Valmar Theater

206 Georgia Street,
Vallejo, CA 94590

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ValMar building built 1880s

The Valmar Theater was opened in 1932. It was taken over by Fox Theatres in 1937. The Valmar Theater was listed as (Closed) in 1938. Still (Closed) in 1939 & 1940.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I’ve found the Valmar Theatre mentioned as early as 1932, but it was probably older. The caption of a 1935 photo of the house in James E. Kern’s Vallejo (Google Books preview) says that The Valmar was taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres in 1937.

The Valmar was still listed as a Fox house in the 1949 Yearbook of Motion Pictures. In 1949 Fox also operated a Vallejo house called the Marval Theatre. I wonder if the similarity of the names was only coincidence?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Though I’ve searched every Internet source I can think of, I’ve found no clues to the location of the Marval Theatre. This comment by Sal44 on the Rita Theatre page mentions four theaters in Vallejo that don’t appear to be listed here yet, including the Crown and the Rio, both in the 300 block of Virginia Street. Either of them might have been the Marval under later name, or it might have been one of the two outlying theaters Sal44 doesn’t remember the names of.

There’s also a problem with the Valmar’s address. The photo Bryan Krefft uploaded shows that it was in the block of Georgia Street just east of Santa Clara Street. Vallejo has extended Georgia Street all the way to Mare Island Way, and stretched the numbering to reach it. Google Maps now places its pin icon a block west of, and Street View displays the number 243 Georgia at, the Valmar’s actual location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Well, duh. I was paying so much attention to Sal44’s comment on the Rita Theatre page that I didn’t notice the subsequent comment by RussellW, which says that the MarVal (as he styles it) Theatre was on Virginia Street with the Hanlon, Crest and Rio. The Marval must have been the house that Sal44 knew as the Crown.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

The theater at 331 Virginia must have been the one Sal44 knew as the Rio. Most likely it didn’t make it into the CinemaScope era. Narrow theaters usually weren’t worth the expense of converting unless they were the only show in town.

I’ve found a couple more references to the Crown Theatre, which was probably the final name of the Marval. One mentions the 1958 film Macabre being shown there, and says the name of the Crown’s manager was Mr. Barber. A 2009 Times-Herald article about Vallejo’s downtown urban renewal project says that the Crown Theatre was among the buildings demolished in 1962.

As for the Valmar Theatre, I’ve come across a couple of references to a theater on Georgia Street being destroyed by a fire in the late 1940s. That might have been the fate of the Valmar. But I’ve also seen a few comments from people who say there was a third theater on Georgia Street, so it might have been that one that burned. Some people say it was called the Rita Theatre, and one called it the Ritz. I wonder if there was a predecessor to the Solano Avenue Rita Theatre, and its name was changed to Ritz when the new Rita opened?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I’ve found the Valmar Theatre mentioned in the June 23, 1931 issue of The Film Daily. The item noted that the Valmar was operated by Lou Trager and Phil Frease, and had a top ticket price of 25 cents. The house was planning a 24-hour showing of Chaplin’s City Lights.

Prof David Ducay
Prof David Ducay on November 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm

The ValMar building was built in the 1880s, it first was a grocery store owned by the Cochran and Collins brewery, then Collins Grocery Co. for about 30 years, it then became an auto showroom for Cadillac Agency. In the late 1920s it was taken over by an independent moving picture company, may have had a different name before the ValMar but it was co-operated by P.S. Macdonald and Louis Trager. Around 1937 William Fox West Coast Theatres purchased it and became a chain. The ValMar closed around the end of WWII (see news article in the photos area).

GaryMeyer on September 12, 2015 at 1:31 am

The Crown was on Virginia directly across from the Empress, know as the Crest when I attended both as a kid in the early 1960s. Phil Garber I believe was the owner or manager’s name and was friend of my father. At that age I did not know the distinction between those jobs. The Crest played first run double features but the El Rey on Tennessee got the bigger films. The Crown was 25cents for adults and a dime for kids. Usually a triple bill of older movies with Three Stooges, cartoon, Our Gang between each show. Hot dogs were a dime too. Lots of sailors.

This might be of interest.

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