Towne 3 Cinemas

1433 The Alameda,
San Jose, CA 95126

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cabart Theaters Corp, Camera Cinemas, Phoenix Big Cinemas, Shaw Theatres

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 on July 20, 1928 with Arthur Lake in “Harold Teen”. It was designed in an Egyptian/Spanish style to the plans of architectural firm Binder & Curtis. It was given an Art Deco remodel in 1951 and renamed Towne Theatre. On June 15, 1964 it went back to the Hester Theatre name only to revert back to Towne Theatre on June 4, 1965. It was taken over by Shaw Theatres in 1965 and in 1970 it was taken over by Art Theater Guild and went over to screening adult movies. It was closed in 1988. The Towne 3 Theatre was reopened on May 7, 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 from June 12m 1992. 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 disappointment for Camera Cinemas and the theatre was shuttered after the final screening of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” on New Year’s Eve, 2000.

The theatre 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. It stood vacant in 2023 still displaying cinema usage on its marquee.

Recent comments (view all 46 comments)

John R Bales
John R Bales on July 29, 2017 at 10:29 pm

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 8:08 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 2:16 am

This theater is now a independent

DavidZornig on June 9, 2019 at 5:56 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 7:28 am

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

rivest266 on December 12, 2021 at 1:28 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 5:36 am

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

Kevin_OKeeffe on August 3, 2023 at 11:08 pm

It’s so cool the picture here features HENRY FOOL on the marquee. I totally saw that movie at the Towne 3, back in ‘97, and it was great.

The last film I saw there was THE SECRET LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, in 2002. Not long after that, it became a Bollywood cinema.

rivest266 on April 16, 2024 at 12:20 pm

Opened on July 20th, 1928. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 20, 2024 at 3:27 pm

Quite a mouthful:

Renamed Towne in 1951 and closed in 1953. It reopened as the Hester again on June 16th, 1954 and Towne again on June 4th, 1955 on an art policy. Owners were Shaw International Pictures in 1965 and the Art Theatre Guild in 1970 who switched it to adult movies in 1972 and closed in 1988.

It was reopened by Camera Cinemas on May 17th, 1990 and reopened with 3 screens on June 12th, 1992 and the official T3 opening on June 19th. 1992. Grand opening ads posted.

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