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How many years have you worked in the Movie Theatre Industry and how did you first become involved?
My first movie theatre job was in 1973 as a snack bar attendant, and occasional field checker, for Pacific Theatres at the Sepulveda Drive-In. One of my high school friends was working there, and told me they had openings. In 1974, I took a position with Great Western Theatres as Manager of the Lankershim Theatre in North Hollywood, only a few blocks from my home. I was a General Manager at four Los Angeles theatres, later a District Manager, and Assistant Vice President for Great Western until graduating from UCLA in 1978 when I purchased an ownership interest in the California 3 Theatres in Huntington Park, just east of LA.

What’s the best part of your Job? Do you have any memorable experiences that you would like to share?
Learning and implementing the many innovations that keep the business evolving, and there are more than ever in recent years, is very rewarding.

 

Surely, the industry has given me many memorable experiences, and I have a lot of anecdotes. Here is one from when I was working at Century Theatres. Century had very large grossing locations, and a few had issues with loitering. It had become a real issue as incoming guests had to get past many teenagers hanging around just outside the entrance doors. There was outside music playing through exterior speakers in the soffit above the doors, and we decided to change it to Barry Manilow or classical. It solved the loitering issue pretty quick.

What is your fondest movie theatre memory?
The night a company I started opened our first new-build theatre. It was December 7, 1990, and the theatre was the Galaxy 8, Pleasanton. I love developing new sites, whether as an owner or an employee, but experiencing the guests having such a great time on opening night in my first new theatre that I spent so much time and energy to make happen was extremely exciting.

How old were you when you went to your first movie? Do you remember the theatre and the city?
The first movie I remember seeing was A Thunder of Drums at the Encino Theatre, and later the same year, 1961, I saw Babes in Toyland at the El Portal in North Hollywood. These were when I was only five or six years old. The first big event movie I saw was How the West Was Won at the Chinese about a year or two later. Over the next five-to-seven years, our family spent many Saturday nights seeing a double feature at the Cornell Theatre in Burbank where tickets were only 49 to 99 cents.

What is your favorite movie of all time? What is it about this movie that stands out for you?
Certainly it is pretty challenging to have one favorite that stands out above all others. If I had to name one it would be Raiders of the Lost Ark. This very engaging fast paced action/adventure movie had a most likable hero, and the perfect mix of thrills and humor.

 

Here are some of my other favorites: The Godfather, Schindler’s List, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sound of Music, Chinatown, Casablanca, Apocalypse Now, Good Morning Vietnam, The French Connection, American Graffiti, The Graduate, LA Confidential, and Sleeper (which will probably not make any other list, but was a very funny movie.)

Do you have any industry related hobbies or experiences? Please explain.
As most people in the industry know, one of our major charities is Variety Club which helps children that are at-risk, disadvantaged, or disabled. It is a privilege to serve on Variety’s SoCal Board, and previously, when living in the Bay Area, my company had several screenings of major releases with tickets priced from $50 - $100 where receipts were donated to Variety. One of these fundraisers was at my Monterey six-plex where over $60,000 was raised in one night. It was for the western movie Unforgiven. Clint Eastwood attended, as well as Tom Selleck, and Chuck Norris. There was a large outside bar-b-que, and picnic tables with red and white checkered table cloths with hay bales around the perimeter. John Denver came and sang songs on a stage in front of the picnic tables. It was quite an event.

Do you have any special interests that you would like to share?
My most special interest is my wife Jennifer and our 14 year old son Henry, who just graduated from the 8th grade. I follow the major sports, read all I can about business/real estate trends, and love to travel.

What does being a member of NATO of CA/NV mean to you?
It means so many things. NATO of CA/NV does a terrific job to preserve and enhance the welfare of its membership across a very broad spectrum. Being a member helps me feel that there is real help if we need it on a local, or statewide, legislative issue. The association’s programs are an excellent resource for not only a circuit’s home office administrators, but provide valuable opportunities for field level employees including the seminars, and scholarship grants.

Of all the resources that the Association offers (seminars, scholarships, email advisories, etc.) which is most useful for you?
I enjoy attending the film seminars because it provides an excellent summary of each studio’s releases, as well as gives a chance to network with vendors and other industry members.