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Pussycat Theater

The Pussycat Theaters were a chain of adult movie theaters, operating between the 1960s and the 1980s. Pussycat Theaters had 30 locations in California and were known for their cat-girl logo.

History

David F. Friedman and Dan Sonney[1] founded Pussycat Theaters. Dan Sonney invented the name, based on Woody Allen film What's New Pussycat. Friedman has also cited the Pink Pussycat burlesque club on Santa Monica Boulevard as having previously established the word "pussycat" in relation to "pink" porn, since the early 1960s. The first Pussycat Theater opened in March 1966 on 444 South Hill Street, Los Angeles. Within two years, there were almost a dozen locations, from San Diego to San Francisco.[2][3][4][5]

In 1968, Vince Miranda[6] bought a 50% share of the company. Miranda was unable to prevent those outside California from using the Pussycat name. Miranda spent $1 million to improve the decor of the theaters. They were known for being cleaner and fancier than other such places. The interiors featured red and gold carpeting, velveteen fixtures, beveled glass, mirror walls, chandeliers, oil paintings, murals, and merchandise bearing the Pussycat logo. Some Pussycat theaters sold popcorn from the box office to pedestrians on the sidewalk, with no obligation to buy a ticket.[7][8][9]

Vince Miranda and George Tate (who were lovers) shared ownership of Walnut Properties, the company that owned the Pussycat Theaters. Miranda may have had exclusive California license to show Deep Throat, a hugely lucrative film. His main competitors were the Mitchell brothers.[10]

Residents who lived near the theaters complained to the city governments that children could see the images of women on posters, ads, and cardboard stand-ups. Community members wanted the theaters to close. The citizens groups and government sued Walnut Properties under a variety of laws, including obscenity, public nuisance, rezoning, eminent domain, The Red Light Abatement Act, and the US Supreme Court's "preponderance" redefinition of porn theaters. Walnut Properties was served with over 100 civil lawsuits filed between 1973 and 2005. Between 1977 and 1994, at the Pussycat Theater in Santa Monica, "the Los Angeles Police Department made 2000 arrests for lewd conduct on the premises." In 1981, an ordinance was passed banning adult movie theaters in Santa Monica.[11][12][13][14][15]

In 1983, pornographic videotape sales began to compete with adult theaters, reducing theater attendance. At the age of 52, Vince Miranda died of complications related to cancer in 1985. George Tate and his new paramour Jonathan Cota inherited Walnut and the Pussycat Theaters. The IRS imposed a federal tax lien of $6,047,760 on Miranda's estate. The theaters were losing money fast. Many theaters are given to debtors in lieu of money, and/or converted to general admission theaters.[16]

By 1990, fewer than 20 California Pussycats remained, and by 1992, only a dozen were still open. In 1994, Walnut Properties filed for bankruptcy, claiming liabilities of $17.7 million. George Tate spent all the money and died the same year. Jonathan Cota inherited Walnut and its debts.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40]

By 2003, all the theaters were lost except one at 7734 Santa Monica Boulevard. Filmmaker Roger Corman saved the last Pussycat Theater by brokering a deal with an unnamed buyer. In 2004, Cota threatened to file a lawsuit against the Pussycat Dolls, for trademark infringement on the Pussycat name. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared the Pussycat trademark to be "abandoned" and the case was dismissed. Today, Cota runs the last Pussycat Theater, which now shows homosexual pornography. The name was changed to the Tomkat, then to Studs.[41]

References

  1. ^ Communications, Emmis (1 May 2002). "Los Angeles Magazine". Emmis Communications. Retrieved 28 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Wayne, Gary. "Lethal Weapon Filming Locations - Part 3". www.seeing-stars.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  3. ^ "NEW-VIEW THEATRE 1970 photo 6656 HOLLYWOOD BLVD original still DONALD SUTHERLAND - eBay". eBay. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Hollywood Historic Photos - News-View Theatre 1944". hollywoodhistoricphotos.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Ritz Theatre". losangelestheatres.blogspot.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  6. ^ FOLKART, BURT A. (5 June 1985). "Pussycat Theater Founder Miranda Dies". Retrieved 28 April 2018 – via LA Times.
  7. ^ "The Pussycat Theater". gettyimages.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  8. ^ Sounes, Howard (1 December 2007). "Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life". Grove/Atlantic, Inc. Retrieved 28 April 2018 – via Google Books.
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  10. ^ "Filmmaker Gregory Dark, his "Fallen Angels," and the other side of Hollywood". nightflight.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Watching porn in public: The rise and fall of the adult movie house". timeline.com. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
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  13. ^ "The Strand Theater-Part 1: the Year the Porno Theater Was Stopped". obrag.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Pussycat Theater In Buena Park, California". gettyimages.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  15. ^ "ADSAUSAGE - vintage advertising library". www.adsausage.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc., 427 U.S. 50 (1976)". justia.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Del Mar Theatre in Fontana, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Studs at the Pussycat Theatre in West Hollywood, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Hologram USA Hollywood Theater in Los Angeles, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Ritz San Jose in San Jose, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Whittier Village Cinemas in Whittier, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Esquire IMAX Theatre in Sacramento, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Miracle Theatre in Inglewood, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Star Theatre in Oceanside, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Cinema L'Amour in Montreal, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Sunshine Brooks Theater in Oceanside, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Lido Theatre in Riverside, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  30. ^ "San Fernando Valley Theatres - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Guild Theatre in Los Angeles, CA - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  32. ^ "Theatres Along The Coast - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Wardman Theatre / Whittier Village Cinemas - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Theatres North of Downtown - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  35. ^ "South, South Central and Southeast Theatres - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  36. ^ "San Gabriel Valley, Pomona, and Whittier Theatres - [more] L.A. Movie Palaces". sites.google.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  37. ^ Palaces, Jerry's Brokendown (14 December 2011). "Jerry's Brokendown Palaces: California Theater, 1122 Fourth and C St., San Diego, CA". jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  38. ^ "Gaiety Burlesk in New York, NY - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Pussycat 2 Cinema in New York, NY - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  40. ^ "When Porn Theaters Invaded Connecticut – a detailed history of 1970s-1980s east coast porn empires". whenporntheatersinvadedconnecticut.blogspot.com. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  41. ^ "Studs at the Pussycat". studswesthollywood. Retrieved 28 April 2018.

External links