Victoria Theatre

460 Fifth Street,
Gustine, CA 95322

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2007 at 3:50 am

This house was also known as the Valley Theatre, from 1948 until it closed in 1954, according to Mrs. Snokes' history.

The history also tells about an earlier theatre called the Gustine Opera House which showed movies from the time of its opening in May of 1912 until it was destroyed by a fire (which originated in the projection room) in 1920.

I’ve run across a card in the L.A. Library’s California Index which claims that there was also a Gustine Theatre in Gustine in the 1930s. The card cites a Motion Picture Herald article of February 15, 1936, which says that an Elwood Laws had leased the Gustine Theatre. It’s only the library’s caption on the card that says that the theatre was in the town of Gustine. I don’t know if this was yet another name for the Victoria, or was another theatre altogether, or is just a mistake in the index (I’ve previously found a number of others.) It seems to me that if there’d been a second theatre in Gustine at that time then Mrs. Snokes would have mentioned it in her fairly thorough history.

I’d be less inclined to skepticism in this particular case were it not for the fact that there was a fellow named William Gustine who was in the theatre business in the San Joaquin Valley during the 1930s, and it has occurred to me that the Gustine Theatre in question might have originated as one of his operations and, if named after him, could have been anywhere in the region.