Monthly Archives: August 2022

A Short History of Saving the Fox


A Short History of Saving the Fox

For 14 years the Fox theater in Fullerton sat vacated. Some Fullertonians talked of rescuing from its owner, Ed Lewis, a Los Angeles businessman. He had been refusing all calls and letters from all comers who considered buying the property. He reportedly was using his ownership for some tax writeoff. However, the Morgan Group, a Texas residential property developer, had acquired an option to buy the property for, probably, $3.65 million.

The subject came up at a Downtown Business Association meeting. Mayor Dick Jones attended the meeting to introduce the new chief of the fire department. He then asked if anyone had any questions. A woman raised her hand. “Yes, what’s happening with the Fox?”

“Nothing,” the mayor said, “Unless you people put a match to it. And if you do, I want you…” pointing to the fire chief, “…to get a flat tire on the way there.”

A member of the Association went back to her office and wrote a story for the Fullerton Observer. The story appear in the next issue in column one, above the fold.

Chuck Estes read the story. He was incensed! He wrote a stern letter to The Observer. That letter was read by Jane Reifer. They joined forces, and thus was the Fox Theatre Foundation born.

Born with a heavy burden, the necessity to come up with $3.65 million in 11 months. That was to allow time for the Morgan Group to exercise their option should the Fullertonians efforts fail. The money to be raised was, essentially, to buy out the Morgan option.

The city would not pay this. But, with the extraordinary help of an anonymous one million dollar donation, Jane Reiver raised the rest of the funds with the help of volunteers and many small donors in the campaign she organized. It was accomplished within the time given. Of course, that anonymous person would not have known of the need but for Jane’s extensive and effective reaching out.