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The Presidio Theater has just completed upgrading the sound system in Theater #1 (the big one) to digital sound. The installation inculded putting new speakers behind the screen and adding more surround speakers to the sides and back walls of the auditorium.
Digital sound upgrades to the remaining auditorums are scheduled in the near future.
The Presidio has one of the largest non-IMAX screens in San Francisco, now that the METRO and CORONET are gone. They now have big sound to match the big picture.
I don’t know how you can consider a 260 seat theater “small”.
Yes, it’s not the Paramount or Castro, but more than adequate for that neighborhood, and the screen size is proportionate to the auditorium.
As with any business opening, there were some less-than perfect temporary compromises that were made in order to meet promised opening day dates. Almost all these issues and a few you didn’t mention, have been addressed and corrected by now.
The auditorium entranceway has been re-done to eliminate the light leakage. A curtain was always in the plans, but not possible to have in place by opening day.
A screen curtain would have been nice, but when is the last time you saw a curtain installed in ANY new theater? A simple curtain installation can cost a minimum of $15,000 these days and most cost twice that much.
The lighting above the screen has been changed to include colored lights.
It was not possible to have the projection ports sealed by opening week, which is why there was some sound leakage from the booth. This has since been resolved.
As for the comment about the â€œlinoleumâ€ flooring in the theaters someone made- – The area in front of the screen area and all the aisles are carpeted. The seating area under the seats is covered with acoustically neutral (for the Dolby sound) artificial wood-finish tile flooring. No theater in their right mind would have carpeting in the seating areas due to beverage spills, drunk teenagers puke-ing, etc. Go to to any theater and find ONE with carpeting under the seats.
The Leeâ€™s did an excellent job on this project, given the physical space and budget they had to work with.
Or would have preferred they put another Starbucks there?
Eric (and all)
The Marina is scheduled to open May 2nd 2008.
There were some last minute construction and permit issues that delayed things for an additional month or so since I wrote the previous post.
The layout is basically like this:
As you probably know, most of the ground floor is occupied by Walgreens.
The theater entrance is at the east end of the building.
Once you enter, all that’s on the ground floor is the box office and concession stand.
A long stairway leads up to the 2nd level. There is also an elevator for those who can’t handle the stairs.
The 2nd level has the two auditoriums, (which are situated at right-angles to each other, and the restrooms.
I was inside again yesterday assisting with making last minute adjustments to the projection and sound systems. They’ve really done a nice job on the place.
In answer to your question- – I’ve seen plenty of these over the years. What you have is a a Cinemeccanica Projector Pedestal. I’ve usually seen these supporting a Cinemeccanica model V8 or V9 projector. It is not made by Century. I think they’re a bit more common in Europe than in the USA, but they’re not excatly “rare”. I hope this info helps.
I’m fortunate enough to have an original 35mm roadshow print in my collection. It’s ten 2,000ft reels, so it takes up quite a bit of space for me to store. Last time I ran it (about 5 years ago) color was starting to fade slightly, but it was othewise in excellent shape.
Several years ago I bought a 2CD set of George Wright on the SF Fox organ issued by BANDA records, which were originally recorded in Feb 1958 and mastered from ½ tapes that had been “recently re-discovered”. The audio quality on these is oustanding. I beleive they are still available in the BANDA catalog. About a month ago I found and bought a 2 disk (33rpm LP) set of the “Farewell To The Fox” concerts on e-bay. These were pressed by Fantasy Records in 1964. I don’t beleive these have ever been issued on CD. Both disks were in excellent shape. I have one of those direct-to-digital turntables so I made digital copies for myself to protect the originals. The LP’s were in such good shape that I decided not to use any additional noise reduction or EQ when digitizing them, other than the standard RIAA curve.
The Cinema 21 (now re-re-named THE MARINA THEATER) is scheduled to open very soon. I got a tour of the inside a couple of weeks ago. They’ve done an extremely nice job. There are two auditoriums. ONe seats around 250, the other around 90. (appxromate) The two auditoriums feature comfortable staduim style seating. The seats have retractable arms and cup-holders. The screens are proportionately sized to the auditorums and the theater features both Dolby Digital and DTS sound systems.
I remember both Mrs Burns, Mr Lopes & Mrs Vitale, who was one of my favorites. There was also a ditzy woman manager named Yvonne there for awhile who I could go on about for several paragraphs. She was married to one of the UA “big-wigs”. And to Jason W: Yes, I knew stuff went on there after hours. I could tell that light switches etc were not the way I left them the night before when I’d come in somtimes. I wasn’t trying to trip anyone up. I just had a “system” in the way I did things and I could tell when things were not the way I had left hem. But you guys never caused me any problems so I never said anything or complained. The staff at the theater I’m at now unplugs cables or TOTALLY screws up my sound & light settings sometimes and that kinda pisses me off now that I’m getting old & cranky! hahahaha
Gary P: Actually, “The King” looks a bit worse in the photo than it did in person. We were able to save it and I gave it to a good friend of mine who also was the Coronet’s former projectionst. He ran most of the big 70mm and STAR WARS shows in the 70’s that many people here have written about and was still working there when the theater closed. And yes, the other figures and many other items were totally smashed or damaged beyond repair by the asbestos abatement crews. I don’t fault them too much, they were just doing their job.
