Fox Theatre

1350 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Showing 101 - 125 of 160 comments

William on July 17, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Don’t forget the chain offered the theatre building to the city of San Francisco on a bond measure. The city would just have to buy the land the theatre sat on and they would get the theatre building. The citizens of San Francisco voted againist it. This was around the second round of property down sizing the chain did. On the East Coast they closed and razed the Famed Roxy Theatre in NYC.

bonanza65 on July 16, 2007 at 10:26 pm

what months in 1963? i remember driving by it when the stage was gone and the wrecking ball was demolishing the balcony seats. it was so vast to see it from the street. Sad

bonanza65 on July 16, 2007 at 10:21 pm

I wish someone would research it and could tell me who was the actual executive in charge that made the decision on behalf of National Theatres & Television Inc.. to demolish the Fox.
So many treasures, investments, large companies are demolished, bancrupted, or destroyed and you never know who the person is truly responsible and should be held accountable. only recently the government has focused in and the press has pin-pointed execs like ken lay (Enron and MCI Worldcom) that were the persons that made the decision.

Who was the man that made that decision. Thats what we need is a web site called “Executive held responsible”

aarundell on February 25, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Thanks again, Warren. I remember seeing the Fox from this vantage point in the former San Francisco Merchandise Mart building on the opposite side of Market Street. That building is no longer there, either. This photo must be from the same time as the street shot showing that pie shaped vacant corner lot.

aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 8:27 pm

I have enjoyed looking at these slides in both formats. The color brings out the richness and suptious plushness of the interiors.

aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 2:31 pm

I will wait with baited breath!

aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 2:29 pm

I will wait with baited breath!

Swain on February 24, 2007 at 4:09 am

Recently, a dozen more high class negatives taken in 1929 of the Fox Theatre’s public rooms have been lent to me. Richard Apple has offered to post some of them on his web site, after the positives have been run through PhotoShop. They came from his father’s collection.

Bill Swain

aarundell on February 23, 2007 at 3:18 am

Thanks for the link, Bill. Richard’s access to information and details on this palace are unique, and his contributions are priceless, and very generous. Combined with the photos posted by Ken, there is a complete pictoral history of the building’s interiors as it stood before demolition. Charles Lamb would be very pleased.

Swain on February 19, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Some of your viewers might be interested in Richard Apple’s excellent web site on the Fox Theatre.
He recently has posted a number of pictures that I reconstructed from old publicity photos, many of which were taken between May and July, 1929.

View link

More will be added from time to time, as they are completed. I would welcome your comments.

Bill Swain, San Francisco

aarundell on February 18, 2007 at 2:40 am

This photo really shows the fine detail in the Art Deco decor of the intimate areas of the building. I hadn’t seen this one before – thanks for posting it, Ken. I wonder how many others are in the USC archives.

kencmcintyre on February 17, 2007 at 11:25 pm

This lobby photo from the USC archive is dated 1915, which is before the theater opened. Perhaps the date is a mistake.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 15, 2006 at 11:27 pm

It is not too often that I say something like, “it was a crime to demolish this theatre.” Much as I love old buildings there simply is not a place in the modern world for every 1920’s cinema. But this was quite a place. It certainly should have been preserved. I think I would trade the Warfield, Golden Gate and the Castro if we could have the Fox back.

aarundell on May 4, 2006 at 2:59 am

Thank you, William
This kind of research is fascinating indeed. We are lucky to have access to this website. I found one of my boyhood movie houses in these archives as well. An Art Deco movie house, the Cascade Theater in Redding Ca, which has been faithfully restored and is now a performing arts center operated by Jefferson Public Radio of Ashland, OR. They have a broadcast studio in an area where the adjoining soda fountain had been. I think it was named The Golden Pheasant…not sure.
I will try to get a copy of the book and Annual you mention.
Thanks again, William.
Linden Carlton

William on May 3, 2006 at 9:15 pm

The Preston J. Kaufmann book “Fox, The Last Word” is the one to read and see all those great pictures of the theatre. The Theatre Historical Society of America has an Annual (#30) from 2003 about the Fox Theatre in San Francisco, It’s 36 pages long. The former projectionist from the Fox has a VHS tape that shows the final days and the razing of the theatre in 1963. I got mine at a screening at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland a few years ago.

aarundell on May 3, 2006 at 8:53 pm

Those would be very interesting to see, William. I would also enjoy reading the book. I have two books that acknowledge the Fox but not to great extent. (American Picture Pacaces – Naylor, and Movie Palaces – Pildas)

I know that some of the auditorium seats were acquired by a small S.F, performance theater, but I can’t recall it’s name..One of its triumphs was Alec Teague’s Beach Blanket Babylon.

