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Before the Tower Theater

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:01 am
by shirleyken
Before the Tower Theater was built, a big playground occupied the N.W corner of Olive and Wishon. It had lots of swings, jungle bars, a carousel, and I don’t remember what else. In the mid-1930’s I lived in an apartment close by on Yosemite Avenue. I went to the playground a lot and will never forget the summer my mother wouldn’t let me go. A deadly polio epidemic had hit Fresno, and she’d hardly let me out of the house.

The apartment building we lived in sat next to a Presbyterian church on the corner. I just checked with Google Earth and found the church is gone, replaced by a parking lot. The two-story, square apartment building is still there, though.

By 1939 when the Tower Theater opened, we had moved elsewhere, but I recall seeing movies at the Tower many times. My most vivid memory is when GONE WITH THE WIND premiered at The Tower in 1940. What an exciting event! My parents and I had read the book and could hardly wait. We had to pay “roadshow prices,” which, as I recall were around $1.40 per ticket. Pretty steep, but we loved the movie and thought it was worth the price.