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In the mid-‘70s porn customers had three choices: the Kitten, the Eve (also on Granville) and the Venus. Later on the Fox on Main near Broadway ran porn for a while as did the Haida on Kingsway. The Internet ended all that.
Saw many movies there from 1970-75 before moving to Canada. Plenty of good memories, no especially bad ones. Up here in Canada there are few if any drive-ins (rains way too often in Vancouver).
I was born in San Francisco and lived in Concord from 1970-75. We went to the Capri on a regular basis and then headed over to Loard’s for an ice cream sundae or the International House of Pies. My mom worked at Imperial Savings and Loan; Park and Shop was my favorite hangout. We moved to Canada in ‘75 and I drove down to Concord last year; I felt totally nostalgic for the Concord of '75. (I was glad to see that Round Table Pizza was still there, but my pizza just didn’t taste the same.) Maybe I expected a banner at that shopping center welcoming me back. :=(
In the late 1970s I was in high school and took my girlfriend to the Park as often as possible. I was the laughingstock of John Oliver Secondary School and knew that if I took my chick up Fraser Street on Friday or Saturday night the bullies who hung out at the Fraser Theatre would notice me and my date and, after we left the theatre, would shove both of us into oncoming Fraser Street traffic. My way of avoiding such ugliness was to take her into a neighborhood where nobody knew me. On dozens of occasions we did dinner, a movie and a milkshake on Main, Cambie, Oak, Granville, Burrard, Arbutus or Dunbar Street. Nobody ever hassled us in those ‘hoods.
My understanding is that this theatre is owned by Mark someone (Juarez? Suarez?), a local guy who owns much of Siskiyou County; I’m told that his many vacant stores are boarded up because it makes good business sense for him to keep his commercial properties shuttered. If so, the California Theatre will not reopen anytime soon. :=(
When I moved to Vancouver in 1975, 919 Granville was the location of the Eve, a porn theatre. There was another porn house, the Golden Kitten, farther up Granville and a third, the Venus, on Main near Prior. I didn’t go to the Eve or Venus but visited the Golden Kitten once and the stench (urine, feces, vomit, semen) was overpowering. Last I heard, the Venus was a crackhouse before being demolished. No great loss.
In 1988 I worked at a Syufy theatre right across from the Peppermill Casino. It was like eight or 12 screens, all on one floor; the last screen was so isolated and the carpeting cracked so much) that, as an usher, I could sit on my butt and watch the movie (a major infraction) and if the manager entered the auditorium I could hear him coming five or ten seconds before the door opened (so I could get up and pretend to be patrolling the auditorium). I wasted lots of time that way. The manager was named Brent Coleman; one of his assistants, John, was so rude and nasty that managers from other theatres refused to deal with him personally. Most of those people (even the customers) seemed to have attitudes. Of course, people in Reno weren’t half as bad as those in Las Vegas. You want surly? Go to Lost Wages!
There was another porn theatre (called the Silver Kitten) elsewhere in BC, presumably owned by the same company. I visited the Golden Kitten exactly once (in ‘81) and was quite overcome by its reek of urine, feces and semen. I would imagine that the Silver Kitten and Venus Theatre (on Main Street) smelled just as badly. The Venus was named the Night and Day until 1975 or thereabouts; in its final years it probably should have been renamed the Crackhouse, because so many druggies went in there to get high while the movies ran.
The Fraser was just several blocks from John Oliver Secondary School, a huge institution. The Fraser was a favorite hangout of the punks and bullies from John Oliver when I was the laughingstock of J.O. I had a girlfriend but couldn’t take her to the Fraser on our dates because the bad boys would hassle us as soon as they saw me. So we went out for dinner and movies in other neighborhoods where nobody knew me. LOL
The Cascades was demolished long ago and is now the site of condos.
One of its managers was Cliff Gallant (when the Stanley was a Famous Players theatre); Gallant ran the Capitol 6 and Doug Smith managed the Stanley, and the two switched jobs, as I understood it. Anyone know if those two managers are still alive?
When I moved to Vancouver in 1975, the Haida played second-run Hollywood movies; later on (1980s), it ran hardcore porn pictures edited for Canadian consumption. Not sure when it went to Indian fare.
On the subject of Vancouver porn…for many years the Venus on Main Street and Golden Kitten on Granville ran all-day X-rated fare in the smelliest, funkiest cinemas on the West Coast. A very freaky situation if you didn’t know how badly those two places reeked. Towards the end, the Venus essentially became a crackhouse in which the dirty movies still ran but the customers' main concern was having a safe, dry place in which to smoke their rocks.
The Fox/Savoy ran porn films back in the 1980s and midnight cult films. Only thing was, the porn movies were all from the USA, so they had to delete the really explicit footage before they ran it, then splice the deleted footage back before putting it back into the can and sending it away. Of course, that was when they actually shot adult movies on film rather than video. Do you hear those news reports about “adult film actress Stormy Daniels”? As I said, the adult industry stopped using film years ago, and I can’t remember the last time anyone called a porn performer an “actress.”
O.K., so the Royal was demolished in 6/2003; does anyone know when Blumenfeld pulled out? I worked there as an assistant manager in the mid-1980s (Bob Blumenfeld was the STINGIEST boss I’d ever had!) and I’m wondering when Ed Lowelling and Russell Burke left.
I remember the Seavue (is spelling correct?) because I lived in Vancouver, BC, during the 1970s and ‘80s and the theatre advertised fairly heavily on Vancouver rock radio stations; the commercials always urged Canadians to make a visit to the porn theatre a part of every day trip to the USA. I went to the Seavue once, in 1981 (because I had just turned 18) and the nice cashier lady said that many Blaine residents wanted the Seavue shuttered permanently. The theatre had two screens on as many floors, with a coin arcade in the basement. It also featured personal appearances by porn stars (which was very unusual for a puny border town). I’m pretty sure that the theatre was on the W side of Peace Portal Drive, and that it was not “demolished” but rather collapsed into Blaine Bay.
I worked at the Capitol 6 in the very early 1980s; its manager was named Cliff Gallant, who by 1985 had been transferred to the Stanley. His replacement was Doug Smith. Any idea if Cliff or Doug is still alive? I knew them a long time ago, and they weren’t exactly teenagers then (although Cliff was still in his 30s).
I worked as an assistant manager there in the early 1990s. The district manager, Larry Levin, set my salary at $592 per month, thereby making me the lowest-paid full-time manager in the Bay Area. The manager in charge of training me was Marc Johnson. He said, “You are in the impossible position of having to try to learn something from me.” Marc was an accountant moonlighting at the Galaxy. He got mad at me once and threw my lunch into the garbage while I was eating it; he lived with an anchorwoman and said he was leaving town to study medicine at USC (did he graduate?)
The Galaxy ran many bad movies and its receipts each night were often minuscule, so I wondered how long would survive. Instead of hiring a professional projectionist, they used one of the managers (often me; I nearly wrecked a brand-new print of Terminator 2). I had also worked as a manager at a Blumenfeld theatre and often asked myself, “Can these companies be any stingier?”