West Side Theatre
1331 Main Street,
1331 Main Street,Newman, CA 95360
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According to 209 Magazine, it did not open as the Newman Theatre, but the West Side Theatre. I Will submit an overview on a previous Newman Theatre in Newman from the 1920s.
From 209 Magazine, covering the 209 area codes:
“Aug. 1, 1940, was an exciting day in Newman. The day, or rather evening, when the newly constructed movie house named the West Side Theatre was opened to the public with grand anticipation. The comedy film The Boys From Syracuse was presented to a full house that opening night. The audience was in awe of the beautiful architecture, art deco design, stadium seating, state of the art lighting and amazing acoustics as they enjoyed the show. From the first sighting of the grand neon marquee, to the illuminated lobby welcoming patrons to the front entrance, to the spectacular grand opening event inside, the whole experience was reported to be phenomenal and one to remember.”
The Boys From Syracuse must have been Pre-release attraction as it didn’t Play the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco until August, 21, 1940.
Interesting how it bears such close resemblance to the Lark, Park, and Noyo theatres but with twice as tall a tower.
A few 2012 photos can be seen here, here and here.
Here is another photo:
The information in the comment above by thomas_gladysz is the final piece I needed to clear up the mystery. The West Side Theatre did indeed open as the Newman Theatre, probably in 1936 or 1937.
Southwest Builder & Contractor of March 6, 1936, mentioned plans by architect S. Charles Lee for a theater project at Newman. Boxoffice of December 18, 1937, said that the newly formed West Side Theatre Company was taking over two houses from the Harvey Amusement Company; the land and building of the Newman Theatre at Newman, and the leasehold on the Empire Theatre at Gustine.
I’ve been unable to find an exact opening date for the Newman Theatre, or when it was renamed the West Side Theatre, but I no longer have any doubt that they were the same house.
This web page (http://louisebrookssociety.blogspot.com/2010/04/high-class-pictures.html) contains Newman, California newspaper ads for two theaters in the town of Newman. The Star (with Gus Johnson as proprietor) was operating by the mid-1920’s, and the Newman in 1937. I am not sure of the relationship of either of these theaters to the West Side.
A photo of the current interior can be seen here:
Box 6, folder 16 of the S. Charles Lee papers concerns a Newman Theatre in Newman, California. Could that be this house under an earlier name? (The Lee website doesn’t provide any photos or drawings of the Newman Theatre.)
My most vivid memory of the West Side Theater is seeing “Jaws” there in 1976 with my wife when she was eight and a half months pregnant with our son. We would later tease about the scary scenes and music of that film being the cause of her going into labor. Based on that teasing, a teenage cousin of our newborn son bought him a stuffed animal shark which was immediately christened “Jaws.”
We’ve seen several live performances since the conversion to cabaret seating, and have thoroughly enjoyed them.