Tower Theatre

2508 Land Park Drive,
Sacramento, CA 95818

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

The Tower Theatre will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Monday, October 11, 2013. Here is the story in today’s Sacramento Bee.

JohnRice
JohnRice on October 6, 2013 at 12:48 am

I first moved to Sacramento in 1962 and have many fond memories of the single screen Tower where I enjoyed such first run attractions as “Charade”, “Lilies of the Field”, “The Great Escape” and “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Like so many other once grand theatres, separating it into 3 theatres pretty much destroyed the interior charm of the Tower but at least it still stands and looks pretty much the same from the outside. The dreary interior could use a major overhaul but I don’t expect to see that anytime soon. Since the Crest stopped regular film programming it’s the only place in town to see indie and foreign films nowadays which is pretty pathetic for such a big metropolitan area as Sacramento.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

A few 2012 photo can be seen here and here.

jessacarillo
jessacarillo on February 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I grew up in the suburbs and only enjoyed watching movies in the megaplex’s. Now that I’m a little older and have moved into midtown Sac, I have found a deep place in my heart for theaters like the Tower, Crest and Guild. If there is a movie out and I want to see it. The first place I look is at the Tower. Yes it’s old and run down and most of the employee’s there have no appreciation for what the theater is to this town but It’s a theater with history.

Maybe one day I will have the funds to purchase this theater and restore it to it’s former beauty. Until then, I will enjoy it for what it is and give it as much business as possible.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on July 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

The Tower Theater complex is for sale:

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 26, 2008 at 11:47 pm

The name of the chain is misspelled at top. It is Reading Cinemas.

This is their web site.

The theater’s individual web page is still at the URL Lost Memory posted in the comment above.

HannahRoseJuceam
HannahRoseJuceam on November 11, 2007 at 4:26 pm

My husband told me the bathrooms were better last year, then they got worse and they’ve brought back the ice in the stalls. I thought the smell returned because Tower Records went under but it turns out, Tower Records doesn’t own Tower Theater.

There should be a law about treating a theater like this.

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on November 9, 2007 at 1:15 am

I grew up in and around Sac up to the age of 7, then in L.A. until just recently,( I’m 42), when I moved to Truckee, so I really got to experience many classic theaters, north and south. My dad took us kids to all the beautiful and mysterious movie houses on Broadway in L.A., and because we had cousins, aunts, uncles and friends scattered throughout the San Joaquin Valley,(including some “sweaty Armenians”), we got to see alot of the smaller but no less classic small town movie houses, some , I recall, with these cool old neons signs of Polar Bears announcing,“Cool Air Conditioned Air Inside”.
But the one theater that I remember most vividly, and with much affection, is the Tower. One summer that I stayed with some relatives, we visited the Tower almost every weekend. What a superclassic venue. I went by there recently. I hear its being threatened by the encroachment of megaplexes. I hope they save her.

Eric
Eric on November 8, 2007 at 12:48 am

Although it’s a beautiful art deco gem, I hate to agree that the restroom is disgusting! Also, the sound in the main auditorium sucks!

loside316
loside316 on November 8, 2007 at 12:12 am

Gosh Ms. actionjacksonsacfilmlady, what a reactionary you are. You have absolutely failed to understand what I was trying to convey in my post as well as demonstrated to all that are reading you possess a total lack of intellect and on top of that be a bit of a bigot yourself by the assumptions you’ve made about me. To set the record straight, I didn’t just come from Des Moines or Middle America or any Red State and I’ve lived in the Oak Park area for a good portion of my life. In my post I never mentioned anything about the ethnicity of the staff at Tower but the inappropriate manner in which some of them conducted themselves. (The “sweaty Armenian” just happened to be sweating profusely wearing a sleeveless half-shirt bearing the slogan “Mer Hayrenik” across the front. My wife is Armenian, thats how I knew what the slogan said. She sweats profusely every night after I’m done with her! LOL!) Movie Theatres are a business and with any other business you want to make sure you have the best possible staff and know how to behave appropriately. I’m sure if you ran a theatre you wouldn’t want your employees showing up to work with a rag and shoe lace on their heads. I’m sure you wouldn’t be happy about the disgusting washrooms or popcorn scattered everywhere while your staff chooses to lounge around screaming, cursing and playing games. And I really doubt you’d be pleased if someone were making advances on your boyfriend or husband right in front of you while he’s just tryng to order you popcorn and soda. You can’t possibly believe that’s a proper way to run a business. And as for the “N” word, even if it’s among African-Americans, it’s not very professional to speak in that kind of language in the work place. Do what you want in your home but the rest of us don’t want to be subjected to that kind of garbage.

