1013 K Street,
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Originally on this site was the Empress Theatre, designed by architect Lee DeCamp as a vaudeville theatre which opened in December 1911. It was rebuilt as the Hippodrome Theatre, opening on April 29, 1918, again used first for vaudeville, with movies as part of the program, the opening bill featured Rin Tin Tin in “Tracked by the Police”. Movies were still part of the Vaudeville bill in the late-1920’s. By the early-1940’s the Hippodrome Theatre was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres.
After almost 20 years showing first run films and vaudeville shows, the interior of the Hippodrome Theatre was gutted in 1946 and the Crest Theatre was built inside the existing outer shell of the Hippodrome Theatre.
The Crest Theatre opened on October 6, 1949 with Mario Lanza in “That Midnight Kiss”. In attendance from Hollywood, were the stars of the movie Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza. Government officials included Governor Earl Warren (later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), and Honorable Belle Coolidge, the first woman mayor of Sacramento. Searchlights filled the air as the theatre was properly christened. Seating was provided in the auditorium for 1,217 on a stadium plan, with a stepped section at the rear.
The Crest Theatre showed films exclusively until late-1979 when it was closed due to poor ticket sales, the decline of the K Street mall, television and the rise of the multiplex.
In 1986, the theatre was re-opened by a group of local residents and continued showing films. The grand reopening took place on November 18 1986, with the MGM musical “Singin' In the Rain” starring Donald O'Connor, who attended in person. Mr O'Connor was given a pair of scissors and, with a smile, snipped the celluloid ribbon across the front doors and the Crest Theatre was in business again. In 1995, the Crest Theatre completed a one million dollar restoration which returned the 975-seat theater back to its original Streamline Moderne look, featuring a fabulous gold-leaf interior. Two small auditoriums were created in the basement of the building.
Over the following years, the Crest Theatre has been host to many different types of shows and events. It continues to host a program of classic and recent films. Concerts with artistes such as Cab Calloway, B.B. King, Dave Brubeck and a variety of comedy shows such as Bernie Mac, Carrot Top, Sam Kinison and The Mommies. Community events include the popular Sacramento Symphony ‘Jeans and Beer’ and ‘Mocha and Mozart’ series. In addition, the Crest Theatre is frequently used for private events such as political fundraisers, receptions, movie screenings, conferences, employee orientations and weddings. The two small basement auditoriums were closed in March 2013, and films were no longer scheduled in the main auditorium. However, by 2015 classic films were being screened.
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