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AV Theaters & Bowling Centers

The Antelope Theatre was constructed by Antelope Valley College dean and professor of psychology, Dave Roach, in 1948. Originally operating with only one screen, the opening movie starred Cary Grant in “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.” At some point, the balcony section was converted to a second screen. During its course, several movies that had been locally filmed were presented here. Adjoining the movie theater was the popular bowling alley complete with a fountain and an upstairs pool hall.

The Antelope Theatre had ceased operating as a movie theater by the mid-1980s. In 1990, it was torn down and the site is now occupied by the 780-seat Lancaster Performing Arts Center (LPAC), which opened in 1991.

In 1950, the Lancaster Drive-In was opened, designed by J. Arthur Drielsma, as a single screen state-of-the-art theater with a 650-car capacity. The first owners were James Anderson and F. Scott. However, later competition with Jet Drive-In caused the single screen to become a triplex. By the 1980s, the lure of drive-ins faded and it eventually closed. Now the site, located on Sierra Highway and Avenue H, is home to the City Maintenance Yard and a Caterpillar dealership.

As an Antelope Valley resident, most of us are familiar with Brunswick Sands Bowl, or “the original Bowl,” which was constructed in 1958. With its “Jetsonian-Atomic Age” exterior, it was a wonderful example of Southern California’s “Googie” architectural style; a type of futurist architecture influenced by car culture, jets, the Space Age, and the like. This style was popular among many motels, restaurants, gas stations, etc. after World War II. Inside, the building had a cocktail lounge, a sunken dining room, a coffee shop, a banquet room, and a billiards room featuring a plaster mural of Egyptian figures by artist Milton Tuttle.

Still in operation (temporarily closed due to COVID-19) under the name “Bowlero,” the building is on the Los Angeles County Conservancy List of Historic Places, although it’s had some major architectural updates.

Sources include:

MOAH Collections

Southern California Edison Photographs and Negatives, Huntington Digital Library

Gurba, Norma H., et al. Lancaster, California Through Time. Arcadia, 2017.


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