Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts

815 E. Olive Avenue,
Fresno, CA 93728

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Tower Theatre

The Tower Theatre opened with a premier showing of Nelson Eddy in “Balalaika” for a private party of local dignitaries, Fox West Coast Theatre executives, and guests on December 14, 1939. Co-hosts for the event were developer and owner A. Emory Wishon (1882-1948) of San Francisco, a prominent California hydroelectric executive, and Charles P. Skouras of Los Angeles, president of Fox West Coast Theaters.

The theatre opened its doors to the film-viewing public on December 15, 1939. The double feature program included “Dancing Coed” and “Henry Goes Arizona”.

A complete restoration of the exterior facade, ongoing tenant improvements in the retail wings, and modifications to allow the adaptive reuse of the theatre auditorium for the performing arts have brought new life to the theatre and to the surrounding Tower District. The area has since become a lively collection of restaurants, pubs, jazz clubs, and antique shops, with the highly successful Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts at its center.

In 1991, the dramatic theatre rehabilitation was honored with a California Preservation Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Restoration, and with an Award of Honor from the San Joaquin Chapter, American Institute of Architects.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

drb on May 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

The tower, especially the sparkle-y ball on top, looks a great deal like another S. Charles Lee marquee, the Alex Theatre in Glendale, which was added to that theater a year after this one was built.

TLSLOEWS on May 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Very nice looks great all lit up a night.

TLSLOEWS on May 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Very nice looks great all lit up a night.

William on May 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm

-DB, Don’t forget the Academy Theatre in Inglewood, CA also has a neon sparkle ball too.

dansdriveintheater on November 22, 2018 at 9:36 pm

do they still show films here. such a classics like the fox theater in visalia. just curious.

dansdriveintheater on November 30, 2018 at 6:44 am

went here to see a miss nelson is missing play s a class field trip in second grade. then after that whenever we would drive by it at night i would marvel at the neon most importantly it’s neon sparkle ball!

authorchristopherstone on February 19, 2020 at 8:51 pm

On my Twelfth Birthday, my parents took me to see Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” here!

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