California Theatre

5741 Dunsmuir Avenue,
Dunsmuir, CA 96025

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CALIFORNIA Theatre, Dunsmuir, California

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located at the base of Mt. Shasta, the California Theatre in Dunsmuir was opened in 1926 by T & D Jr Enterprises.

The "California" vertical sign was identical to that made for the California (Fox) Theatre in San Jose. The 800-seat movie theater featured a Wurlitzer pipe organ (presently in Skagway, Alaska) and a vaudeville stage.

Located right next to a Southern Pacific train stop where extra locomotives were added or removed to enable trains to cross the Shasta/Cascade mountains, the theater was visited by most actors and actresses on promotional tours. The list includes Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Babe Ruth, The Marx Brothers, and many more.

Operated by the Naify family for over 30 years, the theater was run by various local families until 1991, when Steve Naify, grandson of James Naify (one of the original owners), bought the building and began restoration. Naify added two additional screens upstairs where the local Masonic Lodge had been conducting business for 69 years.

The California was reopened in June of 2005 and hosted live performances, silent film screenings, and special events.

Unfortunately, less than a year later, the California was again closed.

Contributed by Steve Naify

Recent comments (view all 34 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 12, 2008 at 10:42 am

A September 2008 photo can be seen here.

Holli4949 on October 27, 2008 at 5:42 am

I lived in Dunsmuir as a child and managed this movie theater when I was 18 years old. I can tell you the ghosts there are VERY real. :)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

This is another 1986 photo.

bryantaylor on July 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Greetings, I am now working on the restoration of the California in Dunsmuir. we are trying to reopen it with a new flare including community arts, plays, etc. We are interested in gathering volunteers for this project. We decided to do this without money exchange for the benefit of the town. Any comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated. We are also selling some of the vintage seating in the theater.

keithrankin70 on August 8, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I delivered film to that theater for many years. never forget falling on my butt when getting out of the truck in the winter, and then over the hill tom meet the manager from tule lake. Always stoped at Sweet Briar exit and went home with a nice limit of Rainbow's
Good memmories. hope it is a good as it used to be after those knot heads spilled chemicals in it.
The 50s and 60s were good old days

DonLewis on October 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm

From 1954 a view of Dunsmuir Avenue including the California Theatre in Dunsmuir.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

DonaldKirk on February 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Brian: If you are still working on the theatre, I was the media manager in 2005, during the brief live-stage reopening. I need to talk with you! Don Kirk

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