"I Am Curious Yellow" at the Fine Art Theater

Who could forget the fabulous Crest or the Tower Theater? Fresno’s drive-ins were the most popular with teens, among them the Moon-Glow and the Sunset. The world’s largest outdoor screen was housed at the Sunnyside Drive-in. Did you hide in the trunk to save 50 cents or possibly steam up the car’s windows? Share your old Fresno theater memories here.
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Lost Fresno
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"I Am Curious Yellow" at the Fine Art Theater

Post by Lost Fresno » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:40 pm

When I was a senior in High School, the nation was riveted by a "dirty movie" in the news. The name was "I am Curious Yellow" and everybody in Fresno (and the Nation for that matter) was talking about it. It hit the national news because it became a test case in the courts regarding obscenity in the movies. My buddy Tom and were barely aware of why it was in the news, only that everybody was talking about this "Skin Flick". So at 18 years of age we decided to try and get into the Fine Art Theater.

Every week from when I turn the dating age of 16, I read the newspaper and checked out the movie listings to see which one I would ask a girl to go see on a date, I could not help but see the Fine Art Theater listing its current dirty movie. I knew there was no way I would ever get in there until I turned 21. After all - it said no one under 21 admitted. They must be serious, and I could imagine them calling the police if you were a day less than 21 years old. I was 18 remember and it was 1970 so surely you can understand my thinking. Beside, who wanted to see a dirty movie anyway?

Then came "I am Curious Yellow" and if everybody was talking about it, so it had to be great. Right?

Tom and I planned a few weeks in advance to go a see this movie and with each week we got a little braver. But we were still very scared about a face to face with the ticket person at the Fine Art. We finally drove up to the theater that we had only giggled at for years whenever we drove by. We both were dumfounded that we had absolutely no problem buying our ticket. And I can tell you that we both looked like we were all of 12 years old. However, we were even more dumfounded about how terrible the film was. Afterwards, I remember asking Tom, "Hey, did you see any sex in that film?" Tom replied, "Yeah, I think so, I mean, maybe?"

Now we fast forward 45 years to a time when kids in elementary school watch their parents DVDs containing movies which portray acts that were unspeakable back in the day when I grew up. And the Fine Art? Well friends, it made this impression on me: Things are not always what they are cracked up to be. So thank you for that Fine Art Theater!
Fresno Bee - Feb. 28, 1970 - Click to Enlarge

Clipper cat

Fine Art/Mayfair Theater

Post by Clipper cat » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:10 am

Ah, the Fine Art! Vaguely knew the gents who opened this incarnation of the erstwhile Mayfair Theater. Went there regularly to see "foreign movies" which were generally screened nowhere else in Frez. Two early Polanski films--Knife in the Water and Repulsion--carved channels in my brain, though I confess I remember few other titles among the many evenings I spent there.

When this dumpy venue was still the Mayfair it was actually on the fringes of the theater scene in Fresno, as it was in a fairly poor neighborhood across from the fairgrounds. Saturday matinees and second run evening screenings sustained its marginal existence for quite a few years. I was part of the matinee crowd on Saturdays, along with friends and students from Frank M. Lane elementary school. (I think I remember learning it owed its existence to being part of some military barracks many years prior; some crumbling military housing still existed nearby.) Mayfair's screenings of "second-run" fare is the reason I can lay claim to having seen King Kong and The African Queen on a big theater screen. Lucky me . . .

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