And Now for Nothing Really Different: Yellowing Observer Bemoans Loss of Fox Block Boondoggle


Dive! Dive!

The folks who write stuff for the Fullerton Observer are either really dumb, or really….

Aw, Hell I can stop right there.

Here’s a bit from page 5 of the recent edition of the bird cage liner noting the reconstruction of the McDonald’s outlet on Chapman and noting that the Council’s failure to blow six million bucks to move it a couple hundred feet has caused the Fox Block project to go belly up and implies that somehow this put the renovation of the Fox Theater in jeopardy.

Wrong! The council finally acted responsibly last summer when they pulled the plug on an emergent disaster of their own creation. And wrong about the “renovation” bullshit, too. Notice how the Observer casually insinuates the idea of “renovation” into the “Fox Block.” Apart from the theater there is nothing to renovate, of course. But the two things were never tied together – except to manipulate the under intelligent.

The whole monstrosity was tied to the Fox Theater restoration to tap into the emotional support for that and gin up support for another downtown monstrosity of corporate welfare. Of course the crew of the S.S. Observer is devoted to the idea that keeping Redevelopment bureaucrats and parasites employed is job one, and common sense be damned.

What? I can't hear you.

Added to the unintentional high-larity is the writer’s assertion that the developer “spent hours” designing a new Mickey D’s that matched the FHS architecture. Well, he may very well have spent a few hours. The product looked like it.

Instead of bewailing the loss of a sure-fire failure, the Observer should be asking what sort of accountability is going to be demanded of the idiots who cooked up the Fox Block mess in the first place – bureaucrats and electeds, alike.

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  1. #1 by Ling Cod on September 17, 2010

    Sloppy writing. At least the renovation of McDonald’s is all on their own dime, isn’t it?

  2. #2 by Rain on September 17, 2010

    Early on in the renovation – restoration blither over the Fox Theater, the owner of that property wanted to sell in for $120,000.

    I don’t recall where I ran across that number but I do remember the dollar amount.

    This was well after the theater had closed (except for the once or twice per year “events” in which folks were all supposed to show how much they cared about “saving” it as an example of Socialism in a small city).

    How many millions of taxpayer dollars has the City Council blown on this to accomplish nothing but give the Lefty’s fodder for their silly newspaper?

  3. #3 by helen logan on September 17, 2010

    city “o” Fullerton wiki entry now states the Fullerton Observer, Fullerton’s only independent “newspaper”, dropped its court case to be legally found a newspaper. Now that Sharon Kennedy may no longer legally call herself an editor, she will return to her crayons and coloring book and tout herself as an artist.
    the Fullerton Observer, the city’s only independent newspaper not a newspaper.

  4. #4 by Snakes on September 17, 2010

    As somebody who has lived his entire life in Fullerton – 30 years – I was disappointed in the responses from the candidates about the Fox Theatre. (refer to the current edition of the Fullerton Observer)

    The diehard supporters of the Fox Theatre are TOTALLY out of touch with the younger citizens of this city. They would be hard-pressed to find anybody in my age group, outside of their inner circle, who cares about it being preserved. I wish the candidates would see the Fox Theatre for what it is – a pet project for the aging populations of Fullerton.

    There’s nothing wrong with venues that appeal primarily to older people. I am not attacking older Fullerton residents in any way.

    I just wish the candidates would wake up. You are running for election to represent Fullerton citizens of ALL ages. Do you care that the younger generation feels no attachment to the FOX Theatre?

    I asked several of my high school classmates at a BBQ a couple years ago what they thought about the FOX Theatre. The sentiment was unanimous – none of us have any intention of going there, much less supporting it with our donations. When the current crop of supporters is gone in another 30 years, you will need Fullerton residents like myself to patronize the FOX Theatre. Don’t count on us being there.

    I sincerely hope the candidates will rethink their support of the FOX Theatre.

  5. #5 by Anonymous on September 17, 2010

    Snakes, maybe in 30 years the Fox will look good to you. Meanwhile, what’s your idea of fun around here?

  6. #6 by Snakes on September 17, 2010

    That’s certainly possible, but I think you missed my point or else I failed to communicate it properly.

    People in my age group have no sentimental attachment to the Fox Theatre. If my history is correct, it closed in 1987. I’m far too young to remember if I attended a show there with my parents. My childhood memories of the Fox Theatre are of homeless people living inside and starting fires. That’s it!

    The majority of the Fox supporters are old enough to remember the theatre during its glory days. I don’t have those memories – and neither does anybody else in their 20′s or 30′s – so the inclination to donate money or patronize the place isn’t there.

