Tejon Theatre

1200 Baker Street,
Bakersfield, CA 93305

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Tejon Theatre at Northwest corner of Baker & Monterey Streets circa about 2007

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened to the public on Wednesday 17th June 1947 with the movies “It Happened in Brooklyn” and “Calendar Girl”, the Tejon Theatre was operated by the local Lemucchi family who operated several other theatres in the Bakersfield area. The policy was to screen ‘family’ movies. All seating was on one floor (with no balcony) and the auditorium was lit by indirect trough lighting.

From 1979 and into the 1980’s it was sub-leased and began screening Spanish language movies. After a short period of closure, it re-opened in November 1991 as an ‘art house’ theatre, but this didn’t last long and it became a second run bargain house showing double and even triple bill programmes, closing again in 1992.

In 1994 it re-opened under new management and began a successful policy of screening art-house, cult movies and old Hollywood classics. Sadly, after working hard to fix up the theatre and operating it successfully, it was ‘taken away’ from the young couple who had operated it in Spring 1996, by a car dealership owner who planned to convert it into a live performance venue. This never happened and in recent years has been converted into a church who maintain the building to high standards.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 4, 2005 at 7:18 am

The theatre looks the same today, minus signage and a blank marquee. Also, it looks like the exterior has been re-painted recently.

I was passing by with a group of other cinema enthusiasts the other week and taking exterior photo’s when a side door opened and the care-taker came out and invited us inside. Very nice lobby and auditorium and the original proscenium arch and painted mural on the ceiling are still intact.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 6, 2005 at 2:08 am

Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of 11 May, 1945, says that architect Charles H. Biggar was preparing the plans for a movie theater to be located at Monterey and Baker Streets, for Banducci and Lemucchi Theater Company. This issue of the magazine gives the size of the planned theater as 998 seats, but a later issue (16 November, 1945) says that the seating had been reduced to 900, and gives the projected cost of the theater as $175,000.

plinfesty
plinfesty on February 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

