5110 Telegraph Avenue,
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Architects: Alexander Aimwell Cantin
Previous Names: Claremont Theatre, Pussycat Theatre
This theater was located on the corner of 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland’s Temescal district. It opened in 1914 as the Claremont Theatre, a neighborhood movie theatre. In 1926 architect Alexander Aimwell Cantin was employed to remodel the theatre
On November 3, 1939, the name changed to the Tower Theatre. Fox West Coast Theatres operated it during the 1940’s until the 1960’s. Starting in the early-1950’s, the theatre specialized in foreign and art films.
Mann Theatres took over in the early-1970’s. The neighborhood had started to decline and the Tower Theatre largely showed action and second-run films. In January 1976, Walnut Properties, the parent company of the Pussycat adult theatre chain, took over operation and the Tower Theatre became a porn theatre.
The Tower name disappeared in 1977 and was replaced by Pussycat. Neighborhood activists spent many years trying to get Pussycat out of the theatre. The Pussycat Theatre was shut down in October 1989 due to the Loma Prieta earthquake.
It then sat empty for several years until a fire damaged it and then in December 1998, the city of Oakland demolished it. The site now sits empty with a chain link fence surrounding it. There has been much debate about what to do with the site, but a theatre does not seem to be an option.
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