340 Main Street,
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The Beach Theatre was opened Thanksgiving 1945, with 662 seats. It was taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres in June 1946 and was renamed Bay Theatre from June 17, 1946. It was purchased by Richard Loderhose in 1975.
After removing some of the seats, he installed a 1928-built Wurlitzer organ that he had purchased in the early-1960’s from New York City’s Paramount Theatre. It is called “the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in any operating theatre in the world today”.
The theatre showed independent, foreign, classic and silent films with organ accompaniment. Seal Beach, with a population of 25,100, is mentioned in an unauthorized biography of Steven Spielberg as being his favorite place to see foreign movies while he was enrolled at nearby Cal State Long Beach in the mid-1960’s.
The theatre is well maintained, with excellent projection and the vintage seating is very comfortable. The Bay Theatre was closed ‘temporary’ on August 2, 2012. It was purchased by a new owner in 2016 with plans to renovate & restore the building to be used for the performing arts and movies. It is believed the Wurlitzer organ has been removed from the building.
In November 2017 Paul Dunlap of the Dunlap Group, owners of the building, announced that the roof had been replaced and work was beginning on demolishing the old stage house. An architect was working on the interior design of the project and they are looking at the designs for the front of house concession & restroom areas.
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