New Fruitvale Theatre

3720 International Boulevard,
Oakland, CA 94601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

gsmurph on August 16, 2015 at 3:41 pm

It was December 22, 1968.

terrywade on July 19, 2015 at 1:15 am

Does anyone know the date in Dec 1968 that the Fruitvale Theatre caught fire? Thanks

AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” pg. 628, the New Fruitvale Theatre in Oakland had a two-manual, seven-rank Smith theatre pipe organ installed in 1926.

Does anyone know what happened to it?

celaniasdawn on March 7, 2011 at 6:51 am

The Fruitvale had this man working there that would stand in the lobby, hands behind his back, walking around like a gestapo officer, yelling at the kids, watching the people working the candy counter like a hawk. The minute I set eyes on him I knew there was going to be a problem. During the day, the afternoon sun would hit right in the front of the theater, and when people opened the door to step into the auditorium, sunlight would briefly flood the right part of the screen and the wall. I went downstairs and asked this guy if he could close the inner doors in the lobby to keep the sun out, and he said very curtly “no”. When I asked him why, he said to come during the evening if the sun was a problem. That made me mad so I went back up the stairs to go to my seat, and he yelled at me to slow down. I went to the usher of the loge, and asked who I could complain to, she even admitted he was a jerk, and she gave me a phone number to call. So I went to the phone booth, and called in to complain. I don’t know what happened, but the sun didn’t shine in anymore that day, and on my way out, he glared at me, and I called him an asshole. Went there many times after that, but never saw him since. Saw all the Elvis movies there and we would walk to the Percolator Coffee Shop for something to eat afterwards. Try walking that distance there now at night!

bago1 on April 29, 2009 at 4:05 am

heres a 1944 picture of the new fruitvale theater ..

View link

kencmcintyre on December 26, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Here is a May 1965 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

gsmurph on August 16, 2008 at 5:41 pm

…meaning (in other words), the housing replaced the New Fruitvale; the gas station itselfs was adjacent to the theatre for years.

gsmurph on August 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Actually the Shell gas station was adjacent to the New Fruitvale; it was there when the theatre was. Only the housing project replaced it.

bago1 on May 20, 2008 at 8:37 pm

i grew up in the fruitvale district but Unfortunately this theater was torn down when i was only 2 years old my mom told me a little bit about this theater it sounds like it was a great treasure tobad i never got to know it . i know where it once stood on the corner of 37th ave and e14th st now internatonal blvd it,s a housing appartment for low income people and also a shell gas station ..

Rosealle on May 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I would drive my grandmother, all the way from San francisco, to the New Fruitvale. In the early 60’s the Fruitvale was the only theatre to show Portuguese Movies, and they showed them on Wednesday nights. We sat in the loge section, and had to pay extra to sit there. I remember how cold it was in there, I don’t think they turned on the heat. While you were sitting, when the usher walked new customers to their seats, the loge would shake a bit. Saw “The Tingler” in there, and the scene where the Tingler was in the movie theatre when Vincent Price yelled to scream your guts out, they turned all the lights out in the auditorium, it was pitch black and everyone screamed it was great.

