Golden Gate Theatre

1 Taylor Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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DavidZornig on September 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

“Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco nears 100 with makeover.” By Sam Whiting Updated 5:30 pm PDT, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

rivest266 on August 9, 2018 at 6:11 pm

The Golden Gate Penthouse theatre opened on December 21st, 1966. Grand opening ad posted.

stevenj on June 25, 2018 at 11:28 am

Five years after terrywade posted above there seems to be some work being done on the exterior blade(s) and marquee. I posted a photo taken June 24 showing the scaffold around one of the blades. From this thread at it also appears that a renovation of the theatre has been going on and it will reopen in September.

GG Theatre

Chapps on January 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm

The theater was one of my favorites – a real grand palace – but it had become careworn even in the 60s, when I was a kid. My mother loved taking me there, because she could recall how thrilling it was to see ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ there in 1950, when she was a teenager. Her godmother had taken her for a ‘girl’s day’ in the city (my mother was attending the all-girl Dominican Convent school in Marin County – now San Domenico School), and they had already had lunch and gone for a day of shopping at City of Paris. The movie theater was everything to my mother – and the movie was thrilling. Amazing how a place can become emotionally tangled in your memories like that. And she succeeded in transferring that thrill and love for the Golden Gate in me as well. Glad that it’s still there, even if it doesn’t show movies any more.

Hanse4 on April 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Hi – I am working with a WWII Veteran that happened to be on leave and in the Golden Gate Theatre the day that the Japanese surrendered – August 14th, 1945.

He does not remember the name of the movie that was playing that day and I was wondering if anyone might know if there is a way to find out? I have called the theater and they are seeing what they can do – but thought I would check with other resources as well !

Mikeyisirish on May 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hey HDTV – Do any of the neon lights outside work? Does it light up at all? I’ve been looking to photograph this one for a while, but don’t know it’s worth the two hour drive!

terrywade on January 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm

To bad the front of this RKO Golden Gate Theatre is a mess today in 2013. What is left of the great marquee is now painted a ugly brown color. Even the tall blades that say Golden Gate are painted in brown. The neon is not on or working. The front in the 50’s and 60’s was like a huge neon accordion of color ornage, green, yellow and blue. Please, the Shorenstein’s make big bucks in Broadway shows they play here, why can’t they get a good neon company back in and fix the front up with some color and repair the neon. This is one of the worst spots in SF day or night, even with theatre security you take your life in chance.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on June 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Hi gomesrox… S.F.’s Golden Gate Theatre once had a twin sister in Los Angeles. I believe it was the Hill Street Theatre?

William on October 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

gomesrox, this is the Golden Gate Theatre you want. The one in East Los Angeles only showed movies. Check with the Public Library or the area newspaper for past listings. Some have converted past to the internet or microfilm.

gomesrox on October 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I recently bought a desk at a thrift store for my daughter, and when we were refinishing it, I found 2 orchestra tickets for the Golden Gate theatre from 1982. As I understand there is a G.G. in L.A. as well? Im not sure if I have the right one or which one they are from, but if anyone has an idea of how i could find information about what show was playing, I would be interested in info.

William on September 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Should add the Penthouse to the aka list for this theatre. During the theatres Trans-Beacon days of operation as a twin, the balcony was known as the Penthouse.

TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 7:07 pm


robboehm on March 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

Today it worked.

robboehm on March 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm

The link is already broken

GaryParks on August 14, 2009 at 12:29 am

Regarding the whole issue of how lousy the neighborhood is around the Golden Gate: I can’t resist summarizing the reson in a nutshell. The “City That Knows How” has become “The City That Deliberates.” And as for Mayor Christopher and the Fox, well, there hasn’t been a Republican mayor since. ‘Nuff said. (not that Democrats have exactly been the answer to the city’s prayers, either)

GaryParks on August 14, 2009 at 12:23 am

The paint job is a product of what was otherwise a fine late 1970s refurbishing and partial restoration. Those were the colors of the times. Before the refurbishing, the vertical signs were painted in aqua, white, and yellow, and perhaps more. There was neon on both them and the marquee. Originally, all that signage was a darker scheme, but I’ve only seen black and white photos, so I don’t know what the original colors were. The 1920s interior colors had long ago been painted over in a flat pastel scheme—I believe in the 50s. I agree that the Golden Gate is long overdue for a fine 1920s repainting throughout, of the sort that a company like Evergreene Decorative Painting does so perfectly. (no, I don’t work for them, but have seen many examples of what they’ve done in theatres)

robboehm on August 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I don’t know whether the marquee and the vertical are supposed to be brown, but they sure look that way. The interior is also dreary despite some good architectural points. What a difference a creative paint job would do. The place is really depressing, no matter how lively or colorful any stage presentation might be.

