303 Main Street,
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Previously operated by: Western Amusement Company Inc.
Architects: Simeon Charles Lee
Styles: Quonset Hut
Previous Names: Avo Theatre
This Quonset hut-style theatre was opened in December 1948 and designed by architect S. Charles Lee.
After decades as a movie house, the Avo Theatre was closed. It sat dormant until Moonlight Stage Productions took over the theatre and renovated the cinema for its live theatrical presentations.
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The Avo Theatre opened on 11th December 1948 with the movie “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” staring Edward G. Robinson. The owner of the Avo was Mr Aberahiam Shelhoup who owned and operated a shop in Vista (His son is still alive and works in the store today).
The lobby of the theatre is in the shape of an avocado and being the town of Vista had many avocado groves, hence the name of the theatre. Although the exterior and lobby area still exist as first built, the auditorium has been stripped of any decoration it may have had (including the removal of the proscenium opening) and is now painted a dark blue/green colour. It continues in use as a small town community theatre producing small scale stage productions.
Above details sourced from the Vista Historical Society.
The original seating capacity for the Avo Theatre was 700.
In September 2005, I purchased the original projection equipment and had it shipped to Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m in the process of restoring it. Sadly, the sound system wasn’t included.
Advertised on Vista Way in September 1979.
This site mentions that Luz and Tony Duran built the Avo along with many other buildings in Vista.
Here is another photo: