Cinema 1 Theatre

363 Main Street,
Salinas, CA 93901

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El Rey...Salinas CA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1935, the El Rey Theatre is currently up “for lease”. Its sign still reflects its final operating name “Cinema I”, instead of the El Rey.

No knowledge of current internal condition of the theater.

Contributed by Jim Crowl

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2010 at 2:25 am

The original 1935 owners of the El Rey were Lawrence Borg and John Peters. Later the house was taken over by Fox West Coast. In 1949, FWC departed and Borg and Peters resumed control of the house, according to Boxoffice of September 3 that year. Borg was noted as still being the operator of the El Rey at the time of his death, notice of which which was published in Boxoffice of November 13, 1954.

John Peters must have been related to William Peters, noted in multiple Boxoffice items of the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s as operator of the El Rey at Manteca. robertgippy’s comment of January 31 this year above says that the two El Rey theaters were built by the same family, and were of very similar design.

William Peters was the original owner of the Manteca house, built the year after the Salinas El Rey. Manteca’s El Rey was designed by architects Otto A. Deichmann and Mark T. Jorgensen, so it seems likely that the same architects designed the Salinas El Rey as well, though I’ve been unable to find a source confirming it.

ChuckParker on May 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Update: I was fortunate enough to be invited to take a tour inside the El Rey/Cinema I on May 6, 2010. Complete photo journal with commentary can be found at the following link. Hope you like it!

CelluloidHero2 on June 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Chuck, is it okay if I add your link above to my film blog. I was out in CA. just a week ago and came across the Cinema 1 theater (and the Fox California). I am looking to post some of my own photos on my blog next week and would like to add a link to your great photos.

Below is my blog

ChuckParker on June 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Hi John:

I don’t mind at all, as long as I get credited for the photos! I appreciate your asking first, and thank you for including them in your blog. Have a great day :)

CelluloidHero2 on June 21, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Thanks Chuck! Your name will be displayed! It will be posted on 6/22

LBorg on February 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hello All.
My Uncle, Lawrence Borg Built the El Ray.

in 1928 he became half owner of the Crystal Theatre Lease and Business in Salinas, California.

View link

Under the Name of Crystal Theatre Company, , Inc., and was president of the corporation which in 1935 built the El Rey Theatre in Salinas.

View link

This corporation was dissolved in 1941, after which he was owner of half of the Crystal Theatre lease and business and El Ray Theatre property and business. In 1953 the Crystal Theatre property was sold, although he maintained a one-half interest in the El Rey Theatre until the close of his life.

Uncle Lawrence Also built the Alisal Theatre in Salinas in 1947


and was part owner of that property with John Peters and Fox West Coast Theatres until he sold his interest in 1949.

ArmstrongProductions on November 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Hi L Borg, I am wondering if you would happen to know where I could find a copy of the original blueprints for the El Rey in Salinas? I am working on possibly purchasing and refurbishing the theater and my contractor would like to find a copy of the plans. You can email me off list if you would like: Thanks!

LBorg on February 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Dear Armstrongproductions. Please feel free to contact me. I am andrew. my email is I would love to help you. I may only be able to provide pictures. I am trying to locate drawings and such.. I look forward to hearing from you

Dramatrauma on March 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Great shots Chuck. Ack this just kills me. I assumed from the state of things outside that the place was derelict and falling apart. And the only things in truly bad shape seem to be from water getting in SINCE the last closure! Those leaks arent repaired and teh place will just rot away when it seems to be so utterly restorable!

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