Vogue Theater

1203 Railroad Avenue,
Pittsburg, CA 94565

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stonemanscalvary on April 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm

The Stamm theater in Antioch, California is also a church. The California theater on Railroad in Pittsburg, California was closed, according to rumor, because a drunk driver hit it with his car. That doesn’t make any sense. I’m happy it has been renovated. The Enean, also in Pittsburg, has been closed forever. The Vogue suffered from small town minds that were small. The manager was cheating on his wife and brought his decked out girlfriend to his office. His office also had a walk in safe that was cut open by a torch. The carpeting was ruined by the molten metal produced as the torch did its work. Vandals made it a point to pull off any loose wallpaper. Gum and candy stuck to your shoes as you walked to find a seat. Loudmouths threatened violence and threw things. The Mayan theater, also in Pittsburg, is also lacking steady maintenance. I saw the movie The Grudge at the Mayan. (The Mayan ran a short film praising the owners of the Mayan and their chain of theaters. This film made it appear as if the owners were a driving force behind the greatness and glory of the theaters as places to see movies.) It was a nice experience to hear the women scream as the movie progressed. Lots of families. Lots of lighted cell phones in the audience. I feel movie theaters are meant for the community. People are afraid to attend movie theaters because the movie theaters do not provide security against people who do antisocial things. You are safe and secure in your house watching a movie plus you can watch it as many times as you please and go over certain parts. The bathroom is close and snacks are even closer. If people behaved and were sociable and kind then people would attend movie theaters. The Vogue in Pittsburg ended showing Spanish language films. The Sunset apartments across the street from the Vogue in Pittsburg, California rent to SSI and welfare recipients who sell drugs. That area once had Safeways and Lucky supermarkets a block away. The Vogue building once rented to doctors and other professionals as well as a restaurant. It is The Last Picture Show for the Vogue.

stonemanscalvary on January 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Thank you for the photo of the lobby of the Vogue in Pittsburg, California. I have no memory of the painting but I think I recall the carpet design. I think the photo is the part of the lobby as you turn the corner to your right. What you are seeing is the restroom entrance and the doors to the seats would be to your left. Unless this is the lobby from the street and the concession stand would be on the right. I was friends with the nephew of the cleaning crew and we used to go all over the building in the early morning hours. Even walk along the attic and pull the light pots to peer way down below to the seats. But I’ll never forget the oxy-acetylene torch and the damage it did to the carpeting. The thieves cut a large arc on the safe instead of picking the lock or drilling to throw the latch in the internals. But someone must know where a copy of the painting exists of the “Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse” which was on the lobby wall. The horsemen in this particular painting had no faces and the horses were fierce looking. It made quite an impresion on me. Pittsburg had Camp Stoneman and the barracks were converted to welfare housing complete with lice and cockroach infestation. An occasional live hand grenade would show up. The Pittsburg Corporation Yard kept an actual North American F-86 Sabre jet without wheels or wings with the intention of making an amusement ride out of it but that never came to fruition. During WW2 Stoneman’s soldiers daily marched down Harbor Street to the river docks where the troop ships awaited them. If you were a student attending either Village Elementary or Pittsburg High School and had to cross Harbor you had to do it before the troops marched as they weren’t stopping for nobody. The Stoneman the camp was named after is the same Stoneman mentioned in the song by The Band and the same Stoneman who was the 15th governor of California.

Kiddman32 on March 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Just happened to be talking about this theater today with my mother… Why? Because she mentioned that my nephew’s church where he’s assistant pastor used to be an old theater in Pittsburg. Took me about 10 seconds to find the old theater’s name at this great website. :)

BobFurmanek on March 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Here’s a picture of the lobby: http://www.boxoffice.com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1948-4-24&page_no=141#page_start

princeofprocrastination on December 31, 2009 at 11:55 am

What I was impressed most with in the Vogue theater in Pittsburg, California was the huge painting on the lobby wall called “The Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”. Artist unknown. I dropped in during the church’s renovation and it was gone. I used to roam around the Vogue when I was with the cleaning crew around 1964 and I saw the torch job done on the walk-in safe door and the damage the molten metal did to the carpet. At that time the Vogue was already deteriorating and was helped along by the destructive patrons. I’d rather rent a movie and stay home and watch it on my 32 inch lcd. The gang-bangers who loiter around the Brenden theater in Pittsburg and the destruction occuring inside the Brenden along with the loud youth and the candy throwing will soon drive everyone away.

kencmcintyre on March 28, 2009 at 9:28 pm

This 1914 photo shows an unidentified theater in Pittsburg:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 16, 2009 at 11:41 pm

The Vogue Theatre in Pittsburg was opened by the Blumenfeld Circuit on February 20, 1948, according to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of April 3 that year.

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 8:31 pm

I guess that would help. Maybe they could put the h on the end of the city’s name as well.

