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This theater was named after the Mitchell Brothers 1972 XXX hit “Behind the Green Door”, which in inself had a number of run-ins with regards to obscenity and the law. (The Mitchell Brothers did operate a number of XXX houses, but all were in California.)
KTVU-2 news last night ran an article about the attendence at the Castro theater suffering due to the decline of available “revival film product”. They mentioned that the Red Vic has been struggling as well and has had to cut back in printing film schedules.
KTVU-2 news last night reported that the Castro Theater will now be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays starting in April. This is due to the decline of available product to play in the theater (“revival film product) and a drop in attendence. The report did state that the Castro is still "in the black”. The same report also mentioned that the Red Vic Theater is having similar problems.
Been here as both a twin (seeing The Empire Strikes Back first-run here) as well as a 5-screener (seeing The Matrix and a few other films here). Rather bland theater and IMO the chop up job turning it into a 5-plex was rather poorly done.
They did have a Tuesday bargain night as well.
This should be interesting, perhaps expanded into a feature length form.
In assessing hardcore in San Francisco in the 1960’s & 1970’s, one should also take into consideration the “storefront theaters” (which largely started in San Francisco) such as the Screening Room (owned by pioneering pornographer Alex DeRenzy, the “Mini-Adult”, and the “Art 1 & 2”. (And remember, the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater was originally converted prom a car dealership).
This theater operated (very briefly) in 1982 or 1983 and was called the Log Cabin. It had been a dance hall. Walnut Properties )Pussycat’s parent company) opened this and ran foreign films (non-sex) for a couple weeks and then switched to XXX fare. The San Luis Obispo county shariff’s office raided this theater within 2 weeks. It then re-opened and tried showing XXX fare again and the shariff’s office raided it again within a week. Then the county yanked its operating permit & then it went out of business.
The theater was right outside the San Luis Obispo city limits on Highway 227.
San Luis Obispo county did have a bit of an anti-pornography stance during this period as a local preacher also got a theater in Pismo Beach to stop showing XXX films at midnight as well as most stores that carried magazines to quit carrying Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, etc. (For a time, only two magazine dealers would carry these, one in downtown SLO by the Mission, and one in Pismo Beach.)
The Manor started showing XXX fare in the early 1970s.
When Titanic came out in 1997, one local theater chain kept having problems with the film print burning up at one of its theaters during the last 20 minutes of the film because the film projector had too much heat build-up. I decided to go to one other theater about 15 miles away to see Titanic. That theater (an independent) had a great solution. They showed Titanic with a 20 minute intermission!
I do think intermissions are necessary for films that run over 2 ½ hours & not just to sell more concession items or going to the bathroom. I seldom go to theaters now because I cannot sit for long periods of time (back & hip issues)/ The intermissions work great in those instances.
It is now the only theater left after the Rheem in nearby Moraga closes for good after tonight’s performances. My concern is will this theater be next??
According to KTVU-2 News, the theater will be closing after tonight’s performances. This theater was going to close this past December because of declining business, but the news helped bring a temporary uptick in customers.
This leaves the Orinda Theater (now operated by the operators of the Rheem after taking that theater over in 2009 from Rennaisance Rialto) as the only theater left, unless one goes to the Cinemark in downtown Walnut Creek.
There have been independently made documentaries that have been showing here on Saturdays since November. Status should be changed to “open”. I am curious as to how much of an audience the documentaries are doing.
Ironically, the Krispy Kreme has been closed for the last several months.
Yet another controversy going on—The most recent use was as the Pink Diamonds strip club. It was forced to shut down as its operating permit was yanked because of continuing problems with violence & shootings involving some of the patrons. Currently, the Power Exchange, a sex club, wants to move its operations here and the San Francisco City Academy (the religious schol down the street) is trying to block it.
According to one atricle in the SF Weekly newspaper (several months ago), the building is owned by a current San Francisco City Supervisor.
