Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments
Hello Lois, Jeff,
Have tried contacting you this past few weeks. All email returned stated your mail was full/no capacity or mail client not plugged in.
I am listed above in 2nd posting: JCL, dated 4-24-09.
If you would like to make contact:
Best wishes, Jim
Hi freezetag 168,
Good timing..I have not been visiting ‘Treasures’ lately. In fact just got home yesterday (road trip).
Sorry to say did not know person you noted. I was at Rockridge year after it opened. Manager at time was young woman, sad to say do not remember her name, she had younger sister working ‘ticket and consessions’. I was hired on by Robert Lippert for opening of new twin in Alameda. Lippert offices were shared with Richard Mann (Theatre management) in S.F. Richard was son of Geo. Mann (founder of Redwood Theatres).
I worked for Mr. Richard Mann prior at the Briggsmore in Modesto, before transferring to Lippert.
Alameda showcase opened in 1969.
Still a big ‘movie fan’. Cheers, JCL
Glad to hear that another ‘fan’ is still around. Your memory still very good. Thanks for the ‘jog’ on mine about seating. Was it also the, (standard) extended runway, which went maybe another 15ft or so, to let the performers strut down a bit closer to audience?
Since you were going to school,(a few years earlier I was at McClatchy). Do you remember the Studio/Encore on K st next to the Esquire. It was a small theatre, later a Hispanic venue, and now I believe a small restaurant. I was ‘loaned out’ one summer to assist in management. They had a bad tragedy on a saturday matinee. I had all the Sacto Bee clippings, (but lost over the years) and now have been compiling about many of the old houses. If you have any recollection, would appreciate. Jim
Correction: Meant to type Mike ‘Rivest’, but my ‘thumb’ got in the way…sorry Mike.
Thanks to Mike Revest for the posting of the Modesto Bee ads for the Briggsmore/Prescott opening.
I was hoping, (by now) that Cinema Treasures would be ‘hosting’ photos again. I still have all the original Bee ad pages as shown.
One error in ‘opening coverage page’ was that the Bee accidently switched photos of Richard Mann, (Briggsmore owner) and Robert Lippert, Prescott owner).
Couple of other trivia items: in my initial Briggsmore comments and info in posting above I did not mention that the theatre was fitted with a ‘bank’ of vending machines in lobby, instead of consession snackbar. Mr. Mann decided he wanted “no popcorn, hot dogs, etc” served…only drinks and candy. That turned into operation-maintainence problems, ie: extreme long lines at intermissions and the breakdown of machines. The company that owned and maintained them, (Servomation) was very prompt in sending out repair teams, and at one point had to station a service rep in the lobby. Briggsmore finally refitted with consession bar.
Also, Modesto had really bad rain storms the week prior to opening. The parking area for the theatre, (in shopping center) was not yet paved. It was a huge muddy mess. Contractor laid a makeshift walkway platform from the theatre front to the paved area at Bank of America that fronted McHenry Ave.
The old State on Main Street may not have been demolished, just ‘gutted’ and revamped to other commercial use. Ft. Bragg had always been keen on keeping their old building exteriors intact, (historically).
I worked in Management for Redwood Theatres, aka Noyo Theatres for a number of years. In 1964 I was at the Noyo in Willits. The State was managed by a Mr. McBirney,(Mac). A well liked local family man.
At that time the State had already been shuttered in anticipation of the brand new Coast, (single screen) opening. Also a Redwood Theatre. The State had marquee already removed. The upright signage may have still been intact. I retain very little memory of interior.
While filming ‘The Russians Are Coming’, all star comedy cast. Norman Jewison, director, used the State almost daily/nightly for each days shoot, (rushes). Many of cast and theatre employees,(including myself) sat in. The new Coast was used for a ‘gala’ wrap party for cast and entire townsfolk. We screened: ‘Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’, and large portion of cast were on stage, some did a bit of comedy skits.
Mr.Jewison gave me permission to take photos, (between scene shooting) of whatever I wanted. Most scenes took place in Ft. Bragg, (Noyo Harbor) also Mendocino, Caspar and Westport areas. Even got to go fishing with Jonathan Winters, John Phillip Law and some film crew. A great memory for a young theatre manager.
I have also made a entry under the Coast Cinema, giving a bit of info on the original theatre before new owners and multi-plexing.
Happy to see so many people “positive” in keeping those dreams alive.
Reality tho, is a long hard road for anyone. Make sure you have very ‘deep pockets’ and lots of full devoted time to the task.
