Carlos Theatre

1224 San Carlos Avenue,
San Carlos, CA 94070

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KimoKaneohe on April 29, 2018 at 3:23 am

I just stumbled onto this thread about the San Carlos Theater! I’m wondering if the “Woman Manager” referenced by ajtarantex was working there in the 1960’s? I was hired by a “Woman Assistant Manager” in 1962/3. The General Manager at that time was Arthur Kloth. He went on to manage the Oakland Fox Theater. Additional Trivia: Arthur Kloth was the inventor of the Popcorn Scoop as reported in Popular Science Monthly, January 1950.

stevenj on May 29, 2017 at 5:46 am

I found all of cmyerson’s blurry photos in the UCLA Special Collections S. Charles Lee Papers online and have added much sharper images to this page. Apparently cmyerson has not seen the requests to re upload them. Also added are 1 exterior photo from the 40’s, a conceptual rendering from Lee, and 2 photos of the demolition and an exterior shot I took in late fall of 1976.

rivest266 on July 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Jan 11, 1941 grand opening ad in photo section.

TomBoucher on June 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm

We lived on Prospect Street and used to ride our bikes to the Saturday matinee. You could get free tickets at the cigar store right across the street. After the matinee, and if there wasn’t a single person in the shop Pat, next door to the cigar store, would give us a haircut even though Saturday was for men only.

I sure was sad to see it gone. I guess Saturday morning cartoons and serial cliffhangers isn’t enough.

larrygoldsmith on January 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

By the way Mitch….. Your mom was working at the FOX in Burlingame when she took a maternity leave….for guess who!!???

larrygoldsmith on January 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Before managing the above mentioned theatres, this same lady was Bill Tannehill’s assistant manager at the FOX THEATRE in Burlingame for many years.During that time my aunt, Ann Campbell was Lou Singer’s assistant at the FOX THEATRE in Redwood City for 12 years.

ajtarantex on January 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm

This was a nice theatre I grew up at this theater My Mom was the first Woman manager for NGC theatres and this was the 2nd theatre, She Managed First she was at the FOX in redwood city then she took over the Carlos from there she went to The FOX Stanford, then Mann Closed all the Fox Theaters on the Peninsula. I loved the Carlos it was a very busy theater when it was booked. I remember we played WILLARD to packed houses daily. then Eureka Federal Savings bought the property and tore the teater down and built the entire corner downtown with office buildings and the bank and a penthouse living space.

seymourcox on July 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

1946 LIFE interior photos of the Carlos,
View link

larrygoldsmith on May 24, 2009 at 4:03 am

In the 60’s, I don’t think there was any Bay Area theatre that did'nt have the same thing going on EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT.

Kiddie Matinees you mention was a standard at ALL Bay Area Fox Theatres. Some Fox houses ran those “strip ticket” shows even in the winter, but only on Saturday mornings before regular matinee shows.

Better yet, do you remember when Broadway Markets sponsered Kiddie Shows, when they gave the tickets away for free???

SteveNY on April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

In the 1960’s strips of matinee tickets were sold at a low price in elementary schools in San Carlos and Belmont just before summer vacation began. Kids could go to a weekly show at the Carlos which included two cartoons, a Three Stooges short, and a kids movie. The theater was usually so packed that many kids would have to sit in the aisles and on the steps. There must have been little concern for fire laws in those days!

In the later 1960’s Friday and Saturday nights were rough at the Carlos. Teenagers used to fight and set off firecrackers during the show. This eventually let to a helmeted San Carlos police officer being stationd inside the theater to maintain order.

kencmcintyre on November 19, 2008 at 9:05 pm

This is a 1946 photo from a new collection of Life magazine images on Google:

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Here is a 1965 ad from the San Mateo Times:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 4:49 pm

The Carlos Theatre opened on 10th January 1941 with a seating capacity of 817.

JimRankin on May 25, 2004 at 12:53 pm

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also show in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

stevenj on February 3, 2004 at 4:50 am

The Carlos usually showed 2nd run films after the 1st run engagements had finished in San Francisco. It also featured “kiddie matinees” on Saturday afternoons in the 50’s and 60’s. At one of those kiddie shows in the 50’s the projectionist mistakenly played the trailer for “And God Created Women” instead of the “kiddie film” for the following week. The full house of mainly kids and their mothers shreiked at the sight of all that Bardot flesh!!! Longest running film in the theatre’s history was “Goldfinger” which ran for over 2 months.

William on November 13, 2003 at 2:20 am

The Carlos Theatre was located at 1224 San Carlos Ave..

GaryParks on April 12, 2003 at 10:16 pm

This was the work of S. Charles Lee, the Carlos being one of a handful of Northern California theatres designed by this prolific Southern California architect. Other Bay Area theatres by him include the Vogue in Alameda (now a church), the Hopkins in Oakland (now a video store), and the 1939 remodel of the Rafael Theatre (restored/renovated and operating).

The Carlos had a trapezoidal marquee of a design used on many Fox theatres in the late 30s (other examples of this design were on the Nile in Bakersfield, and the Fox, Watsonville). The facade of the Carlos was simple and unremarkable, but its assymetrically placed soaring sign tower set it apart. On El Camino Real near San Carlos Avenue, there is a little moderne building called the Carlos Club, which has a vertical sign similar to that which the Carlos Theatre had, but MUCH smaller.

The Carlos interior featured swirling floral motif murals illuminated by black light, and a likewise curvelinear covelit ceiling.