Fox Theatre

514 Center Street,
Taft, CA 93268

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Fox, Taft  after twin was added next door

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The West Coast Hippodrome Theatre was opened around 1925. It was part of the Fox West Coast Theatres chain and was still named Hippodrome Theatre in 1950, when it was listed as having 1,078 seats. By 1952, it had been renamed Fox Theatre. This is one of the theaters where you enter on the side (the back corner, actually) due to the fact that the theater auditorium runs along the block behind stores. A restored advertisement on the back of the theatre has the slogan ‘the place to go’.

The marquee is excellent, and an extension covers a neighboring storefront. The theater has a single screen, but there are five poster boxes. The external ticket booth is long gone, but the lobby was not glassed in completely.

The Fox Theatre was closed in January 2011, it reopened in January 2012. The theatre seemed to be in very good shape. It operates with a program of concerts, movies, live performances and other events.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Apparently the immediate threat to the Fox has been relieved: View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm

The theater has been closed and the most recent operator has begun to remove equipment: View link

Twistr54
Twistr54 on January 31, 2011 at 11:25 am

Such an awesome marquee, it should be saved and the neon restored, they are not made like this anymore,,,, move it to a new theatre and restore it.. It appears to be similar to the PIX that was on Hollywood Blvd,(Now Henry Fonda Theatre, they should of kept the neon marquee) huge flashing neon colors, just beautiful !!

ib_tamilee
ib_tamilee on June 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

Great news, the Fox Theater is opening back up. Marty Stuart is performing for the theater Friday, June 10, 2011.

Kent
Kent on January 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Reopening planned for 2012.

http://www.taftmidwaydriller.com/features/x1015652602/Back-by-popular-demand-The-Fox-Theater

http://taftindependent.com/taft-fox-theater-reopening-soon-p227-90.htm

Senorsock
Senorsock on February 18, 2012 at 3:16 am

Reopening is here! http://taftindependent.com/foxy-lady-opens-once-again-p246-90.htm

Kent
Kent on February 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Opening weekend went well. There are some photos in this issue of the Taft Independent

http://issuu.com/taftindependent/docs/ti_2-24-12_all

Kent_C
Kent_C on November 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to covert to digital projection

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/405978513/taft-fox-theater-digital-projection-upgrade

Digital Conversion is completed

http://www.taftmidwaydriller.com/article/20131025/NEWS/131029775

Kent_C
Kent_C on November 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Correct number of seats: 729

Correct phone number: 661 765-7469

Correct web site: www.taftfox.com

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

The only item I’ve found about this theater in the trade publications so far is this one from the December 6, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World:

“Carnival, Night Football Fails to Stop This Manager; He Has a Midnight Show

“When Taft, Cal., an oil town, celebrated its twentieth anniversary recently, so many evening attractions popped up that it appeared the town’s theatre was doomed to "slim pickings.” A tent show came in for the occasion, and a night football game was on the program.

“Did Manager James Gleason of the Fox Hippodrome call it Black Friday and quit? Nothing like that. He merely figured that the night would be young after the football game and the tent show.

“So he went ahead with plans for a midnight show. The city’s anniversary committee worked with him, sold tickets for the show, did extra advertising to plug the picture and supplied stage talent for a share of the receipts. The committee received a neat sum for its efforts. The theatre earned $70 more than its average evening receipts.”

As the article refers to the Fox as “the town’s theatre,” the other houses in Taft must all have closed by that time. I’ve found references to a Olympia Theatre, renamed Photoplay Theatre in 1914; a Star Theatre, renamed Optic Theatre in 1916; and a Rex Theatre, operating in 1917. Given the time spread, these might have all been the same theater operating under five different names.

I still haven’t been able to discover if the original Hippodrome Theatre, built in 1917-18, was entirely demolished to make way for the West Coast Hippodrome in 1925, or if part of the original structure was incorporated into the new house. However, this item from the November 16, 1917, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor is probably about the original Hippodrome:

“Taft—A permit has been issued for the erection of a moving picture theater on three lots on Center street, which have been leased for ten years by Turner & Dahnken of San Francisco. The building will be 78x118 ft., two stories in front, brick construction. An air cooling plant will be installed. The estimated cost of the building is $10,000.”

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater