12852 Main Street,
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Architects: Austin Widman
Functions: Live Theater
Styles: Streamline Moderne
This little theatre showed old movies when I went there in 1971 to see "Hud" and "Hondo". It was built and opened in 1923. In 1939 it was remodeled in a Streamline Moderne style to the plans of Santa Ana based architect Austin Widman. 1941 & 1943, the Gem Theatre was listed with a seating capacity of 293 and in 1950 it was listed as having 410 seats and the address was given as 220 N. Euclid Street (this part of Euclid Street has now been re-named Main Street).
I later learned in a newspaper article how the theatre had achieved notoriety for itself, (becoming the first porno-movie house in the city in the 1970’s) then closed down by the city of Garden Grove for "indecency" by a city campaign, largely due to the fact that it was right across the street from the Joy Bells Christian Bible Bookstore, and many patrons didn’t like what they saw.
The Gem Theatre became a live theatrical performance venue in 1979 (after a remodeling) and it closed in early-2006. It re-opened again on June 28, 2008.
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