Esquire Theatre

934 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA

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Esquire Theater and San Francisco Theater Row Venues

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Opened in 1909 as one of the first large size theaters on Market Street. First known as the Market Street Theatre, it was soon to be known as the Alhambra Theatre (1917), the Frolic Theatre (1919), the Cameo Theatre (1923), the Marion Davies Theatre (1929), and finally, the Esquire Theatre (1940) when it came under the management of Blumenfeld Theatres. During the war years it was a popular first run outlet for Universal’s Abbott & Costello comedies, Maria Montez Technicolored ‘Exotica’, and the ever popular Universal horror films which became its backbone.

By the 1960’s, the rangier American-International product took over, and things got pretty seedy. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) construction ended its life in 1972 when it was torn down to make way for Hallidie Plaza, and the new Powell and Market BART station.

Contributed by Tillmany

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

Roloff
Roloff on July 24, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Thanks! I’ll need to update my info.

seymourcox
seymourcox on October 27, 2007 at 2:04 pm

During the mid 1980s I lived in SF and my landlady, who was 90YOA at the time, said W.R. Hearst chose this location for his sweetheart’s theatre because from his office desk he could watch those giant “rosebud” pink neon letters spell out MARION DAVIES.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 27, 2007 at 3:07 pm

According to some sources, Rosebud was Hearst’s pet name for a particular part of Davies’s anatomy. An in-joke for Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.

fmbeall
fmbeall on May 4, 2008 at 7:14 pm

To Ken mc. Your photos from 2005 were of the entrance to the Crystal Market. It was never a theatre. Beyond the signage was a large indoor market which was the delight of downtown food shoppers. It had a large glass ceiling and went all the way back to Mission St. and beyond the buildings over to 8th St. It was torn down to build a huge hotel complex (Del Webb’s Townhouse) which is now being slated for demolition to build new housing.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

OK, thanks for clarifying.

philbertgray
philbertgray on July 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm

In Answer to this comment:

Here is a little more info about The Crystal Market on Market street. It was built as a “super” market sometime in the 1920s and was one of the first and largest supermarkets established . Built on a former circus grounds, the store building was 68,000 square feet, with parking for 4,350 cars.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 20, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Here is a 1942 photo from the new Life collection on Google:
http://tinyurl.com/5d86kn

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Here is another 1942 photo from Life showing the Esquire and the neighboring Telenews theaters:
http://tinyurl.com/5ab9j5

William
William on November 21, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Don’t forget the Warfield Theatre just on the next block on the left side of the picture.

And Win with Warren billboard too.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I think Earl Warren was running for governor at that time.

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