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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

Abandoned Perris Theater

Cinema came to Perris in the 1930’s in the shape of an outdoor open air theater.

The success of that outdoor theater inspired Tom Sharp to build the glorious art deco Perris Theater on the adjacent block.

The 400 seat Perris Theater, with its round windows, swanky entrance and stunning sign, trimmed in neon, opened in 1946.

The first film to screen was “She went to the races”, starring James Craig.

Decades later the theater fell in to disrepair, and was eventually purchased by the city. It’s poor infrastructure makes it unusable, but the abandoned building remains as a local historic landmark


The Perris was used as a location for the 1993 movie “Calendar Girl.”

It played the role of local theatre “The Chief” and was painted accordingly.

Many locals refer to it as “The Chief” to this day.


Southern California #137 - last visited February 2023

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