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Cinema Buffs Hope To Save San Jose Dome Theatres

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Crews demolished the CineArts Pleasant Hill dome movie theater on May 8, 2013. (CBS)

Crews demolished the CineArts Pleasant Hill dome movie theater on May 8, 2013. (CBS)

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KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The demolition Wednesday of the CinéArts dome theater in Pleasant Hill has raised concern among movie buffs and preservationists that three historic San Jose cinemas could soon face the wrecking ball.

The CinéArts movie theater was razed within hours of the Pleasant Hill City Council rejecting appeals to preserve a place that had drawn movie goers for almost half a century.

Preservationists fear a sequel for the Winchester dome theatres across from Santana Row, now that the land leased by the theaters has been opened for development.

“I think it’s a reminder of the history of this valley, you know, having those theaters here,” said Mark Shepard of San Jose, in particular the old style of architecture.

“That’s what makes it such a unique reminder of those types of theaters, like the olden days,” Shepard said.

The three domes of the Winchester opened nearly 50 years ago showing It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

While there are no plans to tear down the theatres yet, there have also been no final decisions on whether they should be preserved.

Brian Grayson, executive director of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose, said it would be difficult for the building to receive any historic designation because it was just shy of its 50th birthday.

“We think people should know about the theaters, should know that they’re in danger and should make their voices heard if they’re interested in saving them,” he said.

Grayson hopes public attention to the issue will spur the city to save at least one dome, possibly incorporating it into any new development that gets built.

“It seems like demolition should be a last resort, not a first resort,” Grayson said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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