California Theatre

1122 4th Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92101

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California Theatre

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This Spanish Colonial Revival theater was opened on April 22, 1927 and seated over 2,200 patrons.

Once a premiere venue for the city, the theater has been in disuse for decades. Although the California Theatre was renovated in 1988, two years later in 1990, it was closed and scheduled for demolition.

In 2001, in addition to restorations, plans call for a wide redevelopment of the entire area, which should bring the theater back into the spotlight and out from the shadows of time.

In early-2011, plans are progressing to renovate the building and eventually reopen as Davenports Supper Club on April 22, 2013.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 150 comments)

ajtarantex
ajtarantex on September 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm

i THINK THIS PROJECT MUST BE DEAD NOTHING HAPPENING! IT SAYS WAS GOING TO OPEN APRIL 2013, THAT DATE HAS COME AND GONE IF IT WAS REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN INSIDE AND TAKING PICTURES TO POST , I KNEW IT WAS NOT GOING TO EVER HAPPEN

billneill
billneill on September 8, 2013 at 4:01 am

HISTORIC CALIFORNIA THEATER AND YOUTH ORCHESTRA GROUP a pending, tax deductible, charitable corporation Phone: 619-281-2200 Email Site http://californiatheater.awardspace.us

I believe the public and the city officials have all come to the same conclusion, when it was revealed that the person you are talking about was found to have other names and in fact was not the person he represented himself to be. This is just one more tragic chapter in the HCT.

My informants found many irregularities and suspected this was just one more attempt to make the waters even more muddy and distract from the goal of saving the HCT.

As for myself and my associates, we continue to hold out hope that we will be allowed to save it sooner rather than later and we have only one name, it is,

Prof Bill Neill, E. D. HCT.

Davenports
Davenports on September 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm

How curious well lets start by saying that your sources are very wrong.

First the “him” you are talking about finding so much information about (me) isn’t even a male in the first place, I am a woman, and anyone who truly knows anything factual about me or my company knows that. Informants tend to be unreliable especially as they seem to never contact the people they are suppose to be researching. If you need to know anything further about me or my intentions toward the theatre project just ask me.

By the way I only have one name and my company is associated with two both of which I own.

Secondly the City officials have come to no such conclusion and I have no idea whom you have been talking to but they also have no correct information. The politicians whom have actually met me ( Todd Gloria, Jerry Sanders, Deborah Barrow, Former Council Donna Frye, Bruce Coons etc.) don’t have that opinion they admire the fact that we have stuck with it the whole way and will continue until it is done.

Did you happen to see the KPBS special in April on the theatre? No? According to the interviewer out of all the developers (6 in all) that they interviewed I was chosen because I am the only one with a viable plan.

Six years I have spent to get all the details together to make this work the team is chosen, the builder, design staff, craftsmen, architects, etc. The team is complete. Renderings, budgets, legalities, and the like are also all done.

Will I actually do this the simple answer is yes, the answer to “is this just talk” is no.

Should you want to follow the project in better time than this blog (I don’t post much on this one as there is one for the project)then connect with the project on Facebook (California Theatre Resurrection Project) or connect with us on LinkedIn (Davenports Supper Club & VIP Cigar Lounge)that is where the correct information is.

Fundraising is something that can only be done when all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed that is the next step, you don’t just come hat in hand without all the details and with this project there are a lot of them. One more approval and we are solid to introduce the details to the community, and City.

So going forward please feel free to check up on the project on the Facebook page, LinkedIn page (where we have over 630 connections of team members for the project and are among the top 5% of profiles)or our Blog (Diary of a Green Builder on WordPress)for accurate up to date information. The date needed change to suit the needs of the project not for any other reason.

My direct contact information is on LinkedIn. Davenport

Davenports
Davenports on September 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Yes and the Caliente sign (along with any others still visible, there are 2)will be restored. Actually the one in the photo on this site is the 3rd one, my design team in London uncovered a pic of the original one which was much smaller and more ornate. That will be restored along with the blade sign (hard to find in photos but I have one).

