Fox Theater

120 N. Broadway Street,
Turlock, CA 95382

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

I think Ken McIntyre’s description of this theater is mistaken about the Turlock Theatre having been renamed the Fox Theatre. Evidence that this was an error comes from Ken McIntyre in his February 16, 2009, comment quoting the 1976 Modesto Bee article that begins with the line “The Turlock Theater at 128 N. Broadway was destroyed early this morning by fire…” In the 1950s and 1960s, ads for the theater in the Modesto Bee list it as the Fox Turlock Theatre, but the name Turlock apparently remained on the marquee, and by the 1970s the ads were back to listing it simply as the Turlock Theatre.

We also have an address discrepancy. The ads and the article in the Modesto Bee give the address of the Fox Turlock/Turlock as 128 N. Broadway, but we have both houses listed at 120 N. Broadway. Was the burned Turlock rebuilt on the same site in 1948, or was it moved a few doors up the street?

The photo Tinseltoes uploaded for the New Turlock Theatre page shows that the marquee and vertical signs on the house in 1959 were only slightly altered versions of the ones on the theater at the time of the 1946 fire. It looks like the front of the original building might have survived. If that’s the case, then the theater was always at 128 N. Broadway, at the corner of Olive Avenue. In the 1946 photo of the fire it certainly looks like the building was at the corner.

A photo from 1948 or later showing the entire facade of the rebuilt theater would be very helpful, as would a photo from any time from 1920 to 1976 showing the entire block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Building and Engineering News of June 27, 1919, reported that contracts had been let for a brick and steel theater to be built on N. Broadway in Turlock for A. H. and K. Arakelian. The architect for the project was A. W. Cornelius. This must have been the Turlock Theatre.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

No, I’ve never been to Turlock. Still have time, though.

chinowej
chinowej on October 2, 2009 at 8:58 am

Heh, thats my page you linked to. I’m glad its come in useful. I’m the historian for the TFD and I appreciate the Bee article Ken. I hadn’t got around to digging that one out yet and you’ve saved me some trouble. Ken, are you a Turlock History guy? Any other recollections or info on our fire history?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Here is an article from the Modesto Bee dated 1/16/76:

TURLOCK – The Turlock Theater at 128 N. Broadway was destroyed early this morning by fire which threatened surrounding buildings and caused the evacuation of 18 residents from the adjoining Tourist Hotel. Firemen estimated the loss will run in excess of $250,000. There was no immediate report of loss of life or injuries, although four firemen who were inside the theater came perilously close to being crushed when the theater’s ceiling caved in.

The blaze was believed to have started in the loge area or the projection room sometime after the theater closed at 11:15 o'clock last night. They speculated that the cause may have been a carelessly discarded cigarette. Firemen were called about 2:30 o'clock by a janitorial service owner who saw smoke billowing from the theater entrance.

All of the department’s trucks and men rolled to the fire within minutes and fought the stubborn fire for two hours before the roof collapsed. Ken Odell, manager of the 20-room Tourist Hotel, told firemen he awakened about a half-hour before the alarm, thinking he smelled smoke. He said he dressed and went outside to look around but saw nothing and went back to his room. Shortly afterwards he heard fire trucks roll up in front of the theater. He then assisted firemen in rousting hotel residents, most of them elderly, who fled into the street, some in their nightclothes.

The fire left Turlock without an indoor theater. Fire destroyed the city’s old Fox Theater in 1972. The Turlock Theater itself was gutted by fire in 1945 but was rebuilt three years later. At least four volunteer firemen on the scene, including City Councilman Joel Nikolauson, had fought the theater blaze in 1945.

The Turlock Theater recently was purchased by Hank Garcia and Jim Andrade of Wilsonville. Its manager for the past four months has been Carl Koch. Firemen were not able to notify him of the fire until about five hours after the blaze was reported.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Here’s an item from the July 10, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine:

“The New Turlock Theatre at North Broadway and Olive Streets in Turlock was opened recently. Built at a cost of $120,000, the theatre is owned by United California Theatres and replaces the old Turlock which burned about two years ago.”

It sounds like it was completely new construction, given the price tag.

chinowej
chinowej on September 21, 2008 at 7:03 pm

The New Turlock Theater burned on July 25, 1946.

A friend of mine viewed the movie “The Adventures of the Wilderness Family” just hours before it burned again in January 1976.

The Turlock Fire Department has many photos of both fires. In one photo the 1946 marquee reads “On stage in person The Colorado Hillbillies, also The Desert Horseman.”