172 N. Glassell Street,
172 N. Glassell Street,Orange, CA 92866
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Thank you cardboardroom. I will add your description beneath it in the photo gallery.
@DavidZornig: Sorry you had to wait for a late response here but it was mocked up as the Regent Theatre for “That Thing You Do!” (1996), where Old Towne Orange stood in for 1964 Erie, Pennsylvania. In the photo you shared, the adjacent building was adorned with a Woolworth sign – also a prop created for the film.
I just added a photo of the Orange Theatre as the Regent Theatre, with a film from 1964 on the marquee. It is clearly the same building. Was it mocked up as the Regent for one of the above films or another? There is a more modern bus in the background, and a police officer possibly blocking traffic with the exception of the period correct cars.
Featured in a couple of movies… Clockstoppers and First Daughter with Katie Holmes
2 articles on the theater. November 2015 and January 2016.
Please correct the name of the church. It is not “Son of Light Christian Center”, it is, Son Light Christian Center.
Additionally, this statement in the original article that the organ “is still playing for services today,” is incorrect. There hasn’t been an organ in this building for over 30 years.
Here is another photo:
Nevermind, answered my own question. Found the interior shots on the Son Of Light website. Same theatre as in the Junchen book, and the console is most defintely a Wicks and not a Wurlitzer!
Was there more than one Orange Theatre in Orange, CA? The Son Of Light website declares a “Wurlitzer Organ” having been installed there. But on page 710 of Junchens book, its said (with interior pictures) that Wicks opus 879,a 2/8 (and the last new Wicks threatre organ installed in a theatre) was installed in the Orange in 1929. Cost $17,500, less $10,075 for used organ traded in. Wonder where they got the trade in from!
1931 movie ticket and turkey drawing:
Here are a couple of my pictures of the Orange, taken September 2007:
Orange Theater in 1934. Tickets were 15 cents:
These two photos from 1949 show the Plaza Theater on South Glassell in 1949. The building is clearly not the Orange. There is no listing for the Plaza on this website, as far as I can tell.
Diamond Jubilee parade, 1963:
Then history of the theatre is located at: View link
Son Light christian Center purchased the building in 1976 and remains there after 30 years. Their first service in the building was March 28, 1976 (not 1978).
If anyone has additional information or pictures, please contact me at and I will update our history website. I am always looking for early newspaper articles and early pictures.
1934, courtesy of the UCLA Digital Archive:
Located one block north of the famous “circle” formed by the intersection of Glassell and Chapman in “Old Towne” Orange, the former Orange theater is still looking fine, and is being used as a church.
According to the history of the theatre on the church’s website http://www.sonlightoforange.com
the architect of the Orange Theatre was Harry J. Simons of Los Angeles.
Not stated on the website is that work commenced on building in around 1926 but was brought to a halt for some reason and the contract was completed by architect John Paxton Perine.
It opened on 22nd May 1929 with the movie “Molly and Me” starring Belle Bennett and Joe E. Brown plus a vaudville show and Wurlitzer organ music. It had a seating capacity of 1,300 and was operated by Fox West Coast-Langley Theatres.
It closed in the early 1970’s and briefly went over to being a live theatre which closed in 1975. The current church use commenced in 1978.
The Orange Theatre is located at 172 N. Glasell Street.
I saw several movies at the Orange around 1970, but by far the most memorable experience was when I went there to see the 1970 reissue of MGM’s BEN-HUR, in wide screen and Stereo sound, in its original premiere roadshow form with the overture music on the soundtrack.
A nice setting for a classic film.
I was in the second floor balcony and recall looking out the windows shown in the photograph on a sunny Sunday afternoon matinee. The theater looked the same in 1970 as it does in the photo above.
The Orange Theatre is now a church. It appears virtually the same as in the photograph today except that the vertical sign has been replaced by a large neon-lit plastic cross. The marquee shown in the photo is still on the building, but painted a single dark color and there are illuminated “dove of peace” symbols where the name ORANGE used to be. All ornamental neon is gone. Other than these changes, the exterior remains as it was.