American Theatre

530 E. Main Street,
Ventura, CA 93001

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1930 photo as Ventura Theatre.

The American Theatre was opened prior to 1923 when it was listed with 800 seats. By 1941 it was operated by Principal Theaters Corp. of America. It was closed on July 4, 1950 with Audie Murphy in “The Kid From Texas” & Alan Ladd in “Chicago Deadline”.

In August 1950 it became a church. In 1952 it went over to retail use as a stationary store.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 31, 2017 at 12:30 am

The American Theatre was in operation by 1923, when this brief notice appeared in the September 8 issue of The Moving Picture World: “The Apollo Theatre will be opened shortly at Ventura, Cal., by the owners of the American Theatre.”

The principal owner of the American was Charles Corcoran, later a local partner with West Coast Theatres in the Ventura Theatre. The partnership predated the construction of the Ventura, as noted in this item from MPW for March 6, 1926:

“Corcoran Sells

“The West Coast Junior Theatre circuit has completed a deal with the American Amusement Company of Ventura, Cal., through Charles Corcoran whereby the circuit comes into possession of more than 50 per cent of all the holdings of Corcoran in the American Amusement Company. This includes the Apollo Theatre and valuable real estate in Ventura.”

dallasmovietheaters on February 29, 2020 at 9:12 pm

The American Theatre’s final showing fittingly was on July 4, 1950 with “The Kid from Texas” and “Chicago Deadline.” In August of 1950, the theatre was home to Ventura for Christ Church. In 1952, the theatre was retrofitted for retail becoming home to a stationery store.

DavidZornig on May 14, 2020 at 9:21 pm

I believe this was called the Ventura Theatre in 1930. I just added a photo from then, which has that name on the vertical sign. It definitely has the same street presence as 530 E. Main Street does today. But I believe the original theatre building that was three stories, has been replaced with a two story building. Or had the top floor removed. The current structure has modern looking I beams exposed. Searching “Buffalo Exchange Ventura California” will get you to the outside street view. Once you turn around in the image. The corner building down the same side of the street is identical to the 1930 photo I posted.

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