Historic Cinema at 75: San Francisco Meets Eureka

A Humboldt County favorite marks a big anniversary.

THAT MONDO YEAR FOR MOVIES: The cinema book trade has long relied on a "best of" year format to group movies, and there's a fine reason why: It works. Specific years are named as being turning points in entertainment, with fresh ideas and fresh actors lending the industry a needed jolt. Some argue for 1967 and 1982 in the jolt-giving categories -- 1967 saw more realism in the movies and 1982 more splashy summer funtimes -- but almost every cinephile agrees that 1939 was seminal. Movies were growing bigger, with a wider reach, and the titles? Well, "Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" are two flicks associated with the close of the 1930s. Perhaps you've heard of them? Fingers crossed they'll become known a little more widely.

SO IT STANDS TO REASON... that cinemas built during seminal movie years have a bit of grandeur and presence, given that they came together when much was happening. Take the Eureka Theater in Humboldt County. The venue, built by San Francisco architect William David, is a visual symphony of Art Deco charm. As many movie palaces were, back in the day, but a lot of those no longer exist. But the Eureka does, in Eureka, and it is turning 75 with a prices-rollback party.

OHHH... we do love a prices rollback party in a movie-nice setting. The venue'll take admission prices back to 35 cents, all day long, on Saturday, March 1. As for the films? "The Wizard of Oz" will be screened, and "Another Thin Man," and other classics of the era. If you're wild about California's historic movie palaces, add Eureka's own Eureka to your list, and do it on the day when it costs a quarter and a dime to enjoy a flick. Yep, seminal years are good to the cinema, but so are people who keep cinematic venues alive.

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