They also have a picture of the original ticket booth a beautiful carved affair which I have sourced a master carver in Chicago to recreate.

The waterfalls around the building will be operational and lit (the theatre technology & lighting consultant is from Texas great guy and smart!). She will be beautiful again and San Diego can be proud! Davenport

RSM3853
RSM3853 on January 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm

First-run Movie Openings at the California Theater in San Diego from December 1959 through August 1974. The date given is the Wednesday of the opening week. The ® symbol means a reissue. Research is from microfilms of The San Diego Union.

DateTitle 12/23/59Vice Raid 01/20/60Cash McCall 02/03/60The Country Girl/The Bridges of Toko-Ri ® 02/10/60Seven Thieves 02/10/60Three Came to Kill 02/17/60Jack the Ripper 02/17/60The Big Night 03/02/60Oklahoma Territory 03/02/60Sink the Bismarck 03/23/60Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond 03/30/60Visit to a Small Planet 04/13/60Valley of the Redwoods 04/13/60Wake Me When It’s Over 05/04/60Nude in a White Car 05/11/60Circus of Horrors 05/11/60The Jail Breakers 05/18/60The Greatest Show on Earth ® 05/25/60In the Wake of a Stranger 05/25/60Wild River 06/08/60Platinum High School 06/08/60The Music Box Kid 06/15/60Five Branded Women 06/29/60The Apartment 07/20/60September Storm 08/03/60Hercules Unchained 08/10/60Cover Girl Killer 08/10/60Ice Palace 08/17/60Psycho 10/12/60The Battle of the Sexes 10/19/60Come Dance With Me! 10/26/60Thunder in Carolina 11/02/60Inherit the Wind 11/23/60Esther and the King 11/23/60Walk Tall 12/07/60Village of the Damned 12/14/60A Dog’s Best Friend 12/14/60The Facts of Life 12/28/60The 39 Steps 12/28/60The Marriage-Go-Round 01/11/61The Mighty Crusaders 01/11/61Tiger Bay 02/01/61Operation Bottleneck 02/01/61The Misfits 02/22/61The Alamo 04/26/61Sanctuary 04/26/61The Goddess of Love 05/03/61The Sins of Rachel Cade 05/03/61White Warrior 05/10/61Return to Peyton Place 05/10/61The Fiercest Heart 05/24/61The Young Savages 06/21/61Gidget Goes Hawaiian 06/21/61Sniper’s Ridge 07/05/61Deadly Companions 07/05/61One-Eyed Jacks 07/26/61Love in a Goldfish Bowl 07/26/61The Ladies Man 08/16/61On the Double 08/23/61Two Rode Together 08/23/61Underworld USA 09/06/61Thief of Bagdad 09/20/61It Happened in Broad Daylight 09/20/61The Long, the Short, and the Tall 09/27/61Claudelle Inglish 10/04/61Breathless 10/04/61Rosemary 10/18/61Splendor in the Grass 10/18/61The World by Night 11/08/61The Mask 11/22/61Blue Hawaii 12/20/61The Errand Boy 12/20/61The League of Gentleman 01/10/62King of Kings 02/21/62Tender is the Night 03/07/62Incident in an Alley 03/07/62War Hunt 03/14/62Satan Never Sleeps 03/14/62The Siege of Syracuse 04/04/62The Last of the Vikings 04/11/62State Fair 04/11/62The Broken Land 05/09/62All Fall Down 05/16/62The Horizontal Lieutenant 05/30/62Hell is for Heroes 06/06/62House of Women 06/06/62Samar 06/13/62Escape from Zahrain 06/27/62Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation 06/27/62Swingin' Along 07/11/62Hatari! 08/01/62Merrill’s Marauders 08/08/62East of Kilimanjaro 08/08/62Harold Lloyd’s World of Comedy 08/15/62The Sad Sack/The Delicate Delinquent ® 08/29/62Marco Polo 09/12/62No Place Like Homicide 09/12/62The Sky Above—The Mud Below 09/26/62Pressure Point 10/03/62Horror Hotel 10/10/62Playgirl After Dark 10/17/62The Creation of the Humanoids 10/24/62Never Let Go 10/31/62Warriors Five 11/07/62The Manchurian Candidate 11/28/62Gay Purr-ee 12/12/62Son of Samson 12/26/62Hero’s Island 12/26/62Taras Bulba 01/23/63A Child is Waiting 01/30/63The Raven 02/06/63West Side Story (pop) 02/27/63Who’s Got the Action? 