Spurgeon's Hall

206 W. 4th Street,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

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Jim Sleeper, the late Orange County historian wrote the book “Great Movies Shot In Orange County", in which he covers early Santa Ana movie theaters. The first movie ever shown in Orange County was at Spurgeon Hall (built in 1882 and demolished in 1913). The event happened on June 25, 1897 and the film was the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight, which took place in Carson City, Nevada on the previous St. Patrick’s Day.

Mr. Sleeper notes that, “Beginning in 1902, Edison moving pictures became a regular part of Spurgeon’s Saturday night vaudeville program". In June of 1903, Thomas Tally of Los Angeles began showing movies at the hall under the banner of Electric Vaudeville. One of Tally’s early presentations was George Méliés “A Trip to the Moon". In 1907 Tally opened his own Electric Theatre in Santa Ana at 211 E. 4th Street.

Other early theaters, mostly storefront operations up to the year 1914, mentioned in Mr. Sleeper’s book are: the Airdome, Big Tent, Bell, Cosy (Empire, Orpheum), Dixie, Elite (Majestic, Santa Ana), Grand Opera House, Lyceum (Casino, Bijou), New Metropolitan, Novelty (Richelieu, Metropolitan) and Temple.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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