Star Theatre

402 North Coast Highway,
Oceanside, CA 92054

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Star Theatre - Oceanside, CA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Star Theatre opened in August 1956 with a seating capacity for 986. There were 546 seats in the orchestra and 440 in the stepped loge section at the rear. Behind the loge seating area was a cry room, that was equipped with electric fixtures for bottle warmers.

This was once a popular movie house, located in downtown Oceanside. In it’s darkest days it fuctioned as an adult theater operated by Pussycat Theatres, but has recently been renovated and is used for live performances.

Contributed by Ian Ehrnstrom

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

JayAllenSanford on June 22, 2007 at 1:31 am

There’s a cover article in today’s San Diego Reader, detailing the histories of all the downtown theaters once run by Vince Miranda, at one time co-owner of California’s Pussycat Theatre chain. This is one of the theaters chronicled in the piece, which is built from a series of email interviews with Cinema Treasures contribs Dan Whitehead and Tim David (David is Miranda’s godson). Unfortunately, the online version doesn’t have any of the great photos and graphics seen in the printed version – I wrote the piece and will probably put scans of the graphics on my own webpage before much longer, after the next issue comes out. Here’s a link to the article on the Reader site:

View link

This is our second major feature on southern CA theaters in about a year (the other, “Field Of Screens,” is just on San Diego drive-ins and can be found on the Reader site with the search bar). If anyone here likes the article(s) and would like to encourage the publisher to greenlight more, feel free to leave your thoughts about the piece in the comment section after article. The paper really pays attention to reader comments!

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 11:43 am

Advertised at 402 N. Hill in September 1979.

DonSolosan on March 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm

ken mc, they changed the name of Hill Street to Coast Highway. I don’t know the year.

drb on March 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Some photos I took back in November 2000, when it had recently closed as a movie theater and its fate was uncertain. Sorry the first two aren’t the sharpest, early digital cameras were unpredictable things:


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2010 at 6:28 am

The Balch in the firm of Balch, Bryan, Perkins, Hutchason was William Glenn Balch, the considerably younger brother of theater architect Clifford Balch. Following the dissolution of the firm of Balch & Balch, in 1946 Clifford Balch formed a partnership with Louis L. Bryan. Balch & Bryan became Balch, Bryan, Perkins, Hutchason, Architects in 1953, with the addition of partners John Loring Perkins and W.K. Hutchason.

Here is a Boxoffice article about the Star Theatre. It notes that William Glenn Balch had “…designed over 180 southland theatres over the last 25 years….”

Douglas Westfall
Douglas Westfall on July 6, 2010 at 7:31 am

Jim Heiser and I connected during the re-opening of the Star Theater when it played TITANIC in late June of 1998. I had just released the book “The Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic” and he asked me to open the theater. So with microphone in hand I stood at the curtain and gave a breif overview of the history then took questions. After the showing I sold books in the lobby. I was saddened to see it close.

Douglas Westfall, Publisher

startheatre on August 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Thank you for posting our picture on your page. We just wanted to inform anyone who was still in the area that we are indeed still thriving and we are now a performing arts theatre. We have been named a historic landmark having been built in 1956. We did renovate in the early 2000s and now rent out our facility 260+ days a year for many different groups: ballets, comedy acts, musicals, live concerts, etc., as well as, house our own two companies (Adult and Youth Theatre program) which perform 6 shows a year. We also have an Academy for instruction on dance, acting and singing.

We are trying our best to be a place where the community can come and be entertained year-round. We also pride ourselves on being a safe and fun environment for people to come and learn and perform. So if you are in the area, please come and be our guest.

bailey9971 on January 24, 2015 at 2:49 am

I am so glad to see that this theatre is still around. I was stationed on Camp Pendleton from 1990-1994 and spend countless weekends in Oceanside. I don’t think the theatre was in operation the entire time but I do remember seeing a few movies there. I loved going to see a movie there and would always imagine what it must have been like in its prime.

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