Harvester Theatre

831 Whitley Avenue,
Corcoran, CA 93212

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At one time, there were three theatre operating in Corcoran: The Harvester Theatre (silent era), the Lake Theatre, and the Corcoran Theatre.

Some years ago, my late friend and theatre nut, Ron Musselman and I gained entrance into the remains of the Harvester Theatre. The building was a wreck. The roof had been leaking for years and a year or two after we were in there, the roof collapsed and the building was demolished. We were investigating the rumor that the theatre might have had some sort of theatre organ at one time. More than likely, the theatre either had a player piano or photoplayer.

The Harvester Theatre was in a building owned by the Masonic Lodge. The Masons took care of their part of the building, but not the theatre.

The former Harvester Theatre lobby acted as the entrance to the Masonic Lodge upstairs.

The Harvester Theatre had been converted to a bowling alley at some point. We took gobs of photos, figuring this was the one and only time we would ever be allowed in the building.

The original, painted, silent picture sheet was still on the rear wall of the stage. The footlights were all still in-place. A large blue and gold keystone centered the top of the square proscenium arch. Small, flat, arched screens were on the stage right and left of the proscenium opening. Shreds of the drapes were even still there.

It is possible a small Wicks or Morton organ might have been in the Harvester, but there was not any evidence of places where windlines would have been run, thus our supposition that the theatre contained a player piano or photoplayer. Ron Musselman’s father grew up in Corcoran and remembered the Harvester Theatre as a kid and attending silent films in the theatre. He recalled hearing a piano accompanying the silent films, but was not sure about a pipe organ. He might have had the pipe organ confused with the organ then in the Hanford Theatre in nearby Hanford, CA.

Contributed by Tom DeLay

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

The Harvester Theatre was still in operation as late as 1932, when the January 30 issue of Motion Picture Herald reported that Frank Leino had been named its manager.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

This item comes from the September 18, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Corcoran — Garfield Jones is building the new Harvester theatre on Whitley avenue. The theatre is rapidly nearing completion.”

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