Gay Theatre

400 S. First Street,
San Jose, CA 95113

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The Gay Theatre as Angels Nightclub

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in June 1948 in a building which was once a garage, this theater was named after the daughter of the promoter who conceived it. The Gay Theatre was the southernmost anchor of downtown San Jose’s South First Street theater district.

In the 1970’s, the Gay Theatre became the Pussycat Theatre, joining that chain of adult theaters, and in 1989, with the ongoing revitalization of downtown, it became the F/X nightclub, and the marquee was restored.

Unfortunately, with the more recent incarnation as The Usual, another club, the marquee was severely altered and stripped of neon, making the building appear more…well, usual. Later occupied by the club Spy, today the building is the nightclub, Angels Ultra Lounge & Cabaret.

Contributed by GaryParks

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

WendyHB on October 10, 2004 at 8:04 pm

I saw ‘Deep Throat’ at the Pussycat in 1973. We had a field trip from the San Jose' State drama department: ‘Bring your own trench coat and slouch hat.’ We also brought black strips of paper to obscure our eyes in photographs in case of a raid (a la ‘Confidential’ and other old Hollywood scandal rags).

dave-bronx™ on October 10, 2004 at 8:27 pm

Wasn’t the Pussycat chain owned by Rosemary Clooney’s husband? (I forgot his name)

scottfavareille on October 11, 2004 at 1:01 pm

This theater was raided in July 1973 for showing Deep Throat after a judge’s order in which the theater was ordered not to show it for reasons of obscenity.

To my knowledge, neither Dan Sonney, Dave Friedman(original Pussycat founders) nor Vince Miranda(who owned the chain most of its life) were related by blood or marriage to Rosemary Clooney.

dave-bronx™ on October 11, 2004 at 6:55 pm

Cool, that’s an urban legend shot put to rest – I’d heard that one for years…..

tbdavid on November 30, 2004 at 6:01 am

Vince Miranda was my God father.He was NOT married to Rosemary Clooney!! However, he was very good friends with Rosemarie (The Dick Van Dyke Show).She was a great family friend. It was printed in some gossip rags like Rona Barrett’s that they were dating. That too is untrue.Although…they both went on the Mike Douglas show and stated otherwise.
He was a great guy , and I miss him very much.I have been putting together a collection of pussycat memorbilia…if any of you out there have any photos, letters , or even storys..Please let mr know.

Tim David

GaryParks on January 4, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Yet another incarnation for the Gay Theatre: It is now called Angels. There is pink neon on the marquee for the first time since the Pussycat days, as well as a pair of stylized angel wings made of thousands of silvery sequin-like disks, which move and shimmer in the breeze. Not a bad design at all, though the original marquee look is sorely missed.

decoteau on July 17, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Interesting article on PUSSYCAT….
View link

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 7:26 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

kencmcintyre on January 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

This is from a few years ago. The related website has also gone kaput, so I think it’s curtains for the nightclub.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2010 at 1:07 am

The Gay Theatre was opened a year earlier than the intro currently says. Boxoffice of May 1, 1948, said that Bert Kennerson’s new Gay Theatre at San Jose would be ready to open about June 1. Boxoffice of July 10 said the house had opened, that the $55,000 house seated 600, and that its opening had brought the total number of theaters operating in San Jose to twelve.

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