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Thank you, Ross. I have not run across such flamings in a very long time, but I applaud all efforts to keep this a place for civil information exchange. Thanks to Ken for keeping a vigilant eye, also.
I’m happy to say that the facade of the Los Gatos, as it’s shaping up, is on its way to actually being an improvement upon what was there before the current remodel began. The massing and proportions are well-balanced. The two porthole windows—which at first I thought might look hokey—are actually quite nice, and the new marquee structure, which actually will have a small porch on top, is neither overwhelming nor too small. Once the stucco and paint is applied, and the restored vertical sign and marquee “fins” mounted, the effect is, I believe, going to be excellent.
In a modern stadium house, I sit in the center, and as far up as I can in order to have my head as close to level as possible for the duration of the film. This says more about my middle-aged neck than anything else. I hate to say it, but unless I sit in the balcony, viewing movies in a vintage theatre can cause a sore neck by having to look a little bit upward.
Newly-discovered information: The Bay was actually built in the late 1930s. It was then called the Beach. Independently owned and operated, and designed and constructed on a VERY tight budget, it was acquired by Fox West Coast and remodeled (much improved) c. 1947.
What in heaven’s name do the two above posts have to do with the Vacaville Theatre or its restoration?
The project to convert this theatre to something else (a gym perhaps, according to a previous post?) seems to have stalled, but not before the complete obliteration of not only the marquee and vertical sign, but the entire facade, down to only the most essential structural steel members. The stage fly tower has likewise been stripped, and large holes have been cut in the sidewalls. Only the ornamental quoins which wrapped around the corners of the facade’s edge remain. It is hard to imagine that any semblance of marquee or sign will reappear on what seems to be a remodel designed to eliminate any decorative trace of the building’s theatrical past. I hope I am wrong.
The sign on the rear of the stage fly tower of the Del Mar has just been beautifully and authentically repainted. While the painting was going on, I happened to be walking by, and I told the painter in charge about a mistake that had been made in the last repainting of it, in 1985. I emailed him a photo I had from 1982, showing how the sign looked then, and he corrected the error. Also, the Diving Lady and the redwood forest vignette flanking the lettering have never looked so good in all the years I’ve seen the sign (since 1972 or so).
Actually, the family name is Enea. This theatre and the one they built in Pittsburg were called Enean.
True, but the point is, people could see “movies” at this theatre once again. Digital or Film, no matter—it’s a wonderful prospect, to think that older folks who remember this theatre as a major New York movie house can enjoy onscreen entertainment within its walls again, and young people who have no concept of what a movie palace is will get to experience the awe. When I visited it in 2002, I was flabbergasted by the excellent state of preservation of this theatre—even though it has not been restored.
Notice I wasn’t alert when drawing the letters on the marquee. I wrote PORTRERO. Yet, in the caption at the bottom of the drawing, I spelled it correctly.
Were a new theatre to reopen in the historic Aptos Village area to fill the entertainment gap left by the demise of the Aptos Twin, there would be a distant historic precedent: Aptos Village once had a little movie house of its own, called the Aptos. It vanished long before my time, and I have never seen any photos of it. I happened on a brief mention of it in a book on Santa Cruz County history several years ago.
A great photo of the original box office can be found in the book “Movie Palaces” by Ave Pildas.
I am a bit confused. I have been inside the Warner. This is not what the lobby looks like. What theatre is this?
Listed as having 474 seats in the 1949 Film Daily Year Book.
I didn’t see the film until its re-release in 1974 or ‘75, at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. I was in 6th grade, and went with my friend Scot. We were both into Star Trek and science fiction, and we were blown away by the visual appeal of the movie. We both were growing up in homes where Classical/symphonic/orchestral music was valued, so we loved the music as well as the visual aspect. We didn’t understand the latter part of the movie, but we talked about it for weeks afterward, trying to figure out the meaning. Until the coming of Star Wars, it was the most visually rich depiction of outer space and space technology I’d seen.
I remember our tour bus driving by this theatre when I was in Athens in 1982. It was playing a movie about some kind of monster shark—clearly inspired by “Jaws.” I was unable to photograph the theatre, since our bus was passing so closely to it.
My thanks to fellow historian Jack Tillmany for finding the following today in Motion Picture News, now on Archive.com. It is dated June 17, 1927. “Pete Kyprious and associates have opened their new Strand Theatre at Sunnyvale. The old theatre was closed at once.” The old theatre referred to is the “old” Strand, formerly a nickelodeon called the Empire, which operated two doors to the South on the same side of the street. Kyprious also was part owner of the Casa Grande Theatre in Santa Clara, which had opened in 1925 at 966 Franklin Street. It was later called the Santa Clara.
The Decoto is listed as having 296 seats, in the 1949 Film Daily Yearbook. It has not been demolished. I have just updated the Street View to show the building. The only change it has had since I photographed it in the early 1990s is a new coat of paint, and the augmentation of the original, plain marquee structure with the low gabled roof-awning shown, and the removal of the perpendicular readerboard frame which was above it.
A friend of mine recently went into the building to have a custom piece of molded glass made, for that is the business that operates out of the building today. He tells me that the proscenium opening is still there, and the pressed tin ceiling is still intact.
This past January, while flying into LAX at night, I looked out my window and saw that, although the marquee of the Academy was not on, the tower was—completely operational and animating!
The interior is almost entirely gutted down to the wood frame. The marquee and vertical sign have been removed for off-site refurbishing.
I highly recommend Darkside Cinema owner Paul Turner’s book, “Prancing Lavender Bunnies,” which is a collection of essays he’s written about the world of operating an independent cinema. There are also stories of when he worked at other, older theatres as well. He really gives a sense of the nitty-gritty of exhibition. As for WHY the funny title, well, you should get the book! After enjoying my copy, I donated it to the Theatre Historical Society Archives, as I felt it gives glimpses into cinematic exhibition not detailed as colorfully anywhere else.
This can’t be a 1991 photo. The Embassy closed due to the 1989 earthquake.
Small architectural correction, as I stopped by the former Burl today: The exterior of the commercial block in front is, and always was, faced in wood, not stucco as I erroneously said in my description above.
Considerable remnants of the interior decor survive, mainly rows of Ionic pilasters along the sidewalls.