03/06/63Madame 03/13/63Follow the Boys 03/13/63Seven Seas to Calais 03/20/63A Girl Named Tamiko 03/20/63Wonderful to Be Young 03/27/63Papa’s Delicate Condition 04/03/63Duel of the Titans 04/03/63Tarzan the Magnificent ® 04/10/63Operation Bikini 05/29/63The Longest Day (pop) 06/26/63Call Me Bwana 06/26/63I Could Go on Singing 07/03/63Black Gold 07/03/63PT 109 07/17/63King Kong vs. Godzilla 07/24/63The Great Escape 08/07/63Cattle King 08/07/63Spencer’s Mountain 08/21/63The Caretakers 08/28/63Beach Party 08/28/63Jacktown 09/11/63Don’t Give Up the Ship/Rock-A-Bye Baby ® 09/18/63Wall of Noise 09/25/63Women of the World 10/02/63Hootenanny Hoot 10/09/63Toys in the Attic 10/16/63Square of Violence 10/16/63The Haunting 10/23/63Twilight of Honor 10/30/63Twice Told Tales 11/06/63Palm Springs Weekend 11/13/63Stolen Hours 11/20/63McLintock 12/18/63Kings of the Sun 12/25/634 for Texas 12/25/63The Man from Galveston 01/15/64Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? 01/22/64The Comedy of Terrors 01/29/64Dead Ringer 01/29/64Dr. Crippen 02/12/64A Global Affair 02/19/64Love With the Proper Stranger 02/19/64Paris Pick-Up 03/04/64America, America 03/11/64Dark Purpose 03/18/64Kissin' Cousins 03/25/64Muscle Beach Party 03/25/64Summer Holiday 04/08/64Seven Days in May 04/15/64Vertigo ® 04/22/64To Catch a Thief ® 05/06/64Advance to the Rear 05/13/64Some Like it Hot/Irma La Douce ® 05/27/64Rhino! 06/10/64Gold for the Caesars 06/10/64The Golden Arrow 06/17/64Tamahine 06/17/64Viva Las Vegas 07/01/64One Man’s Way 07/01/64The World of Henry Orient 07/08/64Ensign Pulver 07/15/64Zulu 07/22/64633 Squadron 07/29/64FBI Code 98 07/29/64Robin and the 7 Hoods 08/12/64A Hard Day’s Night 08/19/64Lady in a Cage 08/19/64Walk a Tightrope 08/26/64Bikini Beach 08/26/64Some People 09/16/64The Caddy ® 09/16/64You’re Never Too Young ® 09/23/64Night Train to Paris 09/23/64The Visit 09/30/64Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow 10/14/64Fate is the Hunter 10/14/64The Earth Dies Screaming 10/21/64Kisses for My President 11/11/64Quo Vadis ® 11/18/64Moro Witch Doctor 11/18/64Rio Conchos 11/25/64MGM’s Big Parade of Comedy 11/25/64The Outrage 12/09/64Joy House 12/23/64Goodbye, Charlie 12/23/64The Young Swingers 01/13/65Psycho ® 01/27/65Peyton Place/Return to Peyton Place ® 02/03/65Quick, Before It Melts! 02/10/65Those Calloways 02/24/65Dear Brigitte 03/03/65Crack in the World 03/10/65The Rounders 03/10/65The Walls of Hell 03/17/65Sylvia 03/24/65My Blood Runs Cold 04/14/65John Goldfarb,Please Come Home 05/05/65The Satan Bug 05/12/65Young Cassidy 05/19/65Masquerade 05/26/65Circus World (pop prices) 06/09/65Mister Moses 06/16/65The Girls on the Beach 06/23/65Cinderella ® 07/07/65Ski Party 07/07/65War Gods of the Deep 07/21/65Operation Crossbow 08/04/65Morituri 08/18/65Sergeant Deadhead 08/25/65Living it Up/Pardners ® 09/01/65Help! 09/22/65Never on Sunday/Topkapi ® 09/29/65Laurel & Hardy’s Laughing 20s 10/06/65Billie 10/20/65Once a Thief 10/27/65A Rage to Live 11/03/65The Nanny 11/10/65The Hill 11/24/65Harum Scarum 12/22/65Thunderball 03/23/66Viva, Maria! 