Marina Theatre

219-221 North 3rd Street,
Port Hueneme, CA 93041

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Marina Theatre

Opened by 1947 at 219 North 3rd Street as the Melody Theatre, it operated as such until 1961, at which point the address changed to 221 North 3rd Street until 1968, at which point it became the Marina Theatre. It closed in the 1970’s and was demolished – a residential home currently sits on the site.

The small naval town of Port Hueneme was home to two theatres – the second of which, the Mini Cinema, showed adult films through the 1970’s.

Contributed by MagicLantern

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

GaryParks on August 25, 2004 at 2:27 pm

The Melody/Marina was a Quonset-style theatre with a very simple Moderne facade which followed the arched profile of the Quonset. The marquee was semicircular, horizontally echoing the arch shape of the facade.

MagicLantern on August 25, 2004 at 6:34 pm

Actually, I’ll amend that “two theatres” estimate by adding that the SeaBee base has a largish cinema called the Needham Theatre, at which I saw a double-bill of “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” in the early 1980s. Some photographs of the Needham can be found here:

and there’s another one called the Station Theatre at Point Mugu, information on which can be found here:

lastan67 on June 23, 2005 at 10:45 pm

Wrong! The other theatres in Oxnard in the 1970’s were “THE FOX” “CARRIAGE SQUARE” AND THE “MARINA CINEMA” which was at one time called “THE jerry Lewis Theatre”. In 1980 The Marina Cinema started playing XXX but it was never called Mini-Ciniema. In 1984 The Marina Cinema went back to regular movies and was re-named “The Channel Islands Theatre”. It was closed for go in the late 1980’s.
The Fox theatre in Oxnard Closed in the Fall of 1982. The Carriage Square theatre was turned into a twin theatre around 1972. In 1984 they added 3 more screens. In 1974 The Esplande Mall had a new theatre with three screens open! Sadly by the end of the 1990’s all of these places along with “The Skyview Drive-In” were all closed.

mondostrange on July 8, 2005 at 4:47 pm

Does anyone have pictures of these theaters like the Skyview Drive-in?

MagicLantern on July 8, 2005 at 6:40 pm

The Mini Cinema was located at 631 West Hueneme Road, later became a bank and is now currently vacant, as is most of the adjacent shopping centre. At no point did the Marina and the Mini exchange names. There is currently a World Market in the space where the Esplanade 3 once sat.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm

The Melody/Marina Theatre was designed by architect Loy L. Smith, according to an article about quonset hut theaters, by Helen Kent, in the January 3, 1948, issue of Boxoffice. Smith is probably best known as the architect of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

In 1924 Smith designed a theater that was to have been built in Alhambra, California, but the project was abandoned. It was to have been a 1400-seat house called the Indian Theatre, and would have featured an entrance courtyard in the manner of the Hollywood Egyptian and the Alex in Glendale. Had it been built, it would most likely have been one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most impressive theaters.

After having considerable success in the 1920s, Smith seems to have fallen into obscurity, and by 1948 was living in suburban El Monte. The Melody is the only building he designed after the 1920s that I’ve ever heard of. At least he finally got to see one of his theater designs built, even if it was only a small quonset hut building in a distant town.

Irene805 on July 22, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I have a newspaper article that shows the original Melody Theatre was built in 1946. Due to a fire in 1949, the theatre was destroyed. The Melody Theatre had its grand re-opening on December 16, 1954. I also have an ad dated 1946 which shows the first theatre opened in Port Hueneme on July 13, 1946. As for Oxnard, there was the Lyric Theatre, The Victory Theatre, The Vogue Theatre, Oxnard Theatre, El Teatro Theatre, and Fox Theatre. There was also The 650 Theatre which was located on Oxnard Boulevard in 1971. It showcased adult movies. I am only listing those theatres that existed before 1970. I have ads for all of those theatres I just listed.

Irene805 on July 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Sorry, I forgot to mention the name of the first theatre in Port Hueneme was called the Grand Theatre.

Irene805 on July 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Also in Oxnard, The Strand Theatre. I am trying to find exactly when the Melody Theatre opened because from what I have found through the archives of the newspaper, The Melody Theatre did not open for business in 1948. I have gone through 1947 and the Melody was already in business.
It was likely a year or two before. I am still going through the archives.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Irene805: The Boxoffice article I cited was published in January, 1948, but as the article was about the quonset hut type of theater, not any particular theater, the movie houses it mentioned might have been built anytime in the previous few years.

Civilian theater construction was highly restricted during WWII, and the government usually permitted new theater construction only to replace theaters that had been destroyed by some disaster, or in places that had military bases or large factories doing war-related work. I believe that Port Hueneme fell into the first category, so it’s possible that the Marina Theatre was built sometime during the war. But given its mention in a January, 1948, magazine article, it would have to have been in operation before the end of 1947 at the latest.

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