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Stockdale 6 Theatres

Photo from the Scott Neff collection.
5430 Stockdale Hwy
Bakersfield CA 93309

Record #1855  
 Opened: August 21, 1974
 Closed: May 27, 2000
 Current Use:
Architect(s): Eddy, Payner, Renfro & Ass
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: AMC Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Paul Linfesty.

AMC opened Bakersfield's first multiplex theatre on August 21, 1974. Four auditoriums sat approximately 275 seats each. Two smaller houses sat 140 and 125, respectively. Opening attractions were California Split (on two screens), The Sting, Death Wish, Animal Crackers and Arnold.

The theatre opened with common width screens, but at least the correct aspect ratios were used (1.85, 2.4). Animal Crackers was even shown properly at 1.37, even from a full-frame print! But this was not to last. In the summer of 1976, the theatre went to a 2.05 screen for scope in the four larger theatres, probably an attempt to enlarge the screen. At least 1.85 stayed the same in these auditoriums. in the two smallest, 2.05 was used for BOTH ratios.

Dim, pink projection with Radio Shack shelf speakers (one in each auditorium) was the preferred method of presentation here. Despite this drawback, the Stockdale 6 rapidly became the big success in town, featuring such blockbusters as Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and National Lampoon's Animal House.

In 1979, the theatre upgraded two of its theatres for Dolby Stereo in time to show Alien. Nineteen eighty-three saw the addition of surround speakers in those auditoriums. Then in 1986, something remarkable happened. The projection standards skyrocketed with bright illumination that stayed bright, month after month after month. All of a sudden, this became the theatre to see films properly illuminated. Then in 1989, Ultra-Stereo was added to the four theatres not already equipped with Dolby. Unfortunately, they used AMC's famous ceiling mount speakers, with left stage info coming from two left ceiling speakers, right stage from right ceiling speakers, and surrounds from the two rear ceiling speakers.

In January, 1997, the theatre installed SDDS (and upgraded its speakers) in one auditorium for Evita. Unfortunately for this theatre, business came to an almost standstill when the nearby Edwards Stadium theatres opened. Business plummeted so badly that in the fall of 1997, the theatre switched to bargain fare. It managed to find its nich for a while, but the double whammy of the Edwards and the Pacific's opening in 1999 caused the theatre to finally call it quits in 2000. AMC originally built its theatres so they could be quickly converted to retail space (booths had projectors sitting on platforms just a few steps up from ground level, with each of the three booths sandwiched in between two auditorium entrances). So all that was needed was to remove walls and fill in the sloped floors. Today the building is used as a Factory-2-U clothing store.

The last day for movie showings at the Stockdale 6 was on Sunday, May 7, 2000. For the last three days of ads, the theatre had in big print, Thank You, Bakersfield, for 25 years.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

July 1999 photos from the Scott Neff collection.

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Last featured 1/23/2005. Last edited 1/17/2024.

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