400 E. Campbell Avenue,
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Architects: Frank Delos Wolfe
Previous Names: Campbell Theatre, Orchard City Theatre
The front portion of this theatre was originally a bank, built around the turn of the last century. The cream terra cotta facade with twin Doric columns was left untouched when, some years later, the rear of the building was extended and it became a movie theatre for what was then the little agricultural community of Campbell, near San Jose. The Orchard City Theatre was opened on September 18, 1920.
By the late-1960’s, the nearby Plaza Twin Cinemas and UA Pruneyard Cinemas provided a lot of competition. The Campbell Theatre became the Gaslighter Theatre, presenting old time melodrama and small-town style vaudeville. This has been its policy ever since. Audiences hiss the villain and cheer the hero, sing along with old songs, and are even allowed to throw popcorn!
The interior still had its balcony and has long been decorated to look like a 19th Century Old West Opera House, with the lobby done up as a saloon. Obvious relics from the house’s days as a movie theater included Moderne etched glass doors, and a small neon marquee and vertical sign.
It was reported in March 2009, that the Gaslighter Theater had been closed for several years, and the interior space had been gutted to be remodeled as a restaurant.
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