Fox Oakland Theater

1807 Telegraph Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94612

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Showing 51 - 75 of 106 comments

bruceanthony on January 25, 2008 at 8:36 am

Thanks for the photos. Looking forward to seeing more. The ceiling is being painted by Evergreen which has worked on restoration projects around the country. The ceiling is not costing 40 million that is near the price of the entire restoration project.Keep those photos coming. The side walls look a lot different to me than I remember.brucec

gwen on January 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I got to spend a few hours inside the Fox last week while was daughter was doing a fashion shoot for Oakbook magazine, I’ve put some photos up here and have many more to go through/add in the next couple weeks.

I wasn’t able to go into the orchestra level/stage area, but got to explore the mezzanine and upper levels, and walked around the walkway that encircles the top of the theater and get real close to the ceiling. The foreman [?] said they were half done cleaning the ceiling — the nicotine’s 1/8" thick! — and had just returned half the scaffolding [he said just scaffolding rental is $30,000/day, I assume this is before they took half of it out, I think he said the ceiling alone is a $40 million job but don’t quote me on that]. Went into the dome, one side of it is badly earthquake damaged/collapsed. Much of the detail paint is badly peeling but still beautiful. All the seating and carpet have been removed.

The issue of Oakbook with the fashion spread inside the Fox comes out February 7, there’s info about where to pick up a free issue here.

bruceanthony on January 2, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I wonder if anyone has any restoration pictures of the restoration work going on in the Fox?brucec

bruceanthony on November 21, 2007 at 9:29 am

The article that states the 68 Million restoration of the Fox is nearing completion is a little misleading. A huge portion of the funds is being used to build a charter school which wraps around the Fox. I would like to know how much was actually spent on the theatre.Im glad the Fox is getting the restoration it deserves it is my favorite surviving movie palace in the Bay Area. I can’t wait to see the restored auditorium. I saw many movies at the Fox which had its last exclusive run with “Rosemary’s Baby”.The restored marquee of the Fox is beautiful along with the marquee at the Paramount.I hope the Fox gives Downtown a much needed boost along with the Uptown project next door. I wish my parents were still here to see the final result it took nearly 40 years. The Fox and the Paramount represent the heday of Hollywood and helped a genaration cope with the Depression and WW11. The Fox and the Paramount are the two largest surviving movie palaces in California and the among the four largest West of the Mississippi along with the Paramount in Seattle and the Portland in Portland. I hope classic film will be shown at both theatres from time to time.brucec

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Sure, any time. Lots more where that came from.

bruceanthony on October 19, 2007 at 11:26 am

Ken would love to see more adds of the Fox,Paramount,T&D,Roxie and Grand Lake. I remember all the adds advertising the great Fox West Coast Theatre Chain in Oakland Tribune.Thanks for the Ad. brucec

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 7:51 am

Here is a 1956 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

bruceanthony on September 14, 2007 at 9:22 am

Friends of the Fox need to do a better job of updating there Home Page. The Fox is currently under renovation/restoration and updates would be welcome. Pictures and posts of the progress being made would be very helpful.brucec

bruceanthony on September 4, 2007 at 8:13 pm

I was in town for a few days and took a trip Downtown Oakland and see how the Fox was coming along. I talked to a few people involved with the contractors working on the Fox project. I was told Evergreen was currently painting the ceiling of the Fox which is a good sign, since they have been invlolved with many theatre restoraitons and do quality work. I was told the Fox will be ready in the fall of 2008. There is a lot of construction across the street on the Uptown project which is transforming the whole neighberhood. I can’t wait to see the finshed project. I think the Fox and the Paramount will compliment each other and bring many people downtown at night. It is amazing that Oakland has two of the largest theatres still standing in the West along with the Portland in Oregon and the Paramount in Seattle. The Fox and the Paramount were the two largest theatres ever built in California except for the Fox in San Francisco and Paramount in LA, both demolished in the early 1960’s. Im so happy that both of these magical theatres of my childhood are still here, the Paramount having been restored in the early 1970’s and the Fox Oakland in 2008. Thanks again to Jerry Brown,after bringing her back from her long sleep of nearly 40 years.brucec

terrywade on August 16, 2007 at 6:29 pm

I took a private tour of the Fox Oakland a few months ago. Had to put on a hard hat! This will be a super fine remodel. The place doesn’t look to bad on the inside. I took some photos, will try to post some next week.

