El Rey Theater

230 West Second Street,
Chico, CA 95928

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El Rey Theatre 2012

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was opened as the Majestic Theater in 1905. The theater now has a very bland flat facade, but a nice orange and red marquee. The vertical sign is flat against the facade. In the 1930’s it was known as the National Theater, operated by T & D Jr. Enterprises chain. They changed the name to American Theater around 1940.

The El Rey Theater closed in March of 2005, and was scheduled to be gutted and converted into office and retail space with parking. However, in late-2007 it had re-opened as a live performance venue.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

Some discrepancy between the 1942 and 1980 photos. The earlier one may not be this El Rey.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

It might be a photo of this theater. Compare the 1942 photo to the March 2008 photo. The small building to the right of the theater looks similar in both photos.

kencmcintyre on June 2, 2009 at 9:45 am

Must have been a major remodel.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 2, 2009 at 9:48 am

Apparently it was. The 1942 photo is this theater. Here is a circa 1940 photo showing the American Theater. It is the same theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 11, 2009 at 10:04 am

It must have been a large store.

WJCoady on February 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm

The El Rey is showing movies again! The schedule is on the JMAX website,

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

The use of the phrase “store-front theatre” in the first paragraph of the description makes no sense. This building was built as a vaudeville theater in 1905, and has always been a theater, both before and after it was rebuilt following the 1946 fire.

Bill Coady is correct. The El Rey is showing old movies on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with very low admission prices. Furthermore, they take requests on the theater’s Facebook page. There are also many live events upcoming. Apparently the theater is doing well.

The “Save the El Rey” web site that Lost Memory linked to on January 22, 2008, no longer has anything to do with the theater, and now exists only to host advertising links. There’s no point in clicking on it.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

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