West Theatre

1008 Fremont Street,
Delano, CA 93215

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The 375 seat West Theatre opened in 1935.
The theatre closed in 1955 and has since been demolished. Any further information on the West Theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm

The West Theatre was one of the Central Valley houses operated by Arthur Fukuda. In 1939, he sold it to Frank and Louise Uanero. A few years later, when Fukuda was sent to an internment camp after the war began, the other theaters he operated were taken over by Robert Lippert, but I’ve found no information about what became of the West Theatre after 1939.

Judging from the surname Uanero (apparently a rare Spanish name, even though it sounds vaguely Japanese) the house might have gone from catering to Asian audiences to presenting Spanish-language movies. The valley farm towns have long been cosmopolitan places where many languages are spoken.

Boxoffice magazine makes a single reference to a theater in West Delano, operated by the Paneros during the post-war period, but I don’t think it was the West Theatre. I found a single 1939 reference to the Paneros operating the Delano and Star Theatres at Delano, and many references to them operating two theaters at Delano before they opened the Sierra in 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2010 at 9:44 am

I don’t know why this didn’t dawn on me before, but the source for the name “Uanero” in my previous post (cards in the L.A. library’s California Index, citing issues of Motion Picture Herald) probably contained a typographical error, and it was Frank Panero who took over the West Theatre in 1939. D'Oh! So obvious!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 1, 2012 at 12:46 am

The December 29, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News said that a 400-seat house called the Star Theatre had opened in Delano on December 7. The manager was named as H. Yamoto. As the house had a Japanese manager, it was certainly aimed at a minority audience (inland California was a racially intolerant as any place in America in those days.)

I’m beginning to suspect very strongly that the Star Theatre and the West Theatre were the same house. I don’t think Delano was large enough to have supported two theaters for minority groups during that period.

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