For this article, we posted an old photo of the Carlos Theater in the Facebook Group of San Carlos High School Alumni and asked them to share their stories of the theater. We are pleased to be able to shares their stories here as one…


Dune 2 in Cinemas

When was the last time you bought a cinema ticket and watched a movie with your loved ones?

With the recent release of Dune 2, it seems young people had started flocking IMAX theaters again for an experience they call a “genuine cinematic masterpiece”. Only a few years ago, most of us had already settled for streaming and downloads, perhaps out of necessity or fear. As we gradually got used to watching movies on smart TV’s or even small mobile devices, what once was a grand experience was slowly reduced to a trivial way to escape boredom.

It makes you wonder what it was like in the 1950s, during the time they called the “Golden Age of Cinema”? Back then, movie theaters were extravagant palaces of entertainment. Young and old alike would crowd these venues to watch sometimes not just one, but a series of movies. The cinema was a packed place, with friends, families, and strangers alike sitting closely together to watch stories presented in larger-than-life visuals.

The Carlos Theater in San Carlos was one of these places.


Carlos Theater 8 Carlos Theater 5 The Carlos Theater History Of San Carlos Ca


The Story of the Carlos Theater

Carlos Theater 1The Carlos Theater was adorned with plush red carpets and ornate décor. Here, families gathered for Saturday matinees, where children marveled at double features and Disney classics, all for the bargain price of 49 cents. Sometimes you can even get in by donating canned food.

What is a Saturday matinee? It’s a series of movies on a Saturday morning / afternoon. But they weren’t just about movies; they were communal rituals, where friendships blossomed and young love bloomed. For many, the Carlos Theater was the backdrop to their first dates, where nervous hands found each other in the darkened halls, and stolen kisses were exchanged amidst the flickering light of the silver screen.

“I remember going there with my parents, sisters and friends. I remember the rich red carpet and walking down the red carpeted stairs when first entering …and the special smell of freshly made popcorn and buying Luden’s cherry cough drops from the candy section. I grew up calling the Carlos Theatre “the Show.”

“The Carlos Theater was beautiful. Saw movies there throughout the ’50s and ’60s. During the summers, the San Carlos School District sold 10 cent tickets to see kid’s movies on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.”

“Now THIS is a Theater 👌 Many good times.. and towards the end of its demise, I remember going thru it as one of the most scariest Haunted House. Great memories growing up in our small town!!”

“My first date with who ended up as my husband was there Cinderella Liberty and Paper Chase playing. June 24, 1974”

“When we were kids every Saturday we would go always a western or monster movie; sometimes we got in by bringing can food.”

“The family went to the movies every weekend, it seemed like it was an all-day thing. Two movies plus the three stooges ha ha. Good times.”

“I lived in San Carlos most of my life 1950-1972 lived on Tamarack, Brittan Acres, Terra Linda (7th grade) Central school and San Carlos high ‘68 I have the best memories of my hometown.”

“Sure. It’s where I made out in the balcony with my first girlfriend… and I KNOW I’m not the only one…”

“I worked there in 1963. Such a beautiful theater. My favorite movie was, “The Cardinal” starring Tom Tryon. That’s where I learned to freeze Snickers and Three Musketeers candy bars. The Carlos Theater on San Carlos Ave.”

Built in the early 1900s, the San Carlos Theater lasted until 1976 when it was demolished for the Eureka Federal Savings Bank. Half a century is quite a lifespan for a theater if you ask me. But if it were still standing today, it would become a reminder of what was lost… and a reminder to bring it back again.

Don’t let life your life be reduced from “larger-than-life” screens to miniature mobile devices. Just like the movies, perhaps living “large” means sharing life with the people you love. Take it from those who have lived long enough to know.


Carlos Theater 3


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Photos of the Carlos Theater from

Photos of the Carlos Theater from City of San Carlos Official Facebook Page


About The Hosts of San Carlos Life

Mark Martinho and Viv Kelvin are the owners of Vabrato Real Estate

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