Avenue Theatre

2650 San Bruno Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94134

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Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

stevenj
stevenj on September 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Follow up article to DavidZorning’s update in SFChronicle of the Avenue’s refurbished neon blade and lighting ceremony a couple of nights ago.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 13, 2017 at 5:44 am

Update.

http://hoodline.com/2017/09/avenue-theater-neon-unveiling

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

Another article with pics & video.

http://portolaplanet.com/2017/08/solving-avenues-neon-color-mystery/

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Current article about neon renovations.

http://www.sfweekly.com/news/feature/neon-revival-portolas-avenue-theater-returns/

bkengland2
bkengland2 on July 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Does anyone know when The Avenue started showing silents, I think around ‘65 or '66, but I’d like to know the actual date.

happybobross
happybobross on May 8, 2017 at 11:13 pm

The Avenue’s facade, marquee, and neon vertical sign are receiving a full restoration. There are no plans published for interior restoration or future use, but the interior remains mostly intact according to the Portola Planet. See link below:

http://portolaplanet.com/2017/05/renew-avenue-theater-facade-restored/

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on August 15, 2012 at 7:14 am

Tructus, is there a website for the neighborhood group? Or do you know what plans/time tables they have?

tructus
tructus on August 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

A neighborhood group is now seeking to preserve the Avenue as a theater (and not a drugstore!). As a part of that effort, I’m compiling a more complete history of the building. I’d be VERY interested in speaking one-on-one with anyone who knows anything about the building, and wants to help us save it! My private email: . Many thanks in advance.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on August 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

A July 2012 photo can be seen here.

rickrub
rickrub on June 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Rick Marshall died in a Marin County nursing home in 2008. He was never a valid Zodiac suspect. They were desperate for suspects and put quite a few people on the list that were not valid suspects, at all.

fkrock
fkrock on January 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

One additional comment. Although the stage had no machinery, the stage house did have a steel grid that would have been used with stage machinery. Grid installation probably was part of the contract to install the structural steel for the building. The grid also may have provided additional required seismic strength to the stage house.

fkrock
fkrock on September 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

The Avenue Theater had a fairly large stage with a stage house. Stage machinery never had been installed. It did not have a pin rail. The information that I was given was that it was originally designed to be both a vaudeville and movie theater but after it was built the owners decided that vaudeville had no future so did not spend money to install stage machinery. The stage was a large empty area. Dressing rooms had not been finished. Two organ chambers were set on the stage behind the movie screen in the 1960’s. The original theater organ chambers remained empty. I recorded several organ concerts for broadcast and remember that the theater had fairly good accoustics.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Another theatre/church,well at least it has not been torn down.

wurl240
wurl240 on April 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm

In regards to whatever happened to the “big guy” (Rick Marshall),I believe he went to the great projection room in the sky last year. His greatest claim to fame, perhaps, was to be a suspect in the Zodiac murders in San Francisco. Rick and Avenue are mentioned in the film, “Zodiac”—-an unusual epitaph for both.

Wurlitzer1773
Wurlitzer1773 on October 20, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Thought this might be interesting to some of the Avenue Theatre Silent Film Fans – I now own the Wurlitzer Opus 1773 that was installed in this theatre in the 1960’s. After the Avenue Theatre’s owner died the arrangement with the organ’s owners and the theatre’s new owners deteriorated and the organ was moved to the Towne Theatre in San Jose for a period. After its time there the instrument was removed and stored.

In 2005 the organ was packed and trucked to FL where it is being professionally installed in my studio after restoration takes place. This 3 year process is about over and I’m expecting a truck on Oct 27 to arrive here and installation to begin.

I’m proud to be the new curator of this piece of history that is nearly 81 years old.

Kalel13
Kalel13 on September 22, 2007 at 11:27 am

I wonder whatever happened to that big guy who used to run the place. Big movie buff. I think his name was Ron or Rick Marshall (like the amps). He really new his old movies. I wonder where he is.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 21, 2007 at 4:30 pm

There is another photo of the Avenue on this page:
http://tinyurl.com/2gnxur

papibear
papibear on April 8, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Just caught this video on YouTube; it’s a news piece from 1983 about theater organs, and it features some video of the Avenue’s Friday night silent movies. Also shows the neon sign outside at night. Worth watching!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFZZ2Mny3Ic

abarry33
abarry33 on March 9, 2007 at 6:10 pm

The Avenue Theatre had as an original installation
a Wurlitzer Organ, Style D, 2 manuals 6 ranks. It was
Opus 1626 and installed 4/27/1927.
Barry

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 29, 2005 at 9:27 am

From the SF Public Library website:

View link

Kiddman
Kiddman on July 18, 2005 at 6:31 pm

I used to go to the Avenue back in the 70’s and early 80’s for the Friday night silent-movie programs. Didn’t go often… Hated the drive to SF, neighborhood was lousy, parking was non-existent, etc. Still, I should have gone more often! What a great little Cinema Treasure!

It had a 3-manual 14-rank Wurlitzer, with pipe-chambers installed on the stage, directly behind the screen, rather than the usual two chambers up on either side of the stage. I never knew why it was done this way, but it worked well.

My most vivid memory from there was a “Railroad Night” special they had one Friday. This drew a HUGE crowd, filling the Avenue to the rafters with died-in-the-wool train buffs.

There was a silent serial-type movie and a couple of early talkies, which the train buffs ate up, despite the fact the films were pretty poor.

THEN came the feature, “Danger Lights”, a corny-but-effective 1930 melodrama about a talented but careless young engineer, the “Old-Guard” railroad boss, and the young guy’s romance with the boss’s daughter.

Of course, the old boss didn’t approve of this romance, and did everything he could to stop it, mostly because the kid didn’t respect The Railroad. Slowly, the kid came around, but the boss didn’t buy into it until the kid came to the rescue, pulling the boss out of the way of a runaway engine. The boss was injured, but the kid had saved his life.

Later, the kid and the girl were visiting the old guy in the hospital, and he asked the crusty boss for permission to marry his girl. The boss let out a BIG sigh, and mustered the energy to rasp out: “Kid, you can have my girl… I’LL take The RAILROAD!!”

The theater ERUPTED with wildly cheering railfans! You’d think they’d won the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Lottery, and their very own locomotive, all at the same time!

That was quite an experience! Gotta love railbuffs…

GaryParks
GaryParks on June 9, 2005 at 12:31 pm

I must append a comment to that made above by Mr. Greco (fun Photoshop work, by the way!). Below his photos linked above, there is the comment that the facade is removed and whitewashed. Indeed, the facade and signage have been repainted in a bland two-tone scheme, but all ornament is still intact, as well as the vertical sign and marquee. This theatre still merits at least a driveby look for theatre buffs who are in the area.