The Star Theatre, also known as La Estrella Theatre by the old Latino community, was located at 717 Market St. near the corner with Seventh Street, just behind the Sather Block in West Oakland. The theater opened as the Marquee Theatre in 1914, 3 and c.1930 was renamed the Arabian Theatre. 1 In 1935 it was purchased and re-opened as The Star Theatre. 2 As the Star it became a Spanish-language theater showing mostly Mexican movies. This was during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema; famous movies by popular Mexican actors and actresses like Cantinflas, Tin Tan, Pedro Infante and Maria Victoria showcased at the Star.
At the time, especially during the 1930s and 40s, Market St. and 7th St. were the heart of the Latino community in Oakland and the Star Theatre was a focal point for the Mexican Latino community. The Theatre not only showed movies, it also had live shows with Mexican actors and music shows. The Star also had Raffle Nights and free prize giveaway nights, both popular with local Latina women. One of the managers of the Star Theatre was a man named Julio De Unamuno .
The Star Theatre closed in 1964 and was soon torn down during the Urban Renewal era and destruction of West Oakland that displaced many Latino and African American families from West Oakland. The Acorn high-rise housing project now stands where the Star Theatre was once located.
Links and References
- Star Theatre on cinematreasures.org
- Theater Reopened Under New Name Oakland Tribune October 14, 1935
- 1914 ad for Perils of Pauline in the Oakland Tribune May 24, 1914 (first known ad for the Marquee Theatre)