Showing 1 - 25 of 62 comments
There’s a nice nighttime view of the World, with all its neon, about five minutes into The Hoodlum Priest (1961), shown this week on Turner Classic Movies.
Pickwick Drive-In Theatre is featured in Columbia’s 1950 film “He’s a Cockeyed Wonder” with Mickey Rooney. On the marquee is the Columbia feature “Fuller Brush Girl” with Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert, and “A Girl’s Best Friend,” a non-existent film, which is apparently the second feature, and the one in progress. A uniformed female usher greets the driver, takes his money, and gets his ticket from the nearby cashier, in a glass-enclosed booth; then a uniformed male usher, with flashlight, directs the car to an available parking spot, and places the speaker on the car window. We get to see a bit of “A Girl’s Best Friend” with Richard Quine and Lola Albright as the uncredited couple, in the usual situation, in the front seat of a convertible, before trouble in the theatre breaks out.
It has been brought to my attention that the supermarket which I stated above had been built on the Noe site is actually at 3950 – 24th Street, somewhat to the East. Office buildings now stand where the Noe once held domain.
So where is the UPTOWN page? For information and photos, see page 105 of my book, THEATRES OF SAN FRANCISCO.
Contrary to some of the above comments, Cento Cedar did not have rear projection. Contributors have apparently confused it with either the Richelieu or the Interplayers (on Beach Street) who did use rear projection during the years that Cento Cedar was in operation.
In response to Ken’s above query about the “Majestic” in the photo.
That’s the Majestic Furniture Company, across the street from the former Majestic, later Tower Theatre (qv). When the Majestic Theatre changed its name to Tower, the vertical was moved across the street to enhance the furniture company, and has since been erroneously identified as a theatre in this photo which has found its way into a published book on the Mission District.
The earlier Grand View in the photo posted December 2005 is the Grand View in Daly City CA.
The Burbank is featured in the opening sequences of Sam Fuller’s film, The Crimson Kimono, filmed February-March 1959.
You get a nice night shot of the Olympic, its neon, and its 15 cents admission sign about fifteen minutes into Boston Blackie’s Rendezvous (1945), recently shown on Turner Classic Movies.
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You can get a 1958 glimpse of the Star Theatre about an hour and ten minutes into Voice in the Mirror starring Richard Egan. It seems to still be in operation, but may have been shut down by that time and only revitalized for purposes of the film, much of which was shot on Main Street in Los Angeles.
There’s one on Southern New Jersey; there may be others; best to check their website.
Correction: Castro Theatre, Saturday July 15th, 2006, 4PM.
Thanks to everyone who took the time and trouble to post these most favorable comments. They are really appreciated! I’m glad the book found its audience! Those who asked about the East Bay will be interested to hear that Theatres of Oakland is now in the oven and should appear before the end of the year, covering about sixty sites
with around 200 photos and all the usual documentation. Once again, I will be at the Castro Theatre Sunday July 16th, in conjuction with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, so stop by and say hello,
and I’ll sign my San Francisco book for you.
The Gateway Cinema opened in the Golden Gateway Center on 15 November 1967 with the Japanese film, Chushingura; it was initially operated by Edward and Roslyn Landberg who, at the time, were also operating the Cinema Guild on Telegraph Avenue and the Cinema on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. After two years, the location had failed to find an audience, and, in December 1970, I took it over and introduced a policy of full-time revival programming which became its trademark for the next ten years. The 1936 MGM classic, San Francisco, was a perennial favorite every April on the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire, and other popular titles were such evergreens as The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, as well as most of the well known Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. I sold out my interests in the Gateway in March 1981, after which time the revival policy was abandoned by the new operators in favor of foreign and independent films. It was eventually taken over by Landmark Theatres, and closed its doors as a film theatre on 22 September 1996. Since that time, it has been taken over by Eureka Theatre Company and renamed the Eureka. Seating has been cut in half, a stage has been built where none existed before, and live performances are now presented.
The Clay Theatre in San Francisco opened in 1913, became the “Clay International” in 1935 and is still in operation as a single screen theatre specializing in foreign films. It’s featured in my book,
Theatres of San Francisco, presently available from Arcadia.
The Strand did not open in 1916 as the Empress as stated above.
