Princess Theatre

308 N. Main Street,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

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A Santa Ana Register Article from 1936 says that Charles Walker opened the Princess on February 13, 1914 and then moved it in 1923 to Fourth Street as the New Princess. On the site of his old Princess he constructed his New Walker Theatre, which opened in 1924 and later became the Fox West Coast Theatre.

The Princess first appeared in movie listings on May 6, 1910 as the Empire Theatre but on June 28, 1910 it was announced that the Empire was becoming the Bell Theatre and it was proclaimed, “Now you can take your wife”.

Nine days before its 1914 opening an ad appeared in the Santa Ana Register saying, “Having purchased the Bell Theatre, we desire to announce that making some needed repairs and improvements, it will again be reopened to the public. It will be known as the Princess Theatre and will be operated as a high grade motion picture house”.

The Princess last appeared in the ads on September 5, 1923 and on September 6 the New Princess opened at 218 E. Fourth.

Other Walker theatres in town were Walkers State, formerly the West End (remodeled in 1935) and Walkers Theatre, formerly the Temple (renovated in 1936).

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on October 23, 2005 at 1:21 am

From the UC Berkeley collection:

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2007 at 11:09 pm

The photo linked above by ken mc dates from no earlier than 1926, the year in which the movie Oh Billy, Behave was released. As the first Princess Theatre was demolished in 1923 to make way for the New Walker Theatre, later renamed the West Coast Theatre, the photo must depict the later New Princess Theatre.

drb on April 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Could this be the original Princess, on the left? I’d think that the Model Ts would be later than 1923, but it looks like a different building than the other photo. Or is that even a theater?
View link (same photo, different scan)

The buildings across the way look to be the same ones that are across from the West Coast in this shot, which would put it at the correct address.

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 22, 2009 at 7:15 am

I’d say that’s definitely the original Princess Theatre. The cars are all open, and most have cloth tops, so they are probably from the 1910s rather than the 1920s. By 1923, most new cars had glazed side windows like this 1923 Essex. Also, there’s no doubt the buildings across the street are the same ones in both photos.

TLSLOEWS on June 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Looks that way Joe.

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