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Hillsdale Cinemas

2003 Photo from the Eric Hooper collection.
3011 S El Camino Real
San Mateo CA 94403

Record #2964  
 Opened: December 22, 1966
 Closed: December 10, 1998
 Current Use:
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: General Cinema Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Eric Hooper.

General Cinema's Hillsdale Cinema in San Mateo used to be a single screen. It was first twinned, and then butchered further into a four-plex. Noteworthy are the pillars on the front of the building (still there). You can also see on the pictures the distinction between the back section of the building in which the auditorium(s) were, and the front of the building which was the lobby. The floor to ceiling windows in the lobby were very impressive. There was also a giant marquee on top of the building about the size of giant advertising billboard. You could see the marquee all the way down El Camino in both directions.

The rear photos of the building depict where the original large screen was. Notice the corners of the rear of the building were indented in, and when the theatre was twinned, the two screens that ended up on this back wall were off center in the auditoriums, due to these indentations (almost exactly like the Stonestown Theatre in San Francisco).

The theatre featured the classic General Cinema gray and blue aluminum walls, and the white and red metal reclining seats. It also had the traditional GC blue screen lights, which they stopped using when slide presentations came along. If there was ever a General Cinema Theatre that captured that old feeling of the GCC's in the 60's and 70's, this one was it. The theatre closed in 1998 as GCC started their bankruptcy reconciliation.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

November 2003 photos from the Eric Hooper collection.

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Last featured 11/8/2003. Last edited 2/9/2020.

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