Michael D. Jackson
Michael D. Jackson on May 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I first stepped foot in the Golden Gate to see a sit down production of ANNIE in 1981 when I was 12. It was magical to me. I was not aware of how bad the area was because we got out of a cab right in front of the theater. That was my first experience inside a big theater like that and I have vidid memories of it. We sat in the front of the Loge seating area. Not many theaters have a section that uses that title. In New York that area is always called Front Mez. I didn’t know it was built as a movie theater primarily, but obviously it was built to allow for live stage shows because it handles all the biggest touring Broadway shows. I guess it was due to the popularity of Vaudeville that so many movie palaces were built as full stage theaters. Over my teen years I returned to the Golden Gate often to see other musicals and the area was always bad. I’m amazed that nothing has been done to clean it up since other areas not far away are pretty nice.

iatse311 on May 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

took some pics last weekend, my fave is the descending/ascending windows balconies…did not see any neon but the spamalot run had not started yet and the theater was “dark"
View link

GaryParks on March 19, 2009 at 2:39 am

While ordering tickets online the other day to the upcoming “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at the Golden Gate, I noticed that SHN has a dusk view of the Golden Gate on their site, and it looks like the letters on the Golden Gate vertical signs are lit. This may be just a photoshop job. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether neon has indeed (rightfully) returned to the letters on the Golden Gate’s verticals? I will likely not be by the theatre until we see that show in May, and I’m itching to know if it was just a bit of photoshop wizardry fulfilling my wishful thinking, or if indeed this refurbishment has very recently been done. I do know that plans are underway to refurbish the whole office block portion of the Golden Gate. I hope the signs can be part of that. I would not complain at all if the letters “SHN” were placed in the blank spaces at the top where “RKO” was once written.

LuisV on February 4, 2009 at 11:28 am

There’s no bums in front of it!

LuisV on January 31, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Simon, thanks for your comments. Had I had the opportunity to have actually seen the Roxy, Capitol, Brooklyn Fox, Center, Paramount, Rivoli, Proctor’s 58th Street, the list goes on and on, I would probably still be crying as well for what we have lost in New York.

Alas, my appreciation for movie palaces came later in my life when I realized, too late, how special they were and that they will never be built like this again. As it is, my appreciation for the old theaters grew back in my disco days when many of New York’s best discos were in old theaters. The Saint (Loews Commodore), Palladium (Academy of Music), Studio 54 (Gallo Opera House), Xenon (Miller Theater), Club USA (The Forum). These were all beautiful theaters and I was able to appreciate the architecture from a different perspective than as a moviegoer.

It’s too bad that, ultimately, only Studio 54 was able to survive long enough to be saved. It has since reverted back to the legitmate stage and I have seen many productions there.

The pain of what was lost in New York is tempered somewhat by what we have been able to save and what can potentially be saved. We still have Radio City, The Beacon, 4 out the 5 Loews Wonder Theaters (Paradise, 175th Street, Valencia, Jersey), St. George, Beacon, Apollo, New Amsterdam, Hollywood, Ziegfeld and the Paris. In addition, there are about 2 dozen landmarked Broadway houses many of which have played films in their past. Waiting in the wings?….The Loews Kings, The Brooklyn Paramount, The Liberty and others.

No other city still has this kind of inventory (except arguably Los Angeles). That is why it is so shameful when other cities don’t protect what little they have left. Philadelphia is struggling to protect its lone remaining palace, The Boyd. Most cities, have just one or two restored palaces.

In San Francisco, it’s not just the Golden Gate that needs protection. There are other theaters in the neighborhood but the surrounding neighborhood is just awful. Others have said that SF is hesitant to address the homeless issue because of its liberal values and I think that’s nonsense. Very few cities are more liberal than New York, and this city has cleaned up Times Square and, by law, provides shelter to the homeless which is why it is not very noticeable here. The theaters have to be able to attract clientele and it is difficult for them to do so with such aggressive panhandling and open drug use on the streets. It’s a shame. I feel that if New york could do it (and it was really bad here), any city could do it!