    Thirty years from now, as long as pensions and other taxes continue to skyrocket, residents of California might be unable to afford going to the Fox Theatre. You know, this possibility isn’t that far-fetched. I wouldn’t laugh it off.

    So my question to you is this: Have the backers of the Fox Theatre ever paused to consider the long-term future of this place? What happens if the attendance fades and the expenses can no longer be paid? Then what?

    I hope you care enough to consider this possibility, rather than dumping the problem into the laps of the younger generation to deal with.

  7. #7 by anulese k. margo on September 18, 2010

    snakes, im from that older generation the baby boomers who lived in fullerton when the fox theatre was still open. rarely did anyone go there in the 1970′s and 1980′s because it was run down and an unpleasant experience. at one point it became a porn theatre. in the 1950′s and 1960′s it was popular place to drop off the kids and get rid of them for the afternoon. saturdays the fox theatre was like a crazy day care where kids of all ages goofed off, threw candy at each other, ran up and down the aisles all against a backdrop of snow white or pinocchio disney cartoons.
    when determining whether a building is historical, the big question that must be answered is waht significant events happened there or what is so intrinsically unique and valuable about the existing architecture?
    the answer for both these questions is nothing. porn movies, disney movies and being built in the ubiquitous movie theatre style of the 1920′s does not make the fox theatre a historical landmark that must be preserved. the fox theatre is just an eyesore viewed through the rosy nostalgic glasses of a few aging baby boomers who for some unknown reason seek shelter against time in a damp, mold-infested imaginarium. they need to get real.

  8. #8 by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

    Valid question, I think. I suppose the Fox’s supporters are counting on the entire community embracing the theater as a cultural resource whether they have any personal memories of it or not. I was only in the place once as a child to see two second run movies, and it was a little seedy. That experience has nothing to do with my desire to see the place renovated as a cultural and entertainment destination for residents of the city and as a way to bring people from outside of the city to our downtown where they can spend money in other places while they are here.

    So, just speaking for myself, my lack of personal memories of the Fox has not prevented me from contributing to its future renovation. I see it for what it is, an irreplaceable piece of both Fullerton’s past and a reminder of a golden time in motion picture production in California. There are few others like it in the whole county.

    I can see myself going there for decades to come to see movies, music, and whatever else might be on the restored stage. Are these things already considered antiquated by (apparently) younger people like you?

  9. #9 by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

    It looks like personal experiences are actually a disincentive toward supporting restoration of the Fox for some people, like anulese above…

    The “ubiquitous movie theater style of the 1920′s” might not qualify the Fox as historical except that most of those theaters are gone now! They aren’t so ubiquitous when they don’t exist any more. Buffalo were ubiquitous on the great plains once too…

    Of course no one wants to go to a run down theater. That’s why it needs to be restored to draw people into it. Here’s an analogy…the city maintains a baseball field downtown that hosts the Pony League World Series. That event draws people to Fullerton, where they spend money on all sorts of other things in town, contributing to our local economy. Would Pony League have wanted to play on a patchy, ill-cared for field? Of course not. That’s the whole point of maintaining it!

    The whole idea of restoring the Fox is KEEP if from becoming what it seems to have been in the 50′s and 60′s, or a porn theater, whenever that happened.

  10. #10 by Ling Cod on September 18, 2010

    Admin, please, please, post that picture of the Fox Block themed McDonald’s design again. I need a good laugh!

  11. #11 by Snakes on September 18, 2010

    Thank you for the kind dialogue. As I see it, the Fox supporters have their work cut out – convincing the younger folks like me – that the Fox is indeed a cultural resource and an irreplaceable piece of history. That’s no easy task.

    The difference between you and me is that you’re involved and supporting the restoration. You have a personal attachment to this place. This won’t be true for most people. I’m sure you would agree that the Fox Theatre needs a steady influx of new patrons in order to survive.

    I feel that the Fox supporters are disconnected from reality on this point. A bit too confident, perhaps. They have this “if you build it, they will come” mentality but that’s not necessarily true. Orange County has many competing venues. It will take more than a restored building to set it apart from the others.

    On that note, I have absolutely no problem with restoring old landmarks. I admire you and everybody else for donating your time and money. The problem I have is the way Fox supporters manipulate the City Council (and the residents of Fullerton) into believing the Fox Theatre is the greatest treasure of all time; therefore, we must bend over backwards to support it. I don’t want my City government in the business of running a theater.

    The greatest tragedy is evident in the current edition of the Observer. Apparently you can’t run for City Council anymore without taking a stance on the Fox Theatre restoration. God forbid an otherwise good candidate oppose the Fox restoration because he/she will be stoned for it.

