Anyone who has spent much time in downtown Fullerton (shame on you) is undoubtedly familiar with the Fox Fullerton, the once-stately movie palace opened in 1925 on Harbor Boulevard just north of Chapman Avenue. It’s been closed since 1987 and has survived threats of wrecking balls, redevelopment plans, and all kinds of weird shit since then, but it has weathered all the storms. And–thanks to the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation (FHTF) and a BUNCH of volunteers and donors—approximately $14 million has been raised over the last 10 years and it is more than conceivable that the theater will open again.
As a sign of that, this weekend, the Fox is hosting the first indoor showing of a movie since 1987: “Jaws.” It’s a perfect way to begin the summer, and all the hysterical fears about swimming in the ocean that anyone with a rational cell in their brain will feel. But along with the screening, one of the principal creative visions behind what helped make that movie not only a box office sensation but also a cultural artifact—the shark!—will be on hand to offer his perspective on helping to craft the film.
Joe Alves designed the shark and would soon receive an Academy Award nomination for production design for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The 82 year-old Alves will speak after the film with a presentation and be on hand to sign his new book, storyboards, etc.
“We are more than honored to show this quintessential summer movie as the first film inside the Fox in 31 years,” says Todd Huffman, FHTF Board Member. “And to have someone who was so integrally involved in the production design just makes it all the more special.”
The Fox, which may have functioning restrooms and pass the necessary building code requirements to open for limited events within a year to 18 months, has staged sporadic events over the past five years, from comedy nights and Day of Music, to Hollywood in Fullerton fund-raisers. But this is the first time it will host consecutive days of programming.
It’s still about $20 million from opening as a permanently viable venue, with a planned 20,000-square-foot addition, exteriors elevators and all the bells and whistles required. But Hoffman said this weekend’s film screening is both testament to the hard work that has went into the saving of the venue, and the promising future that beckons.
“This is just the latest step in helping to resurrect a piece of Southern California history that has been neglected for so long,” Huffman said.