Fox Theatre

1350 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Showing 151 - 175 of 178 comments

rapple
rapple on September 26, 2005 at 5:23 pm

Bill/Bruce:

I have a copy of the Kaufman book, and have started posting the playlist for the Fox SF on the Fox San Francisco Website at http://www.historigraphics.com/fox/default.html under the “Playbill” button.

So far, I have 1929-1932 completed, but, since I do this in my spare time (!not), it may be slow going… I’ll see if I can get at least one year up each week or two.

I remember seeing the first Cinemascope picture, “The Robe,” at the Fox – hey, maybe I’ll plug in 1955 and newer years from time to time, until they’re all done!

Dick

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on September 26, 2005 at 4:00 pm

Bill the book is no longer available. Many people have posted films that played the theatre’s such as the Paramount{Portland},Stanley{Pittsburg},Capitol{Wash DC} and it adds to the history of the theatre on this site. William has done a wonderful job of listing the films that have played the historic Roxy in New York City. If anyone has the book and would like to post some of the films that played the Fox. I would be interested to see the films that played the Fox starting with the “Robe” until its closing in 1963. Bill I do have a book about the Fox while it was still open,it was given to me by Nate Grossman who managed theatres in San Francisco until he retired in 1977.The book doesn’t mention the movies that played the Fox through the years.brucec

BhillH20
BhillH20 on September 1, 2005 at 8:51 pm

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you just the book, like so many of us did.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on September 1, 2005 at 8:22 pm

It would be wonderful if someone could post a list of films from each of the decades that played the Fox. Im hoping someone who has the book on the Fox would post this and somes of the box office for some of the films that played the Fox.This would help with the history of this theatre. There isn’t enough comments posted about this fabulous theatre which was one of the most spectacular ever built. The Fox is considered among the top five movie palaces ever built. The Fox was considered the greatest Fox theatre ever built. Help bring it back to life with your comments.brucec

RobertR
RobertR on July 28, 2005 at 7:44 pm

The thought that this was torn down is an absolute crime
View link

teecee
teecee on April 1, 2005 at 9:31 pm

Behind That Curtain (1929) was premiered at the grand opening of the Fox Theater at 1350 Market Street in San Francisco on 28 June 1929

places2go
places2go on March 6, 2005 at 5:31 pm

PSRob, I was at home that night with the radio on and my Sony 300 recording every note of that final broadcast. My stereo was blasting and my neighbors were very forgiving as it was in the middle of the night. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I still have the tape, but no longer have a machine to play it on. I was only a very young teenager but James Gabbard and Gary Gilow (sp?) on KPEN turned me on to something I’ll never forget. I was there at those midnight concerts. My parents took me, bless them. They probably thought I was crazy, but we had a great time. I remember the dust falling from the ceiling when George Wright let loose with those 32 foot long pipes that were so low a pitch you couldn’t here them, you could only feel them. Awesome! Later, a friend and I climbed all through the theater as they were tearing it down. We rode the train into the city as we were too young to drive. We took pictures and pieces of the wreckage. I have a piece of marble on my desk at this moment that I pulled out of that wreckage. I also have the James and Nourse recordings. I bought them new at the time and still have them along with many Geo. Wright records. Sad. Very sad.

robians
robians on January 4, 2005 at 10:17 pm

I came across this site quite by accident while listening to various archives on the web of Pipedreams but my visits to the “Fabulous Fox” (San Francisco) were more than just accidents during the late 40’s and up to its last days when it was just a skeletal shell of its former self. When in grammar school in the late 40’s early 50’s my best friend and I would cut school to see if we could get into a matinee at the Fox. These visits were not so much to watch the movie as they were to explore wherever we could in the labyrinth of hallways, balconies, unlocked doorways, etc. After grammar school it was a number of years before I returned. While in college I recall hearing Jim Gabbert on KPEN fm start his crusade to “Save the Fox” and his sponsorship of a number of midnight George Wright concerts on the Fox' “Mighty Wurlitzer.” I think I was the first in line to insure a front row seat at everyone of the concerts including the last…and vividly recall Jim’s last live broadcast from the stage of the Fox on the night just before the wrecking ball was put in place. If I recall Tiny James and Everett Nourse played the last notes that echoed through the now empty Fox on that last night illuminated by just one bare light bulb! Several days later when all the interior fixtures, chairs, cherubs, etc. had been dismantled I returned, wandering almost aimlessly through the barren orchestra section, now devoid of any seats, wishing this cash poor college kid could buy at least something but everything was well above my budget! However, I did manage to sneek out with two plastered and gold-leaf gilded flowers from one of the ornate columns. That piece still reminds me of the “Fablous Fox” to this day! My other reminders include the 33 rpm record, “Farewell to the Fox” (Vol one of a two vol set) featuring Tiny James and Everell Nourse and Kaufmann’s book which I purchased in mint condition from a Castro St. used bookstore about 15-20 years ago for the “outrageous” price of $40! After that last visit, I came back one more time to watch the wrecking ball take its first swing into the side of that once beautiful building with a tear or two shed onto that lifeless pavement.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 18, 2004 at 11:55 pm

