Strand Theatre

1021 10th Street,
Modesto, CA 95354

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Showing 16 comments

littleprince1977 on October 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Fall ‘73 I was a freshman at Modesto Junior College in a Photo Journalism Class.
Class assignment: Photo Essay.
Topic I decided upon was “Modesto’s Downtown Decay”.

Strand Marquee at that time: “For Sale by Crismon” (some letters missing)
I was able to use an unhindered fire escape to climb to the top of the Strand Theatre.

From that vantage point: I have shots of the backside of the Covell Theatre (The theatre I thought would be standing long after the State (still standing) or the Strand (fire; possible arson for $)) and Hotel Hughson.

Long shots of much of the GONE 60’s classic downtown Modesto…showing Hotel Hughson sign, Topper, Town&Country, KRESS, Leed’s Shoes, Hartfield’s, Roger’s, BofA, Crocker Bank, Loebs. ALL GONE. Nichol’s News Sign – GONE The SEARS & Robuck store GONE, (now a Hotel…name changed to protect the guilty)
Bus Stop bench at 10&K Looking toward WoolWorth’s and the Strand. NOW is SmithBarney and Starbuck’s Ped. Mall and the Bus Stop Bench is a hotel grass lot.

J.C. Penney’s in downtown Modesto is now a City of Modesto Office Building.
Modesto Quiz: View link

I need to scan my photos and add them on-line or else history will be lost.
Europe keeps it’s buildings for centuries…California can only date it’s buildings by 5-10 years.

SoiledDude on July 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I remember wandering around the outside of the Strand as a kid in Modesto (‘71 – '80). Old theaters always caught my interest… I would peer through the cracks in the front doors and look at the old wild west decor. Always wanted to go in and explore, photograph, and appreciate. I am deeply saddened that a fire destroyed the place and that it has been demolished for the sake of a new theater.

kencmcintyre on May 15, 2009 at 10:06 am

He was at the beach with his wife and five children. For no reason he took off his bathing suit and began screaming and running around naked. He also tried to eat a bunch of sand. The cops showed up and after a half hour struggle they put him in the wagon and took him away.

Patsy on May 15, 2009 at 7:53 am

ken mc: Interesting ad, but so was the article nearby entitled Pastor Is Under Observation After Appearing In Nude!

kencmcintyre on May 14, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Here is an August 1934 ad from the Modesto Bee:

Patsy on May 6, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Tom DeLay: What other information can you give me in regards to the Wurlitzer that was once in the Strand?

Patsy on May 6, 2009 at 11:32 am

Even urban renewal found its way to downtown Modesto according to the historical information at the top of this link.

Patsy on May 6, 2009 at 11:30 am

Sad photo and it had a Wurlitzer organ! Haven’t read the posts so don’t know if the Wurlitzer was saved.

JCL on March 8, 2009 at 11:42 am

Hello Billie J, My comment above yours regarding the old Strand in Modesto (JCL). My period of ‘sat. matinees’ was the late ‘40s early '50s. One of my local theatres, (growing up in Sacramento) always had great matinees. Your ref to 'Pepsi caps’: Theatres would cross promote with: Pepsi or Coca-Cola; Carnation or Dixie Cup ice cream, etc. Sponsors would pay for the film program and theatre would cross promote with ads on screen and/or lobby posters, etc. My local theatre always ran: 2-3 features, which always had 1-2 westerns + serial chapter + short like 3 stooges + several cartoons. Usually a halfway break would have a ‘stage giveaway’ of 10-15 toys, games; books, etc. The mgr or couple ushers would call out ticket stub numbers. Show would always be about 4hrs of fun. Keep those memories alive. JCL

BJW on February 14, 2009 at 10:44 am

I just found this site and love these old memories. I remeber Saturday moring westerns, for the enatrance fee of 3 pepsi cola bottle caps. Anyone else share that memory?
Billie Joan Durr Westernoff

JCL on August 25, 2007 at 2:16 pm

The Strand memories: I recently found and signed on to this site, glad I did. I have been busy: looking thru; checking areas for places I have lived and theatres that I have worked over many years, starting at age 14 in my hometown of Sacramento. I now have started making some comments on some of the theatres.

I was working for Redwood Theatres, (George Mann started and son Richard carried on after his fathers death) at their house in Willits. I was given a promotion and transferred to Modesto in anticipation of managing his newest theatre being built, The
Briggsmore, a 70mm beauty. But while I was waiting I had to sub-manage at the State; Covell and the Strand. As a kid I always loved the old large movie palaces. Even tho by the time I got to the Strand, (1965) it was pretty dilapidated. We revived a ‘fri-sat’ art
and foreign film showings, (mostly for the college crowd). On
Sundays it was all Spanish films. In between we had a few live
concerts, including some very new groups such as: THEM; JEFFERSON
recall) THE RATZ.

Above comment by ‘robertgippy’ is very accurate on complete description of theatre. I would wander over to Woolworths lunch counter for a quick bite or snack.

I can also add, that behind the stage it had 3 staircase levels of dressing rooms. Downstairs backstage also had several private shower stalls and one very large commune shower. Opposite those was the
orch pit entrance and exit. After closing late at night, this enormous theatre was indeed a bit “scary” to check and secure.

robertgippy on June 7, 2007 at 12:23 pm

The Strand was directly across from Woolworths, where we would go after a movie for a sundae. Last movie I saw there was Bonnie and Clyde. It was a beautiful theatre, with the lobby having murals of cowboys, indians, and horses. The interior murals were of western times. The back of the theatre on the outside painted on the top of the wall, said “Strand Theatre – Airconditioned and Fireproof”. The management there was very customer service oriented. Ushers escorted you to your seats. At the Bonnie and Clyde show, there were so many people waiting that they were all told to wait in the mezzanine upstairs. Those were the days

Clark Gray
Clark Gray on January 29, 2006 at 4:41 am

My great uncle, Bee Ho Gray, performed a wild west type show on Vaudeville for many years. I have an advertisment from the 1930s for an RKO Vodvil performance at The Strand. The ad can be seen at:
Be sure to click on the ad for the full view.

Thank you,
Clark Gray

tomdelay on September 23, 2004 at 10:42 pm

The 2 manual 8 rank Wurlitzer pipe organ is now owned by George Pope of Visalia and installed in a special building on his property.

FJennings on January 2, 2004 at 8:25 pm

The Strand theater in Modesto opened in 1921, at a cost of $250,000. The theater had 1,800 seats, crystal chandeliers and murals in the lobby, rich carpets, a stage, orchestra pit, and a Wurlitzer pipe organ.

During its run, the Strand hosted silent films, vaudeville, plays, talkies, and community functions. Like so many of the downtown theaters, it slowly grew old and seedy. In 1971, the fire marshal closed the Strand. In 1984, talk of restoration ended when a fire closed the Strand for good.

Overzealous urban renewal leveled most of downtown Modesto, including both the Stand and the nearby Covell theater. Currently, there is a brand new Brenden Theatre18 where the Strand used to stand.

William on October 16, 2002 at 8:37 am

When the Strand theatre opened in the early 30’s, it seated 1674 people. It was located at 1021 10th Street. By the late 60’s, the Strand theatre was operated by Theatre Management Inc. (Redwood Circuit)