03/30/66The Group 04/20/66A Thousand Clowns 05/04/66The Pink Panther/A Shot in the Dark ® 05/11/66The Night of the Grizzly 05/25/66Apache Uprising 05/25/66The Last of the Secret Agents 06/01/66The 2nd Best Secret Agent in Whole Wide World 06/08/66Rasputin, the Mad Monk 06/08/66The Reptile 06/15/66Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! 06/29/66Cast a Giant Shadow 06/29/66Fantomas 07/13/66Duel at Diablo 07/20/66Munster, Go Home 07/27/66Nevada Smith 08/10/66A Big Hand for the Little Lady 08/10/66The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming 08/31/66Assault on a Queen 09/14/66Ambush Bay 09/28/66Chamber of Horrors 10/05/66Mister Buddwing 10/19/66Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/Butterfield 8 ® 10/26/66Seconds 10/26/66Waco 11/02/66Return of the Seven 11/16/66The Alphabet Murders 11/16/66The Liquidator 11/23/66Spinout 11/23/66The Secret Seven 12/07/66What’s Up, Tiger Lily? 12/21/66Gambit 01/04/67Khartoum (pop) 01/04/67McGuire, Go Home! 01/11/67The Venetian Affair 01/18/67Warning Shot 01/25/67Come Spy With Me 02/01/67Hot Rods to Hell 02/01/67One Spy Too Many 02/08/67A Fistful of Dollars 02/22/67Prehistoric Women 02/22/67The Devil’s Own 03/08/67The 25th Hour 03/15/67Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding 03/22/67In Like Flint 03/22/67Smoky 04/26/67Frankenstein Created Woman 04/26/67The Mummy’s Shroud 05/03/67The Busy Body 05/10/67Thunder Alley 05/17/67Welcome to Hard Times 05/24/67Caprice 06/07/67The Apartment ® 06/07/67The Great Escape ® 06/14/67The Caper of the Golden Bulls 06/21/673 Bites of the Apple 06/21/67Double Trouble 06/28/67You Only Live Twice 08/23/67In the Heat of the Night 09/20/67Beach Red 09/20/67Once Before I Die 10/04/67The Hills Run Red 10/11/67Hour of the Gun 10/25/67Jack of Diamonds 11/01/67Matchless 11/01/67Operation Kid Brother 11/08/67Clambake 11/15/67Hawaii (pop) 12/06/67Our Man Flint/In Like Flint ® 12/20/67Valley of the Dolls 02/21/68The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 03/20/68The Billion Dollar Brain 03/27/68How I Won the War 04/03/68The Power 04/10/68Kill a Dragon 04/10/68The Scalphunters 05/01/68A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die 05/01/68Cop-Out 05/08/68A Man Called Dagger 05/08/68A Stranger in Town 05/22/68Battle Beneath the Earth 05/22/68Day of the Evil Gun 05/29/68Navajo Joe 05/29/68The Devil’s Brigade 06/19/68The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell 07/03/68Countdown 07/03/68The Green Berets 08/07/68Custer of the West 08/14/68Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? 08/21/68Hang ‘Em High 09/18/68The Stranger Returns 10/09/68Salt and Pepper 11/27/68If He Hollers, Let Him Go 12/25/68The Brotherhood 01/15/69A Twist of Sand 01/15/69More Dead Than Alive 01/22/69The Sergeant 02/12/69Secret Ceremony 02/26/69Three in the Attic 03/26/69Where Eagles Dare 05/14/69A Fistful of Dollars/For a Few Dollars More ® 05/28/69Hard Contract 06/11/692: I, A Woman, Part II 06/18/69Death of a Gunfighter 06/25/69The Big Cube 06/25/69The Wild Bunch 07/16/69The Bridge at Remagen 07/30/69Stiletto 08/06/69Guns of the Magnigficent Seven 08/20/69Castle Keep 08/20/69Seven Golden Men 09/03/693 into 2 Won’t Go 09/03/69A Man Called Gannon 09/10/69Young Billy Young 09/17/69Death Rides a Horse 09/17/69Impasse 09/24/69On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who… 09/24/69The Valley of Gwangi 10/08/69The Good Guys and the Bad Guys 10/15/69The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly/Hang 'Em High ® 10/17/69On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 11/19/69The Undefeated 02/11/70The Only Game in Town 02/25/70They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? 