Bill's Theatre

North Second Street and Dead Cat Alley,
Woodland, CA 95695

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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.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 26, 2008 at 7:03 pm

I was in a building in Dead Cat Alley a few years ago. There were a lot of pre-war buildings in that area, but I can’t recall if any of them looked like a former theater.

adamghost
adamghost on August 29, 2013 at 4:36 am

Googlemaps shows the back of a building at this location that looks a lot like an old theatre…a big one, too.

adamghost
adamghost on August 29, 2013 at 4:36 am

There appears to be an arched entranceway on Second Street but googlemaps doesn’t have a street view of it.

adamghost
adamghost on August 29, 2013 at 4:47 am

…and a big sign in front that says “Woodland Opera House State Historical Park.” Duh. There seems to be some cross-over in the two histories (in that the Woodland Opera House claims to have been boarded up from 1913 on, and Bill’s Theatre starts up in 1914). But the building I’m looking at is the old opera house, which, I assume, is a different theatre, but seems to have been in about the same place. Hmm.

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