bruceanthony on August 16, 2007 at 5:44 pm

Drove past the Fox yesterday and its undergoing restoration and renovation to the theatre building. The Uptown Condo development is also in full construction. Its amazing to see all this constuction going on in a area that hasn’t changed in over 50 years.Im keeping my fingers crossed on the Fox that it will be a first rate restoration as it deserves. There is a lot of construction going on in Downtown Oakland the most I have ever seen in so many different locations. I hope all this development gives a big boost to Downtown.brucec

dingoman on August 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm

I passed by the Fox back in 2005…..has there been any work on it lately and what’s happening to the restoration??? Their web site only goes back to 2004 and there’s nothing new on it………

terrywade on August 5, 2007 at 12:53 pm

I worked as Loge man at the Fox Oakland just before it closed. Still have my letter from the union and the crazy manager Jack Mc Dougal that the Theatre was about to close. When Jack left to go home for dinner we turned all the great neon on outside. The Fox west Coast people in LA loved Jack McDougal. He ran the Fox Oakland cheap. Turned off many lights and watched a tight ship in the candy counter. Even tried to put us kids on the National General Fox West Coast payroll for doing his yard work in his Piedmont home. A class act this manager was. Long passed on Jack did get invited the the grand opening of the Paramount when it re opened in the 70’s. I will never forget the big hits the Fox Oakland had when I worked in this great Theatre. All the american Int'l Beach films played the Fox in the 60’s. Lines around the block formed for Muscle Beach Party. Jack McDougal was also a great showman. He had a live Muscle Man Mr Oakland contest on the huge Fox stage with the showing of Muscle Beach Party. He had John Ashley and the girl Candy on stage for the showing of Bikini Beach Party. The biggest crowd was for little Stevie Wonder when he was in film. The time I watched What A Way To Go over and over I new all the lines. I hope the New people at the Fox Oakland will still show some 35mm movie prints. If the Paramount up the strret is no longer going to do it on some Fridays because they think the little outdoor movie nights in town are going to hurt there business. Go for it at the Fox Oakland put in a big curved cinemascope screen and fly it with a huge Dolby Digital sound system with hidden surround speakers, show classic science fiction, horror, or old musicals have theme nights you will pack them in at the Fox.People want to get out of the DVD world and when first timers see the inside of the new Fox Oakland with It’s huge inside (I hope you replace all the color lights inside) under the balcony lit up blue or other colors during the movies. The ceiling had these great hidden dark blue lights that looked great. When new music bookers come into a old theatre like the Fox many just put in white lights bulbs. Please keep the great color lights the Fox had inside.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on July 28, 2007 at 9:20 am

I am told that Oakland had 2 Fox theaters; Fox Oakland and Oakland Fox… how confusing.
Will someone please enlighten me on this situation

walter235oak on March 7, 2007 at 2:33 pm

As a life long resident of Oakland, I often saw the Fox Oakland as a forgotten and neglected piece of theater architecture that demanded to be reborn. During the 60’s and forward, I never considered the Fox to be what it was in its early days. Although I never went inside the Fox, I often thought that it must indeed been a sight to behold. When I first saw the inside, it was via the Internet and I was not disappointed at what I saw. The stage and auditorium are magnificantly grand. I also appreciate the history of the Fox Oakland during a time of, sad to say, discrimination in which minorities were not welcomed at other movie palaces. Yet, the Fox Oakland indeed had a no discrimination policy. Therefore, I think people of all races should take part in the restoration and future life of the Fox Oakland Theater. Also, the Paramount, which is I believe a triumph of art deco architecture, second to none outside of Egypt would give Oakland the tourst attraction appeal that it deserves. Lastly, I often wondered what was the reason for demolishing the Fox San Francisco. I saw pictures of it and it was absolutely awsome.

msnguyen25 on February 14, 2007 at 2:41 pm

For more current information regarding the Fox Theater renovation project, it’s a good idea to periodically check the following websites, in particular the Friends of the Oakland Fox site.

