Fresno's iconic Tower Theatre celebrating 80 years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Strokes of light pink paint are bringing Fresno's Tower Theatre into the now.

"I had to strip the metal off, back to the bare and re-prime it and redo it over because it was all peeled everywhere," said Alan Nyitray.

Restoration is huge when it comes to preserving this local icon. For 80 years, it has brought a sense of wonder, with its 80-foot tall neon tower casting an array of colors over Olive Avenue.

"The custom neon and the word 'tower,' it is one of the most photographed images in the Central Valley," said Jana Christensen.

The history of this landmark begins in the December of 1939 when it originally opened as the 20th Century Fox Movie House. Christensen said it was the prime place in town to catch a flick, with the ticket price of about a quarter.

"Mom and dad would drop the kids off and they would be here all day watching movies with all the popcorn they could eat," she said.

Inside, one of a kind murals glow in the dark, and handmade wool carpet adorns the floors. The art deco themed interior was restored in 1989. The history of this place goes beyond the building itself, Christensen said many people have shared very special moments inside their walls.

"We've got stories of, people having their first kiss here, people who got engaged here," she said.

In 1992 it was placed on the National Register of historic places adding to its status. Today, a whole district in Fresno is named after the iconic building and the theater hosts more than just movies.

"This last year in 18 we had more shows than ever," she said. "We are really excited that we are going strong in our 80th year, that the community has come out and supported us and loved us."

And they continue to seek out that support through community funding. Currently, the marquee is being refurbished and expected to be completed by next week. If you would like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.
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