Jose Theatre

62 S. Second Street,
San Jose, CA 95113

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Jose, 1982

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1904, the Jose Theatre is the oldest theater in San Jose, California.

It is a designated city of San Jose Historic Landmark and is eligible for the National and California Registers.

In June of 2001, the city council agreed to a ten-year lease with the Improv Comedy Club, which opened in the Spring of 2002.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

STELLARB on October 14, 2004 at 12:14 am

When I was a kid growing up in the greater San Jose area,me and my friends would catch a bus out of the suburbs,and head to the fabled “Jose” ,where we could watch films that are parents would never dream of taking us to…One of the best grindhouse’s EVER! Mostly all of the films were rated R ,and were very violent,gory,and sexy…Never asked to show proof of age. We were 12! This place served a large area of moviegoers , and filled a real need for the many independant genres that they featured…There were kids like me from all over the valley,who’d show up on buses,or get rides from their cousins or big brothers. It’s a legendary place!

kencmcintyre on November 15, 2005 at 7:35 pm

Here are two pictures from San Jose. The first photo is from the twenties and shows a Vitaphone theater, but on First Street. I don’t think that’s the Jose. The second picture speaks for itself.

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GaryParks on April 26, 2006 at 1:31 pm

In the above entry by ken mc, the first photo with the theatre sign reading VITAPHONE shows the Victory Theatre, which later became the Crest, and burned in the 60s. Nearly all the buildings on the right side of the street in the photo are gone. The Knights of Columbus building on the left side still survives.

GaryParks on April 26, 2006 at 1:35 pm

The second photo submitted by ken mc shows South Second Street (with the Jose) in the mid-1980s, when the street was ripped up for the Downtown Transit Mall. While the end result of the mall’s construction was ultimately a positive one for Downtown, the construction process was very hard on the businesses at the time. You can see that the Jose was weathering the storm by staying open with the triple feature policy it had presented for decades. At this point it would have still been operating under General Theatrical Co.

gunrob on February 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Did you know that the Jose Theatre had a 4-man orchestra? Here is a picture of the group ca. 1910.


kencmcintyre on November 29, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Little known historical fact, courtesy of Wikipedia:

During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key, accompanied by American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner and Mexican Attache Jose Romero-Gonzalez, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers. Skinner, Key, and Romero-Gonzalez were allowed to return to their own sloop, but were not allowed to return to Baltimore because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and of the British intention to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. Peering through the heavy smoke, he commented to the Attache, “Jose, can you see?” Shortly thereafter, he was inspired to compose our national anthem.

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2007 at 8:27 pm

There is no Jose Romero-Gonzalez. I was just wasting valuable web space. I’m going back to work now.

jon62 on March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

The good old Jose… we would go there Saturday afternoons and pay 10 cents to see three movies. Lots of hispanics would hang out there, sometimes there were fights and a place where people “made out” and just hung out..

Mikeyisirish on December 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

pengeman on June 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

Worked at this theater when going to San Jose State, now a state university. Wife and I met there and have been married for 40 years. “Mr. Miller” managed the theater and told us we would never find another job like that. He was right.

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