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A problem for this theater during the porn days was that there was a back road where people could park and watch the screen without paying. This theater is particularly mourned by drive-in aficionados since it was one of a very few to show porno movies.
This cinema is hardly a ‘treasure’– 5 undersized auditoriums with small screens made even smaller by top-down masking for scope movies! This was a half-assed way for then-owner Phil Harris (who also owned the Cinema 2 and Holiday before it was sold with this one to Regal) to discourage anyone else from opening a theater in Davis and taking away his monopoly on the market!
Sometime last year they added a 2nd screen, but this time it’s behind the current one in an area that used to be a backstage area when they did live shows. I haven’t been in since this was done so I don’t know what’s changed- the screen they put in the main auditorium upon re-opening was MUCH too small though, and they’ve been pretty lackadaisical presentation-wise. Several movies I’ve seen there were platter-scratched- how dumb do you have to be to do that when you’re only running ONE screen?
Well, they REALLY blew it by not converting this back to the original large dome! And why would I go out to watch a DVD anyways?
If only all theatres were like this one! How ironic it is though that it’s currently run by AMC, which represents many of the things that are wrong with today’s theatres!
Ironically, I’ve passed by the outside of this theatre several times, but never made a point to go there because I assumed it had also been split in half!
Why would they have such little regard for this theatre by building a new one so close to it? They have been doing this in several locations recently and tearing down the old ones. Most of their new theatres only have common-width screens! The domes used to be their trademarks, they need to preserve the ones that are left, I don’t know how their current theatres will be regarded 30 years from now! If I lived closer to Pleasant Hill I would go to this theatre regularly regardless of what was showing. I pray that this theatre remains for decades to come. In the meantime they have TWO of these domes in Sacramento but both were split in half more than 25 years ago, they need to restore those back to the way they were. If they did I would go there regularly.
If anyone cares (I certainly don’t), the last movies shown as a twin were Taking Care of Business and Flatliners.
The 2 platters used when it was a twin are now in the 2 new theatres at the Crest!
Was an awful twinned theatre from 1976-1990, with fixed-ratio screens and mono sound. Mercifully de-twinned in 1992. The two projector heads used during that time are now installed in screens 3 and 4 of the Holiday Cinema and have been working fine.
The projector, screen and sound system from the now-closed Cinema 2 are at the Varsity, though I don’t think they’ve ever been used for a public film showing outside of a short demonstration. The platter went elsewhere since they didn’t think it would fit, but turns out there is room for one so last I heard they were trying to get one.
Currently shows video, as adult features are no longer produced on 35mm. The video projector is set up in one of the front rows, roped-off. Auditorium still looks pretty nice, don’t know if anything is still in the projection booth- sad to look up and see it dark! Outside doesn’t look much like a theater.
Had 2 smaller auditoriums added in the late 90s, and the main theatre’s projection system was converted to a platter system after being the last carbon-arc changeover booth in the area. The main theatre is very nice though it has a bad acoustics problem that needs to be fixed!
Had a new projection system installed in 1993, don’t know if it’s still there. Haven’t seen films advertised for a while.
Opened with 5 dome theatres in 1983, later had 3 more added- at least one had 70mm, but none were as big as the older domes on Arden. In 1992(!) one of the domes was twinned, so I quit going there after that.
The new theatre is decent, though a few screens are on the small side and all are 1.85 with top-down masking for scope. The houselights are set up strangely too- there are side lights that are completely dark during intermission then light up at start of previews, dim down during feature, light up at end credits then fade down at end of show while the ceiling lights click (not raise/dim) on! It would have been better to have kept the old theatres and add on new ones, though I heard the company did this because the acoustics were not very good in the domes. Still preferable to any twinned cinema, though one can’t help thinking the Cinedomes died a too-early death, and not sure how the new place will stand up after 20 years.
Both large domes had 70mm when they opened- the 21 opened with the reissue of “Gone With The Wind”, and the 22 opened with “Camelot”. I don’t know what the last films shown in them before they were twinned were. One of the smaller domes also has 70mm, though it hasn’t been used since “True Lies”.
Yes, I do support the Crest, and that’s what blows me away about this even more- I haven’t seen people gathering in front of that to “save” it, probably because it already stands a chance of surviving with the new competition since it’s been kept up better than the Tower. I do think building the new theatre right across the street from the Crest is a bad idea, but people seem to be more concerned about the Tower (rolls eyes). The Crest does need to fix the acoustics in its main auditorium though, it echoes really badly right now, and the last film I saw there was supposed to be in Dolby Digital but was played only in optical.
The bottom line is the Tower should not be run the way it has been for the past 30 years, and they certainly should not be getting exclusive engagements. The attitude seems to have been “Why should we put any money into this place when we’re the only ones who have these movies, where else are they gonna go?” The “Remember the Alhambra” is a bit far-fetched as well. The Tower is no Alhambra, and does anyone really think the building will ever be torn down? I can’t see that happening in any case.
As far as Century goes, since they run the oldest first-run venue in the area on Arden Way (opened in 1967), there should be a campaign to get them to restore the two large domes! They were magnificent theatres when they were new but shortly after they opened they were both cut in half and are a prime example of why plexing should be illegal. Needless to say I do not go to that theatre either, but would go there regularly if they brought back the big screens! If the city’s giving them money for this new theatre maybe they should make it a condition that Century restore their old theatres?
I’m glad there are other people who love these theatres- I just wish someone would put some pressure on Century to un-twin the TWO large domes they have in Sacramento! I would go to movies there all the time if they did, but won’t go there at all right now!
Added- for the amount of time the Tower was closed between Landmark and Reading, there was no reason why they couldn’t have restored it then! If one screen isn’t enough then build more next door like the Crest did! Check out the main auditorium at the State Theatre in Woodland to see what the Tower probably looked like intact.
I can’t believe they actually held a rally for this place- as far as I’m concerned it was already demolished when it was triplexed in 1974. I refuse to go to this theater, hating it even more due to the fact that they get so many exclusive engagements of movies I’d like to see. That said, the only way for this theatre to survive is to restore it back to the original large auditorium, and don’t skimp on the projection and sound equipment like Landmark and Reading have (Landmark had good equipment in the original booth, but the 2 lower sections were awful, all the more reason it shouldn’t have been triplexed.) If it’s restored I promise to attend it regularly, maybe even work there! Til then, I’ll be over at the new Cinearts, provided Century doesn’t give it the incompetent staff that currently runs the Downtown Plaza 7!
The original large dome theatres were wonderful, but were both cut in half more than 25 years ago. I hope they have the sense to restore them back to the way they were- it makes me sad to drive by them now. It’s the area’s oldest first-run theatre, having opened with the front dome in 1967, the second one in 1968, adding the 2 smaller domes in 1974 and twinning the second dome, other dome was twinned in 1978 and 8 new theatres were added in 1994. I won’t go to any of them until they bring back the 2 big domes though.
I was overjoyed to see this theatre is still there and unharmed- I went there a lot when I lived down there back in the 70’s. There is a similar complex in Sacramento, CA, but both of the large domes have been cut in half! I hear one of the domes in the San Jose complex was halved too; it is truly a depressing sight. I have to wonder what possessed them to ruin these theatres, here’s hoping Century will someday restore them all back to the way they should be!
This theatre is a disgrace in its current state. The two auditoriums on the bottom still have only mono sound, and they get a lot of exclusive engagements of good movies! It was closed for several months but virtually nothing was done to improve it, in fact I hear it’s now even worse than it was when Landmark owned it. Someone needs to restore this back to the original single-screen it was.