Kern Theatre

2024 Chester Avenue,
Bakersfield, CA 93301

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Parra's Theatre, Hippodrome Theatre, New Hip Theatre

Nearby Theaters

As the New Hip circa 1920.

Opened around 1909 as Parra’s Theatre. It was renamed Hippodrome Theatre around 1915 and in the 1920’s became the New Hip Theatre. It was closed around 1928.

Taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres, it was reopened February 10, 1938 as the Kern Theatre. It was closed due to earthquake damage in 1952.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

William on June 23, 2004 at 12:57 pm

During the 40’s the Kern Theatre was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres along with the nearby California, Fox, Nile and Rex Theatres.

JimSpohn on February 2, 2005 at 1:29 pm

The Kern Theatre started it’s life as Parra’s around 1909 then about 1915 the name was changed to the Hippodrome then in 1938 the name was changed again to the Kern Theatre. The earthquake of 1952 damaged the building to the point that it was no longer useful as a theatre. The building is still standing and is being used a retail store. The fly loft can me made out by viewing the building from the alley.

Eltejon1 on May 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

The Kern had wood floors——like the Montgomery Ward store just down the street—-showed movies after they first showed at the Fox theatre—-were owned by the same chain.

plinfesty on June 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm

THe Hippodrome had actually been closed for nearly a decade when Fiox West Coast decided to rename it the Kern and reopened it in 1938 as a temporary first-run until the Nile opened in a couple of months, where first-run policy was instituted there and the Kern became a second (subsequent) run theatre. Then, in the mid 40’s, the theatre was remodeled (new seats, carpeting, paint) to become a “continued first-run” theatre, linked to the larger Fox Theatre whereas a Fox double feature would move immediately to the Kern without the normal kind of clearance (or buffer)between first and subsequent run engagements. (it was normal to hold back giving films to other theatres in an area for a month or more between first and second run). So the Kern didn’t have to compete at all with other theatres and got to charge more than a second ruin would normally have charged. This was one of the non-competitive practices that the consent decrees banned in late 1949-1950.

rivest266 on August 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

February 10th, 1938 grand opening ad uploaded here.

Eltejon1 on August 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm

In the listing of downtown Bakersfield theaters—-the California between 18 and 19th on Chester was left out-went there often—-dad’s dental office was at 19th and chester—

DavidZornig on November 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Photo added as the New Hip circa 1920. Courtesy of Mark Mcgowan.

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