Cameo Cinema in St. Helena becomes the passion of former Michigander

posted by CSWalczak on August 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

SAINT HELENA, CA — The ninety-seven-year-old Cameo Cinema may still be showing films when some of today’s multiplexes are long gone, if current co-owner Cathy Buck has anything to sat about it. After adopting St. Helena as her home, she and co-owner Shawn LaRue acquired the theater six years later. She sees to repairs, introduces the films, and even changes the marquee letters.

Buck signs every correspondence and ends phone calls with a cheery “See you at the movies!” Her energy can be seen during a tour of the theater, which can be covered in about 15 paces but is stretched by Buck into 20 history-filled minutes.

Buck sometimes programs 15 or more movies in a month – a mix of art films, 3-D blockbusters, opera transmissions and local events. Teachers from area schools use the film house for educational purposes, and last Memorial Day weekend Buck organized the Cameo’s first Family Film Festival – a four-day fundraiser for local teen centers. Among the programming was 33 short films made by local children and a special faux-Oscar night to celebrate their efforts.

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Comments (1)

JohnRice on August 20, 2010 at 12:13 am

The Cameo Cinema is a little jewel box of a movie theatre. Every small town should be so lucky as to have such a lovely cinema. The previous owner who obviously had deep pockets did much of the renovation but it’s great it that was passed on to such a caring proprietor as Cathy Buck. I remember the theatre fondly from the few years I lived in St. Helena a half century ago! Back then it was known as the Roxy and run by a man named John Acquila who later became the town Mayor. It’s been closed for several times over the years but somebody always seems to step out of the shadows and save it. On my periodic visits to St. Helena I always stop in and see a show which is usually personally introduced by Ms. Buck! I love that little theatre!

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