Friends of the Oakland Fox:

City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency, Central District webpage:
View link

Traffic Management Plan (tends to have more up-to-date construction pictures):

robertgippy on December 1, 2006 at 5:41 am

The Fox Oakland’s last double bill was “Lady Sings The Blues” and “The God Father”, it played there in 1973. From 1968 to 1973, the Fox showed movies for 50 cents, then changed to soft core porn showing movies like “All The Loving Couples” and “I am curious yellow”. What was interesting the San Leandro Oakland Drive In showed the same movies as the Fox at the time. However, the Fox had live concerts during that time. The Oakland Tribune, attending the first concert starring Donny Hathaway and Ann Peebles, called the Fox a future “west coast Apollo Theatre”. The tribune, said “the fox rocked and rolled like it never did before, despite several outages of the sound system”. The Fox Oakland did quite well on those concerts, until a series of fires were deliberately set. It was rumored in the Oakland community where I grew up in, that the Black Panthers were responsible for it. But strictly rumor. There is a movie called “Nightmare In Blood” available on DVD, that was filmed in its entirety at the Fox Oakland during the seventies before the seats were removed. There are excellent interior shots as well as a wonderful nighttime shot of the Avenue Theatre in San Francisco, lit up in it’s glory. I am pleased that the Fox is being restored.

JimRankin on October 16, 2006 at 8:55 pm

Thanks For The Memories, Jack, even if we can’t recreate those golden days of the ‘Roaring 'Twenties.’ For you and those wanting a nostalgic journey down our memory lane of theatres, there is no better book than the 1961 title: “The Best Remaining Seats, The Story of The Golden Age of the Movie Palace” by the late Ben M. Hall. It also had two later softbound editions, but these omitted the color plates. It can still be found at many libraries or sent to your library at their request via Inter-Library Loan. It is also often for sale at such as It is a landmark publication and gave rise to in 1969. This heavily illustrated volume will also be an eye-opener to those of us unfortunate enough to have been born too late to have witnessed this glorious chapter of history firsthand.

jaxsterman on October 16, 2006 at 3:43 pm

Dear gsmurph,
I was glad to hear about that. Only because the great days of the theater has seemed to pass us. I am so happy that I was within those last heydays of the movies and the theaters. when going to the newer “cinemas” it is so discouraging to walk into a cold theater with no class of yesteryear. It’s sorta like “Here you go. Here’s a building with 4 or more small theaters combined. go in a watch a movie…. oh give us all that money we want too. And then only 1 film. Remember? we got Movietime News reels, Cartoons, a class "A” film and a class “B”(most of the time) or another “A” film. Everyone dressed for the movies. People were nicer to each other. I am happy for the restoration planning. The young can see the greatness, but will never experience our experiences of the whole entertainment.

gsmurph on October 16, 2006 at 9:23 am

But at least they will eventually get to see the magnificent interior of this theater before too much longer—-they’re about to begin the process as of this writing.

jaxsterman on October 13, 2006 at 7:30 pm

The Fox. Many Saturdays were spent there. My Grandmother worked practically across the Street at Capwell’s. I would catch a matinee. Always great movies there. .25 got me in for the afternoon. As a young boy in the late forties and early fifties it was easy to be overwhelmed by the magnificant architecture of the theater itself. Although obviously built before the forties this theater was magnificant. After the matinee my Grandmother and me would go to eat and then often headed to the Paramount theater(just awesome) or down to the old T&D theater if something special was playing. It (the T&D)wasn’t as “high class” but did play some good films here and there.

It’s so unfortunate that the young will not have those meaningful experiences we all did during the hey days of this magnificant theater.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 12, 2006 at 5:44 pm

And apparently set on fire at one point. What an amazing story! Looks like the preservation organization is still at it to me. There are Board Meeting listings for 2006 here:

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 28, 2006 at 6:50 am

It looks to be in decent shape. Amazing considering it has been sitting these many years.

CSWalczak on April 28, 2006 at 4:57 am

There is a recent photo of the interior of the Fox Oakland at this website: View link