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The Telenews was part of a national chain of newsreel theaters which flourished particularly in World War II. Indeed, the San Francisco Telenews opened its doors on September 1, 1939, the exact day of the German invasion of Poland, which started WWII. In those days, a newsreel was a standard part of the movie experience. A theater which showed just news and information was not unlike what CNN did on television compared to the network coverages. In addition to newsreels there were short subjects in the one hour program that changed weekly. If one went there at 11am Friday one could have a “twofer”…watch the past weeks show and see the newone for just one price. A box office innovation was a turnstyle at the cashier’s window, saving the cost of paying a ticket taker.
During the war the Telenews had a large billboard on the street providing visual coverage of the latest news. Not uncommonly there was a piece of military equipment for the curious. There was a weekly man in the street radio interview also originating at he Telenews; in deed, a young and coming radio personality named Art Linkletter was the interviewer!