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm

The city council minutes in 2002 said 1210, but listings say 1203:




kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Here is an undated photo of the church:

GaryParks on May 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

The Vogue building has been completely renovated by the church. One can still tell by its general mass and proportions that it was a theater, but all original detail, save for some tall, slender arched gooves on the exterior of the projection room, has been obliterated with very typical cast neoclassical moldings and stucco. The marquee, sign tower, box office, and terrazzo are all gone. Many windows have been cut into the auditorium sidewalls.

robertgippy on March 21, 2007 at 8:30 am

The vogue theatre in Pittsburg is an exact duplication of the Lorenzo theatre in San Lorenzo. The only difference are the marquee and murals on the walls. The lobby, and auditorium design are exactly the same. The Vogue, was a beautiful theatre. However, it isn’t exactly in the best spot of Pittsburg, it is in a high crime neighborhood in the 70’s, I don’t know if there has been much improvement. I passed by a few years ago, and the marquee was gone and the front was completely whitewashed. It looked like the Victory Outreach was in at the time, but the building was well maintained. The Vogue, behind the theatre, had a parking lot, with a neon sign affixed on the wall “Vogue Parking Only”. The few times we were there, the theatre was well attended.

kencmcintyre on March 18, 2007 at 9:35 am

The church had some code violations a few years ago, according to these city council minutes in 2002:

Report on Status of the Rehabilitation Project at the Former Vogue Theater, 1210 Railroad Lane (Los Pentecostales Church) (Recommend Acceptance) The long-time building code violation at the old Vogue Theatre Building at 1210 Railroad Lane, now owned by the Los Pentecostales Del Area De La Bahia (the Church), is finally showing signs that the renovation will be completed in the near future. The City’s Building Division issued a building permit in June 2002 and work is continuing by a full crew of craftsmen and construction workers.

kencmcintyre on March 18, 2007 at 9:31 am

The architect was Alexander Cantin. The exact seating capacity was 1171. Here is a 1948 photo:

scottfavareille on December 13, 2006 at 11:24 am

Some interesting updates since that article (from above post) was published in 1978:

The T&D in Oakland was demolished shortly after this article was written. It spent its last years as a twin screened porn house.

The Fox Oakland is undergoing restoration.

The Chabot in Castro Valley is operated by a small company called Cinelux. One of the few single-screeners left in the East Bay, it shows first-run fare.

The Grand Lake is still open as a 4-screener, showing first-run films.

The Paramount has a lot of live concerts & shows an occasional classic film.

The Showcase I & II in Fremont, after this article, became a disco for a while. It was eventually torn down & now a multi-story office building sits on the site.

kencmcintyre on December 12, 2006 at 11:33 am

Here are excerpts from a 1978 article from the Oakland Tribune about the Vogue and other Oakland theaters:

If New York’s Radio City Music Hall, with its gorgeous Rockettes, cannot make it these days, what can? Maybe the days of the huge, ornate downtown movie theaters are gone. That’s the picture in the Eastbay, in line with the New York trend. The Radio City Music Hall has been the showplace for movie extravaganzas, the Rockettes chorus line, the big bands, and stand-up comedians. Now the owners say the crowds are staying away.

What is happening in New York has already happened to many Eastbay theaters â€" and for much the same reasons: The flight to the suburbs, mushrooming of small neighborhood theaters,
television, the drive-ins, and changes in the way Hollywood merchandises its products. Some Eastbay theater operators today say they are barely making a living. Others say business is great; these are notably the chains which can out-bid small independents for Hollywood’s latest blockbuster. The ones who didn’t adjust their operations to the changing times have sunk into red ink.

The death roll of those that closed is long: The first exclusive cinema palace in Oakland was said to be the T & D (circa 1916) on llth Street between Broadway and Franklin Street. The building
now is deserted. In 1926, an even finer exhibition hall, the Grand Lake Theater, began operating at 3200 Grand Avenue, and it is still open. Also in the mid 20s, the old Orpheum abandoned its first site on 12th Street to take over the original Fox Oakland on Broadway near 19th Street, later naming it the Orpheum. A bank now stands on the site.

In 1928, the new Fox Oakland on Telegraph Avenue at 18th Street, the grandest of them all, seated 3,400 customers in plush and mysterious East Indian surroundings. The decor itself transported audiences even before the movie began. Today the Fox faces a precarious future, shut for several
years. The theater complex was sold recently to Mario and Erma Delucchi of Piedmont, who say they will entertain any ideas for preserving it.

The Paramount opened in 1931 at 2025 Broadway; one of the last great, movie palaces built in the United States. It flourished for four decades, then fell into disuse. It has since been revived and refurbished as the Paramount Theatre of the Arts and the home of the Oakland Symphony. It has also been designated a national historic landmark. Another early landmark, The Esquire Theater, was located at 17th Street and.San Pablo Avenue. Built in 1919 as the American
Theater, it became the Esquire in 1939 with a change of ownership and refurbishing of the 1,500-seat interior. The wrecking ball knocked it down in 1953.

What about the business today? “It’s a strange business and getting stranger,” says Jerry Toler, owner-operator of the Chabot Theater in Castro Valley. Toler admits he is a discouraged
man. “The small independent has low buying power,” he explained, predicting that soon a
lot of them will be forced to close. His theater is called a “sub-run house” and, as such, he
has to wait for others to show the big films first, then he gets them â€" perhaps a month later
or longer. “It puts us at a big disadvantage. The independents are fighting constantly to get pictures,” Toler said. Film companies control all that, he said, and it was one of the reasons his father, who operated the theater before him, sued the film companies. “Things got better for a while after the suit was settled out of court, but it didn’t last,” Toler said.

In Fremont, on the other hand, Doug Krutilak, one-time partner in the Showcase Cinemas I and II, thinks small theaters “can do very well” despite a drop in film audiences. He says there are about the same number of theaters in existence today as there were in the early ‘50s, but they are much smaller. Krutilak, who now manages a night club in Fremont, lost his lease in 1977 when Transcontinental Theaters decided to get out of the business. One of the theaters was converted to an amusement center; the other remains for daily specialty shows as part of the amusement center.

Joe Siino owns the Vogue Theater in Pittsburg. The theater was shut recently after Siino’s son, who helped his father, was injured in an auto accident. “We were doing all right and we plan to reopen,” said Siino. The big Vogue seats 1,061 and Siino says he practically filled the house on weekends.