Centre Theatre

1071 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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ramonv
ramonv on March 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I worked at the Centre in the summer of ‘82. Kind of sleazy at the time. I covered the register when Dave would take breaks, mop the lobby, and change the marquee every week.
I also helped to clean up the basement. It was like a moment frozen in time, but a mess. There were classic movie posters in glass frames stacked 4 or 5 feet high, filling one room. Bogart movies and such. I got a lobby card from a marijuana propaganda film (Devil’s Harvest), which I sold on ebay for $400, and a nice War Bonds poster, signed on the back by a bunch of people who had attended a party at the theatre. I didn’t recognize any of the names, but still have the poster. One room was filled with items from a WWII era novelty or drug store. Tubes of shaving cream, polarized 3D glasses, boxes of sparklers, old girlie calendars, an Alberto Varga Esquire pin-up calendar, and other junk. There was a Victrola with a broken leg, an old Coca-Cola light-up sign, all the letters and numbers for the snack bar menu sign, etc. We had like a week to clean up before the Fire dept came. I hope someone saved some of those posters. I took home what I could carry on BART. Upstairs there was an office with what we referred to as the “casting couch” just outside. It was really a pretty cool old building, and I was lucky to have been able to see more than just the lobby and sticky-floored theatre area.

GaryParks
GaryParks on January 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I walked by the former Centre yesterday. A very nice bike shop now occupies the space. The original terrazzo floor of the theatre’s entrance is now fully on view. Brass holes for rope stanchions are still to be seen, sunk into the terrazzo. The bike shop management has the theatre’s little safe on display. Some of the terrazzo of the Guild/Pussycat next door is visible as well, though not nearly as much as what one can see at the Centre.

seymourcox
seymourcox on May 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I went inside the Centre one foggy evening in the late 1970s. It had a nice lobby with gold carpet and gold drapes covering one wall, and a compact concession stand. A tall, tanned, blond, handsome doorman wore a crisp gold uniform with gold fringe epulets. He was very friendly. When entering the one isle auditorium patrons encountered a steep ramp with stadium type walls rising on either side that blocked the view of back rows. At the top of the ramp a gentle slope ran down the isle to double exit doors located below high the screen. Staight couples filled up back rows, performing all kinds of sexual activity.

DonLewis
DonLewis on March 5, 2009 at 5:40 pm

1940s newsprint add for the all western Round-Up Theater in San Francisco.

danwhitehead1
danwhitehead1 on October 10, 2007 at 3:19 pm

I think I noted on the page for the Guild (which was immediately next door to this house) that Lippert had offices, perhaps their main headquarters, in the office building above the Guild on the 4th or 5th floor. You could easily see that they had been very nice offices.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on October 10, 2007 at 2:54 pm

In another thread (the Hitching Post in Hollywood), it was mentioned that during the Centre’s days as the Round-Up that Robert Lippman was involved in the theater. (Lippman did operate a film distribution office nearby & is best known for a lot of interesting B-films, both as a producer & as a distributor/importer.)

danwhitehead1
danwhitehead1 on March 16, 2007 at 6:53 pm

I took care of all the projection equipment in this theatre from the time that Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres took it over in, as well as I can remember, about 1985 up until the time it closed. I also took care of the Guild next door for the same company. The main fuse box for this theatre, way down in the deep, dark basement was still marked “Roundup”.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 9, 2006 at 4:18 pm

I found the UA. Here is an undated photo of the Centre:
http://206.103.49.193/sf/htm/sf026.htm

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 6:45 pm

Where is the UA Theater listed? I checked the UAs and didn’t see one in San Francisco:

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 6:07 pm

From the SF Public Library website:

View link

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on October 24, 2005 at 7:12 am

One more comment, the marquee was V-shaped, not a flat marquee. I am guessing the marquee was changed between 1964 & 1968 (when the Centre played Love Camp 7).

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on October 24, 2005 at 7:11 am

The marquee and the entrance area to the theater (and also the entrance area to the Guild next door) are seen in the 1964 film “The Erotic Mr Rose”. The marquee shows the theater playing “Nude Las Vegas” & “The Christine Keeler Story”, the coming attactions has “Nudes on Credit” (ironically directed by the same director). The ticket booth is seen & a “No one under 18 years admitted” sign is under the booth.

In that same film, the main character has anewspaper ad from the SF Chronicle, the Centre is advertised as showing “BO-O-I-N-G” (a nudie-cutie fron that era).

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on October 17, 2005 at 12:19 pm

No marquee there now. It is a retail store.

robertgippy
robertgippy on June 5, 2005 at 6:43 pm

I went to the Centre theatre on my 18th birthday to see Deep Throat! Nice little lobby, with a candy counter and the entrance to the auditorium was on the left. When you walked in a single aisle went all the way down to the screen with seats on both sides. Place was packed! murals of mule teams were on the walls, with great looking light fixtures. Long and narrow, and a bare screen on the walls, no curtains or anything. Last time i saw it,it was a store, but the marquee was still there.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on January 20, 2005 at 3:37 pm

During the run of The Stewardesses, the Centre was operated by Louis Sher’s Art Theater Guild. It looks like this lasted until the early 1970’s. (In researching old newspaper ads, a lot of Sherpix distributed product played here.) FYI, a company is working on a DVD release of The Stewardesses to come out in 2005 in 3-D!

Deep Throat’s first “Market Street” run was here as well in late 1972. (Deep Throat first played San Francisco in July 1972 at the Presidio in the Marina district.)

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on October 11, 2004 at 1:08 pm

On Brian’s May 17th post, a correction. The theater showing “A Few Dollars More” was the Guild, which was next door to the Centre. The Centre did not have a vertical marquee at that time and the Centre was strictly showing “adults only” films. (The Centre started doing that in 1960 with a long run of “The Immoral Mr Teas”)

RobertR
RobertR on May 17, 2004 at 7:42 am

I never saw a huge vertical like that UA.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on January 13, 2004 at 3:53 pm

In 1969, the film The Stewardesses premiered here, which was a soft-X 3-D film that (for a time) became the largest grossing 3-D film! Shortly after it started its run, the theater was raided, but the prosecution attempt was unsuccessful. The film played at this theater for nearly a year!

During its hardcore days, it would often share film booking engagements with the Presidio theater in the Marina district. (And in the late 1970’s-mid 1980’s, the Towne theater in San Jose as well.)