Belmont Cinemas Three

100 El Camino Real,
Belmont, CA 94002

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The Belmont Theatre opened as a single screen cinema in November 1949, with a carpet store along side of it. It was built by Roy Cooper of West-Side Valley Theatres. The theater featured a giant 40 or 50 foot-high free standing neon sign. The auditorium seated 900 and featured Art Deco style swirls on the walls.

Around 1965, the carpet store was converted into an auditorium and operated as the Bel-Art Theatre. In other words, there were two theaters, side-by-side and each was owned by a different person. The giant neon tower was modified to flash between "Belmont" and "Bel-art".

In 1972 the Cooper family bought out the Bel-art side of the complex and thus the Belmont Twin Cinema was born. The neon sign was once again modified to flash only the "Belmont" name. In 1977, the large 900-seat auditorium was cut in half and the theater became the Belmont Cinemas Three.

The seats (Heywood Wakefield) in the twin side were re-covered with new fabric and green and gold wall drapes were added. Two new air units for the twin side were flown in by helicopter and installed on the roof. The lobby was painted brown and an orange snack bar installed.

In the early-1980’s, Roy Cooper passed on and the complex was leased out to S & K Enea Theatres. The new company stopped playing first run and began playing second run films for $2.00. The low admission price increased foot traffic, which resulted in the theater becoming worn.

In 1987, the complex was leased out to a Santa Rosa Company which ran the theater into the ground. When their lease ended around 1991, the theater was a dump. New owners came in and renovated the theater. The seats in the twin side were re-painted and re-covered again. The lobby and snack bar were painted.

In late-1995, Landmark Theatres began operating the old movie house. They operated it for two years and then the theater closed again.

It remained closed for three years before being converted into a gym. The outside remains the same.

Contributed by Mike Croaro

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 5, 2008 at 6:50 pm

This is a photo of the Belmont Theater building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm

The November 12, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Blumenfeld Theatres had recently opened their new Belmont Theatre on El Camino Real. The magazine said that 900-seat house was designed by William B. David, and William W. Wolf of San Francisco was the architect (meaning Wolf probably signed his name to the permits, but David was the actual architect.)

SteveNY
SteveNY on April 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm

As a child I could see the flashing “Belmont/Bel-Art” sign from my bedroom window. The sign was high enough to stick up over the buildings on El Camino and Old County Road.

In 1964 the kids in our neighborhood filled the theater when “Hard Day’s Night” was shown. I also recall seeing “My Fair Lady” there.

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