Majestic Ventura Theatre

26 South Chestnut Street,
Ventura, CA 93001

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rivest266 on March 17, 2023 at 4:24 pm

Held an reopening on July 11th, 1973 under Pussycat theatres management.

theventurafilmfestival on July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

The Ventura Film Festival shows films there every year.

MagicLantern on February 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

They’re now shooting for a May-June debut, with film festivals, local community artists and connections with Los Angeles indie exhibitors also taking place.

MagicLantern on February 12, 2011 at 1:07 am

Word is that they’re going to start showing movies again, possibly as early as this summer, with digital projection.

Ross Care
Ross Care on October 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Entrance & Ticket Kiosk:
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kencmcintyre on March 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Here is a December 1975 ad from the Oxnard Press Courier:

joliz on March 22, 2009 at 9:13 am

This is the old American Theatre, 530 E Main St. Ventura. It was located just a half block from the Ventura Theatre, which is around the corner on Chestnut street. It was a venue for the silent films in the 20’s and was owned by Chas. B Corcoran who built the Ventura Theatre at the end of that era. The building was made over into the County Stationers store and then became Bonnie’s, which burned down and was rebuilt not too long ago. Right now it is empty.

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I didn’t think the theater was in LA, as Life alleged. It wouldn’t make sense to tell someone to go to Ventura if they were somewhere in Los Angeles. Thanks for the information.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I noticed that photo before, Ken, and it’s not the Ventura Theatre. I think it might have been an older theater called the Mission. According to a couple of cards in the California Index, the Mission Theatre in Ventura was being operated by a woman named Jenne Dodge as late as 1939, and she had been running it for several years at that time.

My mom lived in Ventura in the late 1920s and remembers going to the movies there, but doesn’t recall the name of the theater and can’t recall much about it, other than that it was a fairly small place in an older building, with a small candy shop next door. She doesn’t even remember which street it was on. If she still had good enough eyesight I could show her the photo and she might recognize it, but she can barely see now.

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm

This is a photo from Life magazine, 1951. I think they are telling people to go to the Ventura, which was still open, as opposed to this photo being of the Ventura itself. If you disagree let me know.

summersglo on November 15, 2006 at 8:32 am

In 1972 I worked at the Ventura Theatre. At that time my paychecks were coming from Western Theatres. I sat in the little box out front and sold tickets. The concession stand was right inside the front door and to the left. The girls wore navy blue dresses with red stripes around the necks and two from hem to neck. The were of industrial polyester and were micro mini in length. Most of the workers were high school age kids, me included. We went through a number of managers. On Saturdays, after chores were done, we would explore the area behind the screen,a large stage area. A circular iron staircase led up to two levels with individual dressing rooms. Lots of odd junk was there. Mirrors, old theatre seats, boxes, rats.. lots of rats. The door to the old Organ loft, which then contained a huge speaker with a giant plastic flower arrangement on it, was covered in metal. I remember it fascinated me. I tried finding history information then. The only thing I found and this is a fuzzy memory at best, is that Shelly Winters played there as a child, when it was a Burlesque theatre, I believe touring with her family act. At some point, attendance was never very high, the theatre was bought by Playboy Theatres. Even so, it remained their family theatre (they had the Mayfair down the street and around the corner as their x rated theatre). After seeing one of my paychecks with the Playboy Theatre logo on it, my father made me quit the job.

kencmcintyre on October 14, 2006 at 7:35 am

I believe that the Ventura is the theater shown in the paragraph entitled “Enter the FTC”:

lastan67 on June 23, 2005 at 10:00 pm

In June of 1984 the movie theatre also became a concert hall! The opening concert was “The Pointer Sisters” who were hot at that moment in time. There last Recorde yielded the Hits “Neautron Dance” “JUMP” “Automatic”. Also an earlier song they recorded for another Alblum was re-issued and became the groups best known song which was “I’m so Excited”

The Ventura Theatre biggest movie they played was “Return of the Jedi”. Sadly the sound system there was never “above okay”
The Ventura Theatre was never a “Mann” theatre. The old Mann Theatre was called the “FOX”. I know I worked there in 1984-1985. In December of 1982 the movie theatre became a “Twin Theatre” and renamed the Mann Ventura Twin. Its opening movies were Screen #1 “THE TOY” and Screen #2 was “Airplane II”.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 26, 2005 at 9:52 pm

The New Ventura Theatre was built and operated by Principle Theaters and American Amusement Co. of Ventura. Construction began in December 1927 and it opened in August 1928. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2Manual/6Rank organ.

It remained an independently operated theatre most of it life closing in January 1965 by its then owner Gertrude Clark, due to lack of business.

By 1970 it was open again, now operated by Metropolitan Theatres. I don’t know how long their tenure lasted.

Since April 1997, the current operators Backstreet have used the building as a concert venue, having spent about $1 million to reopen the theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 26, 2005 at 9:07 pm

My September 10, 1971 issue of the L.A. Times has the Ventura Theatre listed in its Independent Theatres section. The theatre is no longer listed in my August 24th, 1986 issue of The Times.

In the 1971 paper, Mann predecessor National General Theatres lists three houses in its Ventura section: The Fox in Ventura, the Fox in Oxnard, and the Conejo (no exact addresses given). The Mann Theatres listings from the 1986 paper includes two multiplex theatres in Ventura: the Ventura Twin, at 208 E. Mills, and the six-screen Buenaventura on Highway 101. No other Mann theatres are listed for Ventura at that date.

MagicLantern on December 18, 2004 at 8:40 pm

Okay, I’ll be less rhetorical: this was never a member of the Mann Theatres chain.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 5:08 pm

Opened in 1928 as the New Ventura Theatre, the opening movie was William Haines in “Excess Baggage”

MagicLantern on July 16, 2004 at 7:35 pm

When was this ever a Mann Theatre?

MagicLantern on June 2, 2004 at 10:32 am

This was never a Fox theatre – that would’ve been the Fox Ventura on Mills. It appeared in the city directories in 1934 and was earlier located at 28 South Chestnut. It hasn’t shown films since 1985 or so; recently some large forceful object backed up and dented their marquee, which is depressing.