California Theatre

West F Street & South Madera Avenue,
Kerman, CA 93630

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The California Theatre opened in August 1946.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 6:35 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

J.H. Boyd, who recently purchased the California Theater in Kerman, announced plans to remodel the front.

kencmcintyre on April 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm

This is from the Fresno Bee in December 1946:

KERMAN (Fresno Co.), Dec. 12.â€"Four hundred Kerman children will be guests tomorrow at the first of a series of happy Christmas theater parties in 16 valley communities. The party will start at 1:30 p.m. in Kerman’s new California Theater. The hosts will be Jack Rahl, the owner, and the Fresno Bee.

The California was opened last August as the community’s first modern theater building. The cost was approximately $35,000. The theater is fully air conditioned. It has new motion picture and sound equipment, including a 14 by 18 foot sound screen. The seating capacity is 491.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 30, 2009 at 3:59 am

There was an earlier California Theatre in Kerman, and a Kerman Theatre too. It looks as though neither of them operated for very long.

Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of June 10, 1944, said: “The Kerman Theatre, located in the Kerman Mercantile Bldg., Kerman, Calif., opened last week….” The item said that the theatre was “sponsored by” Mr. and Mrs. F.J. Robertson of Kerman and by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Kolp of Sterling, Colorado, who intended to move to Kerman after disposing of their Colorado business. This was apparently Kerman’s first movie house. The town incorporated in 1946, with a population of 1050.

That’s the only mention of the Kerman Theatre I’ve found in Boxoffice (though various later items misname the California Theatre as the Kerman Theatre.) But there are frequent mentions of the two California Theatres. The October 20, 1949, issue of Boxoffice said: “Portuguese Hall here was acquired by Jack Rahl and William Brown for remodeling into a motion picture theatre, known as the California. It seats 400.” After serving as a theater, the venue went back to being Portuguese Hall. There are recent photos of it here. The June 29, 1946 issue of Boxoffice said that, following the last show, the motion picture equipment was removed to make way for a Portuguese celebration.

Under the headline “Plans Second at Kerman” the March 9, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said: “Jack Rahl will build a theatre on a site he purchased recently at the corner of Madera Avenue and F St.. He recently bought out the interest of his former partner, William Brown, in the California Theatre here.”

Mr. Rahl soon took on his son-in-law as his new partner. The September 14, 1946, issue of Boxoffice said that Jim Hanson, part owner of the new California Theatre, had dropped leaflets from a plane to advertise the opening of the new house. Rahl and Hanson operated the California until 1950, when the April 11 issue of Boxoffice reported that they had sold the house to J. Boyd, former operator of the Brisbane Theatre in Brisbane.

The June 23, 1951, issue of Boxoffice said that the California had taken on a new look, the box office and foyer having been remodeled. Joseph H. Boyd sold the California to Robert V. Deck of Fresno in 1956, according to the September 26 issue of Boxoffice that year. That’s the last mention of the California I’ve found.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I totally screwed up one of the dates in my previous comment. In paragraph three, it should read October 20, 1945, not October 20, 1949.

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