Hey, Let’s Go Downtown For a Movie

  

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 A downtown movie theater is closing in one Sacramento Valley town, and a downtown theater in a different town appears on the verge.

The State Theater in downtown Woodland will close on Labor Day after 73 years. The even older Colusa Theater in downtown Colusa may also close as soon as next week.

The closure of downtown movie houses is old story, but it’s still a disappointing one – especially when the building involved has a history. Cinema is crucial for the mix of a healthy downtown. A movie theater provides a destination and nighttime energy. Many cities have subsidized construction of a multi-screen movie theater as part of larger downtown revitalization efforts.

Redding is lucky to have the restored Cascade Theatre in operation, but it’s mostly a live performance venue that shows films only once in a while. I understand why. The Cascade would have to sell an unrealistic number of movie tickets simply to cover the cost of opening the 1,000-seat building for business. And no one wants to see the Cascade revert to the chopped up, sticky-floor, second-run movie house that it was back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Still, am I the only person who thinks downtown Redding could use movie theater? It wouldn’t have to be large. It wouldn’t have to operate every night of the week. It wouldn’t need every 3-D, stadium seating, mondo sound, high-tech bell and whistle. Just a clean, comfortable, dependable place to which you could walk after grabbing a pizza at Angelo’s and before stopping for a nightcap at Vintage Wine Bar. Surely, there’s an empty space downtown that could serve such a purpose.

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• Low-income households with overdue Pacific Gas & Electric bills may be eligible for up to $1,500 in credit through a program provided by the state and federal governments, The Salvation Army and utility companies. September 21 is the deadline to apply for the Temporary Energy Assistance for Families (TEAF) program.

• Gene’s Drive-In on South Market Street in Redding has teamed up with the group Pets Without Partners. On the first Monday of each month, Gene’s donates 20% of sales to support the group’s homeless dog rescue and adoption efforts. Labor Day, September 6, is the first Monday of September.

• Shasta County is seeking new members for the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board, which provides program oversight. For details and an application, contact Selena Colson at (530) 225-5900.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and wonders whatever happened to midnight movies. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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8 Responses »

  1. Paul, I LOVE the idea of a downtown Redding movie theater. Good grief, there are so many empty buildings, surely one would be suitable. Think how cool it would be to include a small movie theater in the mix with the live performance theaters: the Cascade and Riverfront.

    Gosh, people could walk to dinner downtown, then walk to a movie, then walk somewhere after the movie for drinks and dessert.

    You know a place I think would be cool? The Greyhound station. (I also think it would be a cool restaurant, too. Oh, wait, how about a restaurant upstairs and a theater downstairs? Keep the glass block, and the cool signs, please.)

    Shigley, I sure like your columns. So newsy and interesting. Thank you!

  2. Paul..When I came to Redding in the 50's, Redding had the Cascade on Market and The Redding on California Street. Earlier, before my time, there was the Dreamland and then later two drive in movies, The Starlight on North Market and the Skyview in Enterprise with special $5.00 dollar a car load nights.

    The special lean back loge seats in the Cascade were just 75c and you could smoke up there. 10c got you a box of popcorn.

    In the 70's, The Showcase Theatre, Now the Casino Club, opened in Enterprise. I saw Cheech and Chong's "Up In Smoke" there.

    The demise of grand old one screen movie houses, like The State in Red Bluff is sad, but the beautiful restoration of United Artists owned Cascade is an asset to B.B Redding's old town. So many citizens gave their time, efforts and money to bring back this 1935 auditorium to it's original glory. What a treasure and KRDG Radio's "Jumpin' Jerry McGee and Fritz Egger were projectionists at almost all of them. I forgot about the movie in The Mt. Shasta Mall Which opened when the mall was new.

    • Budd, I love when you load us in the old car and take us on a trip down Redding's memory lane. Thank you! (And I vaguely remember a theater in Palo Cedro. - (The Flick - or am I thinking of the candy?).. seems a Shasta High teacher owned and operated it, that seemed like it was 1,000 miles out of town.)

  3. I thought I remembered going to movies at the casino club. Soon the Movies 8 will close and there will be nothing on the west side of town. I tell my kids that we used to be able to buy men's clothes (besides at the Boardmart) over here.

    There are so many empty buildings around town. So many empty car lots. Stores are empty. I know I can't spend on extrras like in the past. I hope things turn around before Xmas, or else everybody will go out of business.

  4. Doni...I remember Dan Pancake's Cinema Inn in Central Valley. We did a remote broadcast for their opening. It was a nice theatre and they had a nice run.

    It replaced an old theater on Shasta Dam Blvd. that the Pancake family closed after building the new one.

    I've been told that movie houses are risky business deals and you must make it on refreshments rather than admission prices. Much the same is true with gas stations who make their money on sodas, beer, chips and other eats.

    Gas sales don't pay the rent and don't bring enough cash to live on.

  5. The Flick was a very welcome addition to Palo Cedro 'way back when.. My kids and I saw 'Woodstock' and 'Harold and Maude' there. Fun!

    It was located in old Junction School... that I attended for 8 years.

  6. teacher Dick Dickinson ran the Flick... Thanks for the memories...

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