(The Empress was down the street about three blocks, opened in 1910,
and was later known as the Strand (but not THIS Strand), and
was permanently renamed the St. Francis in 1925. It closed in 2000.)
The Strand we are dealing with here opened October 27, 1917 as the JEWEL, and was re-named the SUN on January 24, 1920, and then the COLLEGE on August 14, 1920. It became the FRANCESCA on November 5, 1921, and (finally) the STRAND in 1928.
Contrary to the above comments, Mae West, Lana Turner, and Sophia Loren did not appear there. They all appeared at the WARFIELD,a different theatre entirely, q.v.
However, under the auspices of Mike Thomas, Jane Russell did indeed appear for a presentation of The Outlaw, & Carroll Baker did likewise for a revival of Baby Doll.
PS And will be shown again on TCM 14 June 2004.
A belated answer to paulb re: Destination Murder. Look it up on
Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). It was made by RKO, and released
in 1950. Stanley Clements is the star. It’s owned by Turner Classic
Movies and is occasionally shown on TCM, most recently in December 2003. Anything else?
The Killer That Stalked New York is a 1950 film about a woman with the bubonic plague loose in New York City. Much of it was filmed there. But the finale, in which the woman, played by Evelyn Keyes,
is out on the ledge of a building, threatening to jump, was filmed on South Broadway in Los Angeles, right above the Central Theatre,
and in the same block as the Cozy. Although the Central is not easy
to identify, the flashing neon of the Cozy is unmistakenly visible
in several scenes. There’s also a shot of emergency vehicles whipping around the corner onto Broadway and you get a glimpse of
the Million Dollar marquee as well.
Roxie’s roots seem to go back even further than 1912. It’s listed in an October 1909 San Francisco telephone directory as being operated by C. H. Brown. The name Poppy first appears in 1912; around 1918
it was known as the New 16th Street. (The Victoria down the street
had been the first 16th Street Theatre). In 1920, it was the Rex,
in 1926 the Gem, in 1930 the Gaiety, and, finally, in 1933 (or so)
The Royal opened on September 6, 1916. It was built at a cost of
$200,000 by Oppenheimer, Karski and Levi.
The opening program was Ella Hall in Little Eve Edgarton.
It was updated and remodeled in the mid 1930’s, eliminating every trace of its original appearance, and, since no pictures of its first look seem to have survived, it will forever be regarded as the lost art deco treasure which it never really was.
It’s narrow stage was incapable of properly accommodating wide screen
CinemaScope projection, and so there was no other solution than to bring the screen out in front of the proscenium, thus providing audiences with a most satisfactory wide screen presentation, but also hiding from prying eyes whatever previous architecture lurked behind. In its heydey, a sellout audience was not unusual for such films as The Great Escape or Deliverance, and Blum’s Soda Fountain across the street (on the SW corner of Polk and California) was a great place to have an ice cream treat before or after the movie.
It’s last day of operation was February 22, 1998.
The correct name of the theatre is Regal, not Regal World.
It opened in mid-1925 as the Pompeii, and was renamed Regal on February 8, 1936. For nearly thirty years it was one of several popular little Market Street theatres that provided the walk-in trade with good value for their money, worthwhile films, usually geared towards the action market, low prices, and four changes a week; in the mid-1950’s double features became triple features, and, as pointed out above, there were also 6 color cartoons on every program.
When the Mitchell Brothers took over, it was renamed the Bijou on October 30, 1974, but later was changed back to Regal.
Still in operation under the name L.A. Girls, the site now offers lap dancers, but, alas, the color cartoons are gone forever.
The Presidio opened on July 1, 1937 as El Presidio.
It was built by Baron and Nathan, John H. Ahnden was the architect.
The cost of construction was reported to be between $75,000 and $l00,000.
Its purpose, initially, was to supply the Marina district with a
third run and/or secondary level film venue, supplementing the nearby Marina (later Cinema 21), which, at that time, was strictly a second run outlet for major titles.
In 1951 the theatre was sold to Gerald Hardy who renamed it the Presidio. A decade later Hardy retired and it was sold again.
Foreign films became a staple commodity, but the phenomenal success of Deep Throat in the early 1970’s tagged it as major porno venue and as such it operated successfully for many years.
In the 1990’s it was remodelled, upgraded, and became a major first run outlet. Presently it is being remodelled into a multi-plex.