terrywade on August 5, 2007 at 5:49 pm

The New Fruitvale was run by Golden State Theatres (United California Thetares) then UA My friend Ed Jacklich was the last manager at the Fruitvale. He also managed the Fairfax and many other east bay theates. He has some great storis he tells me about these cinemas in the 1960’s. Late at night he got a call from the Oakland Fire Dept. They told him the Fruitvale was on fire. He rushed over and phoned his head people at Golden State. They told him at least now they got rid of the dump! They near the end didn’t spend a dime on the Fruitvale. Ed had to beg for new seat covers. At one time each row had a few white covers with bad seats. I saw my first 3-D film at the Fruitvale Fox’s ‘Inferno’ Ed tells me when they played the TAMI SHOW film they had a riot in the theatre and the cops came.He also tells me they used the heavy metal marquee letters, one day one blew off and came within 3 inches of someone waiting to buy a ticket. Before he was manager he had to go up on a wooden ladder to change the letters with no help. In those days the managers carried the money to the local bank in a big bag every week. Can you imagine that going on today. After the boxoffice at the Fruitvale got robbed many times the neighborhood went downhill. It was a great house. Played films that the Fox West Coast theatres did'nt play, our second run. Golden State (United CA Theatres) had most local neighborhood theatres in Oakland. Many are still around today but as churches or other use building. One great thing about the Golden State circuit they loved the kids, they new about candy sales on Saturdays. Each Oakland theatre had great kiddie shows in the 1950' and 60’s. With a big Cartoon-O-Scope special from time to time. Old Elmer the last projectionist at the Fruitvale just projected flat prints and showed with a cinemascope lens. Didnt look to bad. Just before the Fruitvale closed my friend tells me how bad the theatre got. He was beat up a few times in the lobby. The Golden State people didn’t care, didn’t even want to hire a private cop.They told Ed just to open and close the doors each day. What is so strange after the fire the theatre sat boarded up for many years. At least the Laurel, Fairfax, Palace, and Elmhurst Theatres are still around.

mcooley on February 24, 2007 at 6:06 am

I might as well post a copy of his obit here since it talks about his theater
work. – Michael Cooley

Theater Man Dies En Route To Home

McCabe Cooley, 59, manager of the Fruitvale Theater, died of heart attack early today as he attempted to question a man he apparently believed to be loitering near his home.

The cause of Cooley’s death was determined by a corner’s [sic] autopsy this morning as police sought a mystery man who roared away in a car immediately after Cooley collapsed on a lawn in front of 2417 Montana St.

For a time, police thought Cooley might have been the victim of a robbery attack that caused a fatal heart seizure. Cooley had a long history of heart trouble.

The license number of the mystery man’s car was supplied by Mrs. Dora Dana, 45, of the Montana St. address, who told police she saw that what she believed to be a fight between Cooley and the attacker.

The car’s owner, however, a 28-year-old teamster, told officers that Cooley approached him as he parked his car near his home and seemed to say something and then collapsed. The teamster told officers he grabbed Cooley and helped him to the lawn and then fled in panic, because he had been drinking. He was released.

Six youths seized at the scene when they cruised by acting suspiciously were still being held for questioning today, since a loaded .22 caliber pistol was found in the possession of one of them.

Cooley, who lived at 3321 Flagg St., was employed by the firm which owns Fruitvale Theater for almost 20 years. He is survived by his wife, Lilas.

Cooley’s fatal heart attack occurred as he was returning home after locking up the theater shortly after midnight.

mcooley on February 24, 2007 at 6:02 am

I don’t I have my cousins' memories of the theatre. Perhaps my father didn’t
take us often. All I remember is sitting outside the theatre in the car
while my grandfather came out to visit. I was in the back, on the passenger
side, when he asked me to roll down the window. He then reached in and
pulled the hair on my arm. He and dad thought it was very funny.

I just found a photo of the theatre at another website. Cinema Treasures
isn’t accepting uploads right now so I put it on the website I have for
Grandpa Cooley: along with a couple
of obituaries.

hcooley on February 22, 2007 at 4:37 am

Grampa Cooley would have us kids in the projector room with a grocery-sized bag full of popcorn. We watched Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck, and that 50’s sci-fi movie about the giant tarantulas. Our family watched The Ten Commandments starring Charltom Heston. Grampa Cooley also gave us stacks of movie posters, but of course no one told us to hang on to them because one day they would be very valuable; no, we used the back sides for drawing paper, cut them up and pasted them. Brother Cliff still has a few good ones. Dad had gotten one of those old velvet covered theater seats. I believe it was rather larger than those which came later. Even though I was about five years old, I do still recall the decorative interior of the theater and the drinking fountain.

