P5220103 Tower Theatre before SF Gay Men’s Chorus concert

The Tower Theater is a restored 1932-built cinema in Fresno. Growing up, it was Fresno’s main movie theatre – it was where you saw the latest family-rated blockbuster. My fondest memory was seeing Mary Poppins there. I’m standing here about 40 feet away from where I sat. One of the the last films to show there before the first multiplex went in was "Superdad." Remember that one? It was a 70s Disney live action original like "That Darn Dog!" and "The $100,000 Duck," two films I did get in to see, and Herbie, The Love Bug, a film I have never seen – only the trailer! Never got to see Superdad. Three tries, the line stretched down olive right past where Sequoia Brewing is today, sold out before I could get to the ticket booth on the corner of Olive and Wishon. It’s not a film anyone recalls, which puzzles me as to how it was impossible to get in to see it.
After the multiplex went in out on North Blackstone, the Tower Theatre was closed and sold. I nice couple bought it and operated it for a while as a movie buffs’ theatre, with a new screen and new film projector. The quality of the image on the screen was magnificent, and the presentations were all one or two nights only, with Caligula every Saturday at midnight. Don’t know what the big deal about Caligula was.
But they would put together great themes, like Cult Favorites Night and Three Stooges Night (it was awesome – great crowd!). They even showed King Kong and Wizard of Oz in fully restored splendor.
One cult movie night of many was The Magic Christian with Life Of Brian. Too much fun! There was the B movie nights, like It Came from Outser Space or Plan 9 from Outer Space. There was Marilyn Monroe movie night – yes, it was awesome. The prints were of amazing quality. Other nights, the print was of very inferior quality, but a lot of fully restored, barely screened film cans came through that theatre during those days of the alterna-cinema. There was Popeye movie night – Popeye films on the big screen where they totally opened up a whole new world – you haven’t seen a Popeye cartoon until you watched one on the big screen – that culminated with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall’s live action Popeye movie. It was okay. A letdown after those great cartoon prints – you could hear all of Popeye’s mumbles – rolling on the floor laughing! The cartoons were truly something else, as was King Kong and Wizard of Oz. My generation never got to see those in a movie theatre before – it was so much better as to be ridiculous to be viewing those films on television, even it was HBO, or a rented video tape. Then there was Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Night. Let me tell you, that film is a riot and a half. You can only see half the jokes on the video tape version. The rest are lost in the low resolution quality of the video tape picture. Remember how video tape looked far lower in quality than regular over-the-air television? If it weren’t for this brief and brilliant rerun movie house Tower Theatre, we never would have seen these classics in the glory they were intendeed to be seen. The new projector, screen and sound system were fantastic. It was a heck of an investment. I wonder if that nice couple ever broke even. They gave us great memories.
The crowd was really alternative, you know, and sometimes somebody would light up a ******* right there in the theater and the nice couple would let them ********* unless somebody complained. ***************** – I’m saying that was real cool. Never saw anybody get the cops involved. You think that would be possible today, to avoid getting police involved, with CELL PHONES all over the place??
The last time I ******************* in public it was Ziggy Marley, and it was a trip! The crowd had a system of being ultra discrete!! Back in the day, you didn’t have to be discrete.
P5220103 Tower Theatre before SF Gay Men’s Chorus concert, originally uploaded by niiicedave.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: