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Towne Theater Changes

By Richard von Busack

Starting Nov. 17, San Jose's Towne Theater will be operated by Indian Movie Cinema, which is leasing for now but has the option to purchase the theater. The changeover of management at the Towne marks a new life for the oldest operating movie theater in the county--the Towne got started in '20s. The Towne was shuttered for a time in the mid-'80s after being run as one of the Pussycat Theater chain of porn houses. Not long after the Camera Cinemas re-opened the Towne in 1980, they plexed it into three auditoriums, adding a Wurlitzer theater organ in the largest auditorium for silent movies. One of the Towne's most successful draws in the 1990s was a regular series of Hong Kong movies on Tuesday nights. Half the valley's film fans were introduced to Jackie Chan and John Woo movies there. The Towne's new programming is good news for those who worried that the theater might go dark. The Indian movie industry is the world's most vigorous, producing something like 900 feature films a year, and the vitality of this cinema is seen in hits like Bend It Like Beckham and the Bollywood-style finale of Moulin Rouge!. The ever-expanding local expatriate community has made Indian cinema a long-running success at the Naz Theater in Fremont. Next year, the Cameras plan to reopen the former UA in downtown San Jose as the Camera 12, a venue for the mix of foreign and independent cinema that they've been dedicated to for more than 25 years.

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Web extra to the November 13-19, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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