Showcase Theatre

13200 Central Avenue,
Boulder Creek, CA 95006

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Additional Info

Functions: Bar, Restaurant

Styles: Quonset Hut, Rustic

Previous Names: Dolan Theatre, Burl Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Former Entrance To Burl Theatre Boulder Creek CA

This theatre served the small town of Boulder Creek, located in the Redwood-forested northernmost portion of Santa Cruz County. The Dolan Theatre was opened in 1947. The moderne-styled facade was very plain, but as best as can be determined from an old photo, had sections faced with vertical strips of redwood bark, for a rustic touch along with the moderne simplicity. The facade was topped by small step pyramid or ziggurat-like accent features.

The forward portion of the building was a two-storey block, faced mostly in wood.

The building later housed a Round Table Pizza, along with what appeared to be several offices. A two-storey “old Western town” style porch and balcony structure has been added to the front. The redwood bark fascia has long since been replaced by office windows. The moderne stepped pyramid accents atop the facade still remain, as does the old entrance foyer open to the street, with windows where there were doubtlessly once poster cases. If one looks down the adjacent alley, the auditorium structure can still be seen. By 2020 it was in use as Boulder Creek Pizza & Pub.

Contributed by Gary Parks

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

GaryParks on October 16, 2009 at 12:41 am

I am now inclined to believe that the Forest Theatre which was listed in the 1941 and 1943 Film Daily Yearbook editions with 150 seats has to be a different, earlier theatre than the Dolan/Burl. The Dolan is a Quonset-built structure, and therefore dates to around 1947 or so. The Quonset was developed for wartime use in 1941, and was utilized often for theatre construction after the war, its peak use seeming to be in 1947-48. Quonset theatres typically had a capacity of between 400 and 700 seats. 150 seats, as the Forest had, is far too small a capacity, let alone the fact that Quonsets hadn’t been put to civilian use in 1941 or ‘43.

theatrebuff333 on June 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm

In the late 50s and early 60s this was known as the BURL Theatre. Operated by Harold & Winnie Hilton who also operayted the Forest Swimming Pool. Their son Bobby served as the projectionist.

terrywade on August 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm

It’s time to bring back the Burl Theatre to Boulder Creek CA as a second run cinema. This will be Santa Cruz’s first second run theatre if ever opened as a movie place again. Many first run movies just play a short time as the college town nearby of Santa Cruz is under screened. Many art films don’t even play in town. When they converted the Burl they put in a second level floor for a gym long gone, so this will have to torn out to make one large theatre. Good news in the nearby city of Felton CA the Trout Farm Inn has reopened with a nice remodel to the pool and restaurant.

GaryParks on February 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Small architectural correction, as I stopped by the former Burl today: The exterior of the commercial block in front is, and always was, faced in wood, not stucco as I erroneously said in my description above.

garrufat on July 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Just an FYI about the Burl Theatre in Boulder Creek. I became the projectionist in late 1975 when it was the Showcase Theatre. After 6 months I ended up renting the building under my commercial business The Boulder Creek Theatre in the summer of 1976 – Gone With The Wind was our July 4th opening. Eventually I split the week with 35mm films on the 1926 Simplex carbon arc projectors (factoid to remember – sound came out in 1927 – these beasts had turntable drives for silent records, and optical sound track heads for sound on films – they were classic antiques) After creating the Santa Cruz Mountain Community Theatre non-profit effort to save the theatre we presented music shows on the weekends and showed feature movies during the week. This was about the time that Scotts Valley Cinema opened. I had to meet with SF cigar chomping film distributor’s to explain the split week thing. It had never been done before but those old guys respected Harold Hilton, the old guy I learned from. His parents bought the Dolan for him in the late ‘40s when he also had Forest Pool. He had a small pipe organ in his house overlooking Boulder Creek and highway 9 when he shared his life with me in 1976. The country club off 236 has a Hilton Dr(?) in his honor. More info soon if there’s interest. Greg Arrufat

ibray on July 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm

A little bit off topic but sure miss the Forest Pool, went there during summer visits down from San Francisco. Looks like they demolished it, Google Maps just shows dirt. Do the Hiltons who owned the Forest Theater still own the land that the pool stood on?

terrywade on October 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Someone in Boulder Creek that has old 8x10 photos or of the outside or inside of the Burl Theatre or ad flyers needs to put them inside the radio station windows or pizza place now inside this former cinema building. Most young people have no idea this still open building with a second floor added was once the local movie theatre for Boulder Creek CA. It does say on the roof Burl Building. Thanks Terry

DavidZornig on February 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

Late `40s photo as Dolan Theatre added courtesy Neil Bass. Definitely the same facade/building on the Quonsot hut auditorium. So Dolan Theatre should be added as an previous name. Mr. Bass claims it was still open in 1977 when he saw “Reefer Madness”. Boulder Creek Pizza & Pub is the current tenant as of February 2020 per Yelp.

walterk on February 29, 2020 at 12:27 pm

GaryParks’ comment that this theatre dates to “1947 or so” is spot on, it was opened by W. C. Dolan as the “Dolan Theatre” in the spring of that year. This was reported in the May 3 issue of Billboard and the May 16 issue of The Film Daily. The opening was also mentioned in the May 2 issue of the Motion Picture Daily. All three mentioned it was a Quonset style theatre seating 400. When plans to build what would become the Dolan were announced in the fall of 1946, The Film Daily reported it was expected to cost $14,000.

This was never the Forest Theatre, having opened as the Dolan, later renamed the Burl and, according to an above comment by garrufat, was the Showcase Theatre by 1975.

There was a Forest Theatre in Boulder Creek that was operating as early as 1922 and as late as 1939, I’m sure will be listed on CT before long.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm

So Forest Theatre name should be removed, and Showcase Theatre should replace it as the last name it operated as a theatre as.

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