I once did a study of the grosses as reported in Kaufmann’s book. The Fox’s “best” year was 1946, when the average weekly gross was $29,966, closely followed by 1945 with a $29,817 average. The low was in Depression-ridden 1935, with a weekly average of $6,343. Due to inflation, the 1962 average of $8,891 was probably even worse.

KenRoe
KenRoe on December 18, 2004 at 9:56 pm

A complete list of all movies which played the Fox from its 1929 opening to its 1963 closing plus gross takings for each film is listed in the book “Fox, The Last Word…story of the worlds finest theatre” by Preston J. Kaufmann. 1979.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 18, 2004 at 9:15 pm

Does anyone have a list of movies that played the Fox from 1950 until 1963 when it closed? brucec

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 12, 2004 at 9:18 pm

I wish more people would write in comments about the Fabulous San Francisco Fox. It is considered one of the finest movie palaces ever built. I have never seen a lobby like that of the Fox. I would love people to share some of there movie memories attending the Fox. I attended the Fox only once when I was nine and I have never been the same since.The Fox is the reason I fell in love with the movie palaces.The Los Angeles theatre reminded me of the Fox, but its about half the size. This theatre was a Grand Lady all the way to the end.brucec

William
William on December 8, 2004 at 10:04 pm

Yes, Fox West Coast Theatre operated the Warfield Theatre for many years under an agreement with Loew’s Theatres. Like they operated many of the UA Theatres down in Southern California. The Warfield Theatre was owned by Loew’s, but was operated by Fox/National Theatre. Like Fox West Coast Theatres were part owners of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood with UA Theatres.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 8, 2004 at 5:04 am

William I know Fox West Coast also operated the Fox Warfield for many years after taking over from Loew’s.I saw many films at the Fox Warfield when it was operated by Fox West Coast/National General.brucec

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on December 8, 2004 at 12:12 am

The Los Angeles PBS station, KCET, recently broadcast an episode of “California’s Gold” which may have been seen only in California. The program begins at the building which replaced the FOX, tells some FOX history and ends at the El Capitan with a mini concert on that amazing organ. Copies of the show are available for purchase from the station.

William
William on December 7, 2004 at 11:45 pm

In brucec’s post from August 22, he asked “Who owned the Fox at the time it was demolished?” It was owned by Fox West Coast Theatre’s parent company National Theatres & Television Inc.. At the time the theatre was razed, Fox West Coast operated two theatre in the city, the Fox and the Parkside. They operated many other theatres in the city over the years, but these were the last ones. Over in Oakland they operated about five theatres around this time in the early 60’s. They operated the Fox Oakland, Grand Lake, Orpheum, Paramount and the Tower.
Also in his August 22nd post he asked. “The Paramount also a Fox West Coast Theatre in San Francisco was torn down two years later in 1965, was also related to the situation with the Fox?"
During the 1940’s Fox West Coast Theatres operated the Paramount Theatre. But during the 50’s-1965, the Paramount Theatre was owned and operated by the California Paramount Corp. The parent company to the California Paramount Corp. was the American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatre, Inc.. They operated 21 divisions and about 492 theatres at that time. The California Paramount Corp. only had 3 theatres in it’s roster. In San Francisco they operated the Paramount and the St. Francis Theatres and down in Los Angeles the Paramount Theatre in Downtown LA.

MarkA
MarkA on September 25, 2004 at 10:29 pm

Indeed the Fox went out with a bang. None other than the late theater organist George Wright took the Mighty WurliTzer through its paces for its last public concert. Mr. Wright also was house organist at the Fox at one time. There’s an interesting story about Wright’s improving the organ’s sound.

