Fox Senator Theatre

912 K Street,
Sacramento, CA 95814

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Fox Theatre exterior

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Built around 1925, the Fox Senator Theatre was created from two earlier theatres, a large one on L Street and a smaller theatre on K Street. It was demolished in the 1970’s.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

PeterDII
PeterDII on January 29, 2004 at 4:29 pm

This theater was torn down in the 1970’s. Peter D.

Backseater
Backseater on October 17, 2004 at 9:30 pm

Went there a few times while stationed at Mather AFB in 1968. I remember two shows, a generic spy movie with Van Heflin and something strange with Tony Perkins.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 4, 2005 at 12:08 pm

The Senator Theatre opened on 29th September 1924, architect Leonard F. Starks was one of the design team of architects. The auditorium was demolished in August 1977.

alangary
alangary on May 16, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Growing up in the sixties, I remember the Fox as the Theatre that featured all the great Disney movies of the decade, most notably Mary Poppins, Lt. Robin Crusoe, The Ugly Dachsund, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and The Love Bug.

I also remember MASH playing there in 1970.

Right next to the front entrance was a carmel corn shop.

I will be posting some great photos of both the exterior and interior of the Theatre as soon as the site is able to accept them. Check back or email me for a look.

jokirb
jokirb on December 16, 2007 at 10:20 am

My father Elmer Thomas Davis worked for the Senator Theater From July 1929 to October 1932. At that time all the first run theaters had one or more full time artists that produced beautiful posters of the upcoming attractions. They also created other lobby displays appropriate for the movie of the day. My father was a talented artist and worked for a number of theaters in this capacity in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Cleveland in the thirties. He was known as a lobby display man (per the union). I wonder what happened to all these wonderful posters that were made during this time?

jokirb
jokirb on January 15, 2008 at 8:19 am

continued: In addition to painting wonderful huge posters of the old silent stars and the new talkies these artists had to be excellent lettering men. All the posters were hand lettered with the stars names, the movie title, the co-stars, the directors, etc. This was a special talent my dad worked hard to perfect.

alangary
alangary on November 7, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Responding to your previous comment about the Sacramento Fox Senator looking like two different buildings in the photos –
They actually were two different buildings. The photo from 1925 is of the back wall of the auditorium, on the North side of L Street between 9th and 10th Streets. The 1953 photo is of the main entrance on K Street. The 1st floor had a long narrrow entry lobby leading to stairs which were in a connection over the alley, leading to the auditorium on the other side. From inside, it appeared seamless. The Trianon Ball Room was located on the 2nd floor of the K Street building. It is all that is left today, converted to office space, after being a Burger King in the 80’s! Very sad.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 7, 2010 at 5:14 am

Leonard F. Starks was involved in the project that eventually became the Fox Senator Theatre at least three years before the house opened. When the project was announced in the June 29, 1921, issue of the trade publication Engineering and Contracting, it was to be called the Paramount Theatre, and Starks was already the lead architect. Though a native of California, Starks had been working for some time in New York City in the office of theater architect Thomas Lamb.

This thumbnail biography of Leonard Starks from the Historic Fresno web site doesn’t mention the Paramount specifically, but tells of the intention of the Famous Players corporation to build a chain of theaters on the west coast. The proposed Paramount was undoubtedly one of these. Famous Players had contracted with Lamb’s office for architectural services, and Starks was to return to California to oversee design and construction. When the plans for the chain fell through, Starks resigned from Lamb’s firm and set up his own practice in Sacramento.

Starks' partnership with E. C. Hemmings was formed in 1923, and Hemmings died the following year. The Senator Theatre might have been their only major project together.

JohnRice
JohnRice on July 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

During the time I lived in Sacramento 1962-1965 the Fox (Senator) was my favorite theatre. I even liked it better than the Alhambra. It was in beautiful shape and film presentation was superb.

The last time I was in the Fox it was doing a brief stint as a discount house with all seats 49 cents! That must have been in 1970 because I remember one of the features I saw that day was “Adam at 6:00 A.M.”, a 1970 release.

Personally I think it would have been much more practical to save the Fox than the Alhambra just because of it’s much better downtown location for a mixed use venue. Of course both theatres, our only real Sacramento movie palaces, were ultimately demolished and that’s doubly sad!

Coffeematekimberley
Coffeematekimberley on March 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

I am wondering if anyone knows or has pictures of the ballroom above the fox theater. It was called Palm Grove Ballroom. Please let me know you you have or know where to see pictures. thanks Loved the fox used to go there

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