Showing 51 - 75 of 113 comments
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”.
Just for the record, the waterfalls in the auditorium had nothing whatsoever to do with the air handling system. There were two huge, monster squirrel-cage type fans that handled the air in the building. One was in the basement and it also heated the building with steam generated by the city. The other was in the dome on the roof. Neither one of them was connected to either one of the waterfalls in any way, shape or form. The swithc that turned them on and off was in the projection booth and I hooked it up to the automation system. The waterfalls would turn on when the title curtain closed at the end of the show and turn off when the show started. Some time in the early ‘80s the water supply to them was cut. After that, I used to take a tall A-frame ladded and fill them with a hose about once a week (twice in the summer). And just for the record, the theatre did not have refrigerated air conditioning. The fan in the basement had an air wash chamber but that was it. This is just a little Balboa trivia from someone who knows. I explored every inch of that buidling from the roof all the way down to the basements and EVERYTHING in between, including the old hotel.
There used to be a really old sign back stage that said to “Be Quiet” due to radio broadcasting. I wonder which one of the San Diego radio stations it was. I was never able to find out.
This house was never meant to be anything but a movie theatre. There is no stage area and no fly space. I was intimately connected with this house for many years; I know what I’m talking about and I imagine there are many old projectionists in the San Diego area who will back me up. This was built specifically as a movie theatre and not as a live theatre. Period.
I’d still like to know what happened to the 1.2 million restoration dollars left over from the $1.6 million grant after the theatre was purchased.
I installed all of the projection equipment in this house for Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres. Seems like a long time ago now.
Just a little P. S.
I am so very glad that I learned how to run the booth in the time period that I did. All of the old disciplines were still practiced. We changed projectors about every twenty minutes, we “rode the gain” for the sound, we “trimmed the arc”, we opened and closed the drapes, we dimmed the lights up and down, we turned the intermission music on and off and we “overlap” spliced the film with glue. We called this “Showmanship”. I am proud to have been a part of it.
WED20SEP06, 9:10P CST
That’s a real shame but I guess inevitable. I’m sure the carbon is very expensive to make now. It’s been a long time and I can’t remember all that went into the carbons, but there were some rare earths involved. I guess carbon arc lamps, tube driven amplifiers and glue splicing are all history.
There was a short period of time when Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres was affiliated with this house. I worked for them and was at the house some time in the ‘80s to install a Xetron automation system. I don’t really remember much about it apart from the fact that it was a wonderful old house and I wish I’d have had time to explore it. In a storeroom underneath the projection booth were two old pieces of equipment which I’m pretty sure were the “turntables” for the old Vitaphone sound system. I wonder if anyone did anything with them other than throw them away?
THU07SEP06, 3:50P CST
I sure hope they don’t ruin the acoustics of the auditorium. If the acoustics of the Balboa auditorium aren’t perfect then they’re very close to it.
I worked in the movie theatre industry “in the booth” from November of 1972 to December of 2000; first as a regular, rank-and-file projectionist and then as a travelling technician. San Diego was my home base and I travelled as far South as Calexico and as far North as Sacramento and everywhere in between. I have been associated with many, many theatres but the Balboa has always been my most beloved. She’s a grand old gal and I’m just delighted to see she’s being restored. San Diego owes a debt of gratitude to Steve Karo as he’s the one largely responsible for saving her in the very beginning.
THU07SEP06, 2:45P CST
That is just fantastic!! It’s about time too.