Crest Theatre

1160 Broadway Plaza,
Fresno, CA 93721

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Crest Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located on the outskirts of downtown Fresno, the exterior of the former Crest Theatre is a stark Moderne style box with an exceptional marquee. It opened on July 7, 1949 and was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres.

“The interior is very well maintained courtesy of a friendly porter, who let me inside. Although he wouldn’t turn on the lights, my flashing camera lights revealed beautifully ornate gold leaf details. Facing the stage and curtained screen you feel like sitting in a sea shell.”

The theater later became a church, the Iglesias Universales, but as of January 2005, the church has vacated the building, and the former theater is now rented out for concerts, movies and special events.

Contributed by CinemAFuchs

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Cakeight on November 7, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I’ve admired the beautiful exterior of the Crest for years. I happened to be in Fresno today, so I stopped by the theatre to take a few pictures-

While I was there, I had a lovely chat with the current owner, Gloria Leon. She invited me in (as she does anyone she happens to see) and showed me the amazing interior. Although few lights were on, it was still beautiful -

The theatre is currently being rented out for concerts, film screenings and other events. Gloria and her small, but dedicated crew are hoping to restore the building to its former glory. With a very limited budget, they are trying to renovate and paint as much as they can. She said the next big project is the restoration of the marquee, which is currently lacking much of its neon. They are also hoping to find someone to repair the beautiful, but cracking terrazzo entry. Gloria said that they are trying to start a fundraising project, but that they aren’t having much success. I told her that I would try to get the ball rolling here at Cinema Treasures. The Crest Theatre contact information is listed at the top of this page. Let’s see if we can help bring another theatre back!! :)

frodoboy on February 2, 2010 at 9:37 am

Here is a night picture my grandfather took of the Crest Theater neon sign in all its glory back in the theater’s heyday.

My grandfather owned Kaden Neon and Plastic Sign Company back in the 30’s through the late 60’s and designed and built the neon signs and marquees for many of the famous theaters in Fresno including the Warnors, Tower, Wilson and Crest. He also designed and built many other famous neon signs in the Fresno area. My uncle designed the old Manchester center sign. I even got to work in my grandfather’s shop in the early 60’s and he allowed me to design and build a motel drive sign. I think the motel is now a hooker hangout! In the summers that I worked for him, I got to watch my grandfather design the signs from scratch. Then I watched Howard build the metal housings. Then Joe would paint them. Then I watched Woody do the masterful bending and filling of the glass tubes and watched them come to life on his work table. I remember playing with the mercury that he used. It formed a ball in my hand and when I dropped it on the floor, it broke into hundreds of tiny ball bearings as it danced across the floor. It was very expensive and Woody got mad at me when I did it. Of course now we know how toxic Mercury is! Then I got to go and help Al and Lee put the signs up with their 80 foot cranes. Very scary indeed! My grandfather was a master craftsman and as honest as they came back then. He was very respected in Fresno during Fresno’s greatest period in my book…the 40’s through the 60’s.

William on February 2, 2010 at 9:59 am

Great Picture!! Now thats how it should be done. Fox West Coast houses had real eye catching marquees.

Twinkletoes on February 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Oh, I hope there is a planet named Theatre somewhere in this omniverse. We will find all of our favorites, preserved…..

terrywade on May 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

The Crest Theatre Fresno is the same as the Crest Sacramento CA. Must have had the same Fox West Coast people do the remodel in Sacramento.

frodoboy on June 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

Correction! My uncle just corrected some of my errors. The Crest marquee was already built by the theater owner (Fox?) and my grandfather’s shop (then a partner in Olsen signs)created all the neon work. If you look at the marquee today, it is pretty ugly without all that beautiful neon so I’d say my grandfather (and his team) really made that marquee pop! My uncle also corrected me in saying that my grandfather’s shop also created the other theater signs in Fresno. They were there before my grandfather arrived in Fresno. His and Olsen sign companies just serviced the signs. What do you expect? I was a little kid at the time and just thought my “gramps” did all these beautiful things! I still got in for free in most of the theaters!

larrygoldsmith on August 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm

The present CREST marquee/neon work was part of the Skouras remodel done in very early 50’s. This was a Fox West Coast Theatre/National General Theatre.

TLSLOEWS on August 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

One of the nicest marquees and verticals I have ever seen.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm

A 2012 photo can be seen here.

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