Park Theatre

1936 High Street,
Selma, CA 93662

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The Park Theatre opened in 1948 in downtown Selma next to the J.C.Penney Co. department store. The theatre had an 800 seat auditorium with a balcony. I remember the auditorium had high walls with dark gray paneling. The carpeting inside was a dark crush-red with large paisley print, the lobby had a very low ceiling with the snack bar facing the four to six entrance doors with five small square windows in each door.

The facade was a beautiful Art Moderne style with a large marquee reading “Park”, which had rolls of square boxes around which looked like the “Hollywood Squares” game show when illuminated at night.

The theatre showed first run movies and Spanish-language movies on Sundays. The last movie I saw there was “Friday the 13th: Part 3”. On May 17, 1984, the Park Theatre burned down, today a parking lot sits there, where the theatre once stood. This was downtown Selma’s last movie house. Until in the mid-1990s, the Selma Cinemas opened in the northwest part of town.

Contributed by Ben Rayonez

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm

The Park Theatre was the subject of a brief article in the April 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice. The compact house featured a stadium seating section to maximize capacity on a small lot. The Park was built for the Panero Theatre Company and was designed by architect Vincent G. Raney.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 29, 2010 at 6:05 am

Boxoffice of May 29, 1948, said that the Park Theatre in Selma was being razed to make way for a new theater that would be Selma’s “A” house, so the Vincent Raney-designed Park Theatre that burned in 1984 was the second of the name at this location.

I’m not sure how old the first Park’s building was. On August 17, 1940, Boxoffice said that Sam Levin had opened his new house, the Park in Selma, on August 9. I’ve found no details about it, but I doubt an eight-year-old building would have been demolished for the 1948 rebuild, so the first Park must have been either an old theater renamed, or an existing old building converted into a theater.

Sam Levin had bought an interest in the Selma Theatre in 1937, and both that house and the original Park were taken over by the Blumenfeld circuit in 1941, as reported in the September 6 issue of Boxoffice that year. The new Park of 1948 was built for the Panero circuit.

Here is the April 2, 1949, Boxoffice article about the new Park, which includes Raney’s clever floor plan.

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