El Rancho Theatre
114 Forrest Street,
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Previously operated by: Long Theaters
Firms: Corgan & Moore
Styles: Art Deco
A large Art Deco style theatre built across the square from the Rita Theatre and the Uptown Theatre. Owned by Long Theatres, it was opened on February 2, 1940 with Preston Foster in “Geronimo”(The Story of a Great Enemy). The El Rancho Theatre burned in early-1970’s, and could not be saved despite being located one block from the fire station downtown. The fire was started by a workman who was servicing the AC system, who was smoking and evidence pointed to ashes starting a dust fire in the air ducts. Building was engulfed in minutes. Tomasita, the downtown cat, survived this fire in addition to the earlier fire at the Venus Theatre.
Oddly enough, this fire put Long Theatres in a position to where the chain folded soon thereafter, while boosting Frels Theatres which was on the verge of folding, since Frels Theatres now had a hold on all of the Victoria market without competition.
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