KJB2012
KJB2012 on November 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I’ve never been to the movies in Sacto. I find the show over at Arnold’s office more exciting. However the image of the “Sweaty Armenian” is a hoot. I mean I can see that on Saturday Night Live.
I am, though, rather alarmed to hear that the staff at the Tower is made up of “college-educated, bookish nerds”. Did they all go to Berkeley?
I suggest that the Tower hire a bunch cool, L.A. kids, so the “bookish nerds” can slip back into the library. HA!

sacfilmlady
sacfilmlady on November 7, 2007 at 3:36 pm

loside316, you are a delusional racist. Sweaty Armenian? Gang gear like silk rags? All of the people who work at Tower are movie buffs and most of them are college-educated, bookish nerds. Tattoos and piercings are pretty normal for young people now, and if a black person is wearing a silk rag on his or her head, it’s probably because they’re having a bad hair day. It has nothing to do with gang affliations. The Tower may not be perfect, but it’s impossible that any of the claims you’re making could even remotely be true.

wulfgar64
wulfgar64 on November 2, 2007 at 3:10 am

Haven’t been to the Tower Theater in 15 plus years, but these times aren’t necessarily changing for the better. Never had a negative experience there, but you should try going to the theaters down in Southern California. They make Sacto theaters seem like heaven. Hope that the Tower Theater never has to go the way of the Alhambra.

terrywade
terrywade on August 10, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Can anyone tell me did the Tower have the D-150 curved screen at a time?

henderson
henderson on July 21, 2007 at 6:20 pm

I spent 1971-1976 at McClellan Air Force Base, then Mather Air Force base, 1978-1982 and only once did I make the trek to the Tower Theater.. Boy do I regret it. I saw “Das Boot” there in 1981. Sound system was great and the building was a real treasure. I only wish I could have seen more movies there and not at the “Mega-Plexes”…..

loside316
loside316 on June 29, 2007 at 12:33 am

Recently I went to the Tower Theatre for the first time in a while and was shocked to see how sloppy and disorganized everyone was. I knew I was in trouble when my date and I approached the concession stand and the sweaty Armenian attandant started hitting on her. Totally disrespectful and akward. Then we were given the wrong directions by the ticket ripper (name tag just said “SMOKES!”) who didn’t seem to know which movies were playing where. Later on I witnessed two employees in a waiting area playing video games and fixing each other’s hair. On our way out through the lobby ushers were lounging around talking out loud yelling swear and racial slurs like the “N” word. Also, I noticed the appearance of piercings, tattoos and gang gear like silk rags on their heads. The first time I went to the Tower in 1949, the staff was clean, couteous and knowledgeable. Now it looks as though they’ve recruited the staff from a nearby correctional facility.

ksola
ksola on April 25, 2005 at 2:11 am

I think that Sacramento could support more than one movie theatre showing independent movies. Look at the Bay Area — there are several independent movie theatres literally blocks away from each other, and very close to megaplexes. If downtown was revitalized, then people might be more willing to visit Tower Theatre as well. I recently returned to Sacramento from living in the Bay Area for almost ten years, and I was very disappointed to see how Tower has deteriorated. The facade is dirty and unappealing. Also, the movies being offered are not too interesting, and I am a fan of indies. Reading Entertainment needs to invest in their own business instead of holding the Sacramento City Council hostage. Clean it up!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2005 at 4:58 am

Has no one in Sacramento considered the possibility of creating a linkage between the construction of a new multiplex on K Street and the complete restoration of the Tower as a single screen theater which has the ability to also present live shows? Whenever a downtown multiplex is proposed for Sacramento, fans of the Tower always seem to go into automatic opposition mode. It would probably be more productive to try to make the restoration and continued operation of the Tower a pre-condition for the development of a new multiplex theater downtown. K Street, and the growing resident population of downtown and nearby neighborhoods would certainly benefit from the development of a new theater in the neighborhood, and it seems unlikely that the Tower can survive as a three screen house much longer. If all the new multiplexes go into outlying areas, the Tower is just as doomed as it would likely be if a downtown multiplex were built and captured all its trade. As far as I can see, the only way to save the Tower over the long run is to restore it with a single screen, and the opening of a nearby multiplex can be seen as an opportunity to bring that about, if Sacramentans use their imagination and their influence to make the connection between the two.

lorimay
lorimay on January 13, 2005 at 4:24 am

I find it interesting that no one seems concerned how more downtown movie screens will affect the Crest Theater. The Tower would be less threatened if they actually cleaned it once in a while and did some basic repairs. If an actual interior restoration took place, there would be no worries about competition. The movies shown here are fabulous but the upkeep (or lack thereof) is a crime.

Marshamenz
Marshamenz on August 24, 2004 at 7:12 pm

I grew up a block behind the Tower Theatre. What a great neighborhood. Feels like home when I go to see a movie at the Tower. I remember Irma la Douce, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057187/, played at the Tower for what seemed like 3 months in 1963. Irma was quit controversial, way before they had ratings for movies. I didn’t see it because of the adult situations until many years later when it was on TV. Quit tame by today’s standards. The theatre was so packed that cars would line both sides of Landpark and 14th streets every weekend.

