California Theater

136 N. Euclid Avenue,
Ontario, CA 91762

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres

Architects: G. Stanley Wilson

Previous Names: Ritz Fine Arts Theatre

Nearby Theaters

California Theater

The California Theater was opened in 1919. By 1941 it was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres as a District 2 house. It was still open in 1956, but had closed by 1957.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

I’m not sure. I didn’t have any information to show that it was still standing, either. If I can get out there I will take a look.

kencmcintyre on April 5, 2008 at 4:57 am

I’m taking the old road (66) tomorrow from Pasadena to Ontario, so unless I get waylaid I should be able to figure out the status of this one.

BobHarlow on April 5, 2008 at 5:15 am

I remember going with my parents to see “Giant” in 1956 or ‘57.
It was unusual for a movie that popular to show at the California.
Most of the big films played up the street at the Granada.

In the early ‘60’s, the California ran triple features of horror
and action movies . Lots of AIP releases and Steve Reeves gladiator
type films.

The California had a balcony that was closed most of the time.

kencmcintyre on April 5, 2008 at 5:23 am

On one of the other pages, a contributor mentioned that the Park was on the east side of Euclid, just south of the California. I will look for that one as well. It’s not listed here on CT as of yet.

kencmcintyre on April 6, 2008 at 6:21 am

The last address on the 100 block is 132, then there is a vacant lot on the corner. I think the vacant lot was the California. A few doors south, there is another vacant lot which was probably the Park.

kencmcintyre on July 14, 2009 at 1:15 am

From Boxoffice magazine, March 1958:

Lew Decker is now the owner and operator of the California Theater, Ontario. Lew is the brother of exchange and theater owner Sam Decker, who owns the El Miro and Majestic theaters in Santa Monica.

kencmcintyre on January 19, 2010 at 6:42 am

Here is a May 1970 ad from the Pomona Progress-Bulletin. Ritz Fine Arts should be an aka. Kind of a pretentious name for an adult theater.

BillCounter on March 18, 2011 at 1:20 am

Regarding the Park Theatre:

The address is 120 or 122 N. Euclid Ave.
It’s listed as the Euclid at 120 N. Euclid in the 1923/24 and 1926 directories. It’s listed at 122 N. in 1928, still as the Euclid.

It’s the Forum at 122 N. Euclid in the 1937/38, 1940 and 1945/46 directories. It’s the Park in the 1948 / 49 directory.

Other Ontario theatres that don’t yet seem to have listings:

Isis Theatre — 228 N. Euclid Ave.
“Warm in Winter, Airdome in Summer” — ad in the 1912/13 city directory.

Euclid Photoplay — 137 N. Euclid Ave.
“Everybody meets everybody here — High Class Refined Motion Pictures — Films Changes Three Times Weekly — We Lead Others Follow” — ad in the 1912/13 city directory

American Theatre — 470 W. 2nd
It’s in the 1919/20 and 1923/24 city directories as an Ontario address. I don’t see a W. 2nd currently existing in Ontario so either we had some relabeling or the directories are in error — perhaps it’s a Pomona address.

BillCounter on March 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm


The American Theatre mentioned in the post above is indeed a Pomona address. In the classified section for 1923/24 it’s listed as an Ontario business, but it’s a mistake. Looking at the alphabetical sections for both Pomona and Ontario makes this clear.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 8, 2018 at 6:18 am

The earliest evidence of the California Theatre I’ve found was this project noted in the May 23, 1919 issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor:

“Ontario- J. [sic] Stanley Wilson of Riverside is preparing plans for a two-story brick theater building to contain an auditorium seating 700 and ten offices, to be erected in Ontario for Dr. McClelland.”
The July 25 issue of the same publication had this item:
“Ontario- Dr. C. McClelland expects to begin work at once on the new California theater building at Euclid Ave. and B st., to cost $30,000.”
It’s possible that the California opened before the end of 1919. The 700-seat California and the 500-seat Euclid are the only theaters listed for Ontario in the 1926 FDY.

SWB&C appears to have gotten the architect’s first initial wrong. He was surely Riverside architect G. Stanley Wilson, who in the 1910s worked under Myron Hunt on the Mission Inn in Riverside, and later was responsible for designing a number of the expansions the hotel underwent over the years.

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