Embassy Theatre

1125 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Showing 1 - 25 of 31 comments

rivest266 on July 31, 2018 at 10:51 am

Embassy again on August 31st, 1933. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on July 31, 2018 at 10:35 am

Became Warner Bros. on February 7th, 1931. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on July 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Reopened as Embassy on November 3rd, 1927. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on July 29, 2018 at 10:31 am

Grand opening ad as American in the photo section.

stevenj on July 27, 2015 at 11:30 am

I recently bought a scanner and have started going through 55+ years (got my first camera at age 8) of slides and negatives to digitalize. Was surprised to come across several B&W photos I took of the Embassy’s front entrance in March 1977 and have posted 2 of them in the Photos section. Maybe someone knows the lady in the box office? I believe that the ticket taker is manager Dan McLean (who also would spin the 10-0-Win wheel at evening shows).

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm

rds3000: The ticket stub might have been stuck in someone’s pocket for months before being pulled out and dropped into the unfinished wall. It’s an interesting mystery, and a person might make up any number of stories about how the ticket stub got there.

But I doubt that anyone spending $70,000 to remodel a theater would have been so thrifty as to store for several months a few rolls of tickets with the old name on them just to save a few dollars.

rds3000 on August 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

We just found a 10 cent ticket stub from the American Theater inside the walls of my house that I’m remodeling in the outer Sunset in SF. The house was build in 1917, so I wonder if they used the old American tickets for a while after it became the Rialto, or what?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

Here is an item about renovations from the March 25, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The announcement is made that the Rialto theater, on the site of the old American on Market street, will be opened early in April, when improvements costing in excess of $70,000 will have been completed.”
An article about San Francisco’s movie theaters in the July 15 issue of the same publication had a slightly longer item about the Rialto:
“The latest and one of the largest houses to enter the downtown field is the Rialto theater on Market street, above Seventh. This theater occupies the site of the old American and is conducted by the Western Theater Company, under the management of Howard J. Sheehan. It has a seating capacity of 1,600 and is showing a Metro program, with an International Film Service serial and news pictorial at ten, twenty and thirty cents.”

Foreverman1 on November 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I worked at the Embassy Theatre back in 1980-1982 before I moved to Seattle. I was an 18 year old kid living in the streets and the owner took me under his wing and gave me a job. I pretty much took care of everything except ticket sales and projection booth at nights there. I hated leaving but I didn’t like the way San Francisco was changing and I moved to a better city. We played lots of old classics there.Brings back many memories. R.I.P. Embassy Theatre…Mike From Seattle…

CSWalczak on September 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm

No doubt something could be done, but, sadly I doubt if anything will. Much as I dearly love San Francisco, there seems to so little interest in or resources made available there for the preservation of their classic theaters. The City essentially signed the death warrant for the St. Francis theaters last week. It was not that long ago that the Coronet bit the dust. The Clay is on life support. Various projects are threatening the New Mission and the Divisadero. It is really a depressing situation there.

chrisjones on September 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

The last two photos are fabulous. Whenever I pass The Strand now, in its delapidated state, it angers me that an icon of the city has been left in this manner… Can nothing be done to resurrect it?

carolgrau on November 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Poor place was doomed from the very start, to bad I’ll bet she was a beauty.

wolfiewolf on August 29, 2006 at 12:51 pm

I watched the men tear down this beautiful old theater. It was Evans Brothers Wrecking Company, and they did it with a crane with a clamshell bucket. I also watched as the excavator operator wrapped a cable around the seats in the balcony and pulled the cable and the seats came tumbling down. It was cool to watch. (His name is Mark and he is very cute and delicious to watch him work in the cab of his CAT excavator.)

I also saw the spinning wheel in the pile of debris at the site.

I also remember seeing a beautiful art deco light fixture that hung in the center of the theather. I asked the crane operator Bill if he could save that, and he just looked at me, smiled and said, nah, too tough to get down. One day I went by and that light fixture was gone, probably smashed into the pile of rubble. That was so sad.

George75 on July 19, 2006 at 9:36 am

In the mid-1980s I was a regular at the Embassy, Strand and St. Francis. There were lots of weirdos every day, which meant the entertainment was both on the screen and in the audience. I consider these three cinema closures to represent the end of an era.

kencmcintyre on June 5, 2006 at 6:51 pm

There is a 1979 photo of the Embassy on this site, as well as information about the status of other SF theaters:

GSenda on May 12, 2006 at 4:18 am

I spent a lot of time in the 60s and 70s in here and next door at the Strand.

I never won or came close to winning the Ten-O-Win but can still remember the cries of “Main Floor” as the uniformed girls/women ran down the center aisle to pay people for their winning tickets.

The place was always packed and showed 3 movies for an incredibly cheap price.

George Senda
Concord, Ca

guillyca on April 19, 2006 at 7:28 pm

The place was run down, the employees could be a bit crabby & homeless people scattered about sleeping. I wouldn’t have traded it, I remember paying $1 before 11am to see a triple feature & the shorts they played were funny such as the nude sking. :)

kencmcintyre on December 21, 2005 at 4:18 pm

Here are two photos from 1929:

View link

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kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 3:52 pm

A better view of the theaters on Market Street, from the SF Public Library:

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kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 3:49 pm

This photo shows the Embassy on the right and the Fox on the left. If you have good eyes, you may be able to spot the Paramount, the Orpheum and the United Artists theaters as well:

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kencmcintyre on December 11, 2005 at 7:27 am

Here is an early photo of the America, from the SF Library. After the Iroquois Theater fire of 1903 in Chicago, which resulted in 602 deaths, many buildings went out of their way to advertise that they were fireproof and “safe”.

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robertgippy on June 10, 2005 at 9:28 am

i just had to make another comment. I loved the way, during the Ten Win Game, Dan McClean would say “if you’d like a big bag of popcorn absolutely free, just head to the candy counter right now, where it is all sacked up, nice and hot with lots of creamy butter on top.”

robertcampbell on April 15, 2005 at 8:16 am

I have very fond memories of the Embassy. In 1975, I won the 4th & 10th double win spin, Royal Blue #25. I won $520.00, walked on the stage, and Dan McClean wrote out the check! Yes, I remember you Mary! Dan would always call out the number and you would verify from the box office that the ticket was in the house, it was wonderful. For a extra 50 cents, you were able to sit in the loge, which had beautiful red upholstered seats, you just sank in the cushions. Beautiful murals of vikings on ships on the walls. Before it closed, the loge entrance, which was a ramp and not stairs, was closed off with a iron gate. It was popular with the homeless and the restrooms were filthy. One time during the movie, everyone was coughing for some wierd reason, and a woman yelled out “WHAT IS THIS A F****** COUGHING CONTEST?” What was interesting was that the ramp had beautiful gold guilded iron on the sides, and you could look down to the floor below.

markolivares on January 31, 2005 at 8:17 pm

If anyone remembers the blonde lady who was the main cashier from the fifties through the eighties, thats my mom, Mary Olivares. She later worked at the York, the Strand and finally the Elmwood in Berkeley before retiring last year.