Fox Theatre

312 E. Main Street,
Turlock, CA 95380

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres, T & D Jr. Enterprises

Architects: William H. Weeks

Previous Names: California Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Fox Theatre

Where in the world is Turlock? It is in the central valley of California 13 miles from Modesto (George Lucas). Built and opened by T & D Jr. Enterprises as the California Theatre in 1919. In the early-1940’s, it, and the other theatre in town, the New Turlock Theatre, came under the ownership of United California Theatres. It is unknown when it came under the management Fox West Coast Theatres.

In late-November of 1954, while showing Spanish-language pictures, Fox West Coast closed the theatre suddenly. The city of Turlock had previously found twelve fire code violations which had gone uncorrected. So closing it at a time when theatre attendance was in decline and it was in need of upgrades, if not a remodel, was probably an easy call.

In January of 1955, the building was bought by a developer who planned to turn it into a bowling alley. In June of 1955, the ten lane Turlock Bowl opened on the second floor and then in December eight more lanes opened on the first floor.

When the Fox Theatre closed, the New Turlock Theatre became known as the Fox Theatre.

After being vacant for many years, It was destroyed by fire on June 29, 1972. The determined cause of the fire was children playing in the building. In July of 1973, the city demolished what remained of the building.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

EdwardD on October 11, 2008 at 8:17 am

I went to college in Turlock and went here in the 70’s. It was operating as a theater at least between 1970 and 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

I’m not sure that the Fox Theatre in the ACI photo lostmemory linked to was at Turlock. In 1942, the Fox was in the building in the postcard photo at the top of this page. In the 1950s it was converted into a bowling alley seen in this photo. In 1972 or 1973, the building was destroyed by a fire seen in this photo (the caption gives the date of the fire as July 1, 1973. I don’t know which year is right.)

The Fox name was supposed to have been moved to the Turlock Theatre in 1954, but there’s a photo of the Turlock with movies from 1958 and 1959 on its marquee. I’m beginning to question the claim that the Turlock was ever renamed the Fox. Maybe this house was the only Fox Theatre Turlock ever had.

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