Fox Theatre

1350 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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spectrum
spectrum on December 21, 2007 at 5:38 pm

A couple nice videos on YouTube:

  1. View link

This one is from a period newsreel or documentary from 1963. It starts with some documentary color footage of the auditorium and organ chambers with descriptions of the pipe setup. Then continues to newsreel footage of the demolition and concludes with the final organ solo played at the Fox during the farewell concert. Really interesting to see the inside of the organ chambers during a concert with the shutters swinging and the relays in action!

  1. View link

This one shows a lot of color still photos of the Fox auditorium, lobbies and lounges with some narration about its demolition and the performance of a final medley on the organ just before the organ’s removal from the theatre. The Fox portion starts about 2 minutes into the video.

William
William on December 4, 2007 at 3:12 pm

That documentary about the Fox shows also shows some footage of the farewell show before it was torn down.

Rory
Rory on September 19, 2007 at 8:21 pm

There’s a new Fox DVD collection of original “Fly” films, and one of the extras is a Fox Movietone Newsreel segment showing the premiere of the original “The Fly” at the Fox Theatre on July 16, 1958. Sadly, the segment is all too brief.

aarundell
aarundell on September 1, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Me too, Ken!… (Linden Carlton)

wurlitzer11
wurlitzer11 on September 1, 2007 at 1:13 pm

Hi Ken, Thank you for your quick response. I have been looking for this video for years. I used to have it. Everyone I ask either does not have it or has never heard of it. I would love to have a copy of it or by an original from somewhere. If you hear of anything, let me know. Thanks. here is my email

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 1, 2007 at 10:27 am

“The Fabulous Fox” 1929-1963 A Bartel-Thomsen Pictures Presentation Released 1988 Running time 28 minutes Color

‘Experience the elegance and grace of The World’s Finest Theater. Explore the lavishly decorated lobby, the magnificent 5,000 seat auditorium and hear the mighty Wurlitzer’

wurlitzer11
wurlitzer11 on September 1, 2007 at 10:06 am

Does anyone know if there is any info about a VHS video documentary about the fox? I remember it had a section about the organ with Ev Nourse as well as the facade falling down at the end. What was the name of the video and where can I get it?

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on August 17, 2007 at 1:25 pm

The sad thing about the San Francisco Fox not only was it one of the greatest theatres ever built in the United States along with the Roxy in New York it would have been a huge hit today.The three most successful theatres in the United States are the Detroit Fox, Atlanta Fox and the St Louis Fox. The San Francisco Fox was the grandest of them all. Had it survived it would have housed concerts, Broadway Shows and conventions.It would have been a great site for classic film and organ conerts.brucec

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on August 6, 2007 at 2:45 pm

The bookings for the Fox in the 1960’s were not very good and the film studio was having financial difficulties so little wonder that National General wanted to drop this large house. Attendance and film production declined in the late 1950’s which hurt many theatres across the nation. The major studios now were only producing two event films a year presented at the long run roadshow reserved seat theatres with desired seating between 1200-1500. This left the Fox without the big fims they were playing such as the “Robe” a few years earlier. Its to bad that the Fox wasn’t divided into two theatres playing the roadshow fims which may have saved it from the wrecking ball and then could have been restored back at a later date. The balcony could have been turned into a second theatre without damaging the decor because it was such a large space. I wonder if anyone had thought about doing that at the time because the Golden Gate was divided two years later.brucec

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 6, 2007 at 2:12 pm

I suspect that “Sampson” is a mangling of the name “Samson.” In December, 1962, the Fox Theatre ran a double bill of foreign-made exploitation movies, “Son of Samson” and “Prisoner of the Iron Mask,” which grossed $6,972 in its first and only week. A month later, in January, 1963, the Fox presented “Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World” paired with “Warriors Five,” for a gross of $10,531 in an engagement that lasted nine days…I’ve been doing a study of grosses reported in the appendix to Preston J. Kaufmann’s “Fox: The Last Word.” In 1962, which was the last full year that the theatre operated, the average weekly gross was $8,891. In 1961, the weekly average was $10,490, and in 1960 $9,247. Small wonder that National Theatres had to close the Fox.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 6, 2007 at 9:44 am

What is a “Sampson movie?”

Steve2
Steve2 on August 5, 2007 at 8:24 pm

This is really facinating reading. My older brother and sister told me we saw a “Sampson” movie there which means I was 3 years old then.

Hard to believe there were once 2 dozen movie theaters between 4th & 10th on Market street. What a MAGICAL time that must have been. And so tragic that most all are gone. Sad.

William
William on July 17, 2007 at 12:14 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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 17, 2007 at 9:46 am

The Fox was demolished nearly half a century ago. I think it’s a bit ridiculous to “try” the person or persons responsible at this late date. More than likely, they’re dead and buried, or close to it. But if you must have a name, the demolition announcement was made by Eugene V. Klein, who was president of National General Theatres at the time. Fox Theatre historian Preston Kaufmann once described Klein as a “former auto salesman turned theatre entrepeneur.”

bonanza65
bonanza65 on July 16, 2007 at 5:26 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
bonanza65 on July 16, 2007 at 5:21 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
aarundell on February 25, 2007 at 3:09 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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 25, 2007 at 1:06 pm

In this aerial view circa 1955-60, the Fox Theatre can be seen in the foreground. The larger octagon-topped building behind the Fox is Civic Auditorium. Beyond and to the left is City Hall. Behind City Hall are the Opera House and Veterans Building:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/aerialfox.jpg

aarundell
aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 3:27 pm

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

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 24, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Bill, it’s a wonderful collection of photographs, but I’m sure that some will cause as much controversy as “colorized movies.” Many thanks for giving us the option to view them in the original B&W as well.

aarundell
aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 9:31 am

I will wait with baited breath!

aarundell
aarundell on February 24, 2007 at 9:29 am

I will wait with baited breath!

Swain
Swain on February 23, 2007 at 11:09 pm

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

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 23, 2007 at 6:25 am

I think that you mean that Thomas Lamb, architect of the Fox, would be very pleased. Charles Lamb was a revered English poet and essayist who died in 1834. I don’t know if they were related. Thomas Lamb was born in Scotland.