Gary Graver (who passed away in 2009) was a director/cinematographer. He did film/direct a number of XXX films in the 1970s & 1980s under the name Robert McCallum.
The other night I watched a DVD (released in 2006 by Raincoat Theater, a division of Media Blasters) of the 1980 Marilyn Chambers film “Insatiable”—One of the bonus features on that DVD was footage of Marilyn Chambers (the film’s star) at a premiere of that film at this theater in May of 1980, including where she was putting her hand prints into the cement in front of the theater. This was during the daytime and there was a crowd of about 50 watching from outside the theater (all men). The footage also showed a little bit of the lobby including a shot of Vince Miranda. (Chambers narrates the footage, which is well worth watching.)
“Insatiable” was considered Chambers porn comeback after a foray into mainsteam film (the most notable being “Rabid”, directed by David Croenberg in which she plays a vampire) and was hyped for a time due to a scene in which she has sex with John Holmes. The film premiered here and would essentially become the last theatrical XXX film to have financial success with a cross-over (ie couples) audience. This, of course, had to do with the advent of VHS, and even at this point, theatrical XXX audiences were going back to being essentially male.
Reopens on July 15th under the operation of Rennaisance Rialto (who operates the Elmwood in Berkeley). First attraction will be the new Harry Potter film. It sounds as if RR will be running first-run product here, unlike the Fischers.
That 1982 photo would be shortly before it closed.
Jack Tillmany operated this theater for many years through the 1960s & into the early 1970s. When American Graffiti played here (as a move-over from the Southland Cinemas), it played here successfully for a number of weeks. Clint Eastwood films also drew well.
He also instituted a policy “No one under 16 admitted without a parent” at all times. This was largely to cut down on such things asas seat slashing
Status should be “closed”.
Within the last month, they have now started showing some first & second run English language films, partly due to the fact that attendance for the Indian films has dropped considerably and also because Fremont has no other English language house with the Cinedome 8 being shuttered.
The Cerrito Theater is now closed as well according to the Contra Costa Times.
that shows Chinese/Hong Kong fare (there is a good Asian population there, and they can cross-market to nearby UC Berkeley as the theater is easily accessible by public transit).
Unfortunately, according to this mornings Contra Costa Times, the Cerrito Theater is now “closed indefinitely” as the Fischers have ran out of money. The Redevelopment Agency of El Cerrito pulled their lease recently as the Fischers have not paid their $10,000 a month rent on the theater for the last 18 months. (Their other theater, the Parkway in Oakland, shuttered in April due to financial issues & declining attendance.) They have blamed the shutdown on the economy, lack of access to first-run movies, increased construction costs, etc.
This is sad but me thinks that the best solution may be to try opoperating a theater
This theater was owned & managed by Bob Shaw during the years of 1973-1976. Shaw (who passed away on April 10, 2009) would become a news editor & film critic for KTVU-2 from 1976-2007. He had also worked on the Creature Features with Bob Wilkins show on KTVU as a researcher.
I do remember when Shaw was running the theater that at times he would pair a classic film as a second feature. I recall seeing The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) with Jack the Giant Killer (1961).
In Hong Kong, films go onto DVD within 30 days of theatrical release. In the US, the average is now 3 months.
Back in the 1960’s, this was the average pattern: A film like Lawrence of Arabia would play at 1 or 2 theaters in a major city like San Francisco (where it played at 1 theater for over a year continuous!), then it would go wider to neighborhood theaters, then would later come back as either a re-release or a second feature, then would go to network TV.
The pattern today: Saturation theatrical release, then DVD/pay-per-view, then pay cable(HBO, etc), then free TV (mostly cable channels like TNT or FX, network TV & local stations show fewer & fewer movies now).
Face it—All attempts at blocking “piracy” in the past have just increased piracy.
Where the real effect would be—If one cannot record (let’s say) movies off HBO, I suspect that the number of people subscribing to HBO will drop dramatically.