Kinema Theatre

1211 Fulton Street,
Fresno, CA 93721

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres

Architects: G. Albert Lansburgh

Styles: Moorish

Previous Names: Fox Kinema, Rivoli Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Kinema Theatre, Fresno

The Kinema Theater was in operation from 1913 until it was destroyed by fire in 1919. It was designed by architect G.H. King.

A new Kinema Theatre was built on the site, designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh which opened in 1920. On April 9, 1952 it was renamed Rivoli Theatre and closed in 1954. It was torn down in December 1957.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 24, 2010 at 11:59 am

Click here for a photograph of the Kinema Theatre taken in 1930 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto & Mann.

TLSLOEWS on May 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Very nice photo and slideshow Brad.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 31, 2010 at 4:55 am

Two cards in the L.A. Library’s California Index cite articles that raise questions about the reported history of this theater. The 1913 Kinema might have been expanded, or replaced by a new building, in 1920.

A May 24, 1913, item in Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer says that San Francisco architect G.F. King had prepared plans for the $35,000 Kinema Theatre, to be built on J Street (since renamed Fulton Street) in Fresno.

A January 30, 1920 item in the successor publication, Southwest Builder & Contractor, said that Albert G. Lansburgh would prepeare plans for the $200,000 Kinema Theatre which was to be built at 1317-1321 J Street in Fresno.

I don’t know what the conflicting address is about (perhaps it was an error by the magazine), but a 1920 report of a Kinema being designed by Lansburgh, coupled with the low cost of the 1913 Kinema, suggests that either there were two theaters of this name in Fresno, or that Lansburgh’s design of 1920 was for a major expansion of the original 1913 theater. I’ve been unable to find any clarification of this mystery on the Internet. Fresno newspapers from 1920 might provide the answer, if somebody has access to them.

I should add that the theater in the 1930 photo linked in Brad Smith’s comment above does not look like anything that would have been built in 1913. The Spanish Colonial Revival style of the exterior was launched in California by the Panama-California Exposition, held in San Diego in 1915. By 1920, the date of the Lansburgh design for the Kinema, it was all the rage.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on August 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I wasn’t sure this was a photograph of the Kinema Theatre. If not the Kinema, is it possible it’s the White Theatre?

Impressaria Maria
Impressaria Maria on November 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Photo of outside from Pop Laval on facebook
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 30, 2015 at 10:07 pm

I’ve finally discovered what happened to the original Kinema Theatre designed by G. H. King and opened in 1913, and why it was rebuilt in 1920. Here is an item from the July 21, 1920, issue of Building & Engineering News:

“FRESNO, Fresno Co., Cal.— The immediate rehabilitation of the Kinema Theatre is planned, according to Frank Purkett, Manager. The structure was recently destroyed by fire with a loss of approximately $75,000.”

rivest266 on January 30, 2021 at 10:54 am

Reopened as Rivoli on April 9th, 1952. Grand opening ad posted.

MichaelKilgore on October 9, 2021 at 11:19 am

Motion Picture Herald, Jan. 19, 1952: “At the close of business January 12, Fox West Coast swapped theatres with Gamble and O'Keefe. The Tower, Fresno, is now operated by them and G&O have the Kinema there.”

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