Star Theatre

402 North Coast Highway,
Oceanside, CA 92054

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rivest266 on July 11, 2019 at 10:46 pm

This opened on August 18th, 1956. Grand opening ad posted.

MissAmanda on August 28, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Genesis – The King’s Church meets there Sunday mornings. I was there last weekend — the loge seats look much like they always did — they’ve been reupholstered, though, I think. However, the orchestra seats have been torn out and the stage extended into the space. The walls have been painted a hideous dark dusty rose although they’ve retained the original starburst-style lighting sconces. They’ve moved the restrooms — they used to be off the lobby but are now under the loge. Like bailey9971 who posted above, I have fond memories of the old Star and the crowd it attracted — I’m sure I’ve seen you there, bailey. It was a hoot being back in the Star but I do long for what it used to be!

bailey9971 on January 24, 2015 at 10:49 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.

startheatre on August 14, 2014 at 11:25 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.

Douglas Westfall
Douglas Westfall on July 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm

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

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

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….”

drb on March 18, 2009 at 8:05 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:


DonSolosan on March 20, 2008 at 6:57 am

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

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Advertised at 402 N. Hill in September 1979.

JayAllenSanford on June 22, 2007 at 9:31 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!

danwhitehead1 on February 15, 2007 at 5:54 pm

This house was never meant to be anything but a movie theatre. There is no stage area and no fly space. I was intimately connected with this house for many years; I know what I’m talking about and I imagine there are many old projectionists in the San Diego area who will back me up. This was built specifically as a movie theatre and not as a live theatre. Period.

hownowbrownpaul on April 2, 2006 at 7:48 am

There are several photos of the Star Theater here:

danwhitehead1 on March 29, 2006 at 10:48 pm

I was intimately involved with this theatre from the time it was purchased by Walnut Properties (along with the Crest, Palomar and Towne) in the early ‘80s until April of 1994. It was one of my favorite houses.

forevryours123 on September 6, 2005 at 10:55 pm

Dose anyone no the adress name for tehcoast kids theather group website???

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 7, 2004 at 5:06 pm

The street address of the Star Theater is 402 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA. 92054

The architects were; Balch, Bryan, Perkins and Hutchason and construction was commenced in February 1956 for the owner/operator Fred Siegel. Seating capacity was given as 986 on one level.

The Star Theater opened on 18th August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck.

The theatre boasted the largest marquee in San Diego County. It is 65 feet wide and 6 feet high. Above the marquee carrying out the name theme is a field of flashing and twinkling stars; for company the stars have an electrical waterfall cascading from 48 feet in the air.

The auditorium was fitted with surround speakers built into the ceiling of the theater, for the ‘then new’ stereophonic movies.

The Star Theater remained in the hands of the Siegel family until 1980 when they sold it to an outside developer. It changed hands several times eventually operating as an ‘Adult porno’ movie theatre from 1987. From April 1989, it returned to showing regular release movies again (although the first offering was the ‘R’ Rated “Skin Deep” and “Seige of Firebase Gloria”).

The Star finally closed to movies in September 2000 when the building had been purchased by the Poinsettia Center for the Performing Arts as a performing arts center.

It is now home to the Coast Kids Theatre and the Star Theatre Company. They have installed 446 plush new seats (the current capacity), new lightboard and sound systems. The stage is 33 feet deep, by 40 feet wide.

DavidT on November 25, 2003 at 3:14 am

To see a 1988 photo of the Star Theater exterior click here: