1192 Market Street,
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Orpheum Theatre San Francisco (Official)
Operated by: Ambassador Theatre Group
Previously operated by: Blumenfeld Theater Circuit, Metropolitan Theatres, Pantages, RKO
Architects: Benjamin Marcus Priteca
Functions: Live Theatre, Stage Shows
Styles: Spanish Baroque, Spanish Moorish
Previous Names: Pantages Theatre, New Orpheum Theatre
News About This Theater
- Sep 19, 2008 — Remembering Cinerama Part III
- May 9, 2008 — Theatre Historical Society Conclave To Visit Bay Area
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 the Robert-Morton organ was still in the building in July 1975, but was soon removed. It reopened in 1977 for live theatre. 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. In March 2021 it was taken over by the UK based Ambassador Theatre Group chain.
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Recent comments (view all 47 comments)
A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.
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.
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.
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.
An exterior facelift appears to be in progress. Photo added.
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.
I think this theatre building might the one seen briefly during the opening scene of the movie “Herbie rides again”, showing the building on the right being imploded(among other buildings being shown demolished too).
out of curiosity how long did the roadshow engagement of
Circus World last? I’m not saying the film was Oscar
material but say 2? years ago I watched a first rate HD
transfer on YouTube and found it a colorful entertaining
film. its roadshow engagement in Manhattan ran 14 weeks.
The Golden Gate and Orpheum theaters, two historic performance venues along Market Street in San Francisco, will be taken over by the Ambassador Theatre Group, the British company that also operates the Curran Theater on Geary Street.
Hi Bigjoe59….according to Michael Coate’s chronology of large format and roadshow exhibition list 1953 - present, Circus World ran 13 weeks beginning Dec 21, 1964.