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Now called the CineArts @ Hyatt as of this week.
Was this the first revival house in Boston?
This did operate as a porn theater in 1979-1980. One of the features playing there was “Sweet Savage”, which had Aldo Ray in it. (Ray did not do any sex scenes in the film.)
With regards to the Belmont Cinemas 3, that theater is now a carpet store. I remember it when it was a theater that had one side showing mainstream films and the other side(as the Bel-Art) showing arthouse fare.
This resembled a storefront theater when it was open.
This would be right across the street from the current Act ½(2128 Center St)—Site holds a Bank of America now. Theater closed/demolished for this.
The film Garden of Eden was best known for a US Supreme Court decision in which it was declared that “Nudity is not obscene.” It was at that point that nudist film prouction increased and then Russ Meyer’s 1959 film “The Immoral Mr Teas”, which became a huge hit, helped shape the future of “adult films” (plus an increase in the number of theaters that carried them).
This was owned by David Friedman, who had co-founded the Pussycat theater chain and who built this theater from scratch as an adult movie house after he had sold his interest in Pussycat theaters to Vince Miranda. It closed sometime in the early 1990’s, likely due to declining business.
There was a Town and Country Cinema in Sunnyvale on Murphy Ave which showed second-run fare until 1975, when it showed hard porn until closing. Does anybody have more info on that theater?
Did Charles Keating have something to do with getting this theater shut down? He was prominent in getting Vixen banned in Cincinatti and also going after Larry Flynt in his early days of running a strip club in Cincinatti.
To add to Gary’s post of other known Pussycat theaters:
Concord had one which was called the Showcase. (The Pussycat name was not used). This theater was formerly the Enean, then the Showcase. Went to porn in 1975, Pussycat took over in 1976 until it was bought out by a church in the late 1980’s. In downtown.
Stockton had one called the Bijou.
Sacramento had two: The Esquire(downtown, 1974-early 1980’s), and the former Coronet on Watt Ave(late 1970’s-present). The Esquire was formerly a Blumenfeld theater. The Coronet went to adult films in 1975 prior to Pussycat taking over. Both theaters adapted the Pussycat name. It still shows adult films(video) today as the Regency.
As for the Towne, when it was adult, I don’t think Pussycat operated it very long. It mostly booked films at the same time as the Centre and Presidio theaters, both in San Francisco.
This was once the Valuskis theater. In May, 1951, a young girl disappeared from this theater and was later found dead. A sex offender who lived down the street did it. See www.ocweekly.com/link/02/45/cover-callahan.php for more.
Apparently after this, business died until it became Pussycat.
Update: Demolishion has started on this theater. I drove by it today and half the building was already torn down.
Prior to it’s 1950s run a a Spanish language movie house, the Mayan showed second-run fare and then in the late 1940’s tried arthouse fare.
Update—I went here last week and Signature theaters is now owned by Regal Entertainment Group. Theater looked well kept, although I went mid-weekday and there was maybe all of 10 patrons in the complex. (My friend and I sat in an otherwise empty theater.)
On Brian’s May 17th post, a correction. The theater showing “A Few Dollars More” was the Guild, which was next door to the Centre. The Centre did not have a vertical marquee at that time and the Centre was strictly showing “adults only” films. (The Centre started doing that in 1960 with a long run of “The Immoral Mr Teas”)
This theater was raided in July 1973 for showing Deep Throat after a judge’s order in which the theater was ordered not to show it for reasons of obscenity.
To my knowledge, neither Dan Sonney, Dave Friedman(original Pussycat founders) nor Vince Miranda(who owned the chain most of its life) were related by blood or marriage to Rosemary Clooney.
Exterior of theater and ticket booth can be seen in the 1981 film Exhausted(which PT Anderson used as his inspiration for the 1997 film Boogie Nights). Carlos Tobalina also ran the Mayan theater as an XXX house in the 1970’s.
The Pussycat chain largely disappeared after Miranda’s death. Large IRS back tax bills was a major factor.
The Tomkat, as a Pussycat, was (along with the Buena Park Pussycat, the former Grand theater) their “flagship” house from 1973-1976 and would show adult films “first run” before they moved into the other Pussycats. Often, the films were shown as single features at these two theaters and films would often play for months. Some films that did this included: The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Naked Came the Stranger, and The Opening of Misty Beethoven. Deep Throat also had a long run as well.
The theatre in Sacramento is now called the Regency(formerly the Coronet), it still shows adult films.
At one point there were 750 Pussycat theaters in the US. Vince Miranda owned the CA theaters throughout most of its run(Dave Friedman and Dan Sonney were the founders), which had 47 theaters at one point.
The Camera One in San Jose was briefly a Pussycat theater in 1970-1971. It operated as an art house until July of this year, when it shut down to move into a multiplex down the street.
The Union-City Drive_in was replaced with the Union Landing Shopping Center which contains the Century 25 in Union City(25 screen indoor house) The drive-in screen is gone.
The Moffitt Drive-in was a three screener operated by Syufy(now Century) theaters. Location was on Middlefield Rd east of Hwy 101(Bayshore Freeway).
Pussycat reportably operated 750 theaters. Ironically, I read an article called Empire of the Pussycat, which stated that the owner of the Pussycat (from the early 1970’s until its close, that was Vince Miranda) failed to copyright the name of Pussycat Theater outside of California. (CA had 47 theaters at its peak.) The Pussycat Theaters outside of CA were operated by different individuals and thus, because of not properly copyrighting the name, Miranda lost out on many millions of dollars.
I think the El Rancho spent its last days showing Spanish language films.
The X theater was a twin theater known as the X 1 & 2. It was operated by Carlos Tobalina, who started his career doing softcore fare before going into hardcore XXX in the 1970’s. Tobalina also ran the “luxurious Mayan” theater during its days as an adult theater. Shots of the X(ticket booth and poster cases) can be seen in the 1981 “documentary” called Exhausted. (This was the film that inspired PT Anderson’s 1997 film Boogie Nights.)
I think the X may have been a “storefront” theater instead of an old theater that converted into an “adults only” or porno format. (For those who are familiar with the history of porn theaters, many in the Pussycat and Mitchell Brothers chains were old theaters who converted into a porn format.)