California Theatre

1808 Chester Avenue,
Bakersfield, CA 93301

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm

San Francisco architect Phillip Schwerdt of the firm of Laist & Schwerdt was the original architect of the Scribner Opera House. The Scribner was an upstairs house, and the 1919 rebuild designed by O. L. Clark gutted the building to put the California Theatre on the ground floor. It also increased the seating capacity from 800 to the 1,200 with which the house was listed in the 1926 FDY.

Chris1982 on December 28, 2015 at 12:24 am

I am a little confused, was this theatre ever called the Garrick? There is a photo on the photo page of the Garrick.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 24, 2015 at 11:42 am

Not to be nitpicky, but the 1921 sale mentioned in the description was not to Fox West Coast Theatres, which didn’t exist until 1928, but to its predecessor, West Coast Theatres, founded in 1920.

rivest266 on August 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

September 14th, 1920 grand opening ad uploaded here.

plinfesty on May 15, 2010 at 9:42 am

1966 Bookings:
1/05/66: 7 Women; The Hill
1/12/66: Never Too Late; Captain Newman, M.D.
1/19/66: The Big TNT Show; Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
1/26/66: Darling; Love With the Proper Stranger
2/02/66: Life At the Top; Sex and the Single Girl
2/09/66: Othello (Olivier) (2 days only)
2/11/66: Do Not Disturb; The Nanny
2/18/66: The Ugly Dachshund (added: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree)
3/09/66: The Heroes of Telemark; red Line 7000
3/16/66: The Heroes of Telemark; Shane
(3/19-3/20/66: matinees: Snow White (all new); 5 carttoons)
3/23/66: The Silencers; The Hallelujah Trail
4/06/66: The Chase; That Man in Instabul
4/20/66: Darling; The Pawnbroker
(4/23/66: Kids mat: Abott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd; A Boy 10 Feet Tall; cartoons)
4/27/66: The Spy With My Face; To Trap a Spy
5/04/66: The Pink Panther; A Shot in the Dark
5/11/66: A Patch of Blue; The Oscar
5/18/66: The Agony and the Ecstacy
5/25/66: The Agony and the Ecstacy; Inside Daisy Clover
6/01/66: The 2nd Best Secret Agent; The 10th Victim
6/08/66: Guns of Navarone; Lord Jim
6/15/66: Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!; Frankie and Johnny
6/22/66: Lost Command; Operation CIA
6/29/66: Battle of the Bulge
7/06/66: Battle of the Bulge; Harper
7/20/66: A Fine Madness; Stop the World I Want To Get Off
7/27/66: Walk Don’t Run; Cat Ballou
8/10/66: Torn Curtain; Blindfold
8/17/66: Torn Curtain; Father Goose
8/24/66: Torn Curtain; Charade
8/31/66: What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?; Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!
9/14/66: Fireball 500; Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
9/21/66: The Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary; The Pit and the Pendulum (2 days)
9/23/66: Flame and the Fire; Slave Trade in the World Today
9/27/66: Ambush Bay; Duel at Diablo
10/05/66: A Man Called Adam; The Dirty Game
10/12/66: My Fair Lady; Gypsy
10/19/66: Poor White Trash; Common Law Wife
10/26/66: The Gospel According to St. Matthew (2 days only)
10/28/66: Tomb of Ligela; The Raven; House of Usher
11/02/66: Door-to-Door Maniac; Psycopath
11/09/66: The Navy vs the Night Monsters; Women of the Prehistoric Planet
11/16/66: Our Man Flint; Von Ryan’s Express
11/23/66: The Fortune Cookie; Cast a Giant Shadow

And… that’s all, folks! The California’s last day of operation was Saturday, December 3, 1966!

