Movies

Front Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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This little twin theater was housed in a plain pink cement block building near the Northeast corner of Front Street and Laurel Street. It faced Front Street, and backed-up to the San Lorenzo River embankment. Painted signs advertising the theater—"The Movie 1 & 2"—appeared on the preexisting building in 1982, but the theatre opened either in late-1982 or early-1983.

There were two large commercial spaces in the building, and the theater was entered via the one on the left. There was a small readerboard at the entrance. The tiny lobby was seen through a large window. Simple graphic posters of Charlie Chaplin, Toshiro Mifune, and several other famous actors were hung in the lobby. The two auditoriums featured plain blue walls and undraped screens. The theater was independently run at its opening by the Snyder family. Larry Snyder went to school in Aptos at the same time as this writer both in Junior High and High School. The theater exhibited art and foreign films. It operated into the 1990’s, but I do not know the closing date. The space houses retail today. Locals often referred to this theater simply as "The Movies."

Contributed by Gary Parks

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on June 19, 2011 at 4:09 am

The Movies was where you ended up if you wanted to see a movie that was so bad, every other theatre in the area decided not to play it. If it played at The Movies, it didn’t play at any of the UAs, or the Skyview Drive-In, or Scotts Valley. And if you went to The Movies, you were subjected to the worst cinema experience possible: extremely long and narrow “houses” with screens probably less than ten feet wide, with poorly maintained mono sound and a “I think we can fit this here” mentality when it came to the box office and snack bar. This theatre was so bad, even Troma wouldn’t play their worst dreck here. It was about the only place one could see the late 1980s output of Cannon and Empire Films. It is surely not missed.

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