Fox Theatre

1350 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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trainmaster on February 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm

You are correct Sir William, the Fox West Coast Theaters was owned by William Fox. But after the U.S. vs Paramount et al in 1948, he had to make the chain independent of the studios.

Interesting story of William Fox on;
View link


William on February 22, 2008 at 10:05 am

Thanks trainmaster for the info. But Fox West Coast Theatres dates back to the late 1920’s.

trainmaster on February 22, 2008 at 9:52 am

Thanks, CHI74 for the info. I was aware it took 2 year to tear down the Paradise, but wondered what was in the place of both theaters.

Sad thing is, when a building doesn’t make money, down it comes.
It has been written that the landmark case listed in my post, above, played a big role in the demise of great theaters, along with the introduction of television. Another factor was people moved from the city to suberbs, and smaller theaters were erected to serve them – and many suberban residents chose not to drive into the city.

The final death knell for large screen theaters, both city and suburban came in the form of multiplexs – you know, broom closets with no atmosphere, basic set-up, smaller screens and the various fly-traps all shared space with the entire building, instead of one big theater for a feature and another across the street.

I am not fond of multiplexs, but if movie exhibition is to survive, that is the only way it will. The slogan “anything you can do, we can do better” is a fierce competition between home theater (say, a high end one) and those fly-traps.

And, when you look at beautiful theaters like the San Francisco Fox or Chicago Paradise, these multiplexes are broom closets in comparison! Most of them don’t even have a curtain! It’s economics and entry level all down the way. Instead of beautiful murals on the walls or plaster designs, their walls are cheap curtains or some sort of cover-up. Just seats and a screen.

“We sell tickets to theaters – not movies” by Marcus Lowe may have been true in the good old days, but many of the theaters today are not worth the price of the tickets – not to mention the movies!


CHICTH74 on February 22, 2008 at 12:46 am

TRAINMASTER : The PARADISE demo was to take 6 months it took 2 years on the spot was bult a supermarket the supermarket was taken down and now if i am wright the spot is fenced in and is being used for storage of construct equptment.

As for the MARBRO i think that it is now eather a bank or a fast food place.

Thank You for your time.

trainmaster on February 22, 2008 at 12:16 am

Okay, Sir William:

Here is the entire case of 334 U.S. 131
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. et al

You can find it at this site and read it in its entire form:

View link

Hope that helps


trainmaster on February 22, 2008 at 12:06 am


The information below is what I could come up with at the moment to your question:

trainmaster in the above post you stated that.
“Studios had to divest of them after the court order. That is one reason "Fox West Coast Theaters” was created.“
Can you put a year to that statement?
posted by William on Feb 20, 2008 at 2:54pm

The whole process began as early as 1938 when the Justice Department went after studios for owning theaters and “black booking” and other questionable acts as well. It was called “The Sherman Act.”

The case was sent to the US Supreme Court under the title Full case name: United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. et al

Citations: 334 U.S. 131
Prior history: Injunction granted, U.S. District Court (66 F.Supp. 323)

It was argued February 9 – 11, 1948.

A final decision was handed down May 3, 1948.

Unfortunately, anyone wanting to read the entire description of the case would have to go to a law library, which, I think, one usually has to a member of the bar. So, we have to make do with what is available.


trainmaster on February 21, 2008 at 11:45 pm


The trainmaster wants first to address the gentleman named “William”

trainmaster in the above post you stated that.
“Studios had to divest of them after the court order. That is one reason "Fox West Coast Theaters” was created.“
Can you put a year to that statement?
posted by William on Feb 20, 2008 at 2:54pm

Sir William, with all due respects, I will work on it; not feeling my best lately due to a very bad back, but I will research and let all of you know. I am very good at researching.

And to the ever-super helpful kind gentleman named Warren:

Thanks for the info on the picture site! I will do that in a few days. Many of you may not have the theater books I do and would like to see some of these photos, so I will attempt to create a theater album. By the way, let me say that if any of you good folks have problems with your computer feel free to ask me, since I work on them, and I will attempt to help. You can write to me at with your questions. But, to save time, please tell me your Operating System, the amount of RAM you have, how old your computer is (but I can tell by the OS) and I can attempt to help. I recommond that you do NOT waste money calling tech support – they are just people who read from a book and have no knowledge of computers. Please title your message COMPUTER PROBLEMS, as I use that address for junk mail and might overlook it if any other subject title is there.

