UA Cinemas 1-2-3

Parkway Plaza,
277 Fletcher Parkway,
El Cajon, CA 92020

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UA Cinemas-El Cajon opened in 1972 and was closed by 1990. The main theatre, which had 70 mag. capability, seated 650, making this the largest UA auditorium in San Diego County. 70mm engagements included “Return of the Jedi”, “Cocoon”, and “Aliens”. This triplex was nearly identical in layout to the UA Cinemas-Costa Mesa, which had opened the year before (see South Coast Village Cinemas-Santa Ana).

UA El Cajon was part of and attached to the Parkway Plaza shopping center (now Westfield Parkway) but with no direct interior mall access (its front exterior faced an open parking lot). The most notable design feature was a peninsular combination box office-snack bar. In theory, on a slow weekday, a single employee could sell you your ticket, rip it (heaven forbid), and sell you your candy. A 1980’s remodel brought not only a new combo. box/snack bar (which would later be transplanted to Costa Mesa when El Cajon closed) but also the infamous “fireballs”! These were a hellish, industrial orange and brown carpet pattern – a favorite of both the Naify (UATC) and Syufy (Century) theatre chains – and they could be seen in blessed movie houses as well as other fortunate businesses throughout the region for many—many—years to come.

Contributed by Zubs
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