Mainzer Cinema II
659 W. Main Street,
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Previously operated by: United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.
Architects: Albert W. Cornelius
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Merced Theatre, Strand Theatre, Cinema III
The Merced Theatre opened March 4, 1920. This was the original Merced Theatre which was remodeled into the Strand Theatre after Golden State Theatres built a new Merced Theatre in 1931. However, United California Theatres, which was the later name of Golden State Theatres and later merged with United Artists, did have a house in Merced called the Strand Theatre up to the early-1960’s.
In the 1970’s, when owned by United Artists, the auditorium was divided into three parts and it was called Cinema III. Since Farley assumed ownership two of the auditoriums, which seat 120 each, have been showing art films while the larger 250-seat venue with tables and a balcony has been used for an eclectic array of performing arts. There is also a small espresso bar and deli in the lobby. The theatre was available for rentals. It is owned by contractor Brenda Farley who has been handling its ongoing renovations since 2000. It had closed by the beginning of 2011.
The other historic theatre, the Merced Theatre, is now undergoing restoration for use as a performing arts center. There is also a small playhouse and a 10-screen multiplex downtown.
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