CATCHING A RIDE around town in Sacramento

Sacramento, the capitol of California, has many a tree lined shady street. It's actually a very nice town...until you deal with how it has spread out into ongoing traffic, freeways...the usua.

Click on either image to see them larger.

This card, mailed in 1922, shows the Hippodrome Theatre in the background which opened in 1918. Previously it had been called the Empress where vaudeville was the mainstay.
By late 1927 the theatre was showing her age,10-14 hrs per day of usage was hard on the old girl and there was new stuff coming out of Hollywood. The shows had gotten bigger and the stage needed reworking Also, there was no organ so all shows required an orchestra and attendance was down. In short, she was tired. There was the usual talk of closure and demolition but a new operator came on the scene - West Coast Theatres, a theatre chain based mainly in California.
In Spring 1928, West Coast Theatres came in and pumped new life into her to the tune of $150,000 (about the cost of the original Empress). They ripped out the side boxes to put in a grill for the pipes of the new $35,000 Wurlitzer (The name in theatre organs), repainted the three panel mural bracketing the proscenium with the Goddess of Spring and installed new flooring and rigging for the stage. They recovered every seat in the house in leather and remodeled the restrooms. It was still a vaudeville house with three shows a day (four on Sunday) and movies shown in between the vaudeville. The opening night performance was headlined by William Desmond, a nationally known star that usually played the Orpheum circuit and also included a film from Warner Brothers, "Tracked by the Police" starring no one less than that hottest of hot Hollywood properties - Rin Tin Tin!
The release of "The Jazz Singer", the opening of the Memorial Auditorium (1927), the Alhambra (1927) and the Fox Senator, changed the scene for entertainment so the Hip was changed from vaudeville to first run big pictures shortly after the major remodeling on September 2,1928. In 1932, the Skouras Brothers, Spyres, George and Charles took over the management of over 500 Fox-West Coast theaters. The Fox Film Company (Later 20th Century Fox) retained ownership but gave the three brothers management control. Included in this transaction were the Fox Senator (912 K Street), Fox Capitol (615 K Street), Alhambra Theatre and the Hippodrome.
THE END OF THE HIPPODROME - 1946    In the mid 1940's Fox West Cost Theatres led by Charles Skouras, had decided to do another remodeling of the Theatre. They had drawn up plans and were in the process of getting the necessary permits when the decision of when to close the Hippodrome was made for them. On September 14th, 1946 during the construction of a neighboring building, the sidewalk marquee crashed down killing at least one person. Fox West Coast closed the Hippodrome and began remodeling. (SOURCE: The Crest Theatre)
Today it is a movie theatre called the Crest Theatre and images and information about it can be found here.

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