Theatre St. Francis
333 Geary Street,
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The Theatre St. Francis was opened on October 20, 1916 with Pauline Frederick in “Ashes of Ember”. It was designed in an Art Nouveau style by architect N.L. Josey. A feature was the location of the screen behind the facade, so that patrons walked away from it when entering the auditorium. The more familiar St. Francis Theatre on Market Street was called the Empress Theatre at this time, and would soon be renamed Strand Theatre, becoming St. Francis Theatre in 1925, as the Theatre St. Francis here described had already closed c.1919.
It has been Lefty O'Doul’s restaurant for longer than most people can remember, but a look at its upper facade reveals what is unmistakably a wonderfully theatrical-looking assortment of ornamentation. Presumably, some remnants of the theater’s interior exist above and behind the present restaurant interior.
My thanks to Jack Tillmany’s research for these facts.
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