Getting permission and access to go on my “Coronet Scavenger Hunt” took several months to arrange. I tried to get in there before the asbestos crews, but by the time I got permission and keys to the theater it was too late.
The good news is that I was able to recycle a number of items left behind by UA/Regal for re-use at the nearby Balboa Theater. These include two working ice cream freezers, a large mirror from the lobby which is now in one of The Balboa’s rest rooms, a number of large trash bins and other assorted theater-stuff. I was also able to salvage some parts from what was left of the concession stand and projection room, etc and they are now in storage for use as spare parts at The Balboa.
The saddest part to me were the seats. I don’t know why they were abandoned by UA/Regal. They were good (expensive) seats and most of them were in excellent-to-very good condition when the theater closed. But after being in the damp, dark theater for over two years they’d become totally destroyed by mold & pigeon droppings. The pigeons got in through holes in the ceiling left behind after some air conditioning units and ventilation fans had been removed from the roof shortly after the theater closed. There were also some rats in there, but I didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother me! :)
Ta Da! – Here’s the long ago promised set of Coronet demolition pictures, taken between July-Aug Y2k7:
ALSO> I’ve added a couple of extra pictures to the previous “pre-demolition” photo page, including two frame blow-ups from a 35mm trailer announing the start of Coronet’s run of “FUNNY GIRL” in 1968.
(Found in the basement of another old theater, and now in my personal 35mm film collection)
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back here & post some pictures. The link below will take you to a series of pictures of what was left of the interior of The Coronet in April 2007, just before major interior demolition began. I had 2 day access to the theater to take pictures & salvage what I could for use at another location. There was NO electricity so we had to go around wearing LED “miner’s head-lamps” and carrying big flashights. These are probably the last pictures of the inerior before the building came down. I’ll try & post demolition pictures later this week.
Here’s the link:
One of the original 35mm projectors from the Tyler Theater is currently for sale on E-Bay. We’re talking REALLY old here, probably from when the theater first opened. It’s a silent projector and has a has a limelight lamphouse.
(“Limelight” was an early method used for theatrical lighting and projectors. It involved directing a flame produced by burning a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases against a calcium carbonate cylinder. Catalytic reactions and heat from the flame caused the cylindar to become white hot and incandesce, producing a brilliant [although slightly off-white] light.)
The machine pictured on e-bay is in great shape considering its' age. I wish I had room for it in my 35mm projector collection, but I’ve run out of space! -JimC/SanFrancisco
I work at a theater that has run many classic film shows. I’ve also been projectionist at several very well known film festivals. To obtain the really best vault prints you MUST have a two projector changeover type system or some of the archival distributers won’t even talk to you. I take some exception to Mr Overton’s comments about the necessisity of a union projectionist. A union card does not guarantee competence. I was in a union that had dozens of incompetent operators. (or perhaps I just mistunderstood what he was saying, and I apologize if I did). As a former union member and a long time projectionist I’ve found that in the present enviornment my personal reputation counts more than my union affilliation(or lack of it)when getting projection work. -JimC-
jyoung- I have not yet posted photos. I’ve been taking pix almost every day. Not many more days left. There was only 1 ½ walls left standing when I went by Tuesday of this week. I will post photo info here once I have them all organized and posted somewhere. -JimC-
Steve 2: When I was inside the CORONET back in May almost all of the seats were still there. However, after being inside the dark, damp, closed-up building with no electricity or ventilation for over two years they appeared to have become hoplessley covered with a thick grey mold.(I have pictures of this) I’m not sure even steam cleaning could remove mold this bad, and the fabric underneath is probably ruined anyway. What a shame, because the CORONET had good seats. I’m not sure why they couldn’t find anyone to buy or just take them away before they’d become so deteriorated. What I observed yesterday (Jul 3) was a small front-loader pushing piles of seats and other debris out of one of the holes in the side of the building and then dumping everything into a big debris box. I’m not sure the workmen would let you near enough to retreive anything since it’s inside an active ‘hard-hat’ work area. But it might not hurt to ask if you went by there. They’ve been pretty tolerant of me & my camera. Back in MAY we were able to find a couple of rows of seats way up in the back of the balcony that weren’t too badly molded-up. Those were removed and divided up among a couple of former CORONET employees who asked me to salvage them. I haven’t spoken to them since so I don’t know if they were able to remove all the mold or what they looked like when they were finished ‘restoring’ them.
Demolition began tody on the CORONET. Not much too see yet. Most of the work today was knocking down the gas station next door which is part of the project. But they did knock a huge hole in the side of the theater so they could get fork lift trucks and pnumatic drills inside to begin interior demolition. The big wrecking ball will come any day now. I took some pictures and will continue to document the demolition an hopefully will be able to post them somewhere for all to see.