    Fox supporters, the City Council, and the residents of Fullerton alike need to wake up. Our City has crumbling infrastructure, diminishing revenue, and ballooning pensions. Stop letting a pleasant diversion such as the Fox Theatre take your attention from much more pressing issues.

    We’re all doomed if the only thing that matters anymore is the Fox Theatre and Coyote Hills.

  12. #12 by Snakes on September 18, 2010

    There it is again, the conceited notion that the Fox Theater is equally if not more important than the show or movie itself. The average person will NOT be going there to enjoy the building. In fact, the average person won’t even care about the building.

    Let me ask you something… do you go to restaurants based on the building that looks the nicest? Do you choose airlines by the manufacturer of their aircraft? What about physicians, do you pick the one with the nicest smile?

    I presume you answered “no” to all three questions. Therefore, why would I go to the Fox Theatre based on its physical appearance alone? That makes no sense whatsoever.

  13. #13 by anulese k. margo on September 18, 2010

    snakes, anonymous may monetarily benefit if the fox theatre is restored to its 1920′s glory. This may explain his or her devotion to it in light of the facts you have presented to us

  14. #14 by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

    No, sorry, not making a dime off the place, and don’t expect I ever will. Thank you FFFF for reiterating the point that The Fox would not make a dime either from the ill conceived and atrociously designed Fox Block. The deal made with Redevelopment that forbids The Fox from working with their own developers has hobbled the whole effort from the start.

  15. #15 by Mitzkity on October 4, 2010

    I live in Anaheim, where their old theater and the entire downtown was completely dismantled, I guess…I missed it and have only seen a postcard. I love the look of the Fox theater, and was hoping it wouldn’t be bull-dozed.

    Why all the vitriol? I think there’s value to the preservation of it. I’m sad that it’s been so mis-managed.

  16. #16 by Zero on January 14, 2011

    It would be great if the Fox were entirely funded by private donations and perhaps with encouragement, and with possible tax breaks but no funding, from the city council. In my old home town a couple of theaters were restored and are doing great, it could happen here.

  17. #17 by Adam on January 19, 2011

    Perhaps the “avergae person will not be going there to enjoy the building”, BUT what about all those people (young & old) who are WAY ABOVE AVERAGE & who will definitely be attracted to the newly rennovated Fox-complex?

    I think you underestimate your Fullerton populace & surroundings- people who are well educated and who favorably and positively respond to enlightened and gifted art and architectual design, and especially when it surrounds them.

    #1: YES! I go to restaurants that convey a specific charm (curb-side-appeal!!!), look appealing, and are well painted & clean both inside & out! ( eg. I love Mimi’s Restaurant, & I’m sure you can relate, here.)

    #2 YES! I choose an airline whose track record for safety is top-notch, & one which builds or buys superior aircraft that is regularly scheduled for maintenance.

    #3 YES! I initially picked my personal physician because he had a great, inviting, and warm smile which strongly conveyed to me his genuine and caring personality.

    I’m not sure why you are so against spending money in order to restore treasures of art, i.e. antique buildings.

    I’d much rather order and eat a famous French-Dipped Sandwich, in-house, at Phillipe’s Restaurant, in downtown Los Angeles, rather than eat that same sandwich inside a tent because Phillipe’s management decided the original restaurant building was deteriorating & didn’t want to spend the money to fix-it-up.

  18. #18 by Juan on January 20, 2011

    Snakes – you speak for ONLY a few of your “HS Barbeque friends”, right? Well, I’m assuming that you know about the accepted scientific standards of statistical law. A random vote, self-promoted & self-administered, orally, by you to a few friends, regarding their support of the FOX THEATER RESTORATION, is, to say the least,(and not to be disrespectful) laughable!

    What you really need to do is take a vote of the total registered voting population (young & old) of the city of Fullerton. The results, to be sure, will be unbiased and reliable.

  19. #19 by Miles on February 22, 2011

    And who, may I ask, gave the “porn-people” the license to run their porn at the FOX in the 1950′s? AHHHH… the City of Fullerton, of course! Your argument regarding historical landmarkship & how it’s determined, is simply ridululous! There are objective standards of atistic beauty and design which professional artists have established world-wide, and agreed upon. I would suggest LOGIC 101 at any local Jr. College.

  20. #20 by Beensmoked on March 3, 2011

    I drove by the Fox theater again today thinking “It’s still there. What exactly have they rennovated?” seeing a sign out front that said something to the effect that rennovations was beginning in January 2011. I’ve checked out the website several times and have not seen any new pictures in over 2 years. So I came here: my favorite Fullerton board to see what updated news there was on the Fox Theater.

    Thank you to everyone above for your comments as I have not seen this issue as clearly as I do now.

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