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Previous to Edwards ownership, this theater was owned by the United Artists Theater Chain for many years.
Just caught this video on YouTube; it’s a news piece from 1983 about theater organs, and it features some video of the Avenue’s Friday night silent movies. Also shows the neon sign outside at night. Worth watching!
God bless you folks for carrying on such a beautiful tradition! I’m down in Texas, but I hope one day to visit Virginia, and if I do, I will make sure your theatre is on my list of places to visit. It sounds WONDERFUL.
Here’s a nighttime photo of the marquee and box office from 2005:
This was definitely a four screen theater. I recall seeing “The Final Countdown” on my birthday (August 2nd) in 1980 here, and also seeing “Flash Gordon” with a full audience of young peers (most of whom were pretty sarcastic and catcalled the screen) in December 1980.
Funny story about that “Flash Gordon” screening. I went there wanting to enjoy it, and during the opening credits, most of the audience was very mockingly singing along with Queen – “Flash! Ahhh-ahhhh!” and generally making snarky comments at every action that went on in the film. Eventually I got tired of it, and just hollered at the top of my lungs “Shhhhuuuuuuuutttt Uuuuup!” Well, that little shoebox auditorium quieted down right quick, I’ll tell you. My sister was seated next to me, and she later told me that further along in the film, she heard a couple guys two rows back start to chat again, and a girl next to them said to them “shhh, be quiet, that guy’ll get mad again!”
I remember going to this theater at least twice in 1981. The first time was when “Star Wars” had its 1981 re-release in the Spring, which was for one week only. Because it was for one-week only, and because home video was still in its infancy and Star Wars hadn’t gotten to home video yet), my sister and I went here on the first Saturday and stayed for FOUR consecutive showings of the film, their entire run for the day, starting at 1 pm and ending sometime around 10 or 11 at night. Funny thing, for some strange reason the theater inserted an intermission break at the hour point. Every single showing, audience members blinked in disbelief and a few hesitantly took a break in the lobby. We just got up and stretched a few times, then sat back down. It was only like a 5 or 10 minute break. But for a 2 hour movie?
Anyway, the second memory I have of the Edwards Cinema West is seeing “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with a full house on opening weekend (might have been pening night, I’m not certain). What. A. Blast. The audience reactions were just great; laughter, oohs, aahs, screams, shouts, cheers, etc.
I’m not sure if I ever saw any movies before or after 1981 at the Cinema West, but I remember it as a pretty decent theater and I remember being upset upon learning in 1995 that it had been torn down and replaced with a new multiplex.
As the first two photos provided by ken mc show, a children’s Halloween parade was held on Center Street. This continued at least throughout the 70s. I remember because I was in the 1974 parade. I think I only saw one movie at the Fox, the 1974 dog adventure “Benji.” Oh, boy, did us kids cry like babies over that one. We just LOVED that dog.
Bill Kallay is a treasure to those of us who grew up in Orange County. My mind is swirling with amazement at the depth of research and the intense labor of love he has accomplished on the theaters of Orange County. The man deserves an award of some kind, like, I dunno, an Oscar or something.
As noted elsewhere on this site, Todd Blood and his wife have apparently been looking to sell their theatres. I recall visiting the theatre once back in the mid-90s, and it seemed pretty cool from a look around the lobby, but apparently, from Todd Blood’s own comments on this site as well as from others' such as Bob Lauder’s (you go, man!), something went wrong along the way with Todd Blood and his approach to business. I think it takes a special person to run an independent movie theater (especially first run) these days, and from the sound of it, Todd Blood should probably be running a Quizno’s instead of a movie theater, if anything, because he and his wife both seem to have a really belligerent attitude toward others, regardless of their LDS association. And that’s not just toward customers, it’s toward anyone who gives them any sort of resistance or disagreement. Notice Mrs. Blood’s comments about the owner of the Fox Fullerton on that theater’s page here, or Todd Blood’s comments on owning a movie theater from a few years ago in the “Theatre for Sale” thread (owning a movie theater is such a headache you bought 3 more, Todd?). I mean I don’t know what their deal is, but regardless of California labor laws or lawyers or competition from major chains, independent movie theater owners these days can’t afford to alienate what little customer base they are able to gain. Even the big chains are hurting for customers these days. The independent theater owner thus has to be extremely attentive to making the theatergoing experience as pleasurable and memorable as possible for customers, in order to engender repeat business and positive word of mouth.
But Todd Blood apparently doesn’t want to hear such things. He knows everything about the film business and is unwilling to change and gets angry when anyone has the unbridled nerve of desiring a high quality film presentation. Well, okay, folks. Vote with your wallets and your feet then. Like Mr. Lauder said above, it’s a real shame; he could have made many more millions and been cherished by the community instead of abhorred. But I guess as long as the LDS church gets their fair share of loot, who cares what the unwashed moviegoing minions think, right?
By the way, Bill Kallay, you totally ROCK man!!!!! Your site is awesome and I am blown away that you were able to snag all those great photos of the theater! Just amazing!
I saw many, many films at this theater, which was an extremely popular theater during the 1980s. All three Star Wars films and all three Indiana Jones films were shown in Theater III in 70mm, as were Superman and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a re-release of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in 70mm, Gone With The Wind in 70mm, Poltergeist in 70mm (I sat in the third row on opening night, first show, and still clearly recall literally jumping out of my seat at the clown doll scene), Braveheart (not sure if it was 70mm), Aliens, and many others. It’s really a shame that it’s now closed. It was one of the better theaters in all of Orange County.
I saw many, many films at this theater as well as the “backhouse” or Theater III, which was an extremely popular theater during the 1980s. All three Star Wars films and all three Indiana Jones films were shown in Theater III in 70mm, as were Superman and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a re-release of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in 70mm, Gone With The Wind in 70mm, Poltergeist in 70mm (I sat in the third row on opening night, first show, and still clearly recall literally jumping out of my seat at the clown doll scene), Braveheart (not sure if it was 70mm), Aliens, and many others. In the twinned side, I recall seeing numerous 70s Disney live action films like Hot Lead and Cold Feet and The Cat from Outer Space, as well as various other comedies and dramas, including the Japanese film The Makioka Sisters in a special screening in Theater II. I clearly remember seeing Die Hard in 1988 in Theater I, and being absolutely blown away by the subwoofers during the scene where Bruce Willis drops the chair strapped with C-4 down the elevator shaft. I have NEVER been able to duplicate the depth and intensity of that explosion on ANY home theater system since. It was awesome. I seriously thought the wall behind the screen was going to cave in, it was that strong.
Here’s a photo of the twinned side – View link
I still fondly recall my one trip to this theater, to see the 70mm CDS engagement of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” It was, in a word, awesome. Ordinary spoken dialogue could be heard in the lobby. The screen was gigantic. Most of all I noticed how much SPACE was between the seats front to back! One could pass in front of other seated viewers and not bump into them!
What a shame that this has been multiplexed. As a single screener, this was a glorious modern cinema.
I found the Candy Band trailer, folks! http://www.youtube.com/w/?v=3AYatvM-A48
I recall seeing some movies at this theatre around 1974/75, since my family and I briefly lived in an apartment complex nearby. At the time it was operated by General Cinema Corporation (of that I’m certain; I clearly recall their logo, which resembled a projector with two reels), and it may have been split into a two-screener already. I believe “The Trial of Billy Jack” and either “Earthquake” or “The Towering Inferno” played here, but that’s not a solid memory. I do recall at least seeing previews for those films there.
A Knowlwood Hamburger restaurant (an Orange County mini-chain – http://www.knowlwoodrestaurants.com/ ) was located next door. Today, a McDonald’s stands on the site of the old Knowlwood.
I believe the theater was demolished sometime in the very late 70s or early 80s. Today a Taco Bell stands approximately on the former site of the Century 21. The theater’s address was probably either 790 or 800 N. Euclid St., as the theater entrance directly faced the T-shaped intersection of Euclid St. and W. Glenoaks Avenue.
Address for the Cinedome site is 3001 W. Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92868
This is the link that should have been listed under “Related Websites” – View link
Status on this theater should be Closed/Demolished. The Orange Cinedome was demolished in April 2000.
Um….where did all my theaters go? Now my profile shows no theaters at all!
LOL! Am I the first one to use the new feature? I notice I can only list so many theaters in my “Favorite Theaters” section – there’s a limit! But…but I have MORE favorite theaters I want to list! Waaaah! Can you guys increase the settings for that?