FYI> I was able to get inside the CORONET about a month ago. (Legally!) I took about 50pictures on that day. The owner also let us “scavenger hunt”, as there was still lots of usable items inside.
We managed to recycle many items from the projection booth and concession area, including two working ice cream freezers, which have all been put to good use at the nearby BALBOA theater in San Francisco. -JC-
Barring further last minute legal challenges, The Coronet Theater building is scheduled to be demolished in April 2007.
Interior demolition of the Coronet apparantly began about 2 weeks ago. A huge debris box has been set up in the parking lot next to the theater and scaffolding has been erected inside. I have seen workers dumping wheelbarrows full of plaster & tile into the debris box and as I was passing there one day last week I saw them hauling out huge rolls of carpet that had been ripped out of the interior. -JimC-
Several weeks ago a friend of mine who lives near the Metro called to tell me that it was being boarded up as he passed it on his way to work. I went down there the following day to confirm this.
I took several pictures that morning. I do not have a way to post them to the internet, but if anyone is interested in seeing them I’ve set up a temporary e-mail address where you can requst them.
Send a BLANK e-mail to:
I will keep this address active until Dec 31, 2006
In return I will send you 3 pictures (about 60kb/each).
PRIVACY STATEMENT: I will not share your e-mail address with anyone. It will be used ONLY to send you the pictures you request and then it will be immediately erased from my system.
Zabrina’s comments are “spot on”. Unfortunately many times by the time events get to the point where a theater has to actually close their doors it usually means its' finances have deterioriated to the point that the only way to save it is if some millionaire philanthropist or organization with deep pockets steps forward.
…but miricales do sometimes happen.
I remember The New Mission Theater. It’s another lost treasure.
Just FYI to all: I noticed that as of today (Sept 29,Y2k6) listings for The Metro have disappeared from my Yahoo movie page, the local newspaper listings and the FANDANGO telephonic movie listing/ticket buying service. I tried calling one of the unlisted numbers I had for the theater and got a recording saying it had been disconnected.
Rumor is that the property owner may try to re-open for awhile as an indpendent theater, but only time will tell if this will happen or if the building will become yet another boarded-up eyesore like Alexandria and Coronet have become in the past few years. (Although I just can’t picture the local residents and merchants on trendy-upscale Union St letting this happen)
Let’s hold on to what we’ve got and remember to patronize YOUR local neighborhood theater.
I stand by my original account. I was first informed of this in a voicemail around 10am Monday morning. I posted my comments shortly after 8am Tuesday after I had a chance to speak “live” to the employee who gave me this info to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood his message and to ask a few questions. So obviously some employees were told over the weekend, and perhaps others found out about it during the week when they reported to work. In the big picture, it really doesn’t matter who found out what when. It won’t really change the future of whatever will happen to the METRO.
I agree 100% with the comments made by FilmBear on the current state of the movie business here in San Francisco. Well said, Mr. FB!
The Coronet saga goes on.
You can read the latest news (Sept 2006) here:
First of all thank you Gary Parks for correcting some of the architectural inaccuracies in my original post. Having spent many years in several Pluger buildings (including the Pacific Telephone Building,) I recognized parts of the Metro as being very Plugeresque and jumped to an incorrect conclusion.
I’d also like to make a slight modification to my original post-
REGAL is definitely out of there as of this coming weekend, and
the LONG RANGE plans of the owner is to have it torn down and
replaced with condos.
However, this being San Francisco, jumping through all the necessary bureaucratic hoops to get demolition & re-building permits is a process that can take years.
One need only to look at THE ALEXENDRIA (closed 2004) and CORONET
(closed 2005) which have degenerated into neighborhood eyesores as the property owners wrangle with various city agencies, preservationists, merchant associations and neighborhood groups to get the necessary permits to do ANTHING as proof of this.
So, the latest “update” rumor circulating among the METRO staff is that while REGAL is definitely out of there as of this weekend, the owner MAY try to keep the METRO open as an independent house until he can get all the demolition paperwork and building permits in order to keep the property from becoming an eyesore on very trendy & upscale Union Street. But his long range plans are still to have it torn down once all the paperwork is approved.
So THE METRO may still be around for another couple of years, open or closed, – or maybe not. Only time will tell.
I don’t have any pictures of the interior of the theater, but I do have lots of detailed photos of the projection room & equipment.
Unfortunately, I can’t post pix here.
Yes, the GALAXY listing needs to be updated.
I live in San Francisco and can confirm that the Galaxy has indeed closed. I was invited to an after-hours closing “party” on the final night but was unable to attend. I was also looking to buy some equipment from them for the theatre I work at as well as for my home projection room and was told I couln’t do so because all their projection equpment had been donated to a local film foundation. The Galaxy has “disappeared” from the movie listings that pop up on my home page, and their phone number no longer works.