North Second Street and Dead Cat Alley,
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According to local historian David Wilkinson writing in the Daily Democrat on February 11, 2007, this theatre was first opened in 1914 as an open-air theatre called the Airdome. It was later roofed and became the Woodland Theatre.
Bill Cornwell remodeled it further and opened it on March 30, 1933 as Bill’s with the movie “Raffles” staring Ronald Colman.
This notice can be seen in the September 30, 1936, issue of the Daily Democrat newspaper ad.
Wanted: Attractive Girl. 120 to 130 lbs. for assistance stage work; must Be Over 21. Dr de Zita, Bill’s Theatre or Hotel Del Mar.
On October 1, 1936, Bill’s shared an ad with a furniture store, which promoted a bedroom set. It Read: Dr de Zita, psychoanalyst and hypnotist. See young woman hypnotized on stage tonight. See her sleep 24 hours in the show window of Woodland Furniture Co. Our window is reserved for Dr. de Zita and we are pleased to have his subject in our window. She cannot awake except at the will of Dr. de Zita. (This promotion, in itself, would have made a great Woody Allen movie, with Allen as Dr de Zita).
Mr. Wilkinson says that Bill’s Theatre closed sometime in late 1938.
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