Camera 1

366 S. First Street,
San Jose, CA 95113

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Anno Domini (formerly Camera 1)

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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.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

tbdavid on January 12, 2005 at 10:12 am

Hello from Colorado!
My God Father owned the Pussycat Chain. I am putting together a collection of ANYTHING Pussycat to save befor all is lost. I am really looking for an old Pussycat Marquee. You know, the oval w/ the Ms. Pussycat and “It’s a Pussycat Theatre” PLEASE, if you have any information, let me know.


Tim David


ranulimes on June 8, 2005 at 12:31 pm

Camera One has been inhabited by the excellent San Jose art gallery, GalleryAD. From their website (

“Yes, it’s true. After five of the best years we could imagine in a former iron works foundry throwing monthly art happenings, Anno Domini will be moving into the former Camera One Theater building on South First Street. Thanks to friends, artists, audience and city agency folks that believe in A.D., we have finally signed a lease for the new location to bring the gallery smack in the middle of the heart of the city.”

Best of luck!

decoteau on July 17, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Interesting article on PUSSYCAT….

View link

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 7:19 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

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