Apollo Theatre

965 Geneva Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94112

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Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 14, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Jordan — I think the article is referring to the Cinema 21 (originally the Marina Theatre) which was converted into a Walgreens and also houses a new Marina Theatre.


jordanlage on July 14, 2017 at 10:06 am

Since the SF Chronicle article (actually a “special to the Examiner”) that kenmcintyre posted the link to was published (April 5, 1999), of the single-screen theaters mentioned, only the Clay and the Vogue still operate as single-screen theaters: “Some survive – the Clay, Coronet, Bridge, the Vogue, Presidio and Regency 2 – but most of San Francisco’s one-screen theaters have gone…” The Pagoda and the Coliseum – also mentioned – are gone. The Century 21, said to be in the Marina District, I can’t seem to find on CT.

wurl240 on January 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I toured the Amazon/Apollo about 1984. Previous operators had shown Indian films, but video tape ran them out of business. Amazon was surprisingly intact with an original painted stage drape and hanging chandeliers. I don’t believe it had ever been remodeled. It was a sister house to the Avenue, a few miles away. Where Avenue suffered a 1938 modernization, the Amazon was largely original. It is now (2012) a Walgreen’s Pharmacy.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm

From the 1980sa photo of the Apollo Theatre sign in San Francisco.

kencmcintyre on May 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Here is an April 1999 story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

GaryParks on February 17, 2007 at 12:20 pm

To respond to gsmurph’s query about the theatre on Mission, around the corner from the Amazon: That is the Rialto. While it looks like the work of the Reid Bros., its architect was Mark T. Jorgensen. It operated for only a very brief time once the Amazon opened nearby. Ironic that its interior and exterior have now survived moreso intact than its competition, the Amazon, which once bested it.

robertgippy on December 11, 2006 at 7:10 am

the Apollo did not close in 1978 as stated by a previous writer. It reopened briefly in 1982, showing hindi films, then became the banai faith church. after the church, it reopened again for only a month, showing movies from Samoa. The interior was almost exactly the same as the York Theatre on 24th street, (now called the Brava center). The theatre never did well in attendance, as the neighborhood was considered “rough” in the evenings. Funny though, in its last days, they installed a movie screen that was directly in front of the original screen. it was a horribly made looking thing, to accomodate 70mm films from India. The screen stretched out from wall to wall, covering the grill work on the sides of the stage. I remember attending the Apollo when they showed all six planet of the apes movies. Hardly anyone showed up. It was sad

gsmurph on July 24, 2006 at 8:24 am

Curiously, around the corner from the Apollo, on Mission Street (towards Daly City), there is a building (I believe it’s currently used as an arcade) that looks suspiciously like it was originaly a small movie theater; its inner rear wall has what appears to have been its proscenium. Anybody have any info on that one?????

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 23, 2006 at 12:34 pm

My photograph of the APOLLO sign View link

kencmcintyre on December 21, 2005 at 3:59 pm

Mr. Fabela brings his 15 children to the Amazon in 1953 for family night:

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A photo from 1942:

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Some interior photos:

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kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 4:35 pm

I am going to answer my own question. This photo from 1937 shows the Amazon at Mission and Geneva streets:

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kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 4:30 pm

My San Francisco geography is a little shaky. The Amazon was on Geneva Avenue, but this picture of what appears to be the Amazon was located on Mission Street at Ocean Avenue, according to the SFPL:

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kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 5:28 pm

Another photo, from the SF Public Library website:

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Don Lewis
Don Lewis on October 24, 2005 at 5:20 pm

My mid 1980s photo of the APOLLO here:
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William on December 4, 2003 at 12:41 pm

The Amazon Theatre was located at 965 Geneva Ave. and it seated 963 people.

GaryParks on April 3, 2003 at 1:55 pm

The plans to move ahead and turn the Amazon/Apollo building into a Walgreens and housing are moving ahead.

A friend of mine in the architectural salvage business recently got a contract to remove all light fixtures, display cases, and many other items from the theatre. Otherwise, these would have been destroyed. The building owners had no plans to keep these features. Removal was completed last week. Particularly challenging was an art deco fixture which had been added to the ceiling of the entrance foyer, which had to be cut loose. This was done successfully, and the resulting hole revealed an earlier, higher ceiling with stenciled detailing. This was photodocumented, since it looks like only the shell of the theatre is going to remain, with facade and vertical sign.

Another discovery was that the original curtain was still hanging in the auditorium. Vintage photos confirmed that it was identical to the long-vanished curtain of the State (Golden State) Theatre in Monterey, for which much renovation work is currently being done. An effort was made by this writer and others to get people interested in removing this curtain from the Amazon and rehanging it in the State. Complexities arose with liability, cost, and safety issues, and so the curtain has been photographed, and the photos will be kept by those involved with the State Theatre project, so that hopefully one day a new accurate replica curtain can be made for that theatre.

Though the Amazon will no longer be a theatre, at least much has been salvaged from it to be enjoyed and reused in other buildings, and the exterior will give ample evidence of its former use, much like what was done with San Francisco’s Coliseum Theatre, only a bit more so.

Tillmany on July 30, 2002 at 2:34 am

The Apollo opened as the Amazon on 14 September 1928 with Ralph Graves in “The Swell Head.” It was built at a cost of $350,000 by Ackerman, Harris, & Oppen. It was renamed the Apollo and reopened on 23 October 1969. After a lengthy period of showing Filipino Films, it closed in 1978.

scottfavareille on July 29, 2002 at 10:59 am

According to a recent SF Chronicle article, it looks as if this theater may be turned into a Walgreens.

GaryParks on April 20, 2002 at 10:57 pm

The Apollo’s original name, Amazon, comes from its location in the Crocker-Amazon District. The theatre has been unused for many years, although the adjacent storefronts in a wing of the same building have kept the property from abandonment. A friend who was inside several years ago said the ornamental plaster of the proscenium and organ grills is all intact.