Theatres of San Francisco (CA) (Images of America)

Theatres of San Francisco (CA) (Images of America)

Jack Tillmany

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 0738530204

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

You read the sad stories in the papers: another ornate, 1920s, single-screen theatre closes, to be demolished and replaced by a strip mall. That's progress, and in this 20-screen multiplex world, it's happening more and more. Only a handful of the 100 or so neighborhood theatres that once graced these streets are left in San Francisco, but they live on in the photographs featured in this book. The heyday of such venues as the Clay, Noe, Metro, New Mission, Alexandria, Coronet, Fox, Uptown, Coliseum, Surf, El Rey, and Royal was a time when San Franciscans thronged to the movies and vaudeville shows, dressed to the hilt, to see and be seen in majestic art deco palaces. Unfortunately, this era has passed into history despite the dedicated efforts of many neighborhood preservation groups.



















of the Little Fox remains. Since July 8, 1969, Mitchell Brothers’ O‘Farrell Theatre has stood its ground at 895 O’Farrell Street, at the southeast corner of Polk Street. Its colorful history, particularly that of its ill-starred entrepreneurs, Jim and Artie Mitchell, and Marilyn Chambers (the Ivory Snow Girl and star of Behind the Green Door), would fill a book. From a theatrical standpoint, the O’Farrell’s muralled building and eye-popping marquee attest to its survival skills in a highly

Brown’s Opera House. This site underwent an array of name changes—Poppy, Rex, Gem, and Gaiety—before Roxie took hold in 1933. Seven decades later, it gave birth to the 49-seat Little Roxie in a storefront next door. Today, under the guidance of Bill Banning, a diverse schedule of independent programming keeps the wickets turning at both venues. During the intervening years, the Roxie had a little sister down the street—the Cameo at 3040 Sixteenth Street—that opened in 1913 as the Opal and closed

Kabuki Theatre at 1881 Post Street opened in the 1970s as the Japan Center Theatre, offering live shows, but it was not well received. In the 1980s, it shut down and was completely redesigned into American Multi-Cinema’s Kabuki 8, opening on December 5, 1986. It was an instant success. Having established itself as the city’s pioneer film exhibition format of the future, the Kabuki’s revolutionary concept was welcomed by a new generation of film fans. It has also been the home to the San Francisco

1961, it was finally torn down, and Roos-Atkins clothing store built in its place. During its peak in the early 1920s, the California’s vast interior housed a 4-manual, 32-rank Wurlitzer organ, one of the largest ever built by that firm. It also offered Sunday morning classical concerts, and for a two-week period in 1922, famous composer Victor Herbert conducted the orchestra. In December 1948, a papier-mâché likeness of the Frankenstein monster directs potential ticket-buyers to the State

celebrated coryphées, assisted by the Manila Marimba Band.” On a rosier note, the Duncan sisters, Vivian and Rosetta, big names in vaudeville, and particular favorites here in San Francisco, arrive at the Tivoli prior to their appearance in George White’s Scandals in a sporty late-1920s Packard roadster. San Francisco’s first Tivoli was a beer garden on Eddy Street that opened in 1875 and was renamed Tivoli Opera House in 1879. It closed in 1903 and was replaced by the bigger and better Tivoli

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