Avenal Theater

233 East Kings Street,
Avenal, CA 93204

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Showing 22 comments

GaryParks on January 20, 2017 at 1:55 am

I have been by the Avenal a couple of times in the past year, and it seems that they are no longer showing movies, just hosting occasional events for the town, such as meetings.

Mikeyisirish on January 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

…the status should be “open” and no longer restoring…

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

A few 2012 photos can be seen here, here and here.

lisakayaks on April 29, 2011 at 12:51 am

Thought I’d add another shot of this beautiful marquee: View link

MJuggler on June 15, 2010 at 3:20 am

Congratulations! I can’t wait for the next road trip to check it out!

terryheadrick on June 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

World premiere of “Stricken” on June 25 at the Avenal Theater.

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm

As someone already noted, you have to list the address as Kings Street, not King. Otherwise the map view puts you in Kettleman City.

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

A hundred years from now? I don’t think I can make that one.

terryheadrick on April 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

If the creek don’t rise, the grand re-opening will be May 1, 2110.

lisakayaks on April 2, 2010 at 2:47 am

The restoration is coming along really wonderfully! The restoration crew has done a wonderful job in hiring artisans to replicate wall mural, artisanal plaster work, and, oh, that fabulous neon marquee! This is going to be beautiful, and such a landmark in Avenal.

View link

GaryParks on February 2, 2010 at 9:50 pm

I was at first puzzled by M. Gerdes post above, expressing disappointment that the terrazzo was supposedly not saved. Mea culpa. I can see by the way I worded things in my October 13, ‘09 post that this could easily be erroneously ascertained. What I was trying to say was that the terrazzo and the tiled Ladies restroom had survived the fire intact, and therefore did not need to be replicated. So, to clarify, when one enters the rebuilt Avenal, and feels surrounded essentially by the “old” Avenal, it should be kept in mind that everything visible IS NEW, EXCEPT for the terrazzo, and the tiled walls of the Ladies restroom. My apologies for the confusion.

MJuggler on December 28, 2009 at 2:05 am

If you Google Street View as of today it will make you sick. But glad to hear it is looking better.
sorry to read the terrazzo was not saved.

BTW the street address is on Kings with an “s”.

GaryParks on October 14, 2009 at 12:09 am

I did get the aforementioned look-see of the Avenal last Thursday. My thanks to Terry Headrick and his associates on the site for letting me have a good look at the rebuilding progress. It is truly going to be a class act. The facade tower is essentially done, except for the neon. The marquee is under construction, and will reuse the original metal AVENAL letters. The circular lobby is well underway, with the metal mesh in place for plastering the layered ribbed coves of the ceiling. Removal of fire-damaged surfaces on the auditorium walls revealed remnants of the original 1930s painted decoration, dating from before the more well-known Moderne redo and enlargement of the theatre in the 40s. The auditorium will be triplexed, with a larger theatre for both movies and live events down front in the original stage/screen area, and two small movie theatres to the rear and sides. The original wall and ceiling murals are going to be replicated. Light fixtures are also being replicated. The original blueprints have been carefully consulted on all points. Nearly everything that will greet the public when the theatre reopens will be new—replicated from the old, except the terrazzo sidewalk and the tilework in the Ladies restroom. However, one will truly feel they are seeing the original theatre in its pristine glory. It is going to be amazing. The concrete shell of the auditorium has been retained. Between the side of the auditorium and an alley out back is a little complex of new structures and a courtyard, which will act as an adjunct facility for events held at the theatre.

GaryParks on September 12, 2009 at 12:50 am

I was just informed today that the rebuilt tower of the Avenal facade is nearing completion. I am scheduled to stop by the theatre in early October to see the progress. I will report more after then.

GaryParks on May 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm

First, to answer the above poster: I, for one, have never seen any interior photos of the theater—vintage or otherwise. How I wish I’d taken photos when inside on the night my friend took the abovementioned neon photo of the exterior!

We visited the site once more last weekend on the way to our usual yearly family event in Visalia. Absolutely nothing has been done to the theater itself since my last visit/posting, save for the installation of a tidy wooden fence across the entrance/ticket lobby, complete with decorative lattice along the top, and a locked door. Reconstruction of the storefront to the left of the theater entrance was undertaken this year, and is almost complete. Like the storefront to the right of the theater which was rebuilt a couple of years ago, it is not an exact replica of what was originally there, but harmonizes fine with the streetscape. At some point, the reconstruction of the theater facade will necessitate removing portions of these new storefronts. The streamlined walls bearing the poster cases which face the street have been carefully retained and built around. It almost looks a little surreal.

llaporte on July 9, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Does anyone know where I can find photos of the interior of this theater prior to the fire?

GaryParks on May 2, 2007 at 11:50 am

Well, here I am again one year later. This last weekend we did our family gathering in Visalia, and we swung by the Avenal on the way home. It looks the same in front as it did when I last posted. Around the back, however, it was a slightly different story. The “sound blister” has been cut away, and that enabled me to see into, and photograph, the ruins of the auditorium. Debris has been cleared away, and the charred heavy beams of the roof are still silouhetted against the sky. The interior wall surfaces look saveable—scorched, and in some places crumbled. The matching circular mural vignettes depicting spear-wielding men on horseback which flank the proscenium are damaged, but restorable. The fluted plaster proscenium is scorched and water-damaged, and will have to be replaced.

During the intervening past year, I have been told that the legal proceedings regarding the cause of the fire, and who was responsible, have been continuing.

GaryParks on May 5, 2006 at 1:02 pm

I made a brief stop in Avenal on my way to Visalia this past weekend. Some rebuilding has been undertaken at the theatre site. Storefronts to the right of the theatre entrance have been rebuilt in a contemporary style, but are not yet occupied. Storefronts to the left of the theatre are framed and not yet completed, and look to be a replication of what was there formerly. The theatre entrance has been cleared of debris, with the damaged box office and poster case areas somewhat cleaned up and temporarily stabilized. Looking into the now roofless lobby and into the auditorium, it appears debris has been cleared out of there as well.

synthesisdesigngroup on January 29, 2005 at 5:04 pm

My company, Synthesis Design Group, has been hired by the city of Avenal to restore the Avenal Theater, after its demise by a major fire. If anyone has pre-fire or historic photos of the theater, please contact me, via e-mail at Any help would be very much appreciated, as we are trying to restore the building as accurately as possible to the original condition. It is a very special building and with time it will return to its former beauty.
Roger Klemm

GaryParks on November 26, 2004 at 6:25 pm

A friend of mine and I visited this theatre just a couple of weeks before the fire, so that he could add the theatre to his series of art photos of theatre neon at dusk. This little theatre was a gem among smalltown California theatres. The manager and assistant manager were beyond hospitable in welcoming us to the theatre and showing us around. We observed how the theatre was a magnet to local children and teenagers, all of whom seemed to be having a wonderful time meeting friends there, and greeting each other on the street. It seemed like they and the staff all knew each other as well. Recently I visited the ruins, and indeed it looks like there is enough of the structure extant that, combined with photos and local folks' memories, a decent replication would be possible. The photo my friend took of the neon would be an excellent resource in replication of the neon colors. The terrazzo, bottom portion of the box office and some of the entrance walls are extant. Enough survives of the entrance doors and their etched glass swans for replication to be possible. The wonderful “Mission-Meets-Moderne” style entrance tower was totally destroyed, to the point of the steel beams melting. The concrete shell of the auditorium stands complete, but I couldn’t tell the condition of the interior, except that the roof was gone. I wish the people of Avenal the very best in their efforts to bring this theatre back.