I knew Alec when he relocated to Ashland Oregon in the early 80s and produced entertainments (Aside by Aside, Alec Teague’s Scrooge) on the stage of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Angus Bowmer Theater.

The three bullet shaped bronze ash urns are well located and admired in an exclusive B&B in historic Jacksonville, Oregon.

William on May 3, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Linden, I have those program plus the original opening programs for the theatre.

aarundell on May 3, 2006 at 7:25 pm

Yes William, as documented. (Read my first paragraph again) I think the film must have opened on the following day, June 29th for its regular engagement. I don’t know why I wrote July 1st…sorry.

The theater was closed to the public on that day until the festivities began in the evening, and I don’t remember what time that was. It was a Gala Event, and invitational, I am pretty sure. Perhaps one of the historians might have a record of that event?

That piece describes the 30th anniversary and it’s printed program handout, which quoted the opening day speech given by the then Mayor of San Francisco. I did not buy one of the fancy programs, if there was one, and I didn’t stay to see the film, “Say One For Me”.

William on May 3, 2006 at 6:26 pm

The Fox Theatre opened on June 28th, 1929.

aarundell on February 26, 2006 at 10:45 pm

I no longer have the photos taken on the grand staircase.
I did find three of the small Art Deco bullet shaped ash urns in vertigre cast tripod stands at a flea market, and sold them to a B&B

aarundell on February 26, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Ken, that long line in the photo is probably the crowd attending the 30th anniversary celebration in July of 1959. The formal celebration was on the night of June 28th, as I recall, and the film opened on July 1st. I was a young fashion designer in San Francisco and was commissioned to create dresses for the six hostesses for the occasion. We were photographed seated on the steps of that fabulous grand staircese. It was a night to remember…….



“SAY ONE FOR ME” – 20th Century Fox’s Cinema-
Scope DeLuxe Color Musical – starring
Bing Crosby
Debbie Reynolds
Robert Wagner

“HERE COME THE JETS” – 20th Century Fox’s first
story of commercial jets in test – starring Steve Brodie.

George Write, who became inspired at the age of 9
when he witnessesd the opening of the Fox Theatre and
the playing of the organ, determined then to become
a great organist. Today he has his own organ recording
studio in Hollywood and has made the organ popular
again with his two hit albums “George Wright’s
recorded on the San Francisco Fox’s organ.
(George Wright played at the Fox Theatre, 1940 – 41)

Hostesses -
Nancy Taylor – Coronet Modeling Students, appearing
in Lin Barkhurst Original Creations.
(insert – The name I was using at that time)

STATION KYA – Listen for them.
KYA repeats history tonight when they again cover
a big event at the Fox Theatre, just as they were on
hand to air the parade of 100 Hollywoodd stars and the
grand opening of the Fox Theatre back in 1929.

  • Miss Beth Virus – Portrait Artist in Lobby –

The back of the folded page program has this opening speech by


The modern school house and the modern theatre, both keeping pace with the world"s progress, make for America a better educated people who can never take a backward step nor be dispossessed of their citizenship or liberty.
On the 28th of June an event of historic importance will take place in the City of San Francisco.
This city, over which I have the honor for nearly twenty years to preside as Mayor, is famous for its schools, its playhouses and places of healthful amusement.
But on June 28th something is to occur which will surpass anything of the kind in the world’s history.
On that day William Fox, builder of the world’s finest playhouses, is to throw open the doors of the greatest theatre in the world; in San Francisco. It is to be a red letter day in the istory of San Francisco.
The Fox Theatre, adjoining beautiful Civic Center of San Francisco, is the most remarkable playhouse ever built. Constructed at aa cost of $500,000, it has a seating capacity of 5,000.
The ceremonies to occur within the theatre and at the Civic Center adjoining will be historic. It will be a scene never to be forgotten.
As Mayor of San Francisco I invite you to visit our city June 28 to join with us in the festivities of the day, and be a living part of the historic ceremony.
Come to our city; wander in admiration along the broad avenues of our Civic Center with its flower-beds all aglow with the blooms of spring. I will be at the Fox Theatre personally to welcome you in the name of Mr. Fox and the City of San Francisco.

Ziggy on January 4, 2006 at 7:19 pm

Ken, those are fantasic photos. Thank you for putting them on this site. It seems that the first photo for the December 11 post is misidentified. The theatre is clearly not the Fox (the sidewalls are different, and the balcony support posts suggest a theatre of an earlier date than the Fox). There seems to be a date of 1906 in the corner of the photo, so this is possibly a photograph of a San Francisco theatre damaged in the earthquake.

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 5:08 pm

And glad to read that the restored organ is now in the Disney owned theatre, El Capitan in LA.

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 5:07 pm

And glad to read on the El Capitan link that the restored organ is now in that Disney owned theatre!