Empress Theatre, Hippodrome
The fully restored Crest Theatre marquee on the 60th Anniversary - showing the same film that played on opening night October 6, 1949.
|Address||1013 K Street|
It originally opened in 1912 as the Empress Theatre, and at that time was used as a vaudeville palace. It later became the Hippodrome. On September 14, 1946 the Hippodrome's marquee suddenly fell to the pavement below, killing a bystander, Mrs. Jessie Shirley Potter, 41, of Alta, who was crushed beneath the marquee. Joseph Brady, 40, was struck a glancing blow and sustained a skull fracture, broken collarbone, permanent brain injury and loss of hearing in one ear. Damages of $176,334.50 were sought by Potter's family and by Brady in superior court.
Shortly after the tragedy, in 1949, the building was completely remodeled and revamped to its current form as the Crest Theatre. During the 1950s and 1960s, it was one of the premier first-run movie palaces in the Sacramento area. As the decade turned to the 1970s, it was reduced to mostly sub-run fare. In the early 1980s, the Crest closed down for a time while several attempts were made to revive the theatre in many forms, including a dinner theatre. Finally, by the end of 1995, the Crest was completely refurbished and today its main auditorium (which has been left in its post-1946 unaltered state) is a multi-purpose theatre showing classic revival and specialty films, occasional live shows and lectures. Two additional cinemas were built adjacent to the original site around the time of the remodeling.
The Trash Film Orgy is an annual event extending through six weeks in the summer, with occasional Halloween and Christmas shows. It features cult cinema, live stage shows, live bands, local films, carnival-type games, a lounge (hosted by retrocrush.com), and audience participation. Live guests are occasionally featured and have included filmmaker Ray Dennis Steckler, actor Sid Haig and others. The current ownership has stopped hosting this event.
The Sacramento French Film Festival is an annual event held in July at the Crest Theatre. It celebrates the present as well as the rich history of French cinema featuring new releases and rarely seen classics. It is the only festival dedicated to French cinema in Northern California and one of only two on the West coast.
This is a film festival that takes place annually at the Crest. It is now in its 10th year. The two co founders are Margi Park-Landau and Sid Heberger, the manager of the Crest. Park-Landau wanted to create a place closer to Sacramento where Jewish films could be shown. All the films shown at the film festival relate to the Jewish experience in one way or another. Guest speakers, live music, and a nosh are all part of this two-day event. Of note, West Bank Story, the Academy Award winner for best short film premiered at the Sacramento Jewish Film Festival .
The Sacramento Film and Music Festival is an international submission-based film festival combined with local programs for both filmmakers and musicians. In 2008, the festival expanded to ten days with all programs hosted at the Crest Theatre. For its 12th year, in 2011, the festival has divided into two seasonal events: WinterFEST in January and SummerFEST in August, with both events continuing to include all genres and lengths of film.
The theatre was the location of a 2004 presidential debate between former Green Party presidential nomination candidate and current independent vice-presidential candidate Peter Camejo, and Norman Solomon on January 29, 2004, regarding the direction the Green Party should take in 2004.