In December of 1968, Don and Faye Cupp were able to purchase the old Campbell Movie Theater. Due to the extremely poor condition of the building, the Cupps were unable to have the gas and electricity turned on. Workers used Coleman lanterns in the evening as they finished the building. The opening performance took place on February 14, 1969, but there still was no gas or heat due to a miscommunication with the power company. However, the show did go on, and the audience and performers kept themseves warm with the enthusiasm of audience participation.
On February 1, 1980, the Cupps sold their theater to the three members of the Gaetano family, Richard, Mark, and Peggy. For eighteen years, the Gaetanos continued the rich tradition of interactive melodrama and vaudeville, adding their own flair and style.
In 1993, The Gaslighter expanded the business by opening the Gilroy Gaslighter Theater. The Melodrama and Vaudeville shows never really took off, because the theater was enormously successful doing Country Music and Line Dancing. When country music stopped being popular, the theater had local bands.
In September of 1998, Brian and Wendy Tharp, and Robin and Terry Swartz purchased the historic Gaslighter Theater from the Gaetanos. Due to personal family obligations, in 2001, they were unable to continue ownership of the Gaslighter. The Gaslighter was doomed to be turned into a furniture store and end its almost century of entertainment in downtown Campbell. The Gaetano family fearing the loss of a Santa Clara County tradition, was able to regain ownership of the beloved theater in January of 2002.
In 2003 twin brother Mark Gaetano, who started playing the piano at the Gaslighter in 1971, bought out the rest of the partners and with the help of his lovely wife, they are now continuing the tradition of family entertainment and expanding to new locations across the nation.
In 2003, the Gaslighter expanded its business to the purchase of a 700 seat theater in Banson, MO.
In 2005, the Branson Gaslighter Theater was sold.
In 2005, the Gilroy Gaslighter Theater was sold.
In 2008 the dismantled Campbell building was sold.
Currently, the Gaslighter has reopened its Gilroy location in December, 2008 with its world famous Melodrama and Vaudeville shows.
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