Showing 26 - 50 of 140 comments found
When I came to Sacramento in 1962 the Rio was showing Mexican films. It closed sometime later but was then re-opened by a new operator showing 16mm. “pin up” (nude model) adult films! Live burlesque later replaced or was added to the film programs. I can’t remember exactly when it closed for good and demolished, sometime in the latter part of the 1960’s I believe.
The Blue Oaks 16 was built and initially operated by the SR Entertainment Group, a small chain headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA. A few months after the November 2010 opening Cinemark acquired a large parcel of land nearby and announced that they would be building a competing multiplex along with other retail on it. SR Entertainment must have seen the handwriting on the wall, mainly too much competition. In January 2012 SR sold the Blue Oaks 16 to Cinemark. The plans for the nearby Cinemark multiplex are now on hold, I suspect indefinitely!
Too bad for us locals. We could have used more movie choices (especially independent and foreign flicks!) in our area. Besides the presentation and friendliness of the staff seemed a couple notches higher at the Blue Oaks than at your typical Cinemark operation. They also showed a less distracting pre-show program, primarily just local advertising. Now we have to suffer through that Godawful Cinemark 20 minute video compilation of loud commercials masquerading as entertainment.
Like so much else in 21st Century corporate America the big companies get bigger and the small ones get smaller…or just fade away! Nice seeing you here and goodbye SR Entertainment Group!
The Cameo Cinema opened in 1913 and was originally known as the Liberty. It’s name was later changed to Roxy and starting in 1953 was owned and operated by John Aquila who became St Helena’s mayor from 1959-1976 and again 1988-1990. After being closed for a while (in the early 1970’s as I recall) it was reopened as the Liberty by another independent operator. It was still later operated by a small chain and after yet another closing Charlotte Wagner purchased the theatre in 1997, did a beautiful remodeling job, reduced the seating capacity and turned it into a little jewel box now known as Cameo Cinema. Cathy Buck purchased the Cameo from Wagner several years ago and continues to operate it with an eclectic mix of film programming. Every small town should be so lucky as to have such a cinema gem in their community. When I’m in the Napa Valley I always try to catch a show at the Cameo.
Absolutely one of my favorite sites which was made even better with your revamp this year. Thanks so much for providing this service to all of us who love the movies and the theatres that show them! Happy New Year!
The Bay Area’s two leading theatre historians combined to produce another superb volume in Arcadia’s “Theatres of…” series. Makes a great companion to Jack’s “Theatres of San Francisco” and (with Jennifer Dowling) “Theatres of Oakland” and Gary’s “Theatres of San Jose”. All are excellent reminders of what we once had in the Bay Area in the way of movie theatres and what is now mostly gone forever. If your local book store doesn’t have them check out Amazon or other web dealers. Highly recommended!
Here’s an interesting just released press release about all of the Cinerama (& 1 Cinemiracle) travelogs being digitally restored for limited theatrical showings (digitally, not the three projector film process) and subsequent release on DVD and Blu-ray in the Smilebox format. If you’ve seen the Blu-ray Smilebox version of “How the West Was Won” you know how good that process can look!
Also mentioned is a Cinerama festival at the Hollywood Dome in the fall of 2012 including part digital and part 3 strip film presentations of virtually all of the Cinerama products. I’ll be there!
Wow! How exciting to see this great website and your fine work recognized by such a prestige publication as the New York Times, the Sunday edition at that which of course is read around the country and throughout the world! Congratulations guys!
Hardly one of the great movie palaces the Encore was still an attractive and comfortable small theatre to see first run films when I was living in Sacramento in the 1960’s. As I recall they had some long exclusive runs of films like “Tom Jones” and “Lawrence of Arabia” (not the best venue for that one since the Encore was only equipped for 35mm projection on a relatively small wide screen).
One vivid personal memory of attending the Encore for me was on the Sunday after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Jack Ruby had just in turn killed Lee Harvey Oswald that morning, which I witnessed on live TV. Like so many of us I was in a state of semi-shock and felt I just had to get out of the house so I headed to downtown Sacramento to see a movie. There must have been nothing good at the Crest or Fox Senator or even the World grind house because I ended up at the Encore where the main feature was “The Sky Above, the Mud Below”, a documentary about native people New Guinea, hardly the kind of escapism I was looking for on that dreary Sunday afternoon!
During the time I lived in Sacramento 1962-1965 the Fox (Senator) was my favorite theatre. I even liked it better than the Alhambra. It was in beautiful shape and film presentation was superb.
