Showing 26 - 50 of 89 comments
I am just delighted to know that the organ here speaks again. I attended several concerts back in the early 1970s which were sponsored by the American Theatre Organ Society. Dennis James was here twice and they were all wonderful concerts. I understand that there are plans to add more ranks so that the organ can also be used for classical music. This is great news.
This house was in the same block as the beautiful old Tower Bowl (Tower Bowl on one side, Effie’s Liquor on the other). I sure wish some more history about it would turn up. When I was working for Wesley “Andy” Andrews and Charlie Smith at the Aztec, they wanted to buy this theatre and I was all excited because of the rear-screen projection; they never bought it though. Also, Andy used to work at Effie’s Liquor.
I learned to run the booth in this house in November of 1972 and stayed in the business ‘til December of 2000. It was then leased by Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres who held it 'til it was closed and demolished for the new Horton Plaza (they also had the Plaza Theatre which was immediately next door and, I believe, was earlier called the Owl). In 1972 they were running it as a grindhouse; three featrues that changed twice a week for .99 cents admission. It opened at 9:30A and ran 'til 5:30A. The janitors had four hours to clean the place and then it was back on screen. They later changed to first and second run movies with two features and the operating hours changed from 'noon to 5:00A and then 'noon to midnight. The projector heads were the original Simplex XL (with pure white interior and black crinkle finish), the sound heads were RCA MI-9030, the lamphouses were Peerless Magnarc, the rectifiers were McColpin-Christie selenium stack types, the sound system was a tube-driven RCA PG-230, the splicer was a Griswold R-2, the rewinder was a Golde and there was a Clint Phare cue scriber. This was a house which I was lucky enough to be able to explore from roof to basement (the Balboa, just down the street, was another). Though they’re cut off in the old photos, there were three floors of offices above the theatre. There was an old Civil Defense room in the basement which still had some ancient Civil Defense rations in it (biscuit, anyone?). There were boxes and boxes of stills and one-sheets going back who knew how far. The booth ran the classic way with the 2000’ reel changeover system ‘til we installed Xetron Maxi-7 automation and Christie xenon lamphouses some time in 1979 or 1980, and then it ran with 6000’ reels and changed over and did the show start/end cycles automatically. That beautiful arch seen in those old photos was covered up by the time I came along, but you could still see remnants of it if you climed through a crawl space found in the ceiling of a storeroom outside the office and across from the men’s room. There was an old fuse box in the basement marked “organ feeder”, but I’ve never found any mention of an organ being installed in this house. This theatre taught me my trade and I’ve never forgotten it.
They actually did some work!! Great. Looks like the boxoffice is now gone. That’s no good.
Cinemark is in Plano, Tx., not very far away from where I live in Irving. Talk about freaky!! I hadn’t thought of the name Syufy in years, and now here they’ve sold out to someone right in my neighborhood. The world sure is a strange place indeed.
Ah. Thank you for the info and for the correct spelling.
There are two names famous in San Francisco movie theatre circles. One was Naify, the other Suyoofie (I’m positive I’ve misspelled the name; I’m just spelling it as it sounds). What happened to these two movie theatre families?
In its final days, Walnut/Pussycat ran both theatres (Guild/Centre) using one projectionist. The projection booth doors of both houses opened into the hallway of the office building above. I explored that whole place all the way down to the basement.
I think I noted on the page for the Guild (which was immediately next door to this house) that Lippert had offices, perhaps their main headquarters, in the office building above the Guild on the 4th or 5th floor. You could easily see that they had been very nice offices.
He sure did. He’s the man who started it all as far as the Lippert business is concerned. The address (or better yet, edress) below will take you to a text page that tells about him. You’ll have to type the entire edress into your browser as I don’t know how to make it a hpyerlink at this website.
I can’t believe the comedy/tragedy masks are still there!! Those were Mr. Tate’s idea.
I stopped by this theatre early this afternoon. The only thing that’s been done since the last time I was there is that the vertical “Texas” sign is now gone. The only way to tell that this is a theatre is because of the box office. Where did that $1.2 million left over after the purchase of the buidling disappear to? I doubt that we’ll ever know who stole it. I doubt there’s anyone with enough guts to investigate the matter.
Thanks glovedude. I always had a feeling that the projection booth was originally somewhere else in the house. As I say, I really regret that I never had the time to explore this theatre.