The sound of the organ was greatly muffled by velvet draperies hanging in front of the organ chambers. Wright tried to convince the management to remove the curtains, but to no avail. Finally he took the matter in his own hands. He and a lady friend climbed around around the theater and cut the curtains down. All that remained in front of the chambers was a lighter weight curtain.

Management was not particularly happy with what Wright and friend did and considered firing him. However cooler heads prevailed. The management was totally amazed with the “new” sound of the organ and noted that it became even more of an attraction.

By the way, at the demise of the Fox, the organ was sold in toto to a California legislator, Frank Lantermann, who installed it in his home without modification! Upon his passing, the organ was purchased by Disney, and of course, was installed in the El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Before its installation, the organ was completely rebuilt, including a beautiful regilding of the ornate console.

For those interesting, here’s a link to the American Theatre Organ Society’s website and the San Fransisco Fox WurliTzer: View link

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on August 22, 2004 at 7:25 am

Richard I just found a small 24 page book titled San Francisco’s Fabulous and Foolish Fox which was published in 1961 when the theatre was still open and your father was the managing director.The book was written by Jeff Hershel and under acknowledgments he especially thanked your father Robert M. Apple,Camille Barnes,Ken King,The Fox Theatre Management And Fox West Coast.This book was given to me by Nate Grossman who was a longtime theatre manager who was also from the old school as he would always tell me.The book states that in the first four and a half years,a record breaking attendance of over 22,000,000 persons came from the world over to visit the new Fox.In these years the weekly payroll was $36,000.Fanchon and Marco’s gigantic stage spectacles kept the crowds coming.Due to the crash of 1929 William Fox,bankrupt in 1932,was forced to close the theatre. The Fox remained closed for almost a year.In late 1933 ,it reopened under the direction of Fox West Coast and a new policy in prices:The one,two and three dollar seats had vanished and seats could be obtained for 15cents,20cents and 30cents(the latter was for seats in the Diamond Horshoe).brucec

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on August 22, 2004 at 5:58 am

Richard what a wonderful site. Its a tribute to both your dad and the Fox that it went out with a bang and not a wimper the way many did during this time.It gave me goosebumps reading about the midnight concert with 4,600 people waiting in line. I guess your dad was the director of the Paramount,Fox Oakland and Grand Lake when I attended these theates as a child. I know that 20th Century-Fox was not in good financial health in the early 1960’s do you think this had something to do with the demise of the theatre at the time? Who owned the Fox at the time it was demolished?The Paramount also a Fox West Coast Theatre in San Francisco was torn down two years later in 1965 was this also related to the situation with the Fox? In all my years of going to the movies the Fox West Coast Theatres were my favorite.Im sure your dad had something to do with this.He was from the old school of exhibition I have heard so much about.brucec

rapple
rapple on March 6, 2004 at 6:31 am

Anyone wishing to share reminiscences or other information about the Fox San Francisco is invited to visit the Fox San Francisco website at < http://www.historigraphics.com/fox/default.shtml >

My father – Robert Apple – was the last Managing Director of the Fox, and tried desperately to save it from destruction. At the 40th anniversary of its closure in February 2003, I decided it was time to pull together whatever photographs and other items I had, and to build a website to celebrate this most magnificent of movie palaces. Contact information can be found at the website.

William
William on December 4, 2003 at 9:22 pm

The Fabulous Fox San Francisco Theatre was located at 1350 Market Street. And even through many listings saying 5000 seats, the theatre seated 4651 people and remember that when CinemaScope was installed in the theatre they lost the seats in the Golden Horseshoe area under the balcony. Because it cut the top half of the picture on screen in the CinemaScope format.

Tillmany
Tillmany on November 30, 2003 at 2:15 am

This theatre was never known as Fox San Francisco,
and its ID should be corrected accordingly.
It was always, quite simply, The Fox Theatre;
you can add San Francisco, California,
as a geographical reference, but that was never part of
its name (as opposed to Fox Oakland, etc.)

Tillmany
Tillmany on November 30, 2003 at 2:15 am

This theatre was never known as Fox San Francisco,
and its ID should be corrected accordingly.
It was always, quite simply, The Fox Theatre;
you can add San Francisco, California,
as a geographical reference, but that was never part of
its name (as opposed to Fox Oakland, etc.)