Stanford Theatre

221 University Avenue,
Palo Alto, CA 94301

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Stanford Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Stanford Theatre, a beautiful Greek/Assyrian style movie palace, first opened on June 9, 1925 with