Century 23

3164 Olsen Drive,
San Jose, CA 95117

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Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Century 23 opened as a companion to the wildly successful Century 21 and Century 22 theatres that stood across the small side street that is Olsen Drive. March 14, 1967 marked the theatre’s debut feature “The Sand Pebbles” starring Steve McQueen.

This dome theatre was twinned on June 17, 1973 when a wall was built straight down its center creating two somewhat awkward theatres.

The theatre was remodelled again in the mid-1990’s to reposition the seats and screens to improve the site lines. The theatre also received a new decor of all red features: seats, carpet, curtains, restrooms and neon.

When Century Theatres was sold to Cinemark in 2006 this theatre was excluded from the sale. Though the signage remains unchanged as Century 23 it was renamed Winchester 23 in all media.

The Century 21, 22, 23 and 24 have often been referred to as “The Block” by those that have worked at any of these or the nearby Century Theatres. It was closed in March 2014.

Contributed by Scott neff

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

This theater is probably, if not certainly, a Vincent Rainey design.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on June 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm

It is most certainly a Vincent Raney theatre.

Additional info needs to be changed. It’s not operated by Cinemark. The Century 21, 22 and 23 were left out of that deal.

boxcop
boxcop on January 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm

On the issue of these theaters closing – With some serious funding from some serious supporters, the Century 21 could become a class act entertainment destination in the heart of the Silicon Valley once again. With some minor changes to the exterior, lobby and auditorium and a few major changes to the projection booth and screen, this theatre has the potential to be a first-run, 3D digital movie theatre, a one-of-a-kind single-screen IMAX venue and even a Cinerama-capable auditorium (as it was originally constructed to be) all in one. Just see what Paul Allen did for Seattle’s Cinerama Theatre and what the Pacific Theatre chain did for the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. The developers even built around that one and both sides won. The issue here is that we have wealthy corporate executives and we have dedicated, film-lovers who appreciate what these screens were in the past, what they are today and what they could be in the future. The problem that we face is that we do not have both qualities in the same person who is willing to swoop down and save the day, like Superman did for me in 1978 (another classic film I watched at these domes – technically across the street at Town & Country, which was still considered to be a part of the old “Block” Century Theatres complex).

Coate
Coate on January 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm

boxcop… At the time of the “Superman” engagement, the Dome Complex and the Town & Country were in competition with each other. The Domes were run by Syufy and the Town & Country was run by Mann. Syufy’s (aka Century) ownership of the Town & Country came years later. See my Still Believing A Man Can Fly article for a reference to Town & Country being a Mann operation in 1978/79 (and for a list of where else “Superman” played when it was new).

heytoddo
heytoddo on April 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm

in the early 1980’s, I worked for Syufy as an Assistant Manager at Century Almaden (five-house theatre at Blossom Hill Rd and Almaden Expressway) and help out occasionally on the Big Block, mostly for Ron Giffen at Century 23 or Bill Tannehill at Century 21. I met Ray Syufy Sr. once when he came to Century Almaden to decide whether to split the center big house in two, but he never did. Sometime later while working the door at Century 23 a younger man walked up and said he was Ray Syufy and he wanted to see the manager. I chuckled, since I had already met Ray Syufy. I went to the office and told Ron Giffen some guy said he was Ray Syufy and wanted to see him. Ron exclaimed, “That could be Ray Syufy, Jr.!” I was mortified.

ajtarantex
ajtarantex on April 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Where Did my friend Mr. Bill Williams go after the Century 22 Closed?

SavetheDomes
SavetheDomes on June 13, 2014 at 4:22 am

There is a large preservation movement… The City of San Jose has just granted the Century 21 City Landmark status— it doesn’t remove the threat of demolition, but it makes it tougher to do. The National Register of Historic Places is determining whether or not it will be added to the register… the state can also do this.

We hope the developers of the property will see the value in a restored movie house, possibly with Stargazer’s from CO or a similar company.

PLEASE help us save the Century 21! Sign the petition, pass it along to all of your friends— there’s strength in numbers! If anyone has any Hollywood connections— please put them in contact with us! http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-winchester-domes

or on Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/savedome

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