Blancos and Sunnymounts Cinema Theater
|In 1934, Anthony Blanco decided that one theater wasn't enough for the Mountain View public and he opened the Cinema Theater (also known as the Cinema Teatro in later years) on Dana Street at the corner of Bryant Street. The Cinema Theater boasted 650 seats on the main floor and another 100 balcony seats. The building formerly housed the Redwine Tractor Garage. He operated both the Cinema Theater and the Mt. View Theater for seven years. At some point, possibly from the beginning but more likely after Blanco sold the theater, the Cinema Theater showed movies in both English and Spanish. It drew a wide spectrum of audience from the working class and migrant workers to the students and professors at Stanford University. When Blanco sold both the Mt. View theater and the Cinema Theater to Sunnymount Theater Inc. in 1941, both were successful movie houses.
Sunnymount Theater Inc. immediately remodeled the Cinema Theater, installing a new snack bar and soft drink coolers. During its time of operation the Cinema Theater invited many famous movie stars from Mexico to promote the theater. The theater lasted until 1955 when television introduced a new type of competition for Hollywood movies. It also faced a new type of challenge in 1950 when Sunnymount Theater Inc. opened Mountain Views's only drive-in movie theater at Grant and El Camino. The Cinema Theater fell victim to the revitalization fervor pulsing through Mountain View in 1960 and was destroyed and replaced by a parking lot. The new drive-in theater was named, through a newspaper contest, the Monte Viste theater. The $150,000 Monte Vista Drive-In had 825 car spaces but, curiously, only 500 car heaters. Late arriving customers suffered the consequences during the winter months. Adults paid 65 cents for admission, juniors paid 40 cents, and children under 12 were admitted free of charge. The theater opened literally with guns blazing. The opening feature was The Gunfighters starring Gregory Peck.
The drive-in thrived until the early 1970's when developers determined that the large plot of land was better suited (would be more profitable) if used for a retail shopping mall. The land was soon developed into the mall that now houses the Walgreens Drug store, True Value Hardware, Burger King, and other businesses.
While the Cinema Theater closed in 1955, the Mt. View Theater continued to do well into the 1970's when the Old Mill Six opened at the corner of California Avenue and San Antonio Avenue. The end was near for the Mt. View but it had one last trick up its sleeve. At some point in the late 70's or early 80's the theater re-opened with the unique offer that adults could gain admission for half the price of children. This promotion worked for awhile but before long, the Mt. View was overwhelmed by competition. Pressure from the Old Mill Six and later from the AMC Six Theaters on the north side of the 101 freeway were too much for the Mt. View and it closed for the final time. Since its closure, the building has witnessed two interesting business ideas.
Starting in January 1999 and lasting about ten months, the old Mt. View theater was converted to a country western style of bar and restaurant, called the Rio Grande. In December of 1999, the current tenant, a new dance club and bar devoted to contemporary music and dancing called the Limelight, opened.
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