plinfesty on May 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

1965 bookings:
1/13/65: Goldfinger (football highlights of 1964)
1/20/65: Goldfinger; Kitten With a Whip
1/27/65: Goldfinger; The Time Traveller
1/10/65: Goldfinger; 633 Squadron
2/17/65: Those Calloways; The Three Lives of Thomasina
3/3/65: 36 Hours; Jigsaw
3/10/65: Where Love Has Gone; Lady in a Cage
3/17/65: Quick! Before it Melts; Get Yourself a College Girl
3/24/65: The Outrage; Beath the Devil
3/31/65: Psycho; Vertigo
4/07/65: The Rounders; The Walls of Hell
4/14/65: Girl Happy; Ferry Cross the Mersey
4/28/65: Your Cheatin' Heart; The Sheepman
5/05/65: Crack in the World; Tomb of Ligeia
5/12/65: The Human Duplicators; Mutiny in Outer Space
5/19/65: Love Has Many Faces; Sylvia
5/26/65: A High Wind in Jamaica; Dear Brigette
6/02/65: Lawrence of Arabia; Paris Pick-Up
6/09/65: Young Cassidy; Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte
6/16/65: Joy in the Morning; Deart Heart
6/23/65: The Family Jewels; Roustabout
6/30/65: I’ll Take Sweden; The Satan Bug
7/07/65: Dr. No; From Russia, With Love
7/21/65: The Great Spy Mission (AKA Operation Crossbow); Sandokan the Great
7/28/65: She; Hercules, Samson and Ulysses
8/04/65: The Sons of Katie Elder; Take Her, She’s Mine
8/11/65: The Sons of Katie Elder; Genghis Khan
8/18/65: Morituri; The Sons of Katie Elder
8/25/65: Harlow (Caroll Baker); Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders
9/01/65: Help!; Ferry Cross the Mersey (added: The Rolling Stones)
9/08/65: Help!; Love is a Ball (added: The Rolling Stones)
9/15/65: Living It Up; Pardners
9/22//65: Up From the Beach; Ski Party
9/29/65: Love and Kisses; That Funny Feeling
10/06/65: Situation Hopeless…But Not Serious
10/13/65: Beach Ball; Sergeant Deadhead
10/20/65: A Rage to Live; The Great Escape
10/27/65: Once a Thief; Sighnpost to Murder
11/03/65: The Ipcress File; The Art of Love
11/10/65: The Ipcress File; Charade
11/17/65: Return From the Ashes; The Third Day
11/24/65: King Rat; Station Six-Sahara
12/01/65: King Rat; The Comancheros
12/08/65: Casanova ‘70; And God Created Women
12/15/65: Agent 8 ¾; The Hustler
12/22/65: Boeing! Boeing!; Town Tamer
12/29/65: Boeing! Boeing!; Sand of the Kalahari

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 15, 2010 at 8:26 am

Great work. I want to the samething with a few of my theatres,just gotta take the time.

plinfesty on February 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm

1/15/64: Strait-Jacket; Siege of the Saxons
1/22/64: The Comedy of Terrors; Madmen of Mandoras
1/29/64: Children of the Damned; Gladiators 7
2/05/64: Man in the Middle; Surf Party
2/12/64: A Global Affair; Palm Springs Weekend
2/19/64: The Victors (featurette: Wonderful Africa)
2/26/64: The Victors; The Swingin' Maiden
3/04/64: Who’s Been Sleeping in my Bed?; A New Kind of Love
3/11/64: Goliath and the Sin of Babylon; Samson and the Slave Queen
(3/13/64: Friday 13th Midnight Show: Screaming Skull; The Spider)
3/18/64: Kissin' Cousins; The Music Man
3/25/64: Muscle Beach Party; Summer Holiday
4/08/64: Paris When It Sizzles; Tiara Tahiti
4/15/64: Hud; The L-Shaped Room
4/22/64: Seven Days in May; The Deep Six
4/29/64: Seven Days in May; Hatari
5/06/64: The Last Man On Earth; Circus of Horrors
5/13/64: Goliath and the Vampires; Pyro
5/20/64: Black Sabbath; The Evil Eye
5/27/64: South Pacific; Oklahoma!
6/03/64: Rhino!; 7 Faces of Dr. Lao
6/10/64: 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt; The Thin Red Line
6/17/64: Hey There It’s Yogi Bear; The Crimson Blade
6/24/64: The Evil of Frankenstein; Dead Ringer
7/01/64: The Carpetbaggers (short: The World Starts Next Door)
7/15/64: The Carpetbaggers; Hot Spell
7/22/64: The Long Ships; The Quick Gun
8/12/64: The Patsy; Ensign Puller
8/19/64: Good Neighbor Sam; Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
(8/20/64: Free Thurs morning KWAC radioshow: Imitation General; cartoons)
8/25/64: Good Neighbor Sam; The Matchmaker
(8/29/64: Free Sage Dept Store morning show: Let’s Go Navy)
9/02/64: Robinson Crusoe on Mars; For Those Who Think Young
(9/05/64: Free Janitorial Supply morning show: Dance With Me Henry)
9/09/64: Ride the Wild Surf; Looking For Love
9/16/64: You’re Never Too Young; The Caddy
9/23/64: Witchcraft; The Horror of it All
9/30/64: The Visit; Night Train to Paris
10/07/64: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Boy’s Night Out
10/14/64: A House Is Not a Home; Zulu
10/19/64: Fabulous Spain (mat and eve – 1 day only)
10/20/64: A House is not a Home; Zulu
10/21/64: The Fall of the Roman Empire; Devil Ship Pirates
10/28/64: Malamondo; Women of the World
(10/32/64: Kids Halloween Mat: Bride of the Gorilla; Curse of the Undead; Snake Women)
11/04/64: Lilith; Dr. No
11/10/64: Cleopatra (short – Road to Independence) (5 weeks, 1 day)
(11/28/64: Sat-Sun matinees: The Magic Christmas Tree)
(12/05/64: Sat Toys For Tots Show: Bowery Boys; cartoons)
12/16/64: Lili; It Started WEith a Kiss
(12/19/64: Kern Radio kids show: The Bashful Elephant; cartoons)
12/23/64: How the West Was Won

