Placerville Cinema 4

2885 Ray Lawyer Drive,
Placerville, CA 95667

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rainestorm on January 6, 2022 at 7:59 pm

I grew up on HBO and was used to watching movies at home. I remember them holding a contest to see who would name the new theatre coming to Placerville and I sent in 50 submissions thinking that my incredibly creative names (Dream Palace I think was one of them) would be a shoo-in. It never even occurred to me to think of something as mundane and pedestrian as Placerville Cinema 4. I was crushed. Still, once the theatre opened, my movie-going increased dramatically. In the 80s, going to the movies regularly was a treat. There was no streaming competition or even cable competition to speak of and everyone truly was talking about the same thing.

Then I landed my first job here. Okay, maybe not my first job. That dubious honor goes to the month I worked at Burger King. As far as I’m concerned, though, this is where my working life began.

I was a junior in High School and I started here just a couple of weeks before Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home opened. The thrill and energy of the crowd stuck with me and made me a lifelong cinema fan. The first movie I ever saw here for free was Crocodile Dundee. I was thrilled at being able to watch any movie playing for free and I made an effort to watch them all, good or bad. Nothing creates a cinephile quite like working at the movies.

I worked here until the end of 1987 when I started working at the Empire Theatre. Up until 1982, the Empire was the only place you could watch movies and when I started working there it was still a single-screen house. Sadly, just before the summer of 1988, the owner of the Empire converted it into a two-plex, stripping it of all of its charm. Today it is an antique store. When I visit Placerville, I go into the store not to shop, but with melancholy I take in what remnants there are of the old theatre.

The Placerville Cinema 4 is where I learned to be projectionist and at that time it was my greatest wish to be in the union. That dream never came true and projectionists are now a thing of the past, unless you’re working somewhere like the New Beverly or one of the American Cinematheque theatres, where they still play Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm.

I took my projectionist experience to every job after that, circling back around to the Placerville Cinema 4 in 1990, where I was assistant manager for a time.

I moved to San Diego not long after and worked at Mann Hazard Center 7 for about two weeks before hanging up movie theatre work for good.

Rootieboy on March 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm

The last movie I can remember seeing here was Star Trek Generations back in 1994. Shortly after the Folsom 14 opened with stadium seating, DTS and larger screens. We no longer went to Cinema 4 after that. I moved away from the area in 1997. I also remember the Eldorado Drive-in before it shut down in 1988.