Sorry to stray off subject, but thought it might be helpful.

Hey, CHI74, thanks for the information! That is good news! What is in place of the the Paradise and Marboro?

CHICTH74 on February 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

TRAINMASTER : The CHICAGO THEATRE and the ORIENTIAL THEATRE are still standing thay are centers for preforming arts.

THE ORENTIAL is now call “ORENTIAL THEATRE FORD CENTER FOR THE PREFORMING ARTS” it was a joint efford between the CITY of CHICAGO, a production comp LIVE VENT and the FORD MOTOR COMP. .
It is now opperated by ‘'brodway in chicago’‘ the profiles for the ORENTIAL and the CHICAGO can be seen right here on CT .

For years the ORENTIAL was shuddered but now it it back to the glory.
I was part of the FOH (front of house staff) when it was being brought back.

The CHICAGO now does concerts and special events you can even book it (if i am right) for wedding receptions!

It was on the Connon O`brian show i think last summer.
Some work to the marquee and a new vertical sign (the old one was in bad shape) but on summer nights that area is lit up like Las Vagas , but it is still not the was it used to be something like 5 city blocks nothing but LIGHTS and NEON great times !!!!

Thank you for you time

trainmaster on February 21, 2008 at 5:11 am

William, you are indeed correct, sir! This small font type is hard-to-see and any spelling errors are not deliberate.

For those of you who want to know where the Fox Carthay (I probably mispelled it in the post above) was and what replaced it, you can see two huge beautiful pictures in the FIRST (not current) edition of “Above Los Angeles” by Robert (??) Cameron (those books are hard to pull out – I just looked at them!) the 1978 edition (1st one) and it is one page 68 under “now and then.” These pictures are gorgeous.

If I could upload pictures, I would do it. Are they every going to get that section fixed? And when they do, how do you use it?

I have so many pictures of the S.F. Fox and Los Angeles theater I could put up for you to see. And I am sure many of you have pictures to share. I urge the site owner to please get the picture update section fixed and notify us when it is operating again.

And for those of you who correct either my facts or misspelling, I appreciate very much your time and effort. Nobody if perfect or knows everything. One person stated the Naylor book had errors.
So these corrections are welcome as far as I am concerned.

I enjoy all the posts from everyone! It is nice to re-live the “good old days.”

Best wishes to all


trainmaster on February 21, 2008 at 5:03 am

Thank you for your comment. The Marbro Theater was originally owned by the Marks Brothers and it was sold the the owners of the Paradise.
Both theaters seated over 3,000 people and within walking distance.

Since the Malbro had superior acoustics, the new owners decided to keep it open and close and demolish the Paradise in 1956. Paradise lost!

The Malbro met the same fate in 1963.

Let’s add to that list above:

The Amabassador St. Louis is now demolished.
The Fox Carthway in Los Angeles had more premires than Grauman’s Chinese Theater and, it too, went to the wrecking ball. To add insult to injury, the surviving statue of the figure pouring water was stolen recently. (In yesterday’s news).

A number of theaters face an uncertain future. I am glad from yesterday’s news that the Los Angeles was taken off that list.
The city has plans to revitalize that area and the theater is certainly included. I was concerned about that place, because it’s a beauty. Anyone who has NOT seen these beautiful pictures are directed to this link:

S. Charles Lee built the theater and it was deliberatly designed to somewhat resemble the San Francisco Fox. Unfortunately, Lee did have the money the William Fox empire had to splurge on the theater.
So, it is much smaller, less opulent, but still beautiful and still around and looks like it will be around for a long time. It has its own restuarantk, ballroom, has been closed since 1994 but made money by being rented out. (Any newly-wed love birds need a grand place for a reception?)

Thanks very much for your comments CHI74? I take it you live in Chicago? If you do, what is the status, if you know, of both The Chicago and Oriental Theaters? I believe they are still standing.


I have seen all of these theaters and I URGE everyone to look at them as well. They are gone. L

CHICTH74 on February 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Their is a link to pictures for som of the theatres listed above the link is WWW.MEKONG.NET/RANDOM/THEATRES.HTM

Their are pics of the Grananda and the UA chicago thank you for your time .

CHICTH74 on February 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm

TRAINMASTER:My Thanks to to for helping my point :)

In Reguard to my statement above about the “Wrecking ball"
i urge you to view the following theatres here on CT.

    238 Bagley Street By Rapp and Rapp

    150 Bagley Street By C.HOWARD CRAIN
    If you do a map search of the to adresses you will find that thay are down the street from each other.


And now thies are the ones that REALY HURT!!





    ( The Marbro and the Granada were twin sisters )

All of thies can by view right here on CT i hope that you and evey one will view the pages .

All of thies GRAND PALACES have fallen to the wrecking ball.

I thank you all and i thank TRAINMASTER for the readdiation of my statement.

And i leave you with this quote……………….


WATER AND STUPID MEN" ———— Richard Nickel ———

William on February 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

It’s the Fox Carthay Circle Theatre.

trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I was reading about the Fox Cathway Theater in L.A. (demolished in 1970). It was a first-class theater and had many famous movie premires.

Today, this generation of young people hardly know about that theater.

Chances are, if one goes to 50th and 7th Avenue in New York and wanders into TGIF (the former entrance of the Roxy) or the office building which replaced the theater and ask about the Roxy, hardly anyone will know.

One positive thing about the S.F. Fox. The development which replaced the theater was named “Fox Plaza.” There are pictures inside of the theater. And, the staff is well trained about the theater’s history, so anyone who asks “Why is this place named Fox Plaza?” at least, they will hear about the grand movie palace.

That is more than can be said for the other two mentioned places.
It’s sad when great theaters are forgotten.

One update: the City of Los Angeles plans to revitalize and refurbish Broadway Street to make it look like it did in the golden days and included is the Los Angeles Theater! So things look up for that movie palace. The Fox Oakland is scheduled to re-open October 26, 2008. Let’s hope all goes though.


trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Very interesting comment comparing the Fox and NY Roxy by Mr. Jim Rankin.

Although, to the best of my knowledge, no book was written just on the Roxy alone, Ben Hall’s “Best Remaining Seats” concentrates mostly on the Roxy, his favorite theater. One of the Theater Historical Society’s first annuals was on the Roxy. It took them about another 33 years to get to the S.F. Fox, which is good for some of you folks, since the Roxy Annual is long sold out…VERY FEW of the 2003 Fox Annual remain.

As I said before, I have been in both theaters and leave it up to the readers to decide which one was more opulent. However, I still say the N.Y. Roxy was far more gorgeous than RCMH. It’s sad enough to think both the NY Roxy and SF Fox are gone!

For anyone interested, if you can find a copy, KTVU-Channel 2 in Oakland did a documentary “San Francisco As It Was” and shows beautiful movie footage of the Fox inside and out as well as what happened in 1963! It also includes footage on other S.F. landmarks long gone as well.


Ziggy on February 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Also according to the Cinema Treasures website the Fox in Washington was built by William Fox in 1927. Ben Hall’s book lists it as one of the Six Fox “Super Theatres”, and I really wouldn’t put much stock in what David Naylor’s book says. As I already stated, it has many inaccuracies in it. Any further discussion regarding the Fox in D.C. should probably be moved to the “Loew’s Capitol” page. If you wish to continue the topic there I’ll be glad to oblige.

William on February 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

trainmaster in the above post you stated that.
“Studios had to divest of them after the court order. That is one reason "Fox West Coast Theaters” was created.“
Can you put a year to that statement?

trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I can’t find any reference to Lowe’s Capitol or Fox in Washington D.C. in Mr. Naylor’s book.

I am not sure, but I doubt William Fox built the theater, as Rapp & Rapp were the architects, which he never used. He mostly used C. Howard Crane, with the exception of the Atlanta Fox (probably because of the Shriners) which was designed by Olliver Vinour and the San Francisco Fox, designed by Thomas Lamb. Rapp & Rapp did great jobs – just that William Fox never used them – at least for his “Super” theaters. Maybe someone else knows.

However, there is short mention of that place thanks to Sister Aimee Semple McPherson on page 231 of Ben Hall’s “Best Remaining Seats."
According to Cinema Treasure’s description, the Washington D.C. Fox was the finest in that city.

Like so many great theaters, it is gone.

trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Oops — one can get fooled. It was published Christmas Day 1987 New York Times – somehow today’s date appears.

This can be confusing for an older guy and sorry for the blooper.
But the contents are interesting just as well. Just copy and paste the link.


trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I just hit the wrong button – I wanted “preview” and instead posted it.

