Showing all 6 comments
I remember seeing movies such as “Phantom of the Paradise” at the Puente AMC, so it was open at least as early as 1974. Does anyone recall when it was opened? At the time, it was the largest multi-plex in the SGV.
Considering its proximity to where I lived, I can’t believe I didn’t go to the theater more than I did. I do remember that the theater was pretty run so that when I saw a double bill of “Legend of Hell House” and “Night of the Living Dead” there were rows of seats missing…
Thanks for the additional info, Joe. Always appreciated…
Like so many other theaters at the east end of LA county, the entire structure has been gone for the better part of three years, or so. Depressing.
For its part, the Wescove was certainly an interesting one, with a large screen on the south side of the theater (I remember that slow retreat of the curtains from its center as the lights dimmed), and a slightly smaller screening room on the north.
After a few years, the smaller of the two was split into two screens so as to render the cinema a tri-plex. This allowed for a major film – say, “The Deer Hunter” – to play in one theater, while another reputable release like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” might be found in the second screening room. Fare such as “Laserblast” and “Patrick” could be found on the third screen.
The sensibilities at the time of the Wescove’s opening were such that they had a blown-up series of black and white photos of a nude woman adorning an interior wall. This larger than life motif was on the north wall of the number two screening room. It remained like that for years (neither my parents nor I had any problem with the nudity, but I wonder how such a thing would fly today).
The south and north side screening rooms were themselves separated by a concession stand that basically bifurcated the theater. For a time, the theater was owned by the Sanborn’s, who also owned the Eastland theater in nearby Covina. They must have done pretty well for themselves because I recall that both the ticket and concession prices were higher than those of other area theaters. Arguably, it was worth it because for a time they did a good job of keeping the theater clean.
Indeed, when it came to the San Gabriel Valley, I think you’d be hard pressed to come up with another theater that a hotter ticket when it came to movie going.
Like Brenda, I recall seeing “Phantom of the Paradise” there, as well as “Rocky Horror” (I’m a bigger fan of the former).
Other films included “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Vanishing Point”, “Play Misty for Me”, “MASH”, “Cactus Flower”, and many others. The biggest crowds were for “Towering Inferno”, “Jaws”, “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Star Wars”.
I was surprised to find out that it was opened in June, ‘69. I’m positive that I saw “MacKenna’s Gold” there, so it must have just opened. Saw quite a few films there through the years, but have to admit that once management allowed the place to go down hill, it really went down hill.
Still, I have pleasant memories of the theater in its prime and of seeing many first run releases there. Some of the bigger movies were “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” (the night after my dad and I saw the latter, a girl was apparently kidnapped from the rear of the theater and never found…kind of freaked me out).
It was at the Fox that I saw several martial arts movies during their early ‘70’s heyday, including “Lightning Swords of Death” (re-edited Japanese Baby Cart flick) and “Return of the Dragon”.
The theater was also the first place I ever saw the game Pong, the great-great-grandfather of today’s electronic games (what passed for state of the art distraction has changed a bit…)
Maybe in listing some of the movies I saw there, i might rekindle some memories for others…
Earliest movie I remember seeing at the Capri was “The Heart is A Lonely Hunter”. On one occasion, c. 1969-70, they had a kid’s day when they ran “The Last Safari” and gave away raffle prizes (I won a toy truck, one the few times I’ve ever won a damned thing).
Other films: “Big Jake”, “Stanley”, “The Doberman Gang”, “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”, and “Paper Moon”.
I saw many, many more flicks there from the late seventies to the late eighties, part of the reason being that during its later years it became a tri-plex.
Sad to see so many of the San Gabriel Valley’s older theaters closed…