Fox Oakland Theater

1807 Telegraph Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94612

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walter235oak
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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 4, 2007 at 7:21 am

This is a 9/21/2001 article about the Fox Oakland Theater.

“Rotunda Building developer hopes to raise curtain on renovated Fox Theater.

Source: San Francisco Business Times
Author: MATERNA, JESSICA

A local developer known for turning Oakland’s Rotunda Building into a $43 million showpiece wants to stage another rehabilitation down the street at the dilapidated Fox Theater.

Phil Tagami, managing partner at California Commercial Investments — owner of more than 1 million square feet of commercial space in Oakland — recently announced his hope to restore the 74-year-old building at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue.

City officials plan to discuss the Fox property, said Rosie Rios, Oakland’s director of economic development and redevelopment. Rios would not comment on Tagami’s plan.

“I imagine we’ll discuss what to do, whether to conduct a nationwide search for requests for proposals or whether to consider the theater a phased project,” Rios said. “We’ll have to see where everyone stands.”

The Fox Theater, which shut down 30 years ago, has subsequently drawn and repelled a list of developers to revitalize the 2,250-seat theater. About 30,000 square, feet of office space and 29,000 square feet of retail are wrapped around three sides of the building.

In April, the Oakland City Council heard several alternatives to approach a rehabilitation. One $67 million plan proposed to transform the theater into a “roadhouse” by restoring the theater, building up commercial space, remodeling the basement, and creating an adjacent nightclub and storage area.

Other plans include a $19 million proposal to renovate existing storefronts, a $36 million plan for new storefronts, and a $69 million plan for a new arts center".

msnguyen25
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:
http://www.foxoakland.org

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

Traffic Management Plan (tends to have more up-to-date construction pictures):
http://www.business2oakland.com/uptowntmp/

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 11, 2007 at 8:23 am

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979

Fox-Oakland Theater (added 1979 – Building – #79000468)
Also known as Fox-Oakland Theater & Complex
1807—1829 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Diggs,Maury L., Weeks & Day
Architectural Style: Art Deco
Area of Significance: Architecture, Performing Arts, Commerce
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Music Facility, Specialty Store, Theater
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Specialty Store, Theater

robertgippy
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
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 www.amazon.com It is a landmark publication and gave rise to www.historictheatres.org 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
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
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
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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 19, 2006 at 1:34 pm

This is another photo of the Fox Oakland 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:

http://www.foxoakland.org/events.html

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
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

moviebear1
moviebear1 on March 23, 2006 at 8:32 pm

the last listings on the FOX OAKLAND web site is in 2003. Does anyone know what is happening with the theatre these days of 2006?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 4, 2006 at 6:33 am

This website has some photos of the Fox Oakland Theater. Click on the Fox photo and then click the thumbnails to enlarge them.

gsmurph
gsmurph on December 21, 2005 at 9:57 am

Just noticed something—-in the second paragraph of the description, it says “Opened on October 36, 1928…” Obviously that should be “October 26, 1928(!).”

gsmurph
gsmurph on December 12, 2005 at 8:41 am

An issue of Architechural Digest (date uncertain, but probably late 1920’s-early 30’s [it was a page clipping]) listed the Fox Oakland’s (original) architect as Thomas W. Lamb. Possibly this was a confusion on the writer’s part, being that Lamb was the architect for San Francisco’s Fox (Weeks and Day are generally credited as the Fox Oakland’s architects, and A.A. Cantin as having done the 1935 renovation of the entrance and marquee), but the interior photos on the page were definitely of the Fox Oakland.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 21, 2005 at 6:00 am

Here are more exterior photos of the Fox Oakland.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on August 26, 2005 at 8:27 am

What is the latest on the Fox Oakland? Have they started the ruins project, becuase I believe the City Council has approved it. I sure hope the project gets under way before Jerry Brown leaves office as Mayor of Oakland. Restoring the Fox-Oaklnad would give Downtown Oakland a huge boost along with the Uptown project and put a positive spin on the City which suffers an image problem.brucec

MLW
MLW on July 1, 2005 at 5:39 pm

Some excellent and comprehensive reading on the Fox' “almost” current condition:
http://www.foxoakland.org/pdf/dreyfuss_report.pdf

Suwanti
Suwanti on June 10, 2005 at 2:00 pm

Just the fact that the theatre have not been demolished and is waiting for restoration is a good news .

CMALONE
CMALONE on January 11, 2005 at 10:20 pm

I WAS 17 AND VERY DISSAPOINTED WHEN THEY CLOSED THE FOX THEATRE. I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN OAKLAND, AND AS A CHILD, IN THE SUMMER, MY COUSINS AND I WOULD PAY ONLY 50 CENTS TO SEE TWO FEATURE FILMS. WE WERE ABLE TO WATCH THESE FILMS AS MANY TIMES AS WE LIKED, SO WE WOULD SPEND THE WHOLE DAY AND PART OF THE NIGHT AT THE PARAMOUNT AND THE FOX THEATRES. OUR PARENTS LOVED IT, BECAUSE IT WAS LIKE HAVING A ALL DAY BABYSITTER AND THEY KNEW WE WERE SAFE, BECAUSE WE ALWAYS STAYED TOGETHER. I LOVED GOING BACK TO THE PARAMOUNT WHEN THEY REOPENED IT, BECAUSE IT BROUGHT BACK ALL THOSE MEMORIES OF THAT TIME IN MY LIFE, WHEN LIFE WAS SO SIMPLE!!! I AM HOPING THAT THE FOX THEATRE WILL RE-OPEN SO THAT I WILL BE ABLE TO GET THAT WONDERFUL FEELING AGAIN.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 18, 2004 at 1:10 pm

I read in the paper that the city council has recommended 27 million for the restoration of the Fox Oakland Building. The charter school will be housed in the building surrounding the theatre. The theatre will be restored into a cabaret space seating 650. This means only a portion of the theatre will be restored at this time.It would be nice if a corporate donor could be found to restore the Auditorium completely. If the city is spending 27 million along with state grants them maybe another 6-8 million is needed to restore the auditorium. I wish the Packard foundation would get involved like they did with the California in San Jose. I also hope the Fox Oakland will also show film as well as live performance. The City Council will vote in March. I think downtown would get a much needed boost with a combo of both the Fox Oakland and the Paramount. We must thank Jerry Brown for getting the ball rolling or it would have just sat there for another 20 years. I have wonderful memories of Downtown Oakland as a child. My Aunt and Uncle use to take us to the Paramount,Fox Oakland,Roxie and T&D downtown and the Grand Lake along the lake. I feel the City now has a chance to move ahead in a positive direction and the restored Fox Oakland along with other projects will revitalize Downtown Oakland.brucec