cliffbcool on February 21, 2007 at 8:00 pm

My grandfather McCabe Cooley was the manager of the Fruitvale theatre when he died in 1958. I was only 5 years old at the time but I have some memory of going to the theatre and seeing him there. When my brothers and sister and I were very young our grandfather gave us a stack of old movie marquees. They were printed on very heavy paper in those days. He gave them to us so that we could color on the back sides or cut things out of them which is exactly what we did to them. I still have 3 of them left to this day intact, “Flight to Tangier”, “Calamity Jane” and “All The Brothers Were Valient”. I’ll never know what great movie marquees slipped through my hands as a child. Interestingly the 3 that I still own have the same collector number printed on them.

gsmurph on April 19, 2005 at 2:01 pm

Thanks to MaDD and Robert Campbell for their insights on the Fruitvale. It was definitely a favorite of mine as well, though my own memories were rather vague (blame it on being all of eleven when that fire occured); my rememberance of its details are now sharper (though I could have sworn that clock was on the right side [chuckle]).

MADDRICK on April 14, 2005 at 10:20 pm

I remember the green tile water fountain with the step for kids to drink. It was on the right wall by the men’s room.
The store outside on the right of the building where you could leave the theatre to buy popcorn and go back in.

On Wednesday nights they’d have “Country Store” Where you could win groceries and clothes from Melnick’s clothing store across the street. When they had pajamas, Jimmy Reed would call them “Pajumpies”.

I sure miss those days.

robertcampbell on April 14, 2005 at 10:01 pm

I used to go to the Fruitvale Theater all the time when I was a kid. Above the arch were murals of cupid angels holding bows, with a pink background with white clouds. The ceiling had a impressive center light fixture that was shaped like a huge dome, with red and blue neon going around it. The curtain on the stage was red, and had a little clock in blue on the left. We would always go to Al’s Chop Suey right across the street for dinner before. The big movies played at the Fox Oakland and Paramount, and usually those ended at the Fruitvale right afterwards and it was always a double bill. It was sad when it caught on fire. I took movies of the inside of it, and it was completely gutted. It had a beautiful mezzanine floor where the restrooms were located, with leather couches and big ashtrays full of sand. I can still smell the fresh popcorn when you walked in.

MADDRICK on April 14, 2005 at 11:29 am

Wow, in 1948 I helped change marquees at the Fruitvale. Mr. Cooley was assistant manager then and Jimmy Reed was manager. He also managed the drive in in Ashland. I believe it was the Speedway Drive In that is now Bayfair Mall. We’d also run “Tab” between the two theaters. That’s take one movie ,2 cans to one while the other movie is playing and vis-a-versa.

gsmurph on April 25, 2004 at 7:20 pm

Oops—-forgot to mention that at the time of its opening, the New Fruitvale had an organ—-installed by F.W. Smith & Son, an Alameda manufacturer who also installed the organ for the First Congregational Church downtown (which also opened that year).

gsmurph on April 25, 2004 at 10:02 am

The New Fruitvale opened on November 28, 1925. Originally a Venetian Gothic structure, its exterior was later remodeled (about 1941?) into an Art Moderne style; the auditorium was French Renaissance, if I recall correctly).

bruceanthony on February 28, 2004 at 8:27 pm

The New Fruitvale in its later years was operated by United Artists. It reminded me of the Del Mar in San Leandro and the Lorenzo in San Lorenzo. The last film I saw here was a Joan Crawford B film called “I know who You Are and I Saw What You Did”.brucec

gsmurph on December 6, 2003 at 12:15 pm

The Laurel/Cine 7/Victory Outreach is now listed under CINE 7 Theatre.

William on December 3, 2003 at 7:53 am

The New Fruitvale Theatre seated 1224 people.

gsmurph on November 9, 2003 at 9:50 am

The theater mcooley is referring to is the Laurel (later Cine 7), listed here under Victory Outreach Church.