8/26/64: Good Neighbor Sam; The Matchmaker

7/29/64: Viva Las Vegas; Tomahine

plinfesty on February 8, 2010 at 7:09 pm

1/16/63: Young Gunbs of Texas; The Day Mars Invaded Earth
1/23/63: White Slave Ship; The Huns
1/30/63: Marco Polo; Reptizicus
2/06/63: The Raven; Warriors Five
2/13/63: The Lion; It Happened in Athens
2/20/63: Who’s Got the Action?; Fancy Pants
2/27/63: The Birdman of Alcatraz; The Miracle Worker
3/06/63: Phaedra; Peeping Tom
3/13/63: Kipling’s Women; Dentist in the Chair
3/20/63: A Girl Named Tamiko; The Rat Race
3/27/63: Papa’s Delicate Condition; A Girl Named Tamiko
4/03/63: Papa’s Delicate Condition; War and Peace
4/10/63: The Miracle of the White Stallions; The Brave Ones
4/17/63: Duel of the Titans; Tarzan the Magnificent
4/24/63: Samson and 7 Miracles of the World; Prisoner of the Iron Mask
5/01/63: The Parent Trap; Mysterious Island
5/06/63: Operation Bikini; Playgirl After Dark

5/15/63: In the Cool of the Day; The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (5/17: Major Studeio Preview)
5/22/63: The Yellow Canary; Harold Lloyd’s World of Comedy
5/25/63: Rio Bravo; Oceans 11
5/29/63: My Six Loves; Wonderful to be Young
(5/29/63: Sat mat: Magic Boy; 3 Stooges in Orbit; Jack the Giant Killer)
6/05/63: The Balcony; Operation Snatch
6/12/63: Hud; The Young and the Brave
6/19/63: Hud; Operation Bullshine
6/26/63: Bye Bye Birdie (featurette: Pleasure Highway; cartoon)
7/03/63: Bye Bye Birdie; Dine With a Halo
7/10/63: The Nutty Professor; The Great Chase
7/17/63: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm; Cattle King
7/24/63: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm; Sergeants 3
7/31/63: Mutiny on the Bounty
8/14/63: Donovan’s Reef; Where the Truth Lies
8/21/63: Beach Party; Erik the Conquerer
8/28/63: Gidget Goes To Rome; Constatine and the Cross
9/04/63: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The Raiders of Leyte Gulf
9/11/63: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; 13 Frightened Girls
9/18/63: Don’t Give Up the Ship; Rock-a-Bye Baby
9/25/63: David & Lisa; The Wrong Arm of the Law
10/02/63: Women of the World; What a Chassis
10/09/63: The Condemned of Altona; Viva Zapata
10/16/63: The Haunting; Square of Violence
10/23/63: Twilight of Honor; Ballad of a Gunfighter
10/30/63: The Terror; Dementia 13
11/06/63: Lawrence of Arabia
11/27/63: Fun in Acapulco; When the Girls Take Over
12/11/63: Promises! Promises!;…and God Created Women
12/18/63: Katu; (call theatre for provocative title)
12/25/63: Who’s Minding the Store; Watch Your Stern (12/31/63: Major Studio Preview)

