Orpheum Theatre

1192 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Pantages Theatre interior

Built in 1926 as a part of the Pantages Theatre circuit, the Pantages Theatre was opened February 20, 1926 with Sydney Chaplin in “Oh, What a Nurse” on the screen and six acts of vaudeville on the stage. It was equipped with a Robert-Morton 4 manual, 26 rank organ which was opened by organist Henri Lebel. The theatre sputtered through its first years as a vaudeville house and was sold to RKO. The theatre was reopened on September 6, 1929 as the New Orpheum Theatre and remained a first run movie house for the next 35 years.

The theatre was purchased by Metropolitan Theatres in October 1948. In 1953 it was sub-leased to Cinerama. In the 1970’s, closed briefly, and then reopened in 1977 for live theater. However, this conversion was not a success and it closed again in 1981.

The Shorenstein Hays Nederlander Organization bought the Orpheum Theatre in 1981 and reinvigorated it with the best travelling Broadway shows in the nation. Under their leadership, the Orpheum Theatre has now been going strong for over 20 years.

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

William on July 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Charmion was her stage name, her real name was Laverie Vallee (1875-1949). her art was Vaudeville trapeze artist and strongwoman. She died in Santa Ana, Ca in 1949.

dctrig on October 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Sometime in the ‘90s I saw Mandy Patinkin perform at the Orpheum. As luck would have it a local radio station was giving away free tickets and I snared a fabulous seat.

09825mac on February 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Hello, I saw a posting from FBZ about some small pocket mirrors with vaudeville performer Charmion pictured on them. I collect items with her picture and would be willing to purchase if the owner was interested. Is there any way you or I could contact the owner? Thanks! Jim 973-864-6048

iatse311 on December 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

http://www.psilo.com/dead/showshow.php?band=1&date=1976-7-18 http://www.archive.org/details/gd76-07-18.sbd.bertha.14838.sbeok.shnf

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.

gill on March 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

A 1928 photo of a very different San Francisco Orpheum Theatre appears on the historic-memphis.com website. Here’s a link to the page.

terrywade on August 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

This was the San Francisco home for CINERAMA in the 50’s and 60’s. What a nice huge curved screen that came out off the stage.

spectrum on July 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

The San Francisco Orpheum that Gill refers to in the March 2 email, is the earlier Orheum (built 1887, 2,200 seats) which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. It is picture number 30 in that big set – left hand size at the bottom.

stevenj on January 2, 2016 at 6:38 pm

An exterior facelift appears to be in progress. Photo added.

stevenj on October 29, 2019 at 1:53 pm

There seemed to be some interest in seeing souvenir programs added to Photos so I unearthed the 5 I had, photographed them and added to the appropriate SF theaters I’d seen the films at over the years. Seven Wonders of the World was the first one I bought when I was 8 years old. My father took my sister and I to see this at the Orpheum Cinerama. We were blown away by the huge screen.

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