California Theatre

2113 Kittredge Street,
Berkeley, CA 94704

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California Theatre Berkeley

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1913 as the T & D Theatre for live theatre and movies. It was taken over by West Coast Theatres and renamed California Theatre around April 1923, and was remodelled in the late-1920’s. The now-triplexed California Theatre has been operated by Landmark Theatres since 1994.

Known as ‘The Cal’ to locals, the theatre closed in 2001 and was reopened by Landmark on June 28, 2002.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Here is a photo showing the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11 in June 2004:
http://tinyurl.com/9xesuv

kpdennis
kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 4:41 pm

The Cal as it appeared in spring 1996:
View link

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on March 1, 2011 at 7:52 am

Anyone got a breakdown of number of seats in each auditorium?

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on December 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm

A few July 2012 photos can be seen here, here, here and here.

mlind
mlind on January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

At one point it was called the Fox California.

chronicler
chronicler on October 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

This theatre was built in 1913, not in 1920.

Year: 1913 Building permit #: 3418 Address: 2115 Kittredge Street Owners: Turner & Dahnken Architect: A.W. Cornelius Contractor: Kidder & McCullough

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm

chronicler is correct. I suspect that the mistaken opening year of 1920 was taken from this photo information page from the Berkeley Public Library, which is titled “California Theatre under construction” and dated 1920. It is wrong about both.

The parked automobile in the foreground is clearly from the later 1920s, and if you zoom in on the license plate you can see “CAL 30” on it, so the photo probably dates from 1930, and certainly not from 1920. Zooming in on the sign at the lower right corner of the theater you can read most of it. It says “This Theatre is being completely rebuilt for Fox West Coast Theatres.” William Fox did not take over West Coast Theatres and add his name to it until the very late 1920s. The photo clearly depicts a remodeling that took place around that time.

The T & D chain became part of West Coast Theatres in 1923. The name T & D Theatre appears in the Berkeley Daily Gazette as late as March, 1923. The name California Theatre appears in the paper in May, 1923. This indicates that West Coast Theatres probably took control of this house early that year and changed the name soon after.

chronicler
chronicler on November 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm

The T&D Theatre was renamed the California later than April 1923. It was still advertised as the T & D on 30 June 1923. By the beginning of October, it was the California.

chronicler
chronicler on November 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm

The news that West Coast Theaters acquired the T & D chain first appeared in the Oakland Tribune on 20 March 1913:

“For a consideration of $1,675,000 the West Coast Theaters, Inc., a Southern California concern in which Sol Lesser, the Gore brothers, Adolph Ramish and Joseph Schenck are interested, took over the T. & D. holdings from Mrs. Hattie Turner, widow of James Turner, and Fred Dahnken, founders of the circuit.”

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