Back then, we also had the Fox theatre on K Street and mom could drop us off for a matinee of Disney flicks.

The Alhambra was by far the most spectacular of any theatre I ever walked into. Truly the saddest day ever as we’ll never bring it’s splendor back. Hoping the Tower will be saved.

Eric
Eric on July 20, 2004 at 3:12 pm

I recently visited the Tower for the first time and fell in love with it the minute I walked in the door. The art deco signs in the lobby and the light fixtures in the auditoriums are awesome!! These are things you don’t see in the megaplexes these days. I found the theatre to be very cozy and inviting. I was also surprised that the theatre was tri-plexed ‘backwards’ to the usual way I’ve seen most singles tri-plexed. The Tower’s rear stadium section became the ‘main’ auditorium, with the front flat section of the theatre split into two smaller auditoriums. Usually it is the other way around so that the original booth can be utilized for all three screens. With the Tower’s plex job, they obviously had to build another booth behind the new ‘main’ screen to project into the two new smaller auditoriums. I think I like this style better, because you don’t get any sound bleed between the upper and lower auditoriums as you do with the usual tri-plexing jobs.

I wish I lived closer in the area because I would see movies here every week! These theatres need our support and patronage. But yes, as mentioned above, a little TLC from the owners and operators goes a long way in the survival of the theatre too! The Tower is going to have to repair the broken seats, clean those restrooms, and make a pledge to offer the best customer service and movie presentation if it wants to survive against the new CineArts moving in. Come on Tower, you can do it…I know you can. Imagine it: “Older deco palace with charm battles the new corporate enemy megaplex, and wins!”

peteremelton
peteremelton on July 17, 2004 at 8:13 pm

I have many fond memories of this theater. When I was growing up, it was close enough that I could walk to it from my home, and I spent many Saturday afternoons there.

There seems to be disagreement on when the single theater was turned into three screens. 1972 sounds too early and 1980s too late. I remember seeing Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’ there in 1973 and it was still one screen. Also, I have vivid memories of seeing a fairly forgettable Kirk Douglas picture, ‘Scalawag,’ that same year because it was a matinee hosted by local kid TV host Cap'n Mitch. He signed pictures, gave away some prizes and hundreds of kids caused havoc. Definitely a day to remember.

My guess is that the conversion came around 1974-75. It was, and remains, a botched job. Two of the three theaters are uncomfortable with poor sight lines. You always feel like you’re too close or too far away from the screen. The “main” theater is still somewhat nice but it always makes me sad because I remember what a truly nice theater this was before it was chopped up.

ErikaS
ErikaS on July 14, 2004 at 4:39 am

The Tower is a lovely place that is in “critical condition.” If the current management is listening, please make an investment in repairing this deteriorating local treasure. If you want to “Save the Tower,” start by restoring some of it’s splendor. The bathrooms, fixtures and general cleanliness of the theatre have been neglected for far too long. Start the shows on time, and train your staff to be informed about the current and upcoming films, friendly and interested. As a former independent classic/arthouse theatre employee, I can tell you that the details count to your patrons. The presentation IS your product (including the experience of attending the theatre itself). Give the people what they want…a quality experience.

JOISRIGHT
JOISRIGHT on July 1, 2004 at 11:22 am

Actually, the Tower was split from one screen to three in 1972. Just thought I would share that.

JOISRIGHT
JOISRIGHT on June 30, 2004 at 12:44 pm

It is sad to see the old girl in such disrepair. I worked at the Tower, and managed it under Landmark Theatre corp. for some time. It was like pulling teeth to get things restored or even repaired. I actually did things on my own, with money out of pocket at times as did many of us over the years. At one time, I had art students from Calif. university at S.F. willing to come and restore the art deco murals that hide behind the curtains in the main theatre for FREE (I would pay for paint and supplies), but the company (landmark) would not allow it. I fear Sacramento will lose another treasure. The Tower would be best if restored to ONE screen as intended, and maybe allow live shows on occasion, like its sister venue, the Colonial, or nearby Crest theare.

Some of the film premier parties we had at the Tower wil go down in local history. With the ever delightful assistance of Matias Bombal, emcee extraordenare, genious of show, and the fabulous, talented, and lovely Pamela Williams, we did some really neat stuff. Period carbon arch search lights often bathed the spire, and staff would dress to the nines in period attire, aboard classic automobiles on loan from the Towe Ford museum, rumbling about the parking lot. Big bands would strut there musical stuff in the lobby, and “King Kong” even climbed the Tower one night, Fay Ray in hand as search lights, amused patrons, and the news media looked on. I will always remember fondly, and miss my days at the Tower Theatre.

Jo Babbitt
Sacramento, ca.