Before Stockton became known as Hollywood North in the 1960s, It was well known for having a growing list of theatres housing live entertainment and moving pictures.
When you say theatre in Stockton, you’re most likely thinking of either the Stockton Civic Theatre, the Bob Hope Fox Theatre, or the two Regal Cinema locations. However, did you know that there were EIGHT previous theatres in our city’s history that were each referred to as “The Stockton?”
It all started back in March of 1850, when the Stockton House at El Dorado & Channel Streets was converted into a make-shift theatre, solely for the entertainment of pioneer merchants & miners. The “Stockton House Theatre” only lasted a total of 3 months, but then the historic Stockton Theatre popped up on Main and El Dorado 3 years later. While the best in theatre at the time played there, it all came to an end when the theatre was damaged “beyond repair” by a mysterious fire the night before the 4th of July in 1890.
In 1907, the East Market Street theatre was briefly known as “The Stockton” until it closed down for several months and reopened as The Bell. The Stockton Hot Mineral Baths—where basically moving pictures were shown nightly during mineral baths—joined the theatre legacy in 1908.
In 1913, the Stockton Picture Palace opened up on 33 E. Main St., became known as The Stockton in 1914, changed to The Strand in 1922, and closed up shop in the mid-1920s. Then came the next Stockton Theatre on 19 S. El Dorado in 1925—which met its demise in the 1970s to make room for the West End Redevelopment Project. And finally came the theatre built on 1825 Pacific Ave in 1945 which eventually became the four mini theatres known as the Stockton Royal Theatres.
Which brings us to where we started, with Stockton Civic Theatre—which was founded in 1950 and continues to house amazing performances from skilled talents, the Bob Hope Fox Theatre—where to this very day hosts a classic movie series as well as live entertainment, and Regal Stockton Holiday Cinema 8 & Regal Stockton City Centre IMAX Cinema—providing numerous screens playing the biggest blockbusters Hollywood has to offer. You could say Stockton has a thing for theatrical entertainment…