Conventional theatre lore has generally hailed Santa Ana’s Temple theatre as the first cinema in Orange County, having opened in 1909. However, I recently stumbled across a picture that suggests the first movie theater in Orange County was possibly opened a few years earlier and at a different site all together. The Santa Ana Theatre (alternatively billed as the “Electric Theatre”), located on East Fourth Street, in Santa Ana, apparently opened around 1906 (possibly 1908), under the ownership of one “Doc” Roberts (Mr. Roberts is standing at the far left of the picture, beside his wife).
Thus far, I haven’t been able to find a great deal of information on this theatre, outside of an anecdote that Mr. Roberts was said to have stood behind the cinema’s screen and provided dialog/sound effects for the silent films being played.
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