West Coast Theatre

308 N. Main Street,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Unfavorite 10 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on August 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

BruceForrest on April 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Remember this theatre, when I was a kid—late 60s, and on. Always ran movies that were well past their expiration date, you could say. ALways recall, the floors were sticky, seats always had gum on them, and overall, the theatre was simply filthy.

drb on March 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

This page
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Contains this then-and-now mashup
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Brad Smith
Brad Smith on November 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

Here’s a 1926 playbill from the West Coast Walker:
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kencmcintyre on August 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Thanks for redoing the introduction. This is a photo circa 1959 that is currently being advertised on eBay:

monika on July 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Here is a March 2009 photograph I took of the West Coast Theatre:
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CTCrouch on April 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

The first “mystery theatre” picture, is the Santa Ana Theatre (also billed as the Santa Ana Electric Theatre), which was located on east 4th street. The theatre was operated by “Doc” Roberts (he’s the man standing on the far left hand side of the photo). The Santa Ana library dates the theatre opening/picture to 1908, while the City of Santa Ana lists 1906; in either case, this would make the Santa Ana/Electric Theatre the first commercial movie theatre in Orange County, predating the Temple Theatre (which has traditionally been billed as the first) by a year or two.

drb on April 21, 2009 at 10:04 am

Actually, now that I look at it again, the second mystery photo probably says wATER instead of theATER. But what would the Santa Ana Theatre have been? It looks like 1910s, which would make it too old to have been Clune’s Santa Ana/Yost.

kencmcintyre on April 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Here is part of a November 1998 article in the Orange County Register:

Contractor Pete Montanez was sitting in a pew one Sunday morning when a surge of inspiration came over him. It happened as the pastor was preaching about Christian Tabernacle’s terrible problem. The congregation had bought the 1923 Fox West Coast Theater on Main Street, once the grandest movie palace in Orange County, but had run out of money to transform it into a church. I will fix it, Montanez thought.

The restoration of the National Register of Historic Places landmark was a giant task. The walls had holes and the carpets were disintegrating. There were rats, smashed lights and basement dressing rooms choked with decades of clutter. Long expanses of graceful gold leaf lay under coats of dirt. The 50-foot-high ceiling needed paint. The intricate Spanish Colonial Revival facade had faded so much that it was hard to identify the original colors.

But Montanez, 47, who lost his forearm in an accident 26 years ago, felt moved by the spirit of God to restore the theater, and there was no turning back. Years before, his parents helped build a church in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico. It seemed like his destiny. He and his family had been living in Fontana; he was only visiting Santa Ana, his former home, that day he went to the church service. In December 1996, he moved his wife and four children back to Santa Ana, and into the home of his sister, suspended his normal work as a general contractor and set about fixing the theater.

Montanez started in the basement of the theater on a restoration journey that occasionally took him back in time. Removing layers of paint, he found doodles from long ago. Under the stage, someone had stashed soda bottles that were so old he didn’t recognize the brand names. In the balcony, he found a row of square windows that had been covered up. He put in panes of glass and watched the morning light stream in. He borrowed scaffolding from a friend to work on the ceiling. He installed decorative trim around plain doorways. He noticed empty spaces atop the pillars on the facade, and fabricated big gold globes to sit on them.

Some of the tasks were more mundane. He installed plumbing in the bathrooms. He did electrical work. At first, Ariel Meza, the assistant pastor, got nervous watching Montanez climb up and down the scaffolding, because of his disability. Montanez lost his right forearm in a gasket-making machine in Anaheim in 1972. He says he was depressed for seven years, but finally snapped out of it and went into the homebuilding business.

Montanez finished his work on the theater Oct. 30, and on Halloween, the new church was rededicated in an all-day ceremony and lunch. Its gold leaf shone. Its pews stood on a rich royal-blue carpet. Meza said Montanez saved the church $200,000. Still, the project was an expensive one. The church paid $750,000 for the building in 1991, Meza said, and put about $500,000 into it. Christian Tabernacle, an evangelical Hispanic church, used to be on Susan Street but moved because it needed a bigger building. Meza said the church has about 600 members.

Montanez crossed Main Street this week to admire his handiwork on the facade from a better vantage point. He looked up at it and said he felt he could go back to breadwinning now, satisfied with the way things turned out.

kencmcintyre on April 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm

It seems like the introduction should be amended since we do have a lot of information about this theater now.

apostolic on May 2, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Jon Putnam, can you show us a video of this? thanks

JonPutnam on May 2, 2008 at 10:08 am

The exterior of this theater appears in the opening credits of SOLE SURVIVOR (1983), a low-budget horror/sci-fi movie that was released on DVD in 2008.

apostolic on April 9, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I go to church here!!!
This church is extremely beautiful, inside and out.
Anytime you want to come, you are welcome…
I think we need to start giving tours of this church.
Across the street, we have:
-a ballroom
-the offices
-the development center
-the recording studio
-and there will be a cofee shop soon

There used to be a high school that was called CTA(Christian tabernacle academy)

If you want to know more, our website is ctchurch.net…we will be glad to hear from you!

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on July 24, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Why isn’t this place listed with all of the other Fox listings?

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 16, 2007 at 4:25 pm

There have been “murmors” this past year that the church, now occupying the old FOX WESTCOAST, are/were looking for a larger facility… yes?

alhezjr on March 15, 2006 at 3:47 pm

This is a mixture of pictures of Our Pastor & Church Choir inside of the Theater (currently use as our church sactuary) All the gold triming is…original..untouched.
All the lighting has been fixed in the exterior.

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kencmcintyre on December 18, 2005 at 3:57 pm

You are welcome. It beats working, which is what I am supposed to be doing right now.

alhezjr on December 18, 2005 at 2:40 pm

Thank you Ken so much for the pictures!!! They are very special to us.

kencmcintyre on December 18, 2005 at 2:37 pm

I will post any that I find. Obviously exterior shots are more common. Here is an exterior photo from the 1930s:

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alhezjr on December 18, 2005 at 2:32 pm

Does anyone know a way of finding…vintage pictures of the interior??