Century 21

3161 Olsen Drive,
San Jose, CA 95117

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Century 21

The San Jose Century 21 was opened November 24, 1964, with “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. The intention was of using the 3-strip Cinerama process; but it actually only showed 70mm.

The screen was later replaced with a flat model, but has remained intact as a wonderful throwback to the domed Cinerama palaces of the 1960’s. It was closed March 30, 2014.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

Coate on November 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

Happy 50th! The Century 21 opened this day in 1964.

To celebrate, here’s a list of the Century 21’s bookings during its first decade as researched from their original newspaper promotion.

1964-11-24 … IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (19 weeks)

1965-04-06 … MY FAIR LADY (33)

1966-06-15 … BATTLE OF THE BULGE (9)
1966-08-17 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (58)

1967-09-26 … GRAND PRIX (43)

1968-07-23 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (87)

Kevin_OKeeffe on August 13, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I saw so many films here over the course of literally five decades (from the early 1970s, through 2011)…probably the most “significant” would be the time in 1983, when my dad took me to see Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” during its 15th anniversary re-screening.

MSC77 on July 23, 2018 at 10:45 am

Fifty years ago today Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” opened its exclusive Silicon Valley roadshow run at Century 21. It ended up running 87 weeks, making it the longest, continuous run of the film in the United States (and second longest in the world just behind Toronto’s 127-weeker).

davidcoppock on September 19, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Opened with “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad World”.

Spartan117Rex on August 26, 2020 at 3:44 pm

I’m really happy with the fact that this theater’s become a landmark, but I really, really want it to remain a theater in some way.

MSC77 on December 30, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Here’s a new 4-page 50th anniversary FIDDLER ON THE ROOF retrospective featuring a roadshow playdate chronology and historian Q&A. Century 21’s year-plus run is mentioned in the piece.

MSC77 on December 31, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Passing along the link to a 12-page 40th anniversary RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK retrospective which features a historian Q&A and 70mm playdate chronology. The Century Domes get mentioned several times.

JohnnyEponymous on March 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

Does anybody know who had the photo albums at the last screenings at the Century 21 back in 2014? I remember there were was a set of photos with a race car and a friend’s dad dressed as one of the drivers.

stevenj on May 18, 2022 at 3:29 pm

Preliminary plans submitted for renovation of Century 21. From the Hoodline aticle linked below:

“At this point, it’s unclear what the old theater will be reused as, but there are several options on the table. Despite not yet having a specific use, the developer and owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust, plans to renovate the building in a flexible way so that it can cater to several different types of businesses. According to a preliminary proposal obtained by the Mercury News, “the design team will include provisions to accommodate the ability to support office, kitchen, cafeteria, gym, and small data center.” It could also become a restaurant or a performing arts center.”


MSC77 on June 5, 2023 at 8:45 am

A chronology of San Jose’s 70mm presentations history has recently been published/updated. The Century Domes, of course, get several mentions in the piece.

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