Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gould Cinemas - Part 3

The Gould Cinemas had a short life. 1979 to 1996...that's a 17-year deterioration from a hopeful neighborhood movie theater to a public nuisance. Planning Department records confirm that the City of San Jose staff knew the theater would be doomed to failure even before it was built.

Above you'll see a site plan of the Capitol Expressway/McLaughlin Avenue/Tuers Road area before it was developed as the Gould Center. The land was owned by the Gould family, and it was worked for agricultural uses of some type (like most of Santa Clara County in the waybacks), as you can see by the barn, well, and water tower.

As single family residential neighborhoods sprouted around the Gould property, in 1976 the City approved Elizabeth and Ed Gould's request to re-zone their land for a commercial development to serve the new homeowners.

When it came time for the City to review plans for the Gould Center, the Planning staff had huge concerns about the proposed theater location. Not enough parking, too close to the adjacent houses, too isolated, no connection to the rest of the retail businesses...but the developers didn't budge.

Here's a note on the plan indicating Planning's preference for the theater to be at the corner of Tuers and McLaughlin...where the Denny's ended up...

The Planning Department denied the proposal in November 1977, but a month later the Goulds appealed the decision to the City Council. Their strategy worked for them...the Council and Mayor Janet Gray Hayes gave their blessing.

Construction lasted a little over a year, and the Gould Cinemas opened for business in December '79, buried behind the other retail suites and far from Capitol Expressway street visibility. It wasn't long before the theater lost its sheen and settled into a last resort existence as a second-run theater catering to the younger set, spendthrifts, and psychos. Yeah, I saw movies there all the time.


Anonymous said...

DO MAH! wut about Gould To Do mang!

BaddicusFinch said...

Gould Thu Do! Yep yep...that was about the end of the Gould.

Thu Do Cinemas also had a location in Orange Garden Grove...10141's now the home of a medical clinic and a Pho Lu restaurant.

If anyone knows Van K Hong (the owner of Thu Do Entertainment), let me know...