijou Theatre at the right. The theater was on the north side of Main Street east of, and adjacent to, the Hotel Johnson, which was on the northeast corner of Main and Church Streets. That means the correct address for the Bijou must be 212 East Main Street. Every old building on the north side of that block has been demolished.

212 East Main is the address we list for the Grand Theatre, and a comment from earlier today on the Grand’s page says that the Grand was the Bijou, so one of the pages is redundant (this one is quite a bit older, but both pages have several comments on them.) The Grand was still in operation at least as late as 1963.

But I note that the first comment on this theater from March 26, 2005, by Reuben, indicates that the Bijou was in operation as late as 1952, while the first comment of March 30, 2005, by jbj, mentions a Grand Theatre in operation in 1939. If both are correct then the name Grand, like the name Bijou, must have belonged to two different houses in Visalia at various times.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2010 at 10:11 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.

jbj
jbj on August 11, 2005 at 1:50 am

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 ….

jbj
jbj on March 31, 2005 at 4:48 am

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

Reuben
Reuben on March 31, 2005 at 4:42 am

Hey Jerlow, You must remember the Grand theater. Reuben

jbj
jbj on March 31, 2005 at 1:42 am

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.

jbj
jbj on March 28, 2005 at 1:36 am

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.

Reuben
Reuben on March 28, 2005 at 12:04 am

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 7:02 am

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 5:19 am

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