Out of necessity I started working theatres at age 12 during the 1950s. Ended up in theatre management/ownership for 30 years. Over those years I have seen just about every type and experiment with film venues, from: ‘60-70s the 'rivival’ houses bringing back the films of 1930-40s, (in Berkeley and S.F). to Midnight shows of Rocky Horror. College towns with the advent popularity of Art and Foreign film fare.
College areas usually the best for a “all around film fare”. Younger folks still seem to have the “hunger and desire” for knowledge and something different to do.
Yes, you still must deal with film studios, whether it is on film or consigned to DVD. This is not a ‘inexpensive trip’. Public domain titles in ‘any’ form, needs no permission to run. However, most of those are not big money-makers.
Theatres, (almost) from the beginning, rely very heavy on ‘concession sales’ for their profit…as the studios take the “big bite” out of the film rental and % costs.
Another idea to consider if you have any kind of ‘stage area’, would be to supplement your income by holding: talent-comedy nights; short plays or improv, etc. That just a ‘throwback’ to old days just being “recycled”…but in a right location just might work.
Good luck to all of those with the dream. JCL
re: Lost Memory…you are probably correct. Although, even back in time, the size of Galt, (counting the stray street dogs) was never big. So chances are it would have been ‘1’ house at a time. Maybe a fire or just a ‘renovation’? I do not recall talking with any of the older town patrons that mentioned another theatre over the years.
Seating capacity, (noted by lost memory): could have been exactly what the post by, (Joe Vogel) noted about possibly another theatre over the years. I refer towards the ‘Boxoffice’ article also listed by Mr Vogel, stating about ‘loge section’. Loge seating on a single floor house is usually always the 1st section,(back) as you enter auditorium from lobby. When I was there, all seating, (type) in house was the same. The other theory is that a number of rows were removed from the front of house at some point, as distance from front row to screen was not normal, which could have housed a easy 3-4 rows.
Owned by Redwood Theatres from the 1930-70s era. Redwood was started by George Mann and later passed to his son Richard. They had offices in S.F. Also in same building was theatre owner-film producer Robert Lippert. Mann owned a number of house’s thruout N. Calif: Ukiah; Ft. Bragg; Novato; Modesto, etc.
I managed the Noyo in 1964-65 era, then was transferred to Modesto theatres. The Noyo during that era was a nice family oriented programmed house. Still able,(at that time) to ‘pack’ the auditorium mid-week with a $1 family nite. We still promoted special ‘kid shows’ on saturday matinee’s. Had special holiday events, (easter giveaways; christmas special with Santa; fun shows with magicians and clowns). Altho a bit ‘rowdy’ when the BEATLES in Hard Day’s Night came for a showing..we had to shut down film until I got the kids back to a normal amount of “controlled hysteria”. JCL
Thanks, once again to ‘lost memory’ for having the Cameo Theatre
pics of 1980’s, showing ‘yes indeed’ it still was operating, contrary to erroneous dating of the Tacoma News Tribune story noted
as published 12-6-08 and submitted by ‘giteam’ 12-16-08.
Photo also shows,(on right) the streetside doors that lead to the proj booth and office area above…which in turn on next level was back entrance to a great little Chinese restaurant, that had the front entrance on the above Pacific street,(forget the street name).
On the left side of photo notes part of the Turnpike cafe which was family run and had a “great breakfast” selection and a “killer
Sad to say that over the years, I have lost all my pics of the Cameo. JCL
The above article by The LA Times is fairly accurate. Original Rockridge was a single screen small house. Robert Lippert built with intention of mainly being a ‘Arts & Foreign’ film house. His hope was a draw of elite patronage from surrounding Oakland hills, as well as the Berkeley student crowd. Rockridge Center was not that far down from the Piedmont Theatre and then Berkeley Campus.
The small lobby entry had the ticket counter and snack bar combined. On either side of lobby was a short staircase that led to the auditorium, as well as entry to the office and projection booth, (both above the snack bar lobby).
At the time, I was a manager for Lippert’s new Showcase Twin in Alameda at Southshore Shopping Center (see entry under Southshore
Twin). I later was district mgr for the Rockridge as well. JCL
Re: posting by giteam and Tacoma News article.
My posting, 8-23-07 above: Tacoma News is inaccurate, or maybe discussing another ‘Cameo’ earlier years?
As stated I was operating the Cameo on Pacific into 1972. I had remodeled the entire front entrance, boxoffice and poster cases, and it was still standing a few years after ‘72. The owner of the property at the time was a local businessman, who lived in Tacoma. I cannot honestly remember his proper name,(forgive my memory) Mr.
Risotto or Rizzio? He and wife were very nice and gracious people.
