Court Theatre

620 Main Street,
Livingston, CA 95334

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Showing 24 comments

manuel on March 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

The Court Theater has been demolished, Jan 2014. The reason was it cost too much to repair. The elder landmark is gone. Livingston to me will never be the same.

thejimmage on November 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

I grew up in Livingston; while I haven’t resided there since 1979, I have fond memories of the Court theatre. However, the best thing would be to knock it down. The building is a wreck. I recently visited Livingston & talked to a woman who recently got to go inside of the building; she said it looked horrible. Let the Court theatre go-it’s time.

kencmcintyre on December 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm

What is the status of the renovation? Any new information?

rogercourt on November 17, 2009 at 10:08 am

Thanks Joe. I have emailed you today. Only just saw your posting. Very excited. Best wishes Roger Court

papajoe on May 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

To Roger Court. I grew up in Livingston and witnessed the Court Theatre fire. I attended the old theatre regularly as a child. I have much info on Albert Stanley Court and his family and background of family in Canada and England as well as the old Court Theatre if you are interested. You may contact me at offline if you wish.

Joe Ulrich

GaryParks on March 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Vincent Rainey, architect of the Court, went on to design many theatres for the Syufy family. His signature designs, the Century domes in San Jose, are still in operation. Other domes were designed by him and built elsewhere, and he kept designing well into the multiplex era, indeed into the 1990s.

rogercourt on March 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

Thanks Joe. My P.C.skills are sadly lacking but I`ll certainly attempt the rout you suggest. Thank you

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Roger: Issuu has some issues of Boxoffice available online. I find them easier to search via Google than through the site’s own search feature. Use Google’s advanced search and use as the domain, and put boxoffice (single word) in the top box of the form, along with words specific to the subject you’re searching for. Fewer words are usually better than more.

rogercourt on February 28, 2009 at 5:24 am

Thanks Joe for your comments.Very interesting. They help me flesh out the story of that part of my family that came to America. I had heard about the cinemas in Atwater and Delhi from James Court a descendant of Albert and Stanley. Jamesson Jason also writes a comment (above). In the entertainment world of that part of California it would seem that the Courts were pretty big! For the sake of completeness I am fairly certain that the Stanley you mention was in fact Albert Stanley, Alberts son no doubt using his second name to avoid confusion. Stanley is in fact the maiden name of Stanleys grandmother(Elizabeth Stanley)and given to severalof Alberts children.
Thanks again. Are you able to tell me how I might access Boxofficebearin in mind that I live in Leeds England? Thanks Roger Court

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm

More news for members of the Court family:

Here’s a brief item from the October 13, 1945, issue of Boxoffice Magazine: “Construction has begun on the new Court Theatre on Third near C. by the A.R. Liner Co. of Merced. Stanley Court, owner, offers no guess as to when the building will be completed.”

And then from the May 18, 1946 issue of Boxoffice comes this item:

“LIVINGSTON, CALIF.— Without motion pictures almost a year, this town welcomed the recent opening of the new Court Theatre. It replaces a theatre destroyed by fire last July 12 and was built by Mayor Stanley Court, who with his father, the late Albert Court, gave Livingston its first motion pictures in the old town hall in 1912, and who later built the original Court Theatre.”
(I can’t absolutely swear to the accuracy of the dates July 12 and 1912, as the scan of this issue of Boxoffice is pretty sketchy and hard to read, but I’m about 90% certain they’re right.)

Also of interest, earlier issues of Boxoffice, including that of July 21, 1945, which reported that the fire had occurred, invariably refer to Stanly Court as the operator of the Livingston Theatre in Livingston. The item about the fire says: “The Livingston Theatre, Livingston, was the scene of a fire the other evening. The amount of damage has not been reported. Owner of the house is Stanley Court, who also runs the Atwater at the town of the same name.”

A few other issues also mention Stanly Court as the operator of the Atwater Theatre, and issues from the mid 1950s add that he was by then also operating the Delhi Theatre at Delhi.

rogercourt on October 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

A poet, three Court contributers plus reference to three other Courts some cinema, the Court theater. A hollow bone it may be physically, mannydoinock but in peoples minds it still seems to live and flourish.To repeat what I said in December `07 I am very interested in the enterprise of Albert Court who it seems created a place that was central in many ways to Livingston life. I am writing for a Kent Family History Journal an article which I hope will be of interest to Court family members and others on both sides of the Atlantic. Any contributions received will be properly acknowledged.I would love to hear any stories or reminiscences that relate to the Courts and particularly the Court Theater. Thanks Roger Court Leeds England. .uk Apologies to C.T. if this posting is felt to be inappropriate in any way.

