Studio Theater, Sacramento California

Date added: May 17, 2022 Categories: California Theater
South front (1997)

Completed by 1946, the Studio Theater was a post World War II addition to the amusement facilities of Sacramento's thriving business district. The theater was constructed on the 1200 block of K Street, on property that was in residential use at least through 1915. The whole city block had seen a drastic change from distinctly residential in the late-1800s to entirely commercial by the mid-1900s. The Studio Theater was a separate facility to the east side of the Esquire Theater (built in 1940) and to the west side of a multi-store commercial structure that extended to the comer of K Street and 13th Street. A brick portion of the Studio Theater's east wall suggests that the theater may have shared a wall with a commercial structure to the east, such as the one on the 1952 Sanborn Map, or the theater may have been built using a remaining wall of a previously existing structure.

The theater's opening day was Friday, September 26, 1946. The first four shows the theater offered to its patrons were Tall In The Saddle, The House We Live In, Canine Patrol, and The Stork Club. An advertisement in the theater section of the Sacramento Bee touted that the new Studio Theater was "delightfully streamlined, unbelievably comfortable [and] exceptionally safe." A big safety feature was the building's reinforced concrete construction and comfort features included wide seating rows, spacious aisles, and air-conditioning (Sacramento Bee 1946).

No further coverage appears to have been supplied by the media regarding the construction or the grand opening of the Studio Theater. The low amount of attention given to this theater, as compared to that given the neighboring Esquire Theater in 1940 (Sacramento Bee 1940), for example, may be due to post World War II activity and press coverage. This smaller, less flamboyant theater also may not have been as grand and new in the public eye as were the movie houses of the late 1930s and early 1940s, such as the Times, Crest and Esquire theaters.

By the mid-1960s, the building was called the Encore Theater (Sacramento Bee 1965). By 1996, the building had changed owners and names several times. Other names included the Capri Theater, the Pussycat Theater, Club Can't Tell, Metro Metro, Upstairs Downstairs, and Zorba's (Carissimi Rhorer Associates 1982). The theater building's last use was as a nightclub called the Pantages Theatre, which was operated by Matias A. Bombai (Pantages Theatre letterhead).