Closed UA/Riverfront Theater like a temple in Egypt
To the Editor,
Like the Edfu and Luxor Temples in Egypt, it remains to be seen if the similar looking (exterior-wise) and now closed Santa Cruz UA Riverfront Cinema will become a tourist attraction. I hadn’t seen so many films there lately, the last being a few years ago (the not-so-successful reboot of “The Three Stooges”).
But what will always make the “UA” or “Riverfront” a tourist attraction (until it gets torn down?) will be those few times I went there and enjoyed films a long time ago. Pete Marinovich invited Matt Bakich and myself asking if we wanted to go see “Friday the 13th Part Two.” We were juniors at the time at Watsonville High. It was May 1981, a Friday.
For the last few decades I have worked in Santa Cruz and have routinely walked by the “UA” almost every day. But in 1981 going to the UA, or anywhere in Santa Cruz, was rare, a big deal. So when Pete, who was driving, and Matt pulled up to pick me up I was excited (trying not to show it).
I always liked the entrance to the UA, which is somewhat hidden with a lot of plants and vegetation around. There might have been a modest line to get in. Inside, unlike the Egyptian temples today, the UA has a high ceiling. As for the film, what stands out was just the shock and entertainment of it all. As a sequel to the original, “Friday the 13th Part Two” held its own. And when Jason came flying through the window (when you thought the film was over) for the last great jolt, it left me staggering out of the theater — satisfied. A feeling I have not felt with any movie in the last 20 years.
A few months later (1982), the wonderful Watsonville High History of Russia teacher, Mr. Davies, set up a class field trip to the UA to see “Reds,” about American John Reed’s direct experience with the Russian Revolution of 1917. The film was not as shocking as “Friday the 13th Part Two,” but was good and added to the enthusiasm I have always had for Russia and its history. During the Cold War, Americans hated the Soviet Union/Russia. Davies made Russian history, their culture, totally interesting. As good a history teacher as I’ve ever had.
Like the intense feelings experienced (and continue to be by visiting) the Egyptian temples, so will be with the UA/Riverfront Cinema. Let’s hope an enterprising soul reopens the theater and shows classics only. What a breath of fresh air that would be.
To the Editor,
Years ago when I was working with my dad in the apples, I got a call from a lady asking me how would I like a free plane trip, four nights, three days at our hotel Sam’s Town? I hit my first Royal Flush $1,000 there and they had my name. Boarding M-17-80 at San Jose Airport with a number of other people, we landed at Bull Head City.
There was about 12 of us at this hotel when a lady came and gave each of us an envelope. I turned around and slipped a c-note in mine. There were papers on the floor and a lot of questions. Where’s my $100? He fooled you people. He is not going to the buffet. He is going to the La Victoria Room where there is steak and lobster. She said I have never, ever seen anything like that. So I’m giving you an extra ticket.
Memories of downtown Watsonville
To the Editor,
It was with much delight to read Sue Bloom’s letter to the editor in Friday’s paper. I would like to add some memories to it, such as more dress shops, The Fashion, Mode-O-Day, Mary Ellen’s, jewelry stores, Greens and Hirsh, pharmacies, Steinhauser and Eaton, plus two more close to the Resetar Hotel.
There was Rosco’s (my first job), Olander’s child store, Sprouse, Ritz, Western Auto, Pep Creamery and a 2-by-4 Western Union Telegram office. Mens’ clothing, Beazells and Sylvan’s, two other shoe stores, Karl’s and Kirby’s, but John’s was where I bought my first born’s walking shoes, called “jumping jacks,” where the sole extended up the back of the shoe.
There was Johnson’s stationery store, camera shop “Stepicks,” furniture store “Spungs,” plus California Furniture, the old, old Safeway on East Third, Alexander’s, also the two bakeries, P.V. and another, one baked bread called Golden Crust by the Niebling family. It was so good walking home from school in the afternoon and smelling the fresh baking bread.
I can still remember other businesses, too many to mention. Thank you Sue Bloom for stirring up these old and dear memories.
Of course, I can’t forget Snookers pool hall and the old YMCA on Main Street and stores in that block.
We truly spent all day when going to town to do errands.
Grants Pass, Ore.
Greenway’s lawsuit has little merit
To the Editor,
The frivolous lawsuit that the anti-rail group Greenway has filed against the Regional Transportation Commission has little merit. They state that an environmental impact report was not properly filed regarding Progressive Rail operating on the Santa Cruz Branch rail line and will stop at nothing in their effort to impede the new company from operating on the line. The removal of the railroad is their ultimate goal.
This litigation will only serve to cost the RTC money in attorney fees to defend against this and waste taxpayer money. It is state and local taxes that provide needed funding to improve public transportation in the area and ease traffic congestion.
Keep in mind, the historic Santa Cruz Branch rail line has been a fixture in Santa Cruz County for over 140 years! Most of the elitist Greenway members are not native to the county, having relocated to the area and now want to impose their will to stop trains, and rip out the rails. Keep in mind, rail is very important to the industries in downtown Watsonville who use it to receive and ship their commodities.
Gary V. Plomp