Ratto Theatre

149 Main Street,
Jackson, CA 95642

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This was one of four Ratto Theatres opened in California’s Amador County by Sutter Creek businessman John Ratto during the silent era. The others were located in the small towns of Plymouth, Ione and Sutter Creek.

The Jackson Ratto Theatre operated under that name at least into the 1930s, and may have later been renamed the Jackson Theatre. The building in which it was located survived until October 14, 1998, when it was destroyed by fire.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 13, 2006 at 10:45 am

A small photo of the Ratto Theatre as it appeared in the 1930’s can be seen on this page.

The Ratto Theatre in Sutter Creek is listed at Cinema Treasures under it’s current name, the Sutter Creek Theatre.

raubre
raubre on July 15, 2006 at 1:52 pm

The two theaters have differing addresses, so it may not be the same.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 15, 2006 at 11:03 pm

This is not a duplicate listing. Jackson and Sutter Creek are two different cities. Whether or not the Jackson Ratto was later renamed the Jackson Theatre has not yet been established. A Jackson Theatre did exist in Jackson, but it is not listed at Cinema Treasures, and I haven’t found an address for it.

There were also Ratto Theatres in Ione and Plymouth and, from 1912 to 1919, the original Sutter Creek Ratto Theatre was located in a building (still extant) across the street from the theatre’s present location, so there were a total of five known Ratto Theatre locations altogether.

I’ve never met any of the Rattos, so I don’t know exactly how their name is pronounced. In Italy, it was probably pronounced more like “Rah-toh” and with the “R” trilled, but in California it might very well have ended up being pronounced Rat-oh.

The Rattos were among a large number of Italian families that were part of the cosmopolitan wave of immigrants settling in the Sierra foothills in the years after 1849. Amador County in particular attracted many Italian immigrants, and at one time Italians were the largest single group in the area. They remain numerous today.

cmetz94
cmetz94 on September 3, 2010 at 12:15 am

In California it is pronounced “Rah-toh” I know because the is my grand fathers last name. I live in Jackson right off of main street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 19, 2010 at 1:16 am

John Ratto was operating a theater in Jackson at least as early as 1910, when he was the subject of an item in the October 21 issue of the Amador Ledger. Read the article (headlined “Ratto in More Trouble”) online here, from the Library of Congress collection of historical newspapers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

The page with the small photo of the Ratto Theatre I linked to in my first comment is no longer available, but the photo can still be seen at this link.

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