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Cinema 2 theater Davis CA August 11 1994

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Uploaded on Apr 16, 2011

This was the "other" movie theater in Davis- it was a modest-sized single-screen theater (about 350 seats) that first opened in 1968, then closed in 1990 a few months after the newer 6-screen Holiday Cinema opened in 1989 under the same ownership and management about 2 blocks away. It sat for a few months and the owner decided he still wanted to have a large auditorium for the 'big' movies as the ones at the new theater only had 200-275 seats, so it was remodeled and re-opened in June 1991. The movies shown there ranged from the blockbusters that were expected to sell out the larger theater, and sometimes to the more art-house fare. Sometimes there was no rhyme or reason to what films got played there, and they were often moved between the two buildings after a couple weeks as well. It ended up closing for good in February 1999, sat empty for about a year then was gutted, the roof was removed and built higher and now houses the Watermelon Music store in the space that used to be the lobby and most of the auditorium, with the rest being offices and smaller music rooms- the stairs are in the area where the screen was.

Originally this theater ran changeovers with 2 projectors, but a platter and automation system were installed in 1979. This allowed it to run pretty much automatically, requiring only that the projector be threaded prior to each show, and it could then be started either from the booth or with a remote start button in the box office, shown near the beginning here. There was also a start timer. One person was in charge of running the 6 projectors at the Holiday Cinema and running over to the projector here at the same time- at first it was only to thread it, then management had us start the movies here from upstairs due to complaints about the previews being too loud. Shows were still rarely scheduled far enough apart to allow us to stay there through all the previews however.

The screen always had an odd scope aspect ratio which cropped the sides off significantly. There was minor side masking that came in for flat movies, and there were curtains that opened prior to the show and closed afterwards, but in 1993 the owners got greedy and started showing slide ads, which forced us to keep the curtains open and half the auditorium lights out which made the theater not look as nice as it was- they did still close at the end of the last show of the night however. Sadly the customers did not complain about the ugly ads as vocally as they did about the loud trailers, but I like to think that was a reason why this theater didn't do enough business to stay open. (The Holiday Cinema was later bought by Regal Cinemas and now subjects its customers to video ads prior to showtime.)

I don't know what type of sound system this theater had originally, but it had a Dolby CP50 installed prior to the opening of "Annie" in 1982 (which bombed and the owners had to pay the studio to be able to get rid of it early), and the cheaper matrix-surround version of DTS was added for "Jurassic Park" in 1993. You'll notice here I had chosen to run "True Lies" in optical sound rather than DTS- this was because the matrix-surround format had been discontinued (the last movie to use it was "Crooklyn") and all DTS systems had to be upgraded to the discrete 6-track format (more commonly known now as 5.1, as one channel is a subwoofer) to continue working- this DTS system was upgraded, but the old Dolby processor could not support the 2 surround channels so they were mixed together into mono surrounds. I felt playing the optical matrixed track was less of a bastardization, so I didn't thread the film through the timecode reader. A few months later the CP50 was replaced with a CP65 which did handle the full 6 channels, which was used until the theater closed. A few movies still played only in analog sound however because the distributors forgot to send the accompanying CD-ROM discs- the "Stadium 5" theater (also owned by the same company and later taken over by Regal) that opened the day after this theater closed wisely had Dolby Digital, which doesn't have that problem.

Check my notes on daviswiki.org for any info about this theater that I may have forgotten to mention here. I wish I had taken more pictures of this theater, but I'm glad I have this as it's probably the only video ever shot there. The projector and sound equipment were moved to the Varsity theater when it re-opened as a movie theater in 2006 (and they STILL had problems getting DTS discs for many films!), a few years later they added a 2nd smaller auditorium behind the main screen and installed a DLP system in the main booth and moved this film projector to the 2nd screen.

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