plinfesty on January 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

1/10/62: Breakfast at Tiffany’s; The Long and the Short and the Tall
1/17/62: Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Imitation of Life
1/24/62: Flight of the Lost Balloon; Jet Pilot
1/28/62: Question 7; All Mine to Give
1/31/62: The George Raft Story; Twenty Plus Two
2/04/62: Battleground; Go For Broke
2/07/62: The Three Stooges Meet Hercules; The Underwater City
2/14/62: Sail a Crooked Ship; A Weekend With Lulu
2/21/62: The Errand Boy; Hey, Let’s Twist (2/23: ADDED: Colonial John Glenn, Astronaut
2/28/62: Light in the Piazza; Invasion Quartet
3/04/62: Journey to the Seventh Planet; The Pirate of Black Hawk
3/07/62: Satan Never Sleeps; North to Alaska
3/14/62: Summer and Smoke; Anatomy of a Psycho
3/21/62: King of Kings
4/11/62: The Hustler; Two Women
(4/13/62: Late Night Spook Show – 2 features)
4/18/62: State Fair; Swingin' Along
4/25/62: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; Brushfire!
5/02/62: All Fall Down; The Children’s Hour
5/09/62: Five Finger Exercise; Loss of Innocence (5/11: Major Sneak)
5/16/62: Safe at Home!; Don’t Knock the Twist
5/22/62: Paradisio (3-D); Come Dance With Me!
6/01/62: Hell Is for Heroes; Airborne
6/06/62: Black Tights; Oklahoma!
6/13/62: Escape From Zahrain; Siege of Syracuse
6/19/62: Aida; Madame Butterfly (1 day only)
6/20/62: The Nudist Story; And God Created Women
6/27/62: Zotz!; Mothra
7/03/62: Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation; Air Patrol
7/11/62: Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation; Come September
7/18/62: Hatari!; Up the Creek
7/25/62: Hatari!; The Hired Gun
8/01/62: The Notorious Landlady; 13 West Street
8/08/62: The Notorious Landlady; Brteakfast at Tiffany's
8/15/62: Advise and Consent; Only Two Can Play
8/22/62: Tales of Terror; Burn, Witch, Burn
8/29/62: The Three Stooges in Orbit; The Hellions
9/05/62: My Geisha; The Late Blues
9/12/62: The Sad Sack; The Delicate Delinquet
9/19/62: The Phantom of the Opera; Night Creatures
9/26/62: Panic in the Year Zero; Eegah (9/27: ADDED: Patterson-Liston Fight film)
10/02/62: The Mongols; The Trojan Horse (10/03: Sneak Preview)
10/10/62: The Sky Above, The Mud Below; No Place Like Homicide
10/17/62: The 300 Spartans; The Firebrand
10/24/62: Rear Window; The Proud and Profane
10/31/62: The Pit and the Pendulum; Premature Burial; Horros of the Black Museum (1 day only)
11/01/62: The Pigeon That Took Rome; It Started in Naples
11/08/62: The Legend of Lobo; Whistle Down the Wind
11/16/62: The Humanoids; The SIlent Witness
11/21/62: Girls! Girls! Girls!; Two and Two Make Six
12/05/62: Tarzan Goes to India; The Tarters
12/12/62: Two Adult Only Titles (not given)
12/19/62: It’s Only Money; Make Way For Lila
12/31/62: Barabbas (featurettes: Wonderful Switzerland; Cruise of the Eagle)

plinfesty on January 25, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Notes: If in ( ) on the same line, shown in addition to regular program. If ( ) on seperate line, is shown same day as regular attraction, but a seperately priced program. Advertised titled shorts are listed, but theatre also showed cartoon and newsreel with most programs as well.

1/11/61: Swiss Family Robinson; Chartroose Caboose
(1/13/61: Late Show: Blood of the Vampire; Cult of the Cobra)
1/18/61: Goliath and the Dragon; The Last Woman on Earth
1/25/61: The Naked Jungle; Elephant Walk
2/01/61: Inherit the Wind; Carry On Nurse
2/05/61: The Amazing Transparent Man; Journey To the Lost City
2/08/61: Go Married in the World; The Secret of the Purple Reef
2/15/61: The Wackiest Ship in the Army; Sword of Sherwood Forest
3/01/61: Psycho; Vertigo
3/08/61: The Savage Innocents; Blueprint For Robbery
3/11/61: Peyton Place; Circle of Deception
3/15/61: Gorgo; Legions of the Nile (added-Patterson vs Johanson Fight Films)
(3/17/61: Midnight Double Horror Show)
3/22/61: One Hundred and One Dalmations; The Horse With the Flying Tale
4/12/61: Sanctuary; The Millionairess (4/14: Sneak preview)
4/19/61: Butterfield 8; Where the Boys Are
4/25/61: The Sundowners; Sons and Lovers
4/28/61: Black Sunday; The Little Shop of Horrors
5/03/61: Atlantis – The Lost Continent; Carthage in Flames
5/10/61: Mein Kampf; Hell Is a City
5/17/61: Konga; Terror in the Haunted House
5/23/61: The Virgin Spring; The Entertainer
5/28/61: Two Lovers; The Secret Partner
6/02/61: Ben-Hur (2 shows daily 2pm ($1.25) 8pm ($1.75) Kids .75 all times
6/30/61: Gidget Goes Hawaiian; Jazz Boat
7/08/61: The Parent Trap; My Dog, Buddy
7/28/61: The Ladies Man; Love in a Goldfish Bowl (7/28: Sneak Preview)
8/04/61: Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea; Dondi
8/11/61: The Honeymoon Machine; The Green Helmet
8/18/61: They Rode Together; Hand in Hand
8/25/61: Alakazam, the Great!; Operation Camel
8/31/61: Battle at Bloody Beach; Marines, Let’s Go!
9/05/61: The Thief of Baghdad; The Pharaoh’s Woman
9/10/61: The Unforgiven; The Magnificent 7
9/13/61: David and Goliath; The Big Circus
9/20/61: A Thunder of Drums; Squad Car
9/27/61: The Pit and the Pendulum; The Day the Sky Exploded
10/04/61: Angel Baby; Armored Command
10/11/61: Scream of Fear; The Trunk (10/13: ADDED: The Mummy; Return to Dracula)
10/15/61: The Young Lions; The Racers
10/20/61: The Head; Mania (10/21-10/22: ADDED: 3rd Hit)
10/25/61: 7 Women From Hell; Pirates of Tortuga
10/31/61: Halloween Special – 4 features all day
11/01/61: Friendly Persuasion; At Gunpoint!
11/05/61: Pillow Talk; Operation Petticoat
11/10/61: Everything’s Ducky; The Terror of the Tongs
11/15/61: The Truth; More Deadly Than the Male
11/22/61: Blue Hawaii; The Purple Hills
12/06/61: I Bombed Pearl Harbor; Then There Were Three
12/13/61: The Colossus of Rhodes; Beyond All Limits (12/15/61: Major Studio Preview)
12/20/61: Mysterious Island; Valley of the Dragons
12/27/61: Bachelor in Paradise; Bridge To the Sun

