American Theatre

24527 Spruce Street,
Newhall, CA 91321

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rivest266 on October 2, 2017 at 10:40 pm

This opened on May 23rd, 1942 Article:

Found on

grand opening ad

Found on

and the photo section.

Logan5 on September 11, 2012 at 3:36 am

Apparently the American Theatre appeared in the film “Suddenly” (1954) starring Frank Sinatra. There is a good picture of the front of the theatre in this web article:

mlitsonata on February 3, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I went to this theater a couple of times while it was known as the American Legion. It was a large room with a stage where a band played if I remember correctly. I had no idea it had once been a theater. There are no seats inside anymore and the floor is flat hardwood. When I went there it was for line dancing, which I think they held every weekend. The last I heard it was still the American Legion and I’m assuming they are still there. They may still have the line dancing too. I don’t remember the lobby at all but I’m sure there was one. I came in and out through a side door instead.

kencmcintyre on January 13, 2009 at 2:04 am

There’s almost a nautical look to the building, which is funny as it is in landlocked Newhall. The portholes remind me of the Vern Theater in East LA, which of course was also done by S. Charles Lee.

kencmcintyre on January 13, 2009 at 2:01 am

Here is an item in Boxoffice magazine, May 1941:

E. Harold Hall, new manager and operator of the American Theater in Newhall, staged a grand opening May 23. He leased the house from the Newhall American Legion. House was built through donations by William S. Hart, who has been living there since 1927.

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2005 at 9:52 pm

Thanks, Joe. I will post the picture on the correct page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 19, 2005 at 2:11 am

ken mc: I’m wondering if maybe this isn’t the El Rey Theatre (opened as the Majestic in 1905) in Chico, California. It was called the American from 1939 to 1946, and the street looks very much like Chico’s 2nd Street. The building is the right shape, too. I see another theatre is across the street, and on its side wall is painted a sign with “CHIC…” visible. I’ve never heard of an Empire Theatre existing in Chico, but it’s a definite possibility.

OK, I’ve just found the small early picture of the Majestic/El Rey at the top of this page, and the building next door to the theatre in that picture appears to be the same one that appears in the picture you’ve found. Now I’m convinced. That’s the El Rey, probably some time about 1939-1940.

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2005 at 12:47 am

Any ideas where this theater was?

View link

bigbadtrucker on June 27, 2005 at 4:20 am

No the Tumbleweed was in El Monte it was also designed by S. Charles Lee who also designed this theatre as well as many others. I found the article in the Newhall Signal with a picture where William S. Hart passes the keys to the American Legion who passed the keys to the man who rented the theatre from the American Legion. It was always called the American and William S. Hart paid for in full and built the theatre and gave it to the American Legion. I have done much research on the walk-in(8) as well as the Drive-in’s(2) in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Santa Clarita Valley Theatres

1) Hart Mansion in living room can tour at Hart Park (private Closed or dark first theatre in the SCV still there)
2) Auditorium Newhall Elementary Hart showed westerns had a projection room installed (Public Closed, Burned Down)
3) American Theatre (closed, now American Legion)
4) The Plaza (closed, now Plaza Banquet and Catering Facility)
5) Mann Theatre (closed, now Church)
6) Edward’s town center (closed, now food court at mall)
7) Edward’s Canyon Country (OPEN)
8) Edward’s Grand Palace (OPEN)

1) Mustang Drive in (closed demolished, now a business park)
2) Corral Drive In (Closed demolished was called the Valencia drive in before closing for good. somewhere along Seco Cyn near San Francisquito cyn never could figure out where it was.

MagicLantern on September 17, 2004 at 8:28 am

Is this the same theatre as the Tumbleweed?

MagicLantern on August 4, 2004 at 7:35 am

Shots of this theatre’s marquee and interior can be seen in the film “Invasion of the Bee Girls” (1973).

bigbadtrucker on April 9, 2004 at 10:36 pm

For a history as well as pictures of the American Theater go to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society’s web site at:

This Theater was built by western star William S. Hart in 1940-41. Opened in 1941 and closed in 1965. Mr. Hart after completing the theater in 1941 handed the property including fully furnished theater over to the American Legion who then leased it out as a theater till 1965. from 1965 till present it has served as an American Legion hall post #507 Newhall. One condition Mr. Hart had was a western had to be shown once a week. This was the first Walk-in Theater in the Santa Clarita Valley, but William S Hart did install a projection room in the Newhall elementary auditorium and would show westerns for a nickel I believe on Sundays but the auditorium burned to the ground in 1939 along with the rest of the school.

William on November 13, 2003 at 1:26 am

The American Theatre is located at 1031 Spruce Street.