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Well those “Shake ‘n Share” popcorn containers ought to add a buck or two more to the already outrageous price of popcorn. Then there is that 500,000 watt Dolby Atmos sound system which according to the writer of the article is best experienced with ear plugs. I can hardly wait! Looking at movies at home is looking (and sounding!) better every day!
Quite a change since I was in the Army 1959-1962. Back then every medium sized base had at least one 35mm theatre. The larger posts had 2-4 theaters, many of them quite nice. Very small posts usually had at least 16mm facilities. There were 5 program changes a week, all single features (mostly recent releases with a scattering of reissues) accompanied by shorts & previews. Admission was only 25 cents.The theatres were then operated by the AAFMPS (Army Air Force Motion Picture Service).
You really appreciated these theatres when you were overseas and the post theatres were the only place you could get your fix of the American movies which of course were a connection to home. The post theatre at Camp Kaiser, Korea was my home away from home during my year long stint in that country and made that tour of duty much more bearable for sure!
My only negative recollection of those post theatres was at Fort Bliss, Texas when the bone-headed post commander, a general I think, decided that we had to wear uniforms or coat and tie to attend the 25 cent flicks. Not what we wanted to hear! Most of us boycotted the post theatres and got our movie fix in downtown El Paso or at the numerous drive-ins in the area after that. I heard attendance dropped 75 per cent but the policy was still in effect when I got discharged in 1962.
As mentioned in the post above, the closing of the two basement theatres attached to the Crest has apparently taken place in early March 2013. Even worse news for the independent/foreign/alternative film scene in Sacramento it has been announced by the Crest that the main auditorium will not be showing films 7 days a week any more. There are no films at all on the schedule for the last half of March and very little lined up for April. Looks like it will be mostly performing arts and dark days for the Crest for the foreseeable future! Not good news at all for downtown or us regional alternative to mainstream film fans. Now all we have left for that fare is the rather shabby Tower!
Movie theaters did indeed reach bottom in the 1970’s & 1980’s with those 2-4 screen shoebox theaters that seemed to be springing up everywhere in the malls and suburbs while at the same time putting the remaining downtown first run houses out of business or forcing them to turn to porn or schlock to survive. Small auditoriums, compromised aspect ratio screens, no screen curtains, mono sound, all big negatives when compared to the movie palaces and even neighborhood houses in my humble opinion! When the VCR’s arrived many of us realized we might as well just stay home and wait for the video.
There was no way to go but up and admittedly today’s stadium multiplexes are an improvement with comfortable stadium seats, good leg room and generally good sound and picture. Not that everything is now perfect with nobody up in the booth to oversee the frequently imperfect presentation and concession stands that make you take out a second mortgage for a small popcorn and Coke. Don’t get me started on cell phone talkers & texters & other barbarians in the audience…but yeah I have to say that things are better theater wise than they were back in the those dark days.
Now with HDTV, satellite, pay per view, Blu-ray, Netflix, Red Box, etc. it again be comes a question as to whether it’s worth it to brave today’s admittedly improved but still lacking multiplexes or just stay home and enjoy your home theater. You’re just looking at blown up video in most theaters nowadays anyway! Now if you want to bring back 70mm and give me a “Lawrence of Arabia” type experience I might get more excited about going to the movies again. As a realist I of course fully realize that ain’t gonna' happen!
Sorry to hear of Mr. Naylor’s passing. His books will always have a prominent and valued place in my library!
It’s not only the trailers! That fairly recent innovation, the pre-show 20 minute cavalcade of commercials masquerading as entertainment adds to my annoyance factor as much as the parade of trailers for movies most of which you couldn’t pay me to see. I prefer to get to our multiplex early to get good seats so there is no away to avoid that mammoth advertising bombardment.
By the time the feature FINALLY starts I’m starting to wish I’d waited for this flick to show up on Redbox so I can watch it in non commercial comfort on my HDTV at home! I mean did I pay $10.50 and another $10 for a SMALL popcorn and Coke for THIS?
A six alarm fire, thought to be electrically caused, pretty much totally destroyed Pepper Belly’s (formerly the Solano Theatre) on the night of January 25, 2013. The inside of the structure is totally gutted and the roof is gone. Only the four walls remain and it’s unclear at this point if they are structurally sound.