03/25/70Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You! 04/01/70The Girl Who Couldn’t Say No 04/01/70The Kremlin Letter 05/06/70Naked Under Leather (The Girl on the Motorcycle) 05/27/70Tell Them Willie Boy is Here 06/10/70How the West Was Won ® 06/10/70The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm ® 06/17/70The Christine Jorgensen Story 06/24/70A Long Ride from Hell 06/24/70Too Late the Hero 08/05/70Patton (pop) 09/16/70Cotton Comes to Harlem 09/16/70Hell Boats 09/30/70Hornet’s Nest 10/07/70(4) Clint Eastwood UA Westerns ® 10/14/70Cannon for Cordoba 10/14/70The Mercenary 10/28/70House of Dark Shadows 11/04/70a.k.a. Cassius Clay 11/11/70C. C. and Company 11/25/70It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ® 12/16/70Burn! 12/16/70Underground 12/23/70Five Easy Pieces 02/10/71Little Fauss and Big Halsy 02/24/71The Great White Hope 03/24/71Raid on Rommel 03/31/71Valdez is Coming 04/28/71Patton/MASH 05/26/71Von Richthofen and Brown 06/09/71Brother John 06/16/71When Eight Bells Toll 06/23/71Zeppelin 06/30/71Klute 07/21/71Midnight Cowboy ® 07/21/71The Hunting Party 07/28/71What’s the Matter With Helen? 08/04/71Evel Knievel 08/18/71Dr. No/From Russia With Love ® 09/01/71Lawman 09/15/71Daughters of Darkness 09/22/71Hot Rod Action 09/22/71Soul to Soul 10/06/71The Skin Game 12/15/71Diamonds are Forever 03/29/72Frogs 04/19/72Cool Breeze 05/03/72Puppet on a Chain 05/10/72Swedish Fly Girls 05/23/72Four Flies on Gray Velvet 05/24/72Stanley 05/31/72Buck and the Preacher 06/07/72The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid 06/21/72Ben 07/05/72The Groundstar Conspiracy 07/12/72Shaft’s Big Score 08/02/72Come Back, Charleston Blue 08/16/72The Magnificent Seven Ride 08/23/72Dr. Phibes Rises Again 08/30/72Slaughter 09/20/72You Only Live Twice/Thunderball ® 09/27/72When the Legends Die 10/04/72Hickey and Boggs 10/18/72Blacula 10/18/72The Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb 11/01/72Asylum 11/08/72Hammer 11/15/72Unholy Rollers 11/22/72The Mechanic 11/22/72The Return of Sabata 12/06/72Trouble Man 12/20/72Across 110th Street 12/20/72Daughters of Satan/Superbeast 01/10/73The Last House on the Left 01/10/73Twitch of the Death Nerve 01/24/73Avanti! 01/24/73Pulp 02/07/73The Train Robbers 03/21/73Diamonds are Forever/On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ® 04/25/73A Criminal Affair 04/25/73The Five Fingers of Death 05/16/73Pickup on 101 05/16/73Sisters 05/23/73The Soul of Nigger Charley 06/13/73Battle for the Planet of the Apes 06/27/73Live and Let Die 08/01/73Dillinger 08/01/73The Little Cigars Mob 08/22/73The Outside Man 08/29/73Enter the Dragon 09/05/73Extreme Close-Up 10/17/73Gordon’s War 11/21/73Cops and Robbers 12/12/73The Sacred Knives of Vengeance 01/23/74Hercules/Hercules Unchained ® 02/06/74McQ 03/06/74Black Belt Jones 03/15/74The Class of '74 04/03/74Willie Dynamite 05/22/74Black Eye 06/26/74The Terminal Man 07/24/74Uptown Saturday Night 08/14/74The Education of Sonny Carson 08/28/74Return of the Dragon NOTE: The San Diego Union did NOT accept advertising for “X” rated films in the late 1960s and early 1970s so there were some weeks when it was unable to ascertain what was playing at the theater.

