1350 Market Street,
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Architects: Thomas White Lamb
News About This Theater
Called “The Last Word”, the Fox Theatre in San Francisco opened on June 28, 1929 as one of the grandest theatres ever built for the showing of motion pictures. The opening film was a world premiere presentation of “Behind That Curtain” starring Warner Baxter. The 4 Manual, 36 Rank, ‘Crawford special’ Wurlitzer organ was opened by organist Jamie Erickson, and the 3Manual, 12 Rank Moller organ, located in the Grand Lobby was opened by Erma Falvey.
The Fox Theatre was designed by Thomas W. Lamb for William Fox and his Fox Circuit, who made sure his wife, decorator Eve Leo Fox, was kept at arms length. Fox West Coast Theatres were the operators in association with Loew’s Incorporated.
The Fox Theatre was meant to be a part of a large office complex, which was never finished.
According to "Great American Movie Theaters" by David Naylor, the Fox Theatre was similar, but more grand, in detail to two other Lamb designed theatres, the Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City. The Fox Theatre was apparently copied in 1932 by S. Charles Lee for the Los Angeles Theatre. The Los Angeles Theatre looks much like the Fox theatre, just on a smaller scale.
Due to the decline in people going to the movies in the late-1950’s and early-1960’s, the Fox Theatre was closed on February 15, 1963 with Boris Karloff in “The Raven” and Carl Boehm in “Peeping Tom”. A special final show “Farewell to the Fox” was staged on February 16, 1963, attended by many Hollywood film stars and personalities. Before demolition, the interior furnishings and decorations were auctioned off on February 28, 1963. As the auction was proceeding inside the theatre, the demolition contractors crane was poised on the outside, ready to commence its work on the theatre. Demolition was completed on August 12, 1963, and it was replaced by a modern skyscraper, named Fox Plaza.
Copies of the Hardcover 372-page book “FOX, The Last Word - story of the world’s finest theatre” written by Preston J. Kaufmann in 1979 (costing $35.00), about the Fox Theatre from its construction to its demolition are now considered rare and are selling up to $1250,00 for a single copy.
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