TreesaCourt on October 21, 2008 at 10:38 am

Great idea to have both Court Theaters listed. Does anyone out there have an old picture of the original Theater? I have a picture of Albert Court standing outside one of the Court Theaters and from the movie poster he is standing by it may of been the original Court Theater he built.

TreesaCourt on October 20, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Lost Memory,
Thank you for the website referring to the previous Court Theater. I posted on Dec 3, 2007 stating that the original Court Theater was build by Albert Court and it did burn down in the early 1940’s. The Court theater that is waiting to be renovated is right next door to the Livingston Historical Museum and they are on Main Street in Livingston, CA
Theresa Court

TreesaCourt on April 5, 2008 at 11:04 am

Hello Jason, Read your post and if you are interested in Court Family Genealogy email me at
Theresa Court

manuel on March 17, 2008 at 11:14 am

hello Jason! I knew your grand-dad and grandparents. They were nice people. I know your dad Jim.
Kenny Machado used to be the film man, ran the projectors upstairs.
Your great-granddad used to tell us jokes in front of the Theater while we waited to get tickets.
The Theater was a great place to be on Friday nights.
Take care Jason.

jcourt on March 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Hello everyone!! My name is Jason Court I am the son of Jim Court and the grandson of Stan and Gayle Court and the great grandson of old Mr. Court. I have just found out that the Court theatre has been or is still going to be restored this is great news. It’s nice to hear that there is possible relatives out there(Roger and Theresa). This makes me smile to hear this news. The poem that Manuel wrote is great I love it. Hope to hear from you guys. Take care.

manuel on December 11, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Hello Roger. I believe Jim Court old man Court’s grandson still works for the Atwater, California Police department. You can probably get in touch with him there. Hope this helps.

rogercourt on December 4, 2007 at 12:55 am

There are now two Courts posting on this site. It would be really good to hear from other members of the Courtclanin Livingston and around. So, if you are a member of this family or know of someone who is could you either consider contributing or urge others to do so.I`m sure that the Court Theater restoration project will be the ultimate beneficiaries. Roger Court

TreesaCourt on December 3, 2007 at 2:11 pm

My visit to the Livingston Historical Museum on Dec 2, 2007, states the Court Theater that stands vacant was built by Vincent Rainey in 1945. The original Court Theater was built by Albert Court and located 1 to 2 blocks from the rebuilt Theater. It burned down in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s.
Theresa Court

rogercourt on December 2, 2007 at 1:23 am

I too have read that,Lost Memory. The History of Merced County, California, John Outcalt (1925) states the following:In 1917 Mr Court erected the Court Theater building and since that time has added to it and remodeled and enlarged it until it will now comfortably seat 250 people. Are we perhaps talking about two quite separate buildings? That seems a distinct possibility. could the Livingston Archivist perhaps help sort this out? Roger Court

rogercourt on December 1, 2007 at 9:29 am

I am particularly interested in the comment of mannydoinok.This may relate to a distant relative of mine Albert Court to emigrated to the U.S. via Canada in the 1890s. The 1920 census for Livingston lists him as a movie operator. I am researching my familys history in the U.K.and the U.S. If this is indeed my forebear then I would much appreciate any information that would help me fill out the picture of my family in California. Thank you in advance.Roger Court

manuel on October 20, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Me and grandma Delores Moreno used to walk from Davis Street across the 99 in the early 1960’s to go to the movies. There used to be small bulletin plates on the buildings announcing what movies were playing. I remember old Mr. Court and the way he used to make us kids laugh by doing tricks with his cigar, like slapoing it from his knee and catching it in his mouth. The Courts were nice people. Always friendly to us rascals. I wish they could restore the old place and show vintage movies there again. I used to see surfer flicks and old westerns there. Hope you get it running again

manuel on October 20, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Court Theater by manuel a. moreno

A small town
as this was
a kid for two-bits
siphoned two flicks
a Three Stooges short
or Tom and Jerry cartoon
at Court Theater,

now it stands
like an old man
on the street
people pass
a huge tomb
of rumors
whispered about for years
of young
and not so young
where santy claus
from the stage
tossed candy canes
into cottoned seats
of frenzied kids
when Christmas
was Christmas,
where pop and popcorn
damages walloped
with a dime where
Milky Ways and Life Savers
birthed out a machine
for a nickel,
now the old Court Theater is just
a stripped-down
sobbing in
a massive hollow bone
has gnawed on.

norml on April 21, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Both of my parents' families were from Livingston.

I believe the first Court Theater was a second-story store front a couple of blocks north of the present structure.

The Court family erected the present building in the early ‘50s, AIR. (My paternal grandmother was, for many years, the librarian at the neighboring branch of the Merced County Library.)

I recall seeing two pictures at the existing Court: The Wizard of OZ in probably its second re-release and Viva Zapata in its first release.

I was a kid. I don’t know the exact dates.

Glad to hear that the Court may be preserved.