57 E. Commercial Street,
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Noyo Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Redwood Theatres Inc.
Architects: William Bernard David
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Streamline Moderne
The 650-seat Noyo Theatre, constructed by Redwood Theatres, opened May 4, 1940 with Claire Trevor & John Wayne in “Dark Command”, a Southern California premiere presentation. In 1976 the Noyo Theatre screened Linda Lovelace in “Deep Throat” and the police confiscated the print. Taken to court, the case was dismissed, but soon afterward an arsonist set fire to the theatre. Repairs were carried out and in the 1990’s “The Rocky horror Picture Show” became a firm favorite attracting large audiences.
In 1996, the theatre was renovated by Cinema West, who restored the main auditorium to its original glory. Additionally two smaller theatres were constructed in back of the original large auditorium. It reopened in January 1997 with It was taken over by independent operators in 2012. In 2022 the seats one auditorium were removed and replaced by 33 electric luxury loungers which have beer/wine service.
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Recent comments (view all 16 comments)
Good info Mike i AM FINALLY back on-line after a month of internet problems,just checking out what I have missed.
Tisloews,Glad you are back.I had the same problems.
The Willits News reported on June 3 this year that the city council had approved a resolution to change the name of Commercial Street to Seabiscuit Parkway. The date the name change will go into effect has not been set.
Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, was the final home of the racehorse Seabiscuit, whose grave on the ranch has become a tourist attraction. The Noyo Theatre hosted a special premier of the movie “Seabiscuit” on the afternoon of July 19, 2003, a few hours before the official world premier took place at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington.
Cinema West recently sold this theatre to a local couple. I helped remodel this theatre from one to three screens and now it’s being handed off. I used to drive there to teach the managers to build up movies on Thursday nights. Took them forever to get the hang of it. I remember driving home to Petaluma at 2:00am. Anybody who knows the area knows that Petaluma is a long way from Willits.
A few photos can be seen here, here and here.
Hi Cinema Lovers, This is Lois Hoover….. My husband, Jeff and I bought the Noyo Theatre from CinemaWest in 2012. This year will mark the 75th anniversary of its grand opening in May of 1940. We have been interviewing former owners, employees and customers of this lovely theatre and collecting artifacts, pictures and news articles for a short film that we are putting together in its honor. Please get in touch with me if you have any items of interest to share or would like to be interviewed on film. I’d love to meet and or talk to all of the above and more! I can be reached at . Thanks!
Hello Lois, Jeff,
Have tried contacting you this past few weeks. All email returned stated your mail was full/no capacity or mail client not plugged in.
I am listed above in 2nd posting: JCL, dated 4-24-09.
If you would like to make contact:
Best wishes, Jim
Hi, Lois. (Sounds like the title of that great classic comic strip-“Hi & Lois”…but I digress).Good to see your participation here. I had the honor of working @ the Noyo & helping with a revamp in 1990-91, also kicking of the 50th Anniv. with a mailer campaign & film festivals. I know a good deal about its history. Please see my comments via the Theatre’s reviews at Google Maps. You can also contact me with questions @ my e-mail: . Cheers!
Identical building to the Lark Theater in Lakespur California.
Not only identical to the Lark in “Larkspur”, CA, but also the Park in Lafayette, CA. the architect was also responsible for many other Art Deco theatres scattered throughout Northern CA & Southern OR. Sam Francisco’s Vogue, Bridge, and Lakeside (repurposed) also have facades with identical features.