Acorn Theatre

3089 Thousand Oaks Boulevard,
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

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Acorn Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Acorn Theatre opened in late-1954 (or early-1955). A feature of the auditorium was the laminated wood arches in the auditorium, which was shaped similar to a Quonset Hut style theatre. All seating was on a single level, and it was the first theatre in California to have Continental style seating, with no centre aisle, the aisles were against the sides of the building.

The Acorn Theatre was independently operated.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I’ve found four references on the Internet to a California architect with the surname Polley, but his middle initial was “A” in all cases. There could have been an R. W. Polley as well, but if there was I’ve been unable to find him mentioned on the Internet.

A document about the former Carnegie Library in Oxnard, Ventura County, says that the building’s basement was remodeled in 1949, with plans drawn by local architect R. A. Polley. Another document names R. A. Polley as architect for alterations to a commercial building in Oxnard in 1952.

The California Index contains a card referring to an item in Architect & Engineer of June, 1931, saying that Rudolph A. Polley, of Santa Barbara, had received a license to practice architecture in California.

A web page for the Elks Club of Santa Maria says that their former lodge hall (since demolished) erected in 1939 had been designed by L. N. Crawford and Rudolph Polley. The site of the hall now has a marker (pictured) which notes L. N. Crawford and R. A. Polley as architects of the vanished structure.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Thanks Joe; All the details I posted come from the 1955-1956 edition of Theatre Catalog. Usually very reliable as it is a ‘trade’ publication. However, they could have got it wrong and it should have been R.A. Polley.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

Chuck; I really do not know. We need a local to comment

MagicLantern on August 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I wondered when this one would show up in the index. As listed in the city directory, the Acorn was supposedly located on Ventura Boulevard in Thousand Oaks but there is no Ventura Boulevard that I could find. It’s an entirely different theatre from the Melody. I’ll get the street address when I’m back in my office. I’ve been wondering where the building is for a long time now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

I believe there was a Ventura Boulevard in Thousand Oaks at one time. Before the freeways were built, Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles County was U.S. Highway 101, and I think road had the same name as it passed through Ventura County. Most of the old road, which was originally part of El Camino Real, was gradually converted into the Ventura Freeway over the years. In a few places bypasses were built.

My memory of the area in the pre-freeway era is very dim, and the changes since have been drastic, but I suspect that the oldest part of Thousand Oaks was one of the areas bypassed, and that the business street that was once Highway 101/Ventura Boulevard is probably the street now called Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Unfortunately I have no old maps of the area to check.

William on August 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

The address I have for the Melody Theatre was 1792 N. Moorpark Road.

MagicLantern on August 25, 2010 at 2:54 am

The 1956 city guide for the area lists it at 3089 Ventura Boulevard.

Some old crotchety crank confirms the theory that Thousand Oaks Boulevard used to be called Ventura Boulevard: View link

Current GoogleMaps puts the address where the entrance to a shopping complex is now. I think it’s safe to say that the Acorn has gone to the old oak grove in the sky.

Daws on May 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm

According to Carol A. Bidwell’s 1989 book “The Conejo Valley: Old and New Frontiers”…

“The Fox Conejo was the first real movie theater in town, but local residents had had a place to watch movies since the late 1950s. Don Goshey showed movies in a left-over World War II quonset hut, moved to a lot on Thousand Oaks Boulevard at the northern end of Hampshire Road, in front of the short-lived Acorn Bowl. Moviegoers sat on folding chairs and watched whatever movies Goshey could find to rent. Refreshments were provided by the mothers of Conejo School youngsters who sold home-popped popsorn to raise money for school projects and activities.” (p. 75)

I was a Thousand Oaks resident from 1961 to 1994. I recall going to the Acorn Bowl as a teenager but don’t remember attending the Acorn Theater.

Yes, Thousand Oaks Boulevard was originally called Ventura Boulevard. The name change happened sometimes in the 1960s.

And yes, the Melody Theater was indeed on Moorpark Road, next to Thriftymart supermarket in the Park Oaks Shopping Center.

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