monika
monika on January 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

What a tremendous amount of valuable information! Great research job, RSM3853.

steveville
steveville on January 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Thanks RSM3853! I recall seeing a double feature of “Cabaret” and “Hello, Dolly!” there around late 1973 or early 1974. It was showing for one week only, and I went every day.

LomaUsher
LomaUsher on March 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

So, apparently the “Davenport’s Supper-Club” idea to save the theater hasn’t happened. The building is as derelict as it has ever been, and that is a great shame. The California is not a “great” theater of the golden age, but it is nevertheless a useful period theater with a fully rigged stage-house, and could make a wonder quartet with the Spreckels, Balboa, and Fox (now Copley Symphony Hall/Jacob’s Music Center) as a district of historic theaters. Perhaps there’s one more miracle left in the bag for San Diego’s great theaters.

Davenports
Davenports on March 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

You are correct on both counts, the project hasn’t happened yet, and there is one more miracle left for the Grand theatre. The theatre has been closed for over 20 years, this project has taken 4 of them to develop. No bldg diagrams, inside access, assistance from anyone except my team and myself as the City changed politicians like most folks change socks.

The new government is engaged now, check LinkedIn &Facebook today for the latest updates, I only address comments on this site because folks still use it.

It’s not enough to say we should save it there had to be a viable solution pertaining to its use as well to offer the city, community orgs and the community. It had to pass and be accepted by all of them and this project has been. That is the dedication of time.

Although it would’ve been wonderful to just have the city “give” the bldg through imminent domain it’s easier said than done. They own the Balboa, and Civic Center, not this one. We are currently in discussion with City officials as to the process of this one. Getting the building saved is important to all concerned but if were just a matter of money it would have been done by now, it isn’t.

Over 150k of development costs have been spent of my own funds to get this far so failure isn’t an option for us and the time delays ( as those not privy to the process see it) are irritating but necessary.

LinkedIn and Facebook will have the updates tonight. Check there going forward as I understand the community need for info, we are in the final phases to have the support of new government and in talks with our funders the long road has the end in sight.

This will be my final reply on the blog site I’m pleased San Diego still cares enough to comment on it and talk about it here, but the main conversation is on LinkedIn (649 users for the theatre, in the top 5% on all of the entire site) & Facebook (125 users) the conversation there should bring you up to speed. Not to know what’s happening is frustrating for everyone concerned so I try to keep the information accessible but not spread all over the web. Hope to see you out there the new postings go up tonight.

Davenport

billneill
billneill on March 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

HISTORIC CALIFORNIA THEATER AND YOUTH ORCHESTRA GROUP a pending, tax deductible, charitable corporation Phone: 619-281-2200 Email Site http://californiatheater.awardspace.us

This is just a fraud on the good people who want the HCT to survive. We all suspected this all along, but agreed to let it play out — now you see what we got — NOTHING BUT HOT AIR.

Prof Bill Neill.

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