Madera Theater

330 E. Yosemite Avenue,
Madera, CA 93637

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: T & D Jr. Enterprises

Architects: Alexander Aimwell Cantin, Alexander Mackenzie Cantin

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: New Madera Theater

Nearby Theaters

Madera Entry

Our small community misses this wonderful old theater. The original Madera Theater (former Madera Opera House) burned on November 30, 1940. This new Madera Theater was built in 1941, opening on September 5, 1941, when it was operated by the T & D Jr. Enterprises chain.

The New Madera Theatre was designed by father & son architects Alexander Aimwell Cantin & Alexander McKenzie Cantin, who, in 1945 former the architectural firm Cantin and Cantin.

Contributed by Frank Saburit

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 11, 2005 at 11:49 pm

The Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 gives a seating capacity of the New Madera Theater as 900 seats. By 1950 it was known as the Madera Theater and in that edition and the 1952 edition of F.D.Yearbook the seating capacity had increased to 1,320. seats.

Was a balcony added to increase capacity?

GaryParks on February 12, 2005 at 1:46 am

The facade of the Madera was nearly identical to that of the Del Mar in San Leandro. I photographed the exterior of the Madera in 1990. At that time the theatre was closed, but from some signage in the display cases, “Hoy,” and “Proximamente,” it obviously ended its exhibition days as a Spanish language house.

Frank Saburit
Frank Saburit on February 21, 2005 at 7:23 am

The original Madera Theater was built sometime in the late twenties. It was completely remodeled and modernized in the late thirties. The Grand Re-opening occured February 29, 1939, only to be completely destroyed by fire November 30, 1940. It was rebuilt on the same location in 1941.

Frank Saburit
Frank Saburit on February 21, 2005 at 7:51 am

The Madera Opera House occupied the same location at 330 E. Yosemite Avenue as far back as the late 1800’s. About 1912, Charles Leggett started showing the first movies in Madera in the Opera House.

The theater was rebuilt after it’s disastrous fire in 1940. On Friday, September 5, 1941, the headline of the Madera Tribune read, “CALIFORNIA’S FINEST THEATRE OPENS.” It was labeled “The pride of the San Joaquin,” by the theater management, and a capacity crowd of over 1300 attended the 6:15 P.M. opening.

LisaSchuh on May 12, 2005 at 11:44 pm

My father was Benny Walker and all 6 of his children along with our mother owned and operated the theater from 1969 until it’s closing in the late 80’s. It did in fact have a upper section and did have over 1300 seats. At the end of its era we did run Spanish features because a new 4 plex was built in town and the English was shown there. I have nothing but fond memories of growing up in the grand old theater and still own a mirror that hung in the ladies sitting area. I do have a drawing of the theater and when I get it scanned with gladly put it up on this sight.

kencmcintyre on November 18, 2008 at 3:30 am

Here is a report of the fire in November 1940:

tdiddy2015 on February 18, 2016 at 6:32 am

My family has lived next to this theater before I was even born. I used to see it whenever I went walking to the store with my cousins as a kid. I remember it was a huge building, and I ALWAYS wanted to go into as a kid. I was extremely curious of how it was back in its hay day. We have owned the house next to it since like 1978. My eldest brother said he went in there as a young child, but he didn’t say much about it. It would be really cool if there was pictures of the other side of the theater that shows my grandmas house. I have a picture of a wedding from the early 90s, and you and clearly see the theater in the back. I know this is an old thread, but it’s new to me!

tdiddy2015 on February 18, 2016 at 6:33 am

PS, this theater was demolish quite some time ago.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 8, 2022 at 12:01 pm

The first Madera Theatre was either a rebuild of or a replacement for the Madera Opera House on the same site. It opened in 1913 and was destroyed by fire on November 30, 1940. The rebuilt Madera, designed by Cantin & Cantin, opened on September 5, 1941. It closed in 1991 and was demolished in 1997.

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