Friday
Jun202014

August 15, 1928 - California Theater

The California Theater on 562 West 4th Street in downtown San Bernardino is among five remaining Art Deco theaters in California.  This beautiful 1,760-seat building began as a vaudeville and movie theater on August 15, 1928.  It opened to a sold out crowd with the movie "Street Angel" staring Academy Award winner Janet Gaynor.

The Wurlitzer model 216 organ was built in 1927 for the opening of the California Theater. There were a dozen 216s built for Fox West Coast’s movie houses in the state, and the California Theater’s organ is the only 216 still in its original location.  The Redlands’ organ is in storage in Palm Springs and Riverside’s is in the lobby of the Fox Theatre in San Jose.

Legendary humorist Will Rogers made his last public appearance in the California Theater before his fatal crash in 1935.

Currently the California Theatre serves as the home for Theatrical Arts International (host to several touring companies, plays and musicals), the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonia Mexicana, Worldwide Theatricals and Inland Dance Theatre, Inc.

Click here for a short history of the "Movie Palaces" of San Bernardino.