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 25 comments)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on July 26, 2007 at 4:15 pm

Having visited Dunsmuir on several occasions, my wife and I were very much impressed with this charming city. We were kindly afforded a memorable tour of the theater, of which, has remained with us.

Presently living in the greater Los Angeles area, I have run aground in trying to find a theater in which to offer the benefits of my past cinema/theater experiences, both professionally and volunteer in England, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Should owners of the California Theatre contemplate reopening soon, then we are prepared to relocate if anyone wishes to contact me at

jrhine
jrhine on December 30, 2007 at 10:29 am

According to theatreorgans.com, the California Theater has its original organ back.

WurliTzer Opus 1232
STATUS INST LOCATION CITY STATE COUNTRY
SD A CALIFORNIA TH DUNSMUIR CA USA
SD B JOHN LEININGER RS REDDING CA USA
SD C VERN GREGORY SAN FRANCISCO CA USA
AD CA +6 RANKS (SMITH) SAN FRANCISCO CA USA
SD D FRED BEEKS RS RENO NV USA
SD E FRED BEEKS RS SKAGWAY AK USA
OK F CALIFORNIA TH DUNSMUIR CA USA

Holli4949
Holli4949 on October 27, 2008 at 8:42 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. :)

bryantaylor
bryantaylor on July 18, 2009 at 3:42 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
keithrankin70 on August 9, 2009 at 1:51 am

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
DonLewis on October 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm

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

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on February 14, 2014 at 5:41 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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