Re: Posting above by Bob Koch…If you are still around, let me know. I met you years ago when I was a young ‘pup’ just getting started in ‘theatre management’, (1950) in Sacramento. You seemed to ‘pop’ up ‘servicing’ in every area I went to work. Started at the ‘California’ and ‘Studio’ in Sacto. Later in Chico; Modesto; Alameda. Hope to hear from you for ‘shop talk’. J. Lewis JCL
I started working theatres as a teen in Sacto, (see posting on California Theatre). The ‘Alameda’ was also a United California group owned theatre. During my work period,(1949-58) with them in Sacto, the Alameda was mainly a ‘live striptease’ house with many of the notable names of the era, Tempest Storm for one. I do remember ‘volunteering’ to delivery items or do anything else…just to get a young education. JCL
Posting by: jwr, is very accurate. Now I really want to test your memory…I grew up in Sacto, in the Oak Park community, (1940-50s).I have a posting of the California and Oak Park,(Guild)theatres. Worked the California as a teen, and watched it, as it burned in the 1950s. Yes, the Roxie was a United Calif operation as was the
California; Colonial; Rio and Alameda, owned by several families: Syufy-Naify and ?. QUESTION: you mention remembering the ENCORE, I also worked,(a short time) prior, as the ‘STUDIO’, do you, or anyone recall? Would have been early ‘50s. Had a terrible tragedy during
one of the regular 'kiddie matinees’, a deranged person attacked,
(with a knife) a young boy in the restroom, severly hurting,(or
killed) him. Cannot find any ref in Sacto Bee past issues. Not one
of my pleasurable memories of 30 years in theatre management. I know the ‘Encore’ also became a Hispanic venue, was that prior or after ‘Pussycat’ chain? JCL
Hello Billie J, My comment above yours regarding the old Strand in Modesto (JCL). My period of ‘sat. matinees’ was the late ‘40s early '50s. One of my local theatres, (growing up in Sacramento) always had great matinees. Your ref to 'Pepsi caps’: Theatres would cross promote with: Pepsi or Coca-Cola; Carnation or Dixie Cup ice cream, etc. Sponsors would pay for the film program and theatre would cross promote with ads on screen and/or lobby posters, etc. My local theatre always ran: 2-3 features, which always had 1-2 westerns + serial chapter + short like 3 stooges + several cartoons. Usually a halfway break would have a ‘stage giveaway’ of 10-15 toys, games; books, etc. The mgr or couple ushers would call out ticket stub numbers. Show would always be about 4hrs of fun. Keep those memories alive. JCL
Always enjoy the contributions by Joe Vogel. Been busy for past year and just getting back to listing more info and memories. I managed the El Rey and Pine Breeze drive-in during the early 1960s. These both were owned by Fred Naify, who also was a district manager, within the family owned business of T&D in S.F. As a teen in Sacramento I started working as ‘poster-marquee-gopher kid’, and advanced to asst mgr. at the California Theatre. Shortly after it burned down I went into military service. After discharge I was hired on as new manager for Paradise. The beautiful, small and quiet town is just up the foothills from Chico. At the time, the main Hwy and street was/is the Skyway,(noted by Mr. Vogel). Neal Rd was/is another area of the town and Neal Rd runs parallel with Skyway and finally intersects,(north of town) into Skyway The El Rey was about dead center of town with the bowling alley next door. The Pine Breeze drive-in was further up the Skyway, (maybe 2 miles). The El Rey operated during the winter-spring months, then the Pine Breeze opened for the summer months. The pic noted by Mr Vogel eventually got a free standing marquee directly in front, on street, it was there from my time, not sure when it was originally erected. It was a standard ‘2 sided’ reader board. JCL
Thanks ‘Lost Memory’ for the extra info on the Roycroft.
Later in life I went into theatre management. Returned a few times to the northwest and managed houses in: Seattle; Tacoma; Snohomish and a
few others. Also worked a bit on Seattle’s ‘film row’ for Universal and others. This was in early ‘60s and again in early '70s.
