Towne 3 Cinemas

1433 The Alameda,
San Jose, CA 95126

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Camera Cinemas, Phoenix Big Cinemas

Architects: William Binder, Ernest Curtis

Firms: Binder & Curtis

Styles: Egyptian, Spanish Colonial, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Hester Theatre, IMC6, Towne 3 Theatre, BIG Cinemas Towne 3

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News About This Theater

Towne 3 Cinemas

The 800-seat Hester Theatre was opened in 1926, designed in an Egyptian/Spanish style to the plans of architectural firm Binder & Curtis. It was given an Art Deco remodel in 1952 and renamed Towne Theatre, eventually going over to screening adult movies which closed in 1989. The Towne 3 Theatre was reopened in 1990 by the Camera Cinemas chain after an extensive renovation of this 1920’s-era movie house. The restoration created a 600 seat, three-screen theatre. The main theater, which seats over 300, housed a Grand Wurlitzer organ and was used for showings of silent films.

Sadly, the screenings were a financial dissappointment for Camera Cinemas and the theater was shuttered after the final screening of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” on New Year’s Eve, 2000.

The theater was taken over by BIG Cinemas in 2009 and renamed the BIG Cinemas Towne 3 showing primarily Indian films. by summer of 2019 it had been taken over by an independent operator, still screening Indian films. It had closed by 2021 and had been sold for internal redevelopment.

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

GaryParks on October 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Recently a fellow researcher and I stumbled upon a beautiful nighttime photo in the archives at San Jose State, which shows this theatre when it was newly minted as the Towne in the early 50s. It is a nighttime shot, and it shows that the marquee once had a little extra bit of metal sculpture—with neon—above the still-remaining curling neon at the marquee’s point. Also, the painted detailing which once decorated the floral metal sculpture on the facade is clearly visible, and shows that originally, this scuplture only had neon behind it, which glowed indirectly from around the sculpture’s edges, as remained the case until a lot of extra neon was added in recent years.
Finally, the box office which once stood to the Right of the entrance (marked today by a patch of concrete amid the terrazzo) is clearly visible.

Mikeyisirish on December 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

A 2010 photo can be seen here.

rlh100 on August 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Used to be a porno theater back in the 1980’s. I moved in up the street on Hester Ave in 1989. It shut down a year or so later killed by VCRs.

John R Bales
John R Bales on July 30, 2017 at 1:29 am

IMC6 was the name of their location in the Sunnyvale Town Center Mall. An ex-AMC 6-plex IIRC.

DavidZornig on June 8, 2019 at 11:08 pm

1942 photo as the Hester Theatre added. Below history via Bob Emerson:

The Hester Theater opened in 1926 as a neighborhood theater in the Rose Garden district of San Jose.

The Theater name given as Hester theater in remembrance of Craven P. Hester, former district attorney for San Jose and then judge of the Third Judicial District in 1850. Christened the Hester Theatre, Its original neo-Egyptian/Spanish style façade, designed by architects Binder and Curtis, was modernized when the theater was renamed the Towne in 1952.

The Hester was the first neighborhood theater in San Jose. And Hester Elementary School is just across the street.

fred1 on June 9, 2019 at 5:16 am

This theater is now a independent

DavidZornig on June 9, 2019 at 8:56 am

That official website link is dead, even when linked to from the Towne 3 Cinemas Facebook and Twitter pages below.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 9, 2019 at 10:28 am

Strange! It was working earlier today when I did an update of the website link.

rivest266 on December 12, 2021 at 4:28 pm

appears to be closed for redevelopment.

SAN JOSE — Bay Area investors have bought a San Jose movie theater property with an eye to a revamp that would bring in new uses at the site.

The new owners of the theater site are contemplating a renovation and redevelopment of the property’s interior, although firm plans aren’t in place yet.

“We think this is a very good location,” said Azad Seyidov, a Bay Area business executive who heads the entity that bought the Towne 3 Cinemas property at 1433 The Alameda.

Baku AS, an affiliate headed by Seyidov, bought the property for $2.3 million, according to documents filed with Santa Clara County officials on March 11.

jwmovies on March 18, 2022 at 8:36 am

Unfortunately per Alphabet (google), this one is permanently closed. 😩😩

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