The last time I was in the Fox it was doing a brief stint as a discount house with all seats 49 cents! That must have been in 1970 because I remember one of the features I saw that day was “Adam at 6:00 A.M.”, a 1970 release.
Personally I think it would have been much more practical to save the Fox than the Alhambra just because of it’s much better downtown location for a mixed use venue. Of course both theatres, our only real Sacramento movie palaces, were ultimately demolished and that’s doubly sad!
The Lincoln was closed when I moved to Sacramento in 1962 and sat dormant for several years until it was remodeled (more like rebuilt as Joe Vogel says in the above comment) and reopened as the Showcase. It was a first run house for several years and played some exclusive runs of big pictures such as “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines”. Landmark took over later and ran it as a calendar rep house for several more years. It was a nice, comfortable place to see films that I hated to see close.
That might be your opinion bigjoe59 but some critics are calling it a masterpiece and I have no doubt that it will be on most of the ten best films of the year lists this year’s end. Rotten Tomatoes says 85 per cent of critics liked it as well as 66 per cent of the public. I haven’t seen it but am looking forward to soon since I loved Malick’s “The New World”. It’s admittedly not for everyone, especially the “aliens, car chases and explosions” action flick crowd.
As far as the “no refunds” policy…I think the warning sign about the film’s content is appropriate but if I was manager I’d still give refunds for the first half hour or so but definitely not to people who stayed for most or all of the film after that warning.
Wow! When I was in LA in April and photographed the dormant looking Palace I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. Thank you Mr. Delijani! It sounds like four of our Broadway Cinema Treasures are in good hands!
Oops I have the wrong date in this photo I uploaded. It’s several years later than 1991, not sure exactly when.
Just when you thought the multiplex experience could get no worse! Joe Sixpack doesn’t seem to mind at all though. Just as long as he can see the latest blockbuster on opening week he doesn’t care if it’s projected with a 100 watt bulb or even in focus or in frame. $15 for 3-D, ten bucks for a small popcorn and small Coke? No problem. “Dude I was first on my block to see \"Pirates of the Caribbean, Part…Whatever”!
As a teenage movie fan I used to love to walk along Film Row in San Francisco during the 1950’s. It was mostly on Golden Gate Avenue with a few distributors on the cross streets. I knew the manager of the Allied Artists (formerly Monogram) office who would frequently take time to talk movies with me and if I was lucky give me a one sheet poster or two to take home. These offices gladly accommodated mom and pop theater operators from the boondocks who came into town to book films as well as the big city operators, chains and independent film bookers. What a change there has been in film distribution as well as exhibition!
Another movie with an old time carbon arc/changeover projectionist as the hero is appropriately entitled “The Projectionist”. Chuck McCann plays the man up in the booth and his boss (the manager) is Rodney Dangerfield. It’s got a clever opening and closing that anyone who has done that somewhat lonely but rewarding job in an old fashioned theatre (NOT a multiplex!) will appreciate!
As a lad being a projectionist was my dream job! I was one of those audio-visual geeks who ran the 16mm Bell & Howell in the classroom at school and wanted to do the same thing with those big 35mm machines in a movie theatre. I learned the craft (the old fashioned way!) while in the Army, moonlighting part time at our post theatre. After the service I wanted to continue working in my dream job but quickly found out that the union in the big and medium sized cities wasn’t accepting new members (unless possibly your dad or uncle was a member!) and in small towns the non union jobs (if you could even fine one!) paid little more than minimum wage, sometimes just minimum wage and you were lucky if you got one night off a week! So I went to work for the railroad instead, eventually became a locomotive engineer. Probably just as well with theatre closings and automation on the horizon. Working in a platter/xenon multiplex has no appeal to me, sounds about as exciting as loading up a DVD into a DVD player. The couple years I did have in the dual projector/carbon arc booth while in the Army were great though and I look back on that time fondly! Loved those Simplex X-7’s!
As newcomers to Roseville we were glad to see a new theatre close to us in this underserved market. We went to see “Unstoppable” last week there and even though I’m no big fan of modern multiplexes, it was a satisfactory experience. Staff seemed friendly and there’s a $5.50 early show (10 AM), cheap by California standards! Another nice thing is only local merchant video ads before the show instead of that annoying half hour of loud commercials and trailers masquerading as entertainment that the other chains (Cinemark & Regal) show. The digital projection and sound were first rate too. There is a promise by owners to show some independent films which is also good news for us. For now we have to drive 20 miles to downtown Sacramento to see anything other than the mass market Top 20 flicks!
