El Rancho Theatre
16856 C Street,
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Previously operated by: Western Amusement Company Inc.
Architects: Howard George Elwell
Styles: Streamline Moderne
According to the Victorville Daily Press, Jack Baldock, a long-time community leader, built the El Rancho Theatre near where he closed his Victor Theatre. It opened on July 26, 1950 with William Bendix in “Kill the Umpire”. Baldock also owned the Mesa Theatre and the two drive-ins in Victorville. Baldock operated the El Rancho Theatre until he reluctantly closed it on May 20, 1984.
Vintage photographs show the theatre was often decorated with large banners and posters for special movies such as “Planet of the Apes”. Old-timers remember it for its many kiddie shows. A monthly program calendar from May of 1953 and a newspaper article with a photograph of Baldock sitting inside the auditorium near the time it closed can be seen at the Route 66 Museum, a few blocks away. It was twinned on October 8, 1976. It was closed on May 20, 1984 with a free screening of “The Bounty” starring Mel Gibson.
The building’s mid-century modern exterior, with poster cases and marquee intact is in fair but restorable condition and is now home to a Christian center.
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