Comments from PatForan

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PatForan commented about Metro 4 Cinemas on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Dunno about its early history but by late 1991/early 1992 this theatre had switched to a discount/membership format (as the Capri in Concord had become at this time). This may have been in response to the Brenden opening up — the two were open concurrently for a short while. I remember seeing the Metro ads in the CC Times and noticed how their prices and policies changed a number of times within a few months, and by late 1992 the ads had disappeared altogether.

There was a young manager/projectionist at the Metro named Tim. Some time after the Metro closed, he came to the Capri looking for work and spoke to my boss. A week or two later Tim was killed in a motorcycle accident on Highway 4.

On a personal note, I got my job at the Capri thanks to the manager at the Metro. I had come in inquiring about a job at the Metro and, while he said he didn’t have anything for me, he kindly picked up the phone and called the Capri with me in the room and spoke to the manager there.

PatForan commented about Pleasant Hill Motor Movies on Jun 18, 2008 at 11:26 am

Here is an aerial view:

PatForan commented about Orinda Theatre on Sep 19, 2005 at 5:04 pm

Here’s that article:

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PatForan commented about Park Theatre on Sep 19, 2005 at 1:55 pm

Sad but true.

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Another one bites the dust.

PatForan commented about Solano 2 Drive-In on Sep 18, 2005 at 4:14 pm

I remember reading an article in the newspaper years ago about people who parked across the street in the empty lot next to the freeway offramp and watched the movie from there for free. These people talked freely about what they did, like they thought they were so clever in finding a way to screw the owners rather than supporting them by spending a few bucks. So all of us drive-in fans have these morons to thank for doing their part to hasten the end of an era.

PatForan commented about Capri Theatre on Sep 18, 2005 at 3:34 pm

I, too, managed the Capri theatre from 1992 to 1994. By that time the Enea family had taken it over. After obtaining the Capri, they kept the single screen and reopened it in 1990. It closed in 1991 when audiences dwindled down to literally two people per night. The Eneas split the huge auditorium in half widthwise and created two smaller theatres to the right and left, so looking at the three sets of doors in the lobby, the right and left doors now went into the smaller theatres and the center doors opened to a long sloping hallway into the larger auditorium. As far as I could tell the original screen and automated masking was left intact. This new configuration opened in early 1992 shortly before I began working there. At that time it was a second-run discount house, with a $2 admission ($1.50 weekdays) if you bought a $2 “membership card.” By the end of 1992 the membership format was not working and the theatre switched to first-run only. Being a mom-and-pop operation compared to the theatres with money (Syufy, Festival, Brenden), the movies we got were usually smaller films no other chain wanted, or they were cast-offs from the bigger theatres that needed room for a newer feature. Later on a few Indian-language films were shown on occasion. Due to the ethnic diversity of the area, there was always an audience for these films; why this was not continued on a more permanent basis is beyond me.

As far as equipment is concerned, the smaller theatres were far inferior to any I had seen. For some reason, the booths for the smaller theatres had a large area of open dead space in front of the projector, used for storage or whatever. This was probably part of the original single-screen booth that had not been removed. Because of this, the projector could not be pointed downward and, as a result, the screens in those theatres were uncomfortably high. And only the large auditorium had Dolby (analog) sound; I don’t believe the smaller rooms even had surround sound. There was no 70mm capability either. And I too had to make the treacherous climb to the outside ledge to change the marquee; however, I had to climb the ladder while holding the letter box too.

The Capri under Enea ownership closed around May of 1995. It reopened a short time later that year under different ownership and closed again just as quickly. Thus came an end to the neighborhood theatre I loved as a kid and despised as an employee.