plinfesty on January 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Films the California played in the 60’s:
1/01/60: Lil Abner;The Jayhawkers
1/08/60: The Story on Page One; Web of Evidence
1/15/60: The Big Fisherman; Hoppity Goes To Town
1/23/60: Diary of a High School Bride; Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow
1/27/60: Goliath and the Barbarians; Battle Flame
2/05/60: The Gene Krupa Story; Edge of Eternity
2/12/60: The Country Girl; The Bridges at Toko-Ri
2/17/60: Jack the Ripper; The Big Night
2/24/60: The Last Voyage; Blood and Steel
3/02/60: Seven Thieves; The Third Voice
3/06/60: Ma Barker’s Killer Brood; Crtime and Punishment U.S.A.
3/09/60: Sink the Bismark; Surrender-Hell!
3/16/60: A Dog of Flanders; My Pal Gus
3/23/60: The Sword and the Cross; Face of Fire
3/30/60: Babette Goes to War; It Happened in Rome
4/06/60: Because They’re Young; Comanche Station
4/13/60: Kidnapped; Destination 60,000
4/20/60: Room at the Top; Diary of Anne Frank
4/29/60: The Angry Red Planet; Hideous Sun Demon
5/04/60: Pretty Boy Floyd; Gangster Story
5/08/60: The Mouse That Roared; The In-Between Age
5/11/60: Circus of Horrors; Bucket of Blood
5/18/60: The Giant of Marathon; Virgin Island
5/25/60: The Mountain Road; Killers of Kilimanjaro
6/01/60: Isle of Levant; The Naughty Girl
6/12/60: School For Love; 3 Murderesses
6/15/60: I Passed For White; The Hypnotic Eye
6/22/60: Battle in Outer Space; 12 To the Moon
6/29/60: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Davy
7/06/60: The Rat Race; In the Wake of a Stranger
7/13/60: The Lost World; Bobbikins
7/20/60: The Bellboy; Tarzan the Magnificent
8/03/60: The Time Machine; Platinum High School
8/10/60: Pollyanna; Conspiracy of Hearts
8/17/60: House of Usher; The Giant Leeches
8/24/60: The Snow Queen; Dinosaurus!
8/31/60: 13 Ghosts; The Electronic Monster
9/07/60: All the Young Men; The Enemy General
9/14/60: The Angel Wore Red; Five Bold Women
9/18/60: Beyond the Time Barrier; A Date With Death
9/21/60: It Started in Naples; Prisoner on the Volga
9/28/60: The Ten Commandments
10/07/60: Sword of the Dragon; One Foot in Hell
10/12/60: The Subterraneans; Key Witness
10/16/60: Fast and Sexy; The Nights of Lucretia Borgia
10/19/60: College Confidential; Shakedown
10/23/60: Expresso Bongo; The Battle of the Sexes
10/26/60: On the Waterfront; The Wild One
(10/28/60: Pre-Halloween spook show late-night)
(10/29/60: Halloween Late Show)
10/30/60: Desire in the Dust; Kiss Them For Me
11/04/60: Can-Can (reserved performance engagement-4 days only)
11/08/60: Thunder in Carolina; Nature Girl and the Slaver
11/13/60: 10 Who Dared; Journey To the Center of the World
11/16/60: G.I. Blues; Under Ten Flags
12/07/60: Career Girl; Miss Body Beautiful
12/14/60: The Wizard of Baghdad; Frecles
(12/17/60: American Legion morning show – 3 hours of cartoons)
12/21/60: The THree Worlds of Gulliver; Desert Attack
12/28/60: Swiss Family Robinson; Raymie

sawoodman on July 25, 2008 at 8:33 am

Here’s an image of the theatre from the Kern COunty Museum:$1247

GaryParks on May 14, 2008 at 10:03 am

Looking at the Granada Theatre as it appears today, and comparing it with the historic photo of the Moorish facade, I would say, based on proportion, window location, and height of the building to the left that these are one and the same theater.

In Lost Memory’s post which links to the Lost Treasures site page of the California Theatre, now a bank—that is most definitely the California that got the Skouras treatment, as it appears in Preston Kaufman’s Skouras annual from Theatre Historical Society, and the facade and sidewall configuration of the theater are the same, although the Skouras treatment removed most, though not all, of the facade’s basic neo-classic facade elements, and then added a neon marquee which bears some resemblance to that still extant on the California Theatre in Berkeley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 13, 2008 at 10:54 pm

I wonder if the 1928 photo ken mc posted on September 26, 2007, which the L.A. Library misidentifies as the California Theatre, could actually depict the Granada Theatre, which opened about that time? The theatre in the photo does have some Moorish design elements, suitable for a theatre of that name, and its facade is about the same size as the Granada’s, seen on this page some years after its 1950 remodeling.

tomdelay on May 13, 2008 at 9:19 pm

The California was not an atmospheric. It was a rather plain, early ‘20s theatre. The theatre with the “sleepy town” on its walls was the Bakersfield Fox which got the Skouras treatment after the big quake of 1952. The shell of the massively remodeled California still resides on Chester Ave. The 2/9 Wurlitzer organ from the Bakersfield Fox was transplanted by Louis A. Maas, added to (English Horn and couplers)and installed in the late Fox Theatre in Phoenix.

William on March 28, 2006 at 1:24 pm

The California Theatre in Bakersfield was Skouras-ized in 1945. Before this remodeling by Fox West Coast Theatres the California was an atmospheric theatre, much like the Arlington in Santa Barbara. The side walls were like a small sleepy town.

JimRankin on May 25, 2004 at 5:09 am

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also show in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

GaryParks on October 28, 2003 at 1:51 pm

This theatre was a pre-Twenties house which was later drastically remodeled under Fox operation in the Skouras style. There were swirling neon-lit coves on the ceiling and phoenix-like birds flying across the walls toward the screen.
I am told by a former resident of the area that the building still stands, in use as a bank.