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I am so glad to hear this. I was in this part of town a few years ago and my heart sank to see how badly a lot of these old relics had detiorated. I am so thrilled to know that someone is going to take this gem and bring it back to its former glory. As far as I understand the Los Angeles Concervancy is trying to refurbish downtown L.A. and make it more of a tourist destination. Hopefully that means restoring and reopening a lot of these old theatres. If any of you are interested in seeing dowtown L.A. in the 1920s watch some of Harold Lloyds films such as Safety Last, Girl Shy and For Heaven’s Sake. He shot a vast majority of his features and many of his shorts in downtown L.A. a Culver City. They are great glimpses of life more than 80 years ago.
Just thought I would poke around and see if there was any update on The California. There was a flurry of info for a while there. In particular I was wondering if david young had any updates since he seems to be the authority on this place. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this theater. If the Balboa which sat decaying for years can make a magnificant comeback, so can this treasured realic. From reading the posts there seems to be so many people behind the restoration of this theatre (especially San Diego residents such as myself). I have a feeling that one day soon many of us will see this theatre shine again. Here is to The California Theatre and the hope that it can once again provide the public with entertainment in the 21st century and beyond!
Paul, You are correct about both the year and the architect. The theater was opened in 1924 and R.E. Struve built it. Struve also built the Calrsbad Village Theater in downtown Carlsbad in 1927.
Upon doing some research at the Carlsbad Library, I found a book on Oceanside which mentions the Margo (Or Sunshine Brooks Theater). It says that it was originally named for Rancho Santa Margarita but that name was far too long for a marquee so they shortened it to The Margo Theatre. In the 1950’s the name was changed to The Towne Theatre.
I remember this theater from when I was a kid. In fact I believe I saw Titantic there with my mom, my brother and my grandma. It was part of the Carosel Shopping Center in Oceanside.