Red Lantern Theatre
134 S. Brea Boulevard,
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The Red Lantern Theatre, at a cost of $25,000 and seating 900, opened in March of 1922 and was Orange County’s largest theatre to date. A simple ad in the Fullerton Daily Tribune proclaimed it as “Orange County’s most beautiful and most original picture and vaudeville palace”. The lessee of the Chinese-themed theatre was L.A. Schlessinger, who in 1915 built the County’s first theatre for the purpose of movies, the West End Theater in Santa Ana. The Brea Historical Society says that the opening attraction was “A Game Chicken” starring Bebe Daniels.
In the 1930’s it was renamed the Brea Theatre and about this time, according to the Historical Society, had a manager named Robert Gumm whose niece Frances Gumm became Judy Garland. Always an independent, it received a modern facade and marquee in the early 1950’s.
Closed in the 1970’s, it was being used as church before it and most of the downtown area was demolished in 1987.
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