Glad to hear from you. Thanks for your info and request. I sent you a email via your above yahoo address, so please check and see if it arrived. Also check the ‘bulk’, as yahoo drops a lot of ‘unknown’ stuff in it. If nothing is there, you can contact me:
Thanks Lost Memory…The Wurlitzer was still in place when the house burned. Still being used on certain occasions and for general entertainment, (pre-show). I wish I could remember the gentleman’s name that normally played. The pipes were housed on each side of the stage on a upper loft. Organ was on the right side, and a piano was on the left. Lost Memory has ‘jogged’ mine…one night a week,(janitor day off) I had to stay after closing,(midnight or so) and sweep out auditorium. The first few times I did this, (as I was just 14 or so) I was hearing this very strange and odd sound when I was in the balcony area. It was a bit scary and un-nerving, and when I stopped sweeping or moving about, so did the sound. Took me a while to finally realize the sound was coming from the organ loft pipes. The moving about in the upper balcony sent enough movement to start a vibration of the pipes. Talk about your stories of movie house “mayhem and terror”.
Thanks for the info comment by ‘DennisNyback’ and the great early
photo by Lost Memory. I have just recently signed on to this great site. Starting to leave some comments, etc. The Roycroft was a great find, as I have not been able to find in past. I was born and raised in Seattle, down just a few blocks from the Roycroft. It was the first movie house I was ever in. My young aunt, (more like a sis) always took me with her. My memories of the theatre are very few, (I was just 7 when we left Seattle). The early movie experience must have rubbed off on me, as I started working theatres at age (14) in Sacramento, Ca. and spent some 25 years in theatre
management. Thanks Cinema Treasures.
The Strand memories: I recently found and signed on to this site, glad I did. I have been busy: looking thru; checking areas for places I have lived and theatres that I have worked over many years, starting at age 14 in my hometown of Sacramento. I now have started making some comments on some of the theatres.
I was working for Redwood Theatres, (George Mann started and son Richard carried on after his fathers death) at their house in Willits. I was given a promotion and transferred to Modesto in anticipation of managing his newest theatre being built, The
Briggsmore, a 70mm beauty. But while I was waiting I had to sub-manage at the State; Covell and the Strand. As a kid I always loved the old large movie palaces. Even tho by the time I got to the Strand, (1965) it was pretty dilapidated. We revived a ‘fri-sat’ art
and foreign film showings, (mostly for the college crowd). On
Sundays it was all Spanish films. In between we had a few live
concerts, including some very new groups such as: THEM; JEFFERSON
AIRPLANE; PETER WHEAT & THE BREADMEN, and Modestos own, (as I
recall) THE RATZ.
Above comment by ‘robertgippy’ is very accurate on complete description of theatre. I would wander over to Woolworths lunch counter for a quick bite or snack.
I can also add, that behind the stage it had 3 staircase levels of dressing rooms. Downstairs backstage also had several private shower stalls and one very large commune shower. Opposite those was the
orch pit entrance and exit. After closing late at night, this enormous theatre was indeed a bit “scary” to check and secure.
In a very short time a lot of errors can occur, people die or forget details, etc. I was hired on to open and manage the Showcase Twins. I left the managing job at the ‘flagship’ 70mm Briggsmore in Modesto, owned by Richard Mann. Mann and Lippert shared offices in S.F. and Lippert had a number of Drive-in houses in the valley. He hired me to run the Showcase, which opened around 1969. He also opened a small house in Rockridge Center, (Oakland) with played mostly art and foreign films catering largely to the Berkeley crowd. I later was district manager.
The ‘booyaka’ site info is a bit in error: The Showcase was not the first multi to be built, however it was the first,(in the country) to introduce the projection platter system, which was essential for multi screen houses. Lippert was originally from Alameda and also the owner of the old downtown house. He lived out in the Alamo-Danville area.
I grew up in the Oak Park community, (1940-50s) a wonderful close-knit neighborhood with a good mix of ethnic cultures. The centerpiece being the James McClatchy park.
The California and Oak Park Theatre(s) were my ‘babysitter’.
I went to work, (age 14) at the California as ‘all-around-do-chores’ kid. At 17 was named youngest asst. mgr.
Theatre owner chain was T&D jr,(United Calif). Manager was Kay
Naify. Theatre auditorium had a Egyptian motif. Comment by Robert
Watkins was correct about a ‘early style’ rocker-recliner. They were
located only in the balcony ‘loge’. For that luxury, you paid, (as I
recall).75 cents. Regular ticket price: Child .12; Student .25;
In 1956 a fire destroyed this beautiful house, (never rebuilt). Fire started in, (strangely enough) the ‘loge’ seating. A cigarette dropped under the floor to a ‘concession debris’ cleanout area. I
was off that night, but stood watching, (with much of the Oak Park
community) as it went up in flames. Several firefighters suffered
minor injury, but no others hurt. The firestation was just a block away.
I will post a photo when this site resumes their ‘add a photo’ feature.
If you would like to read about the old Oak Park, (Guild Theatre) I
have a posting under Oak Park Theatre, Sacramento.