Showcase Theater

1970 Grant Street,
Concord, CA 94520

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Enean Theater, Concord California

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built by the Enea Brothers of Pittsburg, CA in September 1938. (They also owned and operated the San Ramon Drive-in in San Ramon and two Fremont drive-ins, The Nimitz and the Fremont Automovie) This theater opened as the Enean Theater, later changing its name to the Concord Showcase Theater and it was located in downtown Concord overlooking the town square.

By the early-1970’s, the Showcase Theater resorted to second-run fare, then a dollar theater, before switching to porn in 1975. The Pussycat chain took over about a year later and ran it until the late-1980’s when various neighborhood and church groups protested the porn films being run. Although operated by Pussycat, it did not use the Pussycat name on the marquee.

A church bought the theater and shut it down as a movie house. It now holds church services.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

juliagreen
juliagreen on March 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

This is a pretty interesting testament (no pun intended) on California’s history of municipal development and its impact on historical structures in general and theatres more specifically. We know why theatres have this repeated trajectory: Main-stream movie house, porn house, church. In Concord this trajectory is emphasized by the fact that this 1938 theatre is built ON THE TOWN SQUARE! Water was widely hooked up to the area in the 1960s…development really got going after that. In the 70s, when this became a Pussycat, there was the typical California town rebuilding itself (turning away from its history). Pardon me, if you are now living in Concord, but this place is a subsequent strip mall suburban Nowhere. There still is a square with some quaint old buildings (and the Showcase, now “Vinyard Community Center,”)but Concord is mostly nondescript buildings from the 1970s to present that lack any architectural interest and any historical soul. No offense to the CT porn crowd ;) but what kind of place would allow a porn theatre on its historic town square? (I have a Google Earth pic posted…it should be up in the next few weeks.)

nnunes
nnunes on May 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I lived in Concord from 1951 thru 1972.
While in high school my brother, John, and I worked at the theater as doorman and usher in the middle and late 1950’s, along with some of our high school friends.
My father was the projectionist there from about 1950 thru 1965 upon his death. Bob Reeves was the manager much of that time. Eldon Belcher the assistant manager. Many good memories of the theater and fellow workers. It was such a shame that the city would let it convert into a porno theater.
Norm Nunes

nnunes
nnunes on May 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Does anyone remember the old Ramona theater in Walnut Creek, ca.
It used to be a ‘silent movie’ theater in the early 1900’s. I went there many times during the 40’s and 50’s. During that time it mainly showed westerns like “Cisco Kid”, the Durango Kid, and Hopalong Cassidy. It was really run down and many people called it the flea house. When it closed many old player piano rolls were found in the back area, that were used there during the silent movies. The theater was on Main St, across and down the street from the El Rey.
Norm Nunes

trainmaster
trainmaster on February 16, 2011 at 2:32 am

I WISH this site would change the name of “SHOWCASE” to the “Enean."
It opened in 1938 under this name, the Enea brothers decided to get out of the theater business in 1968 and a new operator took over and, due to the competition of new theaters in the area which did have true 235:1 widescreens, much of the beautiful woodwork by the curtain and the "Fitzpatrick Chevrolet” clock were torn apart to accomodate a 235:1 widescreen. The patchwork was covered up with curtains, as it was in many theaters (like the Stamm in Antioch) which didn’t have the room in the original design for 235:1). The name was changed to “The Showcase,” and regular movies flopped.

Porno entered the scene at the former Enean, as it did to many other great movie houses in their last days, but the building was still owned by the Enea Brothers. Because the building owners had a good relationship with First Presbyterian Church, right behind the theater, the Enea brothers gave the church first bid to buy the building, as the brothers intended to get rid of the property. The church did, only as I said above, to find itself in an iron-clad lease by the porno operators until 1985. It was at that time that the theater closed for good – I took photos of it then and in the 1950’s and the church converted it into a community center (more like a glorified gymn). That failed and now the church rents the building out to a Korean church.

Trainmaster

trainmaster
trainmaster on February 16, 2011 at 2:42 am

Julia G:

Having lived in Concord for over 55+ years, having moved away in 1995, but still come there often, I can tell you MONEY influences the Concord City Council. You ask “what kind of place would allow a porn theater in its historic square? Actually, city approval was not necessary. The United States Supreme Court upheld the right to show porn movies, and the city’s hands were tied.

About the only historic places left in downtown Concord are across Totos Santos Park where the Old Spaghetti Factory is on Mt. Diablo Street. Across Salvio, Mt. Diablo has some interesting old buildings on the left-hand side. The right hand side was the site of the first movie theater in Concord, before the Enean was built.
To reiterate, the Enean exterior is still owned by the First Presbyterian Church. The Pittsburg Enean, owned by the Enea brothers and closed long before the Concord location, is being rennovated to open as a regular theater again. The former Fox Concord (which helped the demise of the Enean, now a gym) sits on property owned by the Enea Brothers -they decided to change from theater operators to real estate investors in the 1960’s. They also bought the Capri in Concord and tried theater business again, in the 1990’s, but that failed, so the Capri is once again closed. (May be gone by now – it was the former J.C. Penny building, built in 1957).

trainmaster

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 1, 2011 at 5:35 am

The correct address for the Enean/Showcase Theatre is 1970 Grant Street.

motioman
motioman on January 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm
In 1948 the Enea bros. leased the Enean Theater for twenty years to Blumenfeld Theaters.  When the lease expired in 1968 things were changing big time in the Concord area and Blumenfeld did not renew so the Enea Bros took it back and after an extensive remodel it became the Showcase.  They tried to run it as sort of an Art House but with a few exceptions it was not successful. I always felt the timing was off by about 10 years. I worked at the Enean as a union projectionist from July 1, 1964  steady for about a year and a half and then off and on till near the end of the Enea Bros run. I relieved John M. Nunes as projectionist when he became too ill to continue working. The Enean was a bit rundown during the last years but was a very well run movie theater and Bob Reeves was a very good theater manager.  The Enean was also IMHO an Art Deco Gem waiting to be discovered and restored.  There was extensive Art Deco neon all over the front of the building and on the vertical sign.  If only the Enean had not been turned into the Showcase and could have lasted another 10 years. How many times has that been said.
                  
nnunes
nnunes on May 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Right on, Motioman. John M. Nunes was my dad and had become too ill to work (cancer) and I guess it was then that you took over as projectionist. When we moved to Concord (from Walnut Creek) in 1951 the town’s population was abut 7,500 and it seemed that everyone hanged out at the theater. My dad worked as the projecionist at the El Rey in W.C. for about 7 years before transfering to the Enean.

robertcampbell
robertcampbell on August 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

The picture of the interior was found on www.cowellhistoricalsociety.org, and there are other pictures of the Enean as well. I have a old 8mm movie of us coming out of the Enean from a birthday party, at dusk with the original marquee lit up (looks fantastic) I will post stills of the movie once I get it properly duplicated.

nnunes
nnunes on August 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

To Robt. Campbell, My brother John also has 8mm film, taken in the theater around 1957 of a group of us high school employees. We had just closed up for the night and then put on a hypnotism show on the stage. It was quite interesting. We were class of ‘57 Mt Diablo. I remember a Don Campbell from our class. Any relationship?

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