366 S. First Street,
5 people favorited this theater
What started out as a shoe store later became the start of the Camera Cinemas chain. Shaw Theaters operated it in the 1960’s, eventually turning it into an adults only house. Pussycat Theaters took over in 1970 and operated it for a year, renaming it the Pussycat 1. (The Pussycat 2 was a block down the street—Pussycat bought that theater from Shaw as well and it was originally the Gay Theater. Pussycat left that theater in the late-1980’s after a battle with the San Jose redevelopment agency.)
Great Western Theaters of Tarzana, CA took over and ran it until 1975, showing largely kung-fu and Japanese cinema. On Sept 3, 1975, it became the first Camera Cinema, starting out as a revival house showing double bills that changed three times a week. Foreign and arthouse fare started coming here in the early-1980’s with great success.
Camera became the leading arthouse theater chain in San Jose, eventually growing to include the Camera 3 (opened in 1984), Towne (1990-2003), Los Gatos (early 1990’s to present), Camera 7 (former Pruneyard 3, 2003-present), and now the Camera 12.
In May 2004, Camera shut down its initial theater and there may be plans to turn it into an art gallery with performance space.
One thing I thought unique about this theater, when you entered the auditorium, the screen was facing the back end of the auditorium (near where you entered) and not the front.
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