1960 bookings (cartoon and news included on programs):
1.1.60: 1001 Arabian Nights; The Flyingn Fontaines
1.06.60: The Man Who Understood Women; Odds Against Tomorrow
1.10.60: Lil Abner; The Jayhawkers
1.17.60: A Summer place (featurette: Festival Days; short: Journey To the Sea
1.24.60: Third Man on the Mountain; Dumbo (cartoon: Pluto’s Dream House
1.31.60: The Wreck Of the Mary Deare; Tarzan the Ape Man
2.03.60: The Big Fisherman; Hoppity Goes To Town (cartoon: Knight For a Day)
2.10.60: The Gazebo; The House Of the Seven Hawks
2.14.60: Never So Few; Happy Anniversary
2.21.60: They Came To Cordura; LonelyHearts
2.24.60: Operation Petticoat; Cash McCall
3.04.60: On the Beach; The Gene Krupa Story
3.11.60: Toby Tyler; Goliath and the Gladiators
3.18.60: The Last Angry Man; Solomon and Sheba
3.23.60: Suddenly Last Summer; The Last Voyage
3.30.60: The Bramble Bush; The Story On Page One
4.03.60: Porgy and Bess; The Rookie
4.06.60: Sink the Bismark!; Beloved Infidel
4.10.60: A Dog of Flanders; Journey to the Center of the Earth
4.17.60: Home From the Hill (featurette: Donald in MathMagic Land)
4.21.60: Visit To a Small Planet; Heller In Pink Tights
4.27.60: Kidnapped; Because They’re Young
5.04.60: Wake Me When it’s Over; Seven Thieves
5.08.60: Operation Petticoat; Babette Goes To War
5.11.60: Who Was That Lady?; A Touch of Larceny
5.18.60: Our Man In Havana; Guns Of the Timberland
5.22.60: Please Don’t eat the Daisies; The Mouse That Roared
5.29.60: South Pacific (featurette: Gala Day at Disneyland)
6.05.60: The Giant of Marathon; Flame Over India
6.08.60: The Mountain Road; Tall Story
6.12.60: The Unforgiven; Killers of Kilimanjaro
6.15.60: The Greatest Show On Earth; Snowfire
(6.16.60: Longfellow PTA mat: n/a)
(6.18.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
6.19.60: Wild River; Once More, With Feeling
(6.23.60: Longfellow PTA mat: Bozo Goes to College; cartoons)
(6.25.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
6.26.60: The Gallant Hours; Comanche Station
6.29.60: The Wind Cannot Read; Sergeant Rutledge
(7.05.60: Longfellow PTA mat: Jumpin' Jacks)
(7.09.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
7.10.60: The Fugitive Kind; Day of the Outlaw
(7.14.60: PTA mat: All Cartoon Show)
7.15.60: Battle in Outer Space; 12 To the Moon
(7.16.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
7.17.60: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Edge of Eternity
7.20.60: The Story of Ruth (featurette: Israel; cartoon: Peter and the Wolf)
(7.21.60: PTA mat: Snow Fire)
(7.23.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
7.24.60: Hercules Unchained; Five Branded Women
7.27.60: The Rat Race; Little Rascals Varieties
(7.28.60: PTA mat: Francis Joins the WACS)
(7.30.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
7.31.60: The Bells Are Ringing; The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
8.03.60: The Lost World; Bobikins
(8.04.60: PTA mat: A Dog of Flanders)
(8.06.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
8.07.60: Portrait in Black; S.O.S. Pacific
(8.11.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
8.12.60: The Bellboy; Tarzan the Magnificent
8.17.60: From the Terrace; When Comedy Was King
(8.20.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
8.24.60: Pollyanna; The Boy and the Pirates
(8.27.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
8.31.60: The Apartment; Platinum High School
(9.03.60: Sat mat: Stormy; Disney Cartoon Carnival)
9.07.60: Oceans 11; The Snow Queen
(9.10.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
9.15.60: Psycho (short: The Golden Fish)
(9.17.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
9.21.60: Hell To Eternity; Conspiracy of Hearts
(9.24.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
9.25.60: Elmer Gantry (featurette: Eyes in Outer Space)
(10.01.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
10.02.60: The Crowded Sky; It Started in Naples
10.05.60: Ice Palace; The Night Fighters
(10.08.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
10.09.60: All the Young Men; The Last Days of Pompeii
10.12.60: High Time; Sierra Bacon
10.16.60: Strangers When We Meet; The Enemy General
10.21.60: The Jungle Cat (featurette: The Hound That Thought He Was a Racoon; 3 Stooges! Stop! Look! Listen!)
10.26.60: The Dark At the top Of the Stairs; One Foot in Hell
10.30.60: The Ten Commandments (short: VistaVision Visits Hawaii)
(11.05.60: ADDED Sat mat: 1 hour Disney cartoon festival)
11.06.60: Around the World in 80 Days (short: VistaVision Visits Spain)
11.09.60: The Shaggy Dog; Lil Abner
11.13.60: The Subterraneans; Dinosaurus!
11.16.60: Darby o'Gill and the Little People; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
11.20.60: All the Fine Young Cannibals; Jailhouse Rock
11.23.60: Ten Who Dared; Tonka
11.27.60: inherit the Wind; I Aim At the Stars
11.30.60: The proud rebel; Alias Jesse James
12.04.60: Let No Man Write My Epitaph; Surprise Package
12.08.60: The Magnificent Seven; Under Ten Flags
12.14.60: Sleeping Beauty; The Big Circus (Disney cartoon shorts)
12.18.60: Sex Kittens Go To College; Tarantula (one day only)
12.19.60-12.22.60: closed for interior re-decoration)
12.23.60: G.I. Blues; The Brave One
12.28.60: Cinderfella; Adventures of robinson Crusoe (Goofy cartoon)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Here is a 2010 interview with Tim and Karrie League, who operated the Tejon Theatre from 1994 to 1996. After leaving Bakersfield, the Leagues moved to Austin, Texas, where they found the successful Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie pubs.

The Tejon’s marquee is now in the possession of the Kern County Museum, and awaiting restoration so it can be installed in the museum’s “Neon Courtyard” according to the note at the bottom of this web page.

rivest266
rivest266 on August 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

June 17th, 1947 grand opening ad uploaded

John Fink
John Fink on October 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

Here’s another article with details about the Tejon as the Leauges expand their awesome Alamo concept: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224235

It is great to have a theatre run by people who care so much about the experience on every level – right down to in-theater pyrotechnics and themed food specials.

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