If ednsb is talking about Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres then it’s a Walnut/Pussycat that I never heard of, and I worked for them for a long time as I stated above. They had ten houses in the San Diego area, four in Oceanside and I can’t even remember how many in the Los Angeles area. The Oaks Drive-In was dark for most of the time I worked for them but I do remember Raul Castenada, who was their chief projectionist for many years, talking about how much trouble the sound system caused and that he was trying to talk Mr. Miranda and Mr. Tate into changing over to an FM broadcast sound system. The drive-in was still operating when Walnut had it, at least for a little while. They are the ones who shut it down. I think ednsb is mistaken.
I never heard any comments about the possibility of the Fox showing X-rated fare. I went there twice on orders from Mr. Tate. The first time was to service the equipment as there were plans to lease the house. Nothing ever came of it. The second time I was there was to remove the platter system. I can’t remember now if I removed any of the other projection equipment; I probably did. I do recall hearing of a theatre in Orcutt, but I don’t know anything about it. Sorry. I worked for Walnut/Pussycat from 1972-1974 and then again from 1978-1989. It was a lot of hard work and long hours and I’d do it again at the drop of a hat. My home was in San Diego and I drove all over for them. A guy who has postings at this website, Jay Allen Sanford, is a writer for the Reader newspaper in San Diego. He’s putting together an article about Mr. Miranda. Feel free to e-mail me at the e-dress posted in my profile here.
That’s because it never showed x-rated movies and, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that I didn’t say it did. Walnut Properties/Pussycat theatres owned several houses that were not x-rated. Also, this house was dark all the time Walnut/Pussycat owned it. They also owned the Oaks Drive-In; I removed all the projection equipment from there some time in the ‘80s. The theatre in San Luis Obispo was called, if I remember correctly, the Log Cabin. Mr. Tate was advised beforehand that it was a bad move but paid no attention.
That’s because it never showed x-rated movies and, if you pay attnetion, you’ll notice that I didn’t say it did. Walnut Properties/Pussycat theatres owned several houses that were not x-rated. Also, this house was dark all the time Walnut/Pussycat owned it. They also owned the Oaks Drive-In; I removed all the projection equipment from there some time in the ‘80s. The theatre in San Luis Obispo was called, if I remember correctly, the Log Cabin. Mr. Tate was advised beforehand that it was a bad move but paid no attention.
This was another one of Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres houses in which I maintained all of the projection equipment. The manager at the time, a Mrs. Ada Johnson, was a relative of the president of the company, Mr. Vincent Miranda. She was a great lady.
I was at this house a couple of times for my employer Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres. There was something a little spooky about it and I’m not the kind of guy who get spooked.
I serviced the projection equipment in this house for Mr. Wesley “Andy” Andrews who was, I think, the last person to operate it. It was a very nice old stadium-styled house with a very nice projection booth and a really neat basement. Calexico was like stepping back a few decades into the past. I wonder what it’s like now.
I was in this house a couple of times for projection equipment service calls for my employer, Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres. If I remember correctly, the projection booth was on the main floor. Does anyone know if that was the original location of the projection booth? or was it moved there in the latter days of the house? I’m very sorry I never got the chance to explore this wonderful old house as I did so many of the other old houses that the company ran.
I took care of all the projection equipment in this theatre from the time that Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres took it over in, as well as I can remember, about 1985 up until the time it closed. I also took care of the Guild next door for the same company. The main fuse box for this theatre, way down in the deep, dark basement was still marked “Roundup”.
I took care of all the projection equipment in this house for Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres from 1982 until it closed. It was an interesting old building. The fifth floor used to be the offices for Lippert Theatrtes. They took over the Centre immediately next door about a year ot two before they both shut down.
Oh, I had the corruption and theft thing figured out a long time back. It was verified, in my mind, by that preposterous little puff piece at the Oak Cliff website claiming that the 1.2 million left over after the initial purchase was spent on a “bare bones” restoration. That may fool laymen, but not anyone who’s been in the movie theatre industry as long as I was. I’m sure that someone now has that new home addition they’d been thinking of, someone else added that new family room they’d been talking about, someone else dug that swimming pool they’d been dreaming of and etc., etc. There should be a complete and thorough investigation made (that is if anyone has the moral backbone for it).
If there are money problems it’s most likely because what money there was has been stolen. I repeat again, there is NO way that a million dollars was spent on this building. Not even if every single wire and every single pipe in the whole place had been replaced in the so-called “bare bones” restoration. I guarantee you that it was stolen. I bet the ONLY money that was spent on the place was the money Oliver Stone spent on it himself when he used the building to film “JFK”.