Crest Theater

35 W. Second Street,
Reno, NV 89501

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Originally opened as the Wigwam Theater, it was operated by the T & D Jr. Enterprises chain out of San Francisco, CA by 1941. Renamed the Nevada Theater during the 1940’s. It was located on Second Street between Sierra Street and Virginia Street. In 1948, it was remodeled and renamed Crest Theater. The theater has since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

Writer
Writer on September 28, 2008 at 8:43 pm

I grew up in Reno/Sparks, and I remember the Crest theatre at least as long ago as 1959. The Crest was right nextto or nearly so, the Wigwam cafe where we always went for banana cream pie after the movie. My big sister and I would ride the bus downtown together and see the movie that was showing there at the Crest or at the Majestic or the Granada where my sister was later an usherette. No feet on the backs of the seats or the ushers and usherettes would shine a flashlight on you. They wore little pillbox hats and tidy but classy little uniforms. And Jock is right about the “Positively no- one admitted after the start of the movie.” The Granada was very “art Nuveau”, and soft green. You would pay at the ticket booth, then walk up a curved sloped upward carpeted pathway to the posh dreamily lighted snack bar. The orange drink was fountaining up into the top of its tall window to make you thirsty, and the wall sconces that lighted the way around the bend into the theatre itself were like seashells you could imagine in buildings during the Great Gatsby era. the candy in the display cases was lighted softly and it was too beautiful to be real, or so it seemed. It all made you feel very very rich and important.
Back to the Crest though! The Crest did not seem brand new then, though nice enough, and was very tiny. I do not remember ever hearing about the Nevada theatre at all. It was not in that block near the Wigwam Cafe by the time I was big enough to ride the bus downtown. We saw all the greatest movies like Mary Poppins, Exodus, and the Music Man at the Majestic. They must have had a run at the Crest at a different time. None of the other theatres in my opinion came anywhere close to the Majestic! It was just that!

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Nevada Theatre was Skouras-ized with name change to CREST around 1950-51, if my sources are correct. I do believe info is correct, as the Skouras style was in line with the type of remodel done in the early 50’s. The jewel type box office told the whole story at time of remodel. Operated by Fox West Coast/National General Theatres for many years. Mann closed the Crest in early 70’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The Nevada Theatre was remodeled and renamed the Crest Theatre in 1948. The February 21, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine had this to say:

“What used to be he Nevada Theatre here is being transformed into the swank new Crest under a $100,000 improvement program. Fox West Coast is turning it into a first run showcase.”
The article went on to say that the Nevada Theatre had been the Wigwam Theatre before another remodel a few years earlier. Fox West Coast owned the Nevada, but until a year before its transformation into the Crest it had been leased to T&D Jr. Enterprises.

My guess would be that the scan of the Nevada State Journal from which Ken got the 1943 opening date was a bit blurry, and was actually from 1948.

The July 18, 1942, issue of Boxoffice ran a line saying that the renovated Wigwam Theatre in Reno would reopen as the Nevada “next week.” This page should probably be renamed Crest Theatre, as that was apparently the final name, and the house was the Crest longer than it was the Nevada Theatre in any case.

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 21, 2009 at 4:38 am

Joe I think the name change/remodel must have took place in 1948 , as the Nevada Theatre ads seem to run thru the 40’s. As far into 1946, the theatre was still advertising under the Nevada Theatre.My info came from a long time Reno guy who thought the change occured in 1950-51. I know it was Skouras-ized, more like in 48 than 50. It operated as the Crest since that time, until it closed in the early/mid 70’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Yes, the Boxoffice article confirms 1948 as the year the Nevada became the Crest. It was apparently called the Nevada for less than six full years, as the 1942 article said it had been the Wigwam before that year’s remodeling. I can’t find any earlier references to the Wigwam, so I don’t know how old it was when it became the Nevada.

One 1948 Boxoffice issue included an architects rendering of the remodeled Crest, but didn’t give the architect’s name. It was most likely done in-house by Fox, which means the lead architect would almost certainly have been Carl G. Moeller, who handled most of Fox’s designs during the Skouras era. In the pictures it certainly looks like his work.

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Such a nice little theatre, as few seats as it had, compared to larger downtown Reno theatres,ie Majestic at 1st & Center and the Granada on 1st St. the Crest was always the “big hit” house. It most certainly was re-done by Carl G. Moeller. It definetly had his style of the typical Skouras Fox house of the time. The Skouras-ized theatre will always be my favorite.

One thing I wonder about is the original name of Wigwam because on the corner of 2nd & Sierra St. was a Wigwam Coffee Shop which at the time was a chain of restaurants in the Nevada area. I wonder if there was a connection between the two in regards to ownership.

Before my time, there was also a TOWER THEATRE in the south Virginia St. area, I am not sure exactly where that was. I do remember the MIDWAY DRIVE_IN where Peppermill Hotel Casino now sits, on So. Virginia St.

johnwpalmer
johnwpalmer on March 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I can only remember going to the TOWER THEATRE once — the summer of ‘56. And then it was gone. Seems to me it was near the Riverside Hotel on South Virginia, maybe a block North on the other side of the street. I think I remember it being a somewhat “lower class” theatre.

Thanks for reminding me of the MIDWAY DRIVE-IN — getting smuggled in with my cousin in the trunk, trying to stay awake for the dusk-to-dawn shows. Happy days.
Jock

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 27, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Correction to above location…..

The Tower Theatre was located on Virginia St. between Liberty St. and Pine St. The Pioneer Center is located at Virgnia St. and State St. A huge Wells Fargo Bank building sits where the Tower Theatre would have been. Sorry for the error.

asok10
asok10 on December 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm

First of all the Nevada Theater was not operating into the seventies. I first arrived in Reno in the fall of 1950 and the operating theaters were: Granada, Majestic, Tower, and the tiny Crest next to the Wigwam Coffee Shop. I had heard of the Victory Theater through a friend and if memory serves me correctly she said it was inside what was (in 1950) a small arcade of retail shops on North Virginia Street just north of East First Street. There were also two drive-ins, the Midway on South Virginia Street and the El Rancho in Sparks. She also told me that the Wigwam Theater was much bigger than the Crest but when remodeled some of the space was given to the Emporium Music Store behind it which resulted in a much smaller Crest Theater.

Les Taylor
Les Taylor on June 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I believe I went to the Crest theater to watch Earthquake in the winter 1974 and it was in Sensurround.

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