River Theatre

1213 North Chester Avenue,
Oildale, CA 93308

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The River

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Located in Oildale, near Bakersfield, CA. The River Theatre was opened in September 1939. It was closed around 1964/1965. It became a recording studio for Buck Owens from 1968 until 1992. It then became an independent recording studio from 1992 until it closed in April 2008.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 26, 2009 at 10:10 pm

The River Theatre was built for the Banducci and Lemucchi Theatre Company, according to an item in Southwest Builder & Contractor, March 17, 1939. The May 26 issue of the same publication revealed that Clifford Balch was the architect for the project.

The September 23, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that the River Theatre at Oildale had been opened. Banducci and Lemucchi also operated the Arvin Theatre at Arvin and the Granada Theatre in Bakersfield.

Following the death of Jim Banducci in 1955, various issues of Boxoffice reported multiple closings and re-openings of the River under various operators during the next two years, until it was taken over by Ernest Martini in 1957. Martini was still operating the house in January, 1964, the last mention of it I’ve found in Boxoffice.

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