One thing I’m wondering about is their advertised (and premium priced!) “Ultimate Digital Cinema”? What is that? I couldn’t find anything about it online and there is apparently nothing playing there in that format now. Top admission price for the 2-D version is $13.25, for the 3-D version $15.25. OUCH! The individual auditoriums are all on the small side so I can’t imagine what kind of deluxe experience you get for that extra charge! Anybody familiar with UDC?
In most cities and towns in 1953 you also saw double features along with a cartoon, newsreel, prevues and possibly an added short. You also didn’t have to take out a mortgage to visit the concession stand! Nobody was texting or talking on their cell phone either. And believe it or not there was a projectionist on duty back there to keep the film in focus and frame at all times. Ah yes those were the days…and days we will never see again! That all being said I still enjoy visiting the multiplex once in a while but only during a bargain matinee and only bypassing the concession stand!
Wow! Hard to believe United Artists would cut that end title sequence off of that reissue especially since there are no credits at the beginning of the film at all. I’ve known of a few lazy projectionists who cut end credits off of the last showing or only showing of the evening just so they could go home (or hit the bars?) early even though that’s a violation of the contract between the film companies and the theatres I believe.
That reminds me of the time I saw “Around the World in 80 Days” (35mm version) at an Army post theatre at Camp Kaiser, Korea in 1960 (wow a half century ago this year!). That film of course had another great and long (8-9 minutes) Saul Bass end title sequence, made even more enjoyable by a reprise of Victor Young’s great musical score which I loved. The civilian Korean projectionist let the titles (actually the entire last reel of the feature) run about a minute and then closed the dowser, stopped the projector and turned on the house lights, I was furious and went up and complained to the theatre manager, a grouchy old Army sergeant who told me just shut up and get the Hell out of there. Ah the pleasures of Army life!
As a boy growing up in the 1950’s being a projectionist was one of my dream jobs, along with owning my own movie theatre. I even loved running the 16mm projectors at school. I learned the craft of 35mm carbon arc/changeover projection while in the Army as a sideline to my regular Army MOS but when I got discharged in 1962 I found the opportunities to continue doing what I loved were severely limited. I couldn’t get in the big city unions and out in the boondocks where there was no union, there were few jobs and the pay was seldom more than minimum wage. So I reluctantly went on to other things, eventually became a locomotive engineer on the railroad. Nowadays with platters and xenon lamps, monitoring 16 screens and a complete lack of showmanship the job doesn’t interest me much at all. I’m glad I abandoned the craft before it went to Hell!
I received the book yesterday from Amazon. Beautiful photographs by R.A. McBride combined with well written essays about movie going and theatre operations in San Francisco by several noted authors. My only reservation is that the theatres in the photographs (all interior shots) are not identified on the individual pages. You have to go to the back of the book for a list of photographs to ID the theatre.
I think (and hope!) that the new mall is a step in the right direction. Market Street is pretty nice from the Ferry Building to 5th & Market and then it turns into a skid now no sane man’s land from 5th to about 8th. The two big shopping centers between 4th & 5th on Market have been very successful with locals and tourists and I suspect this one will be too. It should raise property values considerably on the other side of Market St. and hopefully on the adjoining blocks too. No doubt that will all take some time, maybe a lot of time, but like I said I think this is a step in the right direction for Market Street. Admittedly time may also prove me wrong!
That all being said I will miss the St. Francis too, the St. Francis in it’s glory single screen first run years that is, not the sticky floored twinned grind house of it’s final years where no matter what horrific double feature program was up there on the screen the real horror was in the audience! I miss all the Market Street theatres that I grew up with from the glorious movie palaces like the Fox, Warfield and Paramount to the great second run Embassy with it’s nightly Ten-o-win game to the rest of the grind houses, the Strand, Centre, Pix, Powell, Hub, etc. where you could see two flicks for as low as 50 cents and live to tell about it. This was of course before the grind houses became primarily inhabited by druggies, drunks and escapees from mental institutions. Going to the Embassy or Strand or St. Francis in any of their final days was no fun at all, at least in my humble opinion! Ah what fond memories of all of those Market Street theatres a half century ago though! Rest in Peace St. Francis, you will indeed be missed!
Available on Amazon now for $28.76, 28 per cent off list price with free shipping and no sales tax in most states. I just put in my order and am extremely looking forward to receiving and reading it. Great to hear that Mr. Tillmany is working on another of his excellent volumes on Bay Area theatres too!
When I was in the Army (1959-1962) the domestic and overseas movie theatres were programmed and operated by something called AAFMPS (Army & Air Force Motion Picture Service). Interesting that they are now part of the PX system. Projectionists at Fort Bliss were moonlighting service personnel I believe. In Korea a Korean civilian ran the 35mm booth at our post theatre.