I had one point of disagreement with the very helpful Warren on information. The studios DID own theaters, that is, until 1948 when the U.S. Federal Courts ruled against it. (You can read the legal issue at,Inc. complete with reference to U.S. Federal Court sites)

William Fox owned his empire, Paramount -Publix from Paramount Studios owned theirs, MGM was in partnership with Lowe’s and Warner Brothers had theirs.

And talk about timing – read today’s editorial in the New York Times
View link

It seems that there are provisions for the studios to get back into some ownership of theaters! That is today’s edition of the NY Times!

Studios had to divest of them after the court order. That is one reason “Fox West Coast Theaters” was created. And, NO, they really didn’t want to tear down the beautiful Fox Theaters – several examples are the Fox Theater San Francisco where they offered to give the theater to the city if S.F. would just by the property at its value – the Paramount (Oakland) was due to be torn down for a parking lot when Fox West Coast aproached Oakland and the symphony was looking for a new home; the asking price was the same as the S.F. Fox – one million dollars for the property, for which Fox West Coast donated half of the cost.

The most important point in this statement that FWC wanted to preserve their theaters was in the FOX Oakland (#2). In 1977 an auction sale was held for the theater. A number of developers bid.
And along with them, a little old lady named Erma Deluchi. She bid $340,000. The Fox executives were quite surprised and asked why she even had an interest in the theater and what was she going to do with it? She replied that she met her husband there, it was very special to them and she planned to restore it to operation. Her bid was the lowest. She was told FWC would get back to her.

Although her bid was the lowest, it was accepted. There was hope for the Fox-Oakland. However, her husband passed away shortly after she bought the building and lost all interest in restoring it. She sold it to the City of Oakland (by public domain) for 4 million dollars. Talk about a profit!! Oakland is searching for someone to restore it as they want the Fox in operation for their downtown revitalization project. The Friends of the Oakland Fox (FOOF) have more information on this subject.


Ziggy on February 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

There were six Fox “Super Theatres” as they were originally called, the five mentioned above, and the Fox in Washington, D.C., which later became known as Loew’s Capitol. If this theatre was overlooked in David Naylor’s book it would not be surprising, since I have found several errors in that publication.

trainmaster on February 20, 2008 at 2:06 pm

I stand corrected on William Fox’s purchase of the Roxy –

According to David Naylor’s “American Picture Palaces (1981), the Atlanta Fox was planned as a Shriner’s Temple – they didn’t have the money to complete it, so William Fox put up the money in exchange for a long-term lease. The Shriner’s bowed out in 1939 leaving sole ownership to William Fox.

The five “fabulous Fox” theaters, according to this book are,
Detroit, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Atlanta and San Francisco. and were built in this order: Fox Brooklyn (4088 seats) Fox Detroit (5048 seats) in 1928; Fox St. Louis (5042) Fox Atlanta (3934) and Fox San Francisco (4651) in 1929. The S.F Fox was bigger than the Atlanta and I mis-read something about that in some other book. (Probably “America Goes To The Movies” nice book- but full of errors).

The Fox Oakland on Telegraph in Oakland designed by Weeks and Day was originally to be called the Bagdhad – it is the 2nd Fox Oakland.
The original Fox Oakland was on Broadway one block from the Paramount. For some sort of legal reasons, the name was changed to the Orpheum; it was demolished in 1967, having been closed many years. I have newspaper clippings I optained of the opening of the original Fox Oakland on Broadway. That was a beautiful theater on the inside, but is long forgotten.

I don’t know about the name “Fabulous Fox” and where it came from – I do know the S.F. Fox (and most of them) were advertised as “The Last Word.” S.F. Fox also had “World’s Finest Theater. Consult the Kaufmann Book for the adjective "Fabulous Fox.” I might research it when I feel up to it. Anyone else want to comment, I would love to hear.

HowardBHaas on February 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’m pretty sure the Philadelphia Fox was in ads as the Fabulous Fox so theater historians can select some other name to characterize ones they view as most special. Philadelphia has a right! (though the theater is gone).

Scott on February 20, 2008 at 8:28 am

brucec, I believe you’re right. Although there were certainly other beautiful Fox theatres, such as the Fox Oakland at roughly 3300 seats, the five you named are the only ones that seated over 4000. Fortunately, 3 of the 5 are extant.

bruceanthony on February 20, 2008 at 7:51 am

I thought the Fox in Atlanta,Detroit,Brooklyn,St Louis and San Francisco were the Five “Fabulous” Fox Theatres. They all sat over 4000 seats.Is this correct Warren? brucec