John Harris and Alan Weber created two iconic motion picture theaters in Monterey, California. 812 Cinema on Cannery Row, a unique theater with pillow seating..and the Dream Theater with three types of comfortable seating in Monterey California.
812 Cinema at 812 Cannery Row in Monterey. The 812 was created from the genius seed of Federico Fellini's film, "8 1/2". John Harris was a singer on tour with Nat "King" Cole when "8 1/2" was first released. John saw the film not only once but seven consecutive days while in Chicago with Mr Cole's "Sights & Sounds" performance tour. John says of "8 1/2": It was as if the film was talking directly at/to me and the encouragement to trust in one's creative inspirations and follow the path."
Years later, while living in Hollywood and creating films with Teri Garr, Ann-Margret and Jim Morrison, Harris had built a screening room in his Verbena Drive apartment. There were large pillows on the floor and friends would spend evenings viewing work-in-progress film projects. It became a very popular hangout and the pillow seating inspired John and Alan Weber to pursue creating a theater.
Finding a location in Los Angeles proved fruitless as city governments were too strict for such an enterprise so John and Alan took off to find a place to build their theater.
By chance and on a suggestion of their friend Dennis Roshay, they happened upon the bohemian village of Cannery Row in 1969. The Row was having a celebration of Doc Ricketts in October. Harris and Weber also happened upon 812 Cannery Row. Ironically the same numbers as Fellini's film. They put together a quickly built cinema for Doc Ricketts Celebration which was enormously successful. After six months of convincing city fathers of Monterey of their serious intent on an alternative cinema, the two were given permits to build the first and only "812 CINEMA".
The theater became so popular that the 50 pillow seats were not enough to satisfy customers who preferred comfortable seating in a creative and uniquely designed environment. Harris and Weber began thinking of their Dream Theater which began construction at 301 Prescott Ave in 1974. The Dream opened in June of 1975. The pair sold the theater in 1992 and The Dream was never the same. The new operators were negligent of the fragile design and the dynamic luster fell into disrepair. To the chagrin of the community the Dream was razed in 2000.
The Dream Theater and 812 Cinema have over 3,000 fans on a facebook page created by a fan of the theaters. Thanks to everyone who were supportive of both 812 Cinema and Dream Theater. Happy memories to all.
-John HarrisWINTER 1971 - 812 CINEMA presents FELLINI SATYRICON - During endless days of rain on Cannery Row.
DREAM THEATER Opening Day June 1974. The namesake for the heavy metal band DREAM THEATER.
Built in honor of my mentor ANN-MARGRET whose portrait emblazes the
Theater of Dreams.
Interior seating at the 812 Cinema - Huge hand made designer pillows and standard seating. Both 812 Cinema and Dream Theater were designed by Alan Weber and John Harris. One of a kind iconic movie theaters in Monterey, California.
Click on the images for larger view.
Now my cinema resides in my studio with some of the components from my theaters such as actual theater sound system, 11.5 foot projection screen and full editing and recording facilities.