Hmmm…they want to offer subscriptions where you pay one monthly price and you get to see as many of movies you want…or all of them! They say it’s “just like Netflix”! I’d be surprised if the distributors would go for that. Good luck anyway guys! The MET Cinema’s closing leaves the whole Oakhurst-Mariposa area without a cinema so anyway you can open up the MET again I’m all for it! Not a good sign that the previous owner was losing money big time though!
Growing up in Richmond I remember the conversion of the Costa into the Fox as well as the old Fox into the UA. I saw lots of movies at the Fox and even though I preferred the UA the Fox was always a pleasant experience. I remember seeing the first CinemaScope film “The Robe” there as well as my first 3-D film “Sangaree”. Sometime around 1957-58 both the UA and Fox closed for a short time due to lack of business, leaving downtown Richmond with the run-down Rio as the only game in town! Fortunately both reopened (with a new one man in the booth agreement from the projectionists union as I recall) and lasted a few more years. Hard to believe that in 1950 there were 8 theatres on McDonald Avenue, from the Rio to the Uptown…and then in just a few years there were none!
Growing up in Richmond, the UA was the only local theatre that seemed to me like a movie palace, although certainly not a grand one like found in nearby Oakland or San Francisco. It had a balcony (closed much of the time) and when CinemaScope came along the Scope films with four channel magnetic stereo sound were pretty impressive in that big auditorium. I suppose it was my favorite theatre in Richmond, not that we had much to choose from by the mid 1950’s. A nice middle aged woman behind the concession counter would save 8 x 10 stills for me and sometimes even allow me to slip in to see a free show. Fond memories of the UA!
The Rancho did big business in the early 1950’s, before the arrival of the nicer, more modern San Pablo Auto Movies. Before then it’s closest drive in competition in the Richmond area was the El Cerrito Motor Movies. I liked the Dusk-to-Dawn movie marathons on holiday weekends, 4 or 5 features with free coffee and donuts if you managed to stay awake until closing.
I vaguely remember the listings for the Pablo, a second/third run neighborhood house, in the Richmond Independent. I believe it closed in the very early 1950’s. I also remember an article in the Independent regarding what must have been the final operators, a couple from Oregon who felt they had been deceived by the owners regarding the condition of the theatre and the revenue potential. I believe the sued to recover damages.
True the original auditorium of the Crest will remain intact and regularly showing films (and that’s a good thing!) but it’s a blow to the already underserved independent/foreign movie scene in the Sacramento area. Besides the Crest all we have left in the now rather shabby Tower which was pretty much ruined by the ugly but probably necessary sub-division. Presentation there leaves a lot to be desired!
Too bad the planned downtown K Street Century Cinearts multiplex never got built, mainly due to understandable opposition from the Crest and the Tower as I recall. It’s also too bad Landmark, the former more capable operators of the Tower abandoned the Sacramento market.
As planned the Cinedome 8 showed it’s last films on Thursday November 8, 2012. On the next day, November 9, Cinemark’s 12 screen Century Napa Valley at South Napa Marketplace, a couple of miles away, had it’s official grand opening. No plans for future use of the Cinedome have been announced but it seems unlikely that it will ever be used as a motion picture theatre again.
Calvary Chapel Rio Vista now occupies this building.
In October 2012 the Harvest Church was renovating the entire building that once housed the Capri Theatre. The Capri sign which remained in place during church use up until that time had finally been removed.
In October 2012 the movie theatre on the second floor was closed and the building was undergoing restoration. A still available theatre website indicated film programming was mostly performing arts oriented and the last film (more likely a digital presentation) was apparently on March 1, 2012. Plans for future use of the building and whether film showings will be included are unknown.
I met a gentleman in Mariposa this week who told me that as a high school student he was the last projectionist at the Mariposa Theatre before it closed. He wasn’t sure of the exact closing date but thought it was in the early 1960’s shortly after he graduated from high school. He said the theatre was located in the still standing structure at 5041 Highway 140 (Charles Street in the old days) between 6th Street and 7th Street which now houses a gym. A walking tour map of the city from the local History Society seems to confirm this location.
I hated these theatres and that awful “shadowbox” screen concept (no curtain, no masking). General Cinema started the then new to California single feature policy and drove a lot of older downtown theatres out of business or into porn before their final demise, the Ritz and Hayward in this case. These theatres were poorly maintained and managed from the beginning and really went downhill when they sub-divided them into little shoe boxes. The last time I attended the film was so dim it looked like it was being projected with a 100 watt light bulb. I asked for my money back and never returned.
