Fox Theatre Taft

514 Center Street,
Taft, CA 93268

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Related Websites

Fox Theatre Taft (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres, T & D Jr. Enterprises

Architects: Lewis Arthur Smith

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Hippodrome Theatre, Fox Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 661.745.4507

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News About This Theater

Fox, Taft  after twin was added next door

T & D’s 900-seats Hippodrome Theatre was opened around 1918. It became part of the Fox West Coast Theatres chain by 1930. The Hippodrome Theatre was destroyed by fire in February 1950.

On May 1, 1951, it had been rebuilt and was opened as the Fox Theatre with 1,078-seats. This is one of the theatres where you enter on the side (the back corner, actually) due to the fact that the theatre auditorium runs along the block behind stores. A restored advertisement on the back of the theatre has the slogan ‘the place to go’.

The marquee is excellent, and an extension covers a neighboring storefront. The theatre had a single screen, but there are five poster boxes. The external ticket booth is long gone, but the lobby was not glassed in completely.

The Fox Theatre was closed in January 2011, it reopened in January 2012. The theatre seemed to be in very good shape. It operated with a program of concerts, movies, live performances and other events. It was closed in December 2022.

The Fox Theatre Taft was reopened on February 17, 2023 with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” & “Avatar: Way of the Water”.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

CSWalczak on January 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm

The theater has been closed and the most recent operator has begun to remove equipment: View link

Twistr54 on January 31, 2011 at 9:25 am

Such an awesome marquee, it should be saved and the neon restored, they are not made like this anymore,,,, move it to a new theatre and restore it.. It appears to be similar to the PIX that was on Hollywood Blvd,(Now Henry Fonda Theatre, they should of kept the neon marquee) huge flashing neon colors, just beautiful !!

ib_tamilee on June 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

Great news, the Fox Theater is opening back up. Marty Stuart is performing for the theater Friday, June 10, 2011.

Kent on January 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Reopening planned for 2012.

Senorsock on February 18, 2012 at 1:16 am

Reopening is here!

Kent on February 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Opening weekend went well. There are some photos in this issue of the Taft Independent

Kent_C on November 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to covert to digital projection

Digital Conversion is completed

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

The only item I’ve found about this theater in the trade publications so far is this one from the December 6, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World:

“Carnival, Night Football Fails to Stop This Manager; He Has a Midnight Show

“When Taft, Cal., an oil town, celebrated its twentieth anniversary recently, so many evening attractions popped up that it appeared the town’s theatre was doomed to "slim pickings.” A tent show came in for the occasion, and a night football game was on the program.

“Did Manager James Gleason of the Fox Hippodrome call it Black Friday and quit? Nothing like that. He merely figured that the night would be young after the football game and the tent show.

“So he went ahead with plans for a midnight show. The city’s anniversary committee worked with him, sold tickets for the show, did extra advertising to plug the picture and supplied stage talent for a share of the receipts. The committee received a neat sum for its efforts. The theatre earned $70 more than its average evening receipts.”

As the article refers to the Fox as “the town’s theatre,” the other houses in Taft must all have closed by that time. I’ve found references to a Olympia Theatre, renamed Photoplay Theatre in 1914; a Star Theatre, renamed Optic Theatre in 1916; and a Rex Theatre, operating in 1917. Given the time spread, these might have all been the same theater operating under five different names.

I still haven’t been able to discover if the original Hippodrome Theatre, built in 1917-18, was entirely demolished to make way for the West Coast Hippodrome in 1925, or if part of the original structure was incorporated into the new house. However, this item from the November 16, 1917, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor is probably about the original Hippodrome:

“Taft—A permit has been issued for the erection of a moving picture theater on three lots on Center street, which have been leased for ten years by Turner & Dahnken of San Francisco. The building will be 78x118 ft., two stories in front, brick construction. An air cooling plant will be installed. The estimated cost of the building is $10,000.”

rivest266 on December 12, 2022 at 12:41 pm

closed per September 22nd article:

The Fox Theater is closed, temporarily at least, and the West Side Recreation and Park District is in contact with the building’s owner to see if it can be reopened.

There are numerous problems with the landmark downtown theater that resulted in it being closed earlier this month.

MichaelKilgore on March 19, 2023 at 7:14 pm

Boxoffice, April 21, 1951: “TAFT, CALIF. - Replacing the old Hippodrome Theatre, destroyed by fire in February 1950, Fox West Coast will open its new $300,000 Fox Theatre here May 1. The showcase has 1,078 seats.”

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