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My comments were not meant to offend anyone. I know the Northern
California Film Exhibition marketplace like the back of my hand.
I know the Enean Theater very well and some of the previous operators too.
I would love to see the house thrive successfully but when an earlier
member considered spending over $800,000.00 on this building …
I have an obligation to speak what I know is true of the existing marketplace of theatrical exhibition. I too distribute indie films
and book commercial films into motion picture theaters all across
the United States. In the past I have represented clients who
like yourself, have longed for the 1940 – 1950 release of CANTINFLAS
films etc. to play in their movie houses. The facts are that the studios do not have prints of these films anymore. Most
of these movies are on video and for sale at many local California
TARGET STORES. Its sad but true. Perhaps since you are local, you might be able to get a strong contingency of folks to raise funds
to buy or lease to purchase the Enean Theater? Most likely you will
have greater success with LIVE STAGE SHOWS catering to the Latino
or Hispanic audiences. I believe that you can find booking agents
who handle talent for these kinds of venues down in Los Angeles.
What I said in my previous comments are true. You can get prints of
Harry Potter, Last Samurai, etc. from the Hollywood studios with
Spanish Sub-Titles. Some indie companies have released some excellent arty type films which I myself have booked into various
venues such as REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO etc. These films are quality indie fare and did play well to Hispanic and Anglo audiences as they were run in many commercial megaplex venues amd art housses – throughout the United States. This kind of product would do well in a venue like the Enean but unfortunately, there’s not enough of this film-fare to keep the house running 365 days a year and be profitable unless the house is
made to be mulit-faceted. IF this can be done – then it will survive
and live out its legacy as an ornate Palace of Yesteryear! I suggest you go out and try to get a group organized locally to SAVE THE ENEAN! Good Luck as I too would hate to see the house disappear.
Thank ou very much – I enjoyed the links.
If my memory serves me well – the WOODS and UNITED ARTISTS
had been reduced to exploitation films and low admission
policies. Such a shame they are now gone.
I grew up in Willow Glen just a few short minutes from my favorite movie house in San Jose California. The Garden was wonderful in every aspect of its design. I remember seeing PT109 with LILLIES
OF THE FIELD on my 9th birthday at The Garden! They always ran double feature programs that included a cartoon and previews.
You always knew what opened every WEDNESDAY at THE GARDEN because
they changed shows weekly. The Garden always played the MGM
pictures exclusively in San Jose. Even when the Syufy Theatres
started their take over of the San Jose Market, they could not
prevent The Garden from playing Day and Date (at the same time)
with their new, giant dome theaters. The Garden always played
to big crowds and packed houses. The original owner, Ben Levin
of General Theatrical Theaters sold the house to a hispanic operator.
The neighborhood was upscale and classy – deserving of art and
foreign films or even First Run. As a local resident, Hispanic
movies never fit as the audience had to drive from the East Side
of San Jose to patronize this venue. But, money talks and that, I am sure made the decision for Mr. Levin to sell to the new owner.
I miss the place so so much.
There are times when I visit California that I buy a hamburger, fries
and shake and just park across the street from its facade and dream
of the early 60’s and my many bike rides to the Garden Theater.
This drive-in was truly the last DISCOUNT TRIPLE BILLER around.
The City of San Jose forced the owners hand and stopped the
Triple X Films and it switched to Triple Features Action/Comedy
shows at Family Carload Prices. The owner eventually sold the
land and yes – its offices now. The old owners family are very
wealthy and wise … first from the porno and then from the land
Whatever happend to the WOODS THEATER and the UNITED ARTISTS?
I was in downtown Chicago back in the late 80’s and both venues
were still standing – boared up and closed.
My mother frequented this movie house for many years with her mother and friends during the late 40’s and thru the 50’s. A beautiful
theater with treasured memories never forgotten. I will always remember
my grandmothers home and the Fox Theater in Inglewood. The class and culture of the old days – when you could
walk to the movies and dime stores without fear. Ahhh, so sad.
One of my dearest friends was the manager of the FOX PADRE
for a few years before moving down the street to the FOX CALIFORNIA.
As a kid, I always wanted to venture into this theater – but my
mom always said ‘no.’ So funny. The movie houses that catered to
the families and kids was where I often found myself on rainy
saturday afternoons with my parents and friends: THE FOX CALIFORNIA
(premier of Mary Poppins), THE STUDIO (How The West Was Won) and
the UNITED ARTISTS (Lt Robinson Crusoe USN). THE PADRE was known
for its exploitation and adult themed films. A no-no for any kid
in those days!
One of my dearest friends, since passed away, started his movie
theater career as an usher at the Fox Burlingame. He told me the
stories of packed auditoriums of up to 2000 seats! Many times
the lobby and upper stairwells would be full of patrons waiting
for the next film to end before they would rush in for their
seats. I asked him, “Did ushers ever pick up trash and papers
between shows?” He said “Impossible, the shows were continuous
pretty much without much of any intermission.” His name was
WARD STOOPES who in later years became in independent movie
theater owner and operated several houses in San Francisco
including the YORK and many others during the 60’s and 70’s.
His last running venue was the old ENCORE THEATER located
around the corner from the Fox Burlingame. It was also run
in its early years as a FOX WEST COAST THEATER – but with
secondary features and under a different name.
FYI – The reason there are no spanish speaking films in the marketplace is that they do not make them anymore. The reason is
that Latino’s have been a tremendous supporter of big commercial movie releases. In fact, even in Los Angeles which boasts over
4 million hispanics, the spanish language movie theaters all closed due to lack of attendance! The Latinos go to regular multiplex
theaters. How many times have you been to the Brendan 16 plex in
Pittsburg??? Hmmm ??? I am sure you and many more Latinos flock
to the house when all the big family and blockbuster films play.
I will say that I have seen some of the big stadium megaplexes
in heavily Hispanic markets … play a regular big commercial film
such as … say … LAST SAMURAI etc with SPANISH SUBTITULOS for
the enjoyment of maybe the folks who don’t speak any English.
This however, is very very rare and I’ve only seen it done with
rare success. This policy was even tried in San Jose CA where
Hispanics abound and was very unsuccessful.
The Elmwood was my pride and joy. I was the independent operator
who, after the fire, tri-plexed the house and equipped it with
vintage, salvaged art deco light fixtures from various older
movie houses including the Merced Theater in Merced CA.
I was one of the last film buyers who booked this house back in
the mid 80’s when it was operated by an independent named
Stan Strain. It was a steady little grosser. Stan retired
and closed the venue. At a later date, it reopened under the
auspices of one of the Naify’s.
I will always have a fondness for The Palace. I am so glad
that it is now preserved and useful for another owner.
Be Cautious Folks. Upon my last visit to downtown Pittsburg, CA
this area was extremely blighted. Also, a giant 16 screen plex sits
just 2 miles away and 3 miles further a 16 plex was erected too.
I also recommend studying the demographics of this community.
To this very day Pittsburg has never responded well to art, foreign or upscale
motion pictures. It has always played well to the family and
action audiences throughout its history. Please investigate this
market thoroughly before embarking on such an expensive propostion.
Perhaps a lease with an option to buy would be a much safer bet.
You folks will be very successful.
If you need any consulting and/or film buying expertise
please email me!
Darren and anyone else interested in operating movie houses – I am
a film buyer for independent movie theater opeators. I have been
an independent exhibitor in the past and have worked in the film industry for over 30 yr. Would love to help and or work with anyone
devoted to our business! Please email anytime.