Century came in and drove this theatre as well as the Festival and UA complexes on Hesperian Blvd. out of business with their new and much larger San Leandro and Newark multiplexes. That left Hayward with no movie theatres at all until Century opened their multiplex downtown, just a few blocks from where the Hayward and Ritz once stood.
Wow! In this day and age when theatres are abandoning 35mm in droves to go digital (even if they don’t want to!) somebody installing dual projector 70mm is big news and to be applauded! Alamo please bring a theatre (any format but film preferred!) to the Sacramento-Roseville CA market where we are starving for indie, classic & cult product!
Only twelve people including myself and my wife were at the 2:00 pm showing of “The Searchers” at Century 14 in Roseville CA which pretty much confirmed my previous assertion, that there really isn’t much of a market for older films nowadays. Cinemark hasn’t really promoted this series much but I’m not sure any amount of promotion would work. These films are just too widely available on other visual media and the generally older audience that would most appreciate them is dwindling. I’d be surprised if we see a similar series in the future.
The visual quality of the digitally transferred and projected “The Searchers” itself looked very good but not great in my opinion. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve last seen it in 35mm VistaVision but I seem to recall the image being sharper and the Technicolor more saturated on film. When I got home I immediately put on my Blu-ray of the film (probably from the same HD digital transfer) and that too appeared to have a slight edge over Cinemark’s presentation.
It was still a thrill seeing John Ford’s masterpiece on the big screen again where those beautifully photographed Monument Valley panoramas look particularly impressive. I’m glad I went and thank Cinemark for at least giving this oldies series a chance.
It will be interesting to see if older films like this, as great as they are but now frankly sort of overexposed with showings on cable TV, DVD & Blu-ray releases as well as streaming, can still draw an audience at the multiplex. You also have to consider that younger audiences think cinema history started with “Star Wars”. At least this one is in color! “Singin' in the Rain” will be playing in six greater Sacramento area multiplexes with a sort of steep adult ticket price of $12.50 (even for the 2 PM matinee).
Cinemark is doing a summer series of classic films on Wednesdays at select theatres. “Citizen Kane”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “That’s Entertainment”, “North by Northwest”, “The Searchers” and others. Regular ticket prices appear to apply to this series. I’m going to see “The Searchers” here in Roseville CA tomorrow 06/27. I vividly remember how stunning it looked in 35mm VistaVision IB Technicolor and anxious to see how it measures up with digital projection. I’m also curious to see how big of an audience it will draw.
Like the THUD-THUD-THUD sound bleed through from adjacent auditoriums isn’t bad enough already? Like your ears aren’t ringing enough after 6 ear blasting trailers for the latest action flicks? The home theater experience looks better every day!
Up until the early 60’s I found trailers very entertaining, an enjoyable part of the movie going experience. Now they bore me to death! With every trailer that plays at the local multiplex I think to myself “I sure hope this is the last one!”
Of course with the pre-show video program that most chains now play which is nothing more than a twenty minute marathon of commercials (and more trailers!) masquerading as entertainment, you’ve already had it with mindless hype in surround sound and ready to see the feature.
Admittedly a big part of my problem is that most current movies aren’t aimed at me or my generation. Unlike the old days I have absolutely no interest in seeing the the great majority of coming attractions. I don’t even want to see their trailers! Thank God on DVD’s there is usually a way to skip the trailers (even if you have to jump through a few hoops to do it!).
Not too unusual if the theatres are in different parts of town. If they are very close to each other it would be a bit unusual I guess. I share her frustration…the same 20 or so new flicks seem to be on the screens of about 90 per cent of the multiplexes in the country, up to 100 per cent if you don’t live in a big city. I liked it MUCH better in the good old days when there were first and second run (downtown and neighborhood) theatres, last run grind houses, art houses, etc. Films had “legs” then…they could play the circuit for a couple of years or more and you had lots of movie choices in most medium and large cities.
Oh yeah you had double features back then, along with cartoons, newsreels and shorts instead of a 20 minute pre-show commercial marathon masquerading as entertainment. You also didn’t have to take out a mortgage to go to the concession stand, people didn’t talk or text on their cell phones, the picture was actually in focus and framed correctly and the sound was at the right level…ah those were the days my friend…and I am well aware that we will never see them again!