41 N 1st Street,
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San Jose’s Crest Theatre began life in 1899 as the Victory Theatre. Built by Senator James Phelan, and designed in what old pictures seem to show as a Craftsman or perhaps Art Nouveau style with Egyptian columns in the entrance, it was originally a legitimate theater, hosting top-name stage entertainment.
By the 1930’s, however, movies were the primary fare, though stage presentations were offered occasionally through World War II.
In Spring of 1936, the theatre was given a new facade in the Art Deco style to the plans of architect William I. Garren, with masks surmounting the arched windows.
After WWII, drawings were made of a proposed total rebuilding of the Victory Theatre in a romantic Moderne style similar to many of the Skouras theatres of the time, but with a facade rather remeniscent of the Oakland Paramount.
These plans were never carried out. The Victory Theatre was renamed the Crest Theatre circa 1950. The huge two balcony auditorium burned in June 1965.
Adjacent to the site of the theater is a parking lot called "Victory Parking," a remnant of the lost showplace.
After the fire, the Crest Theatre vertical sign was removed and relettered, to be reused on the Jose Theatre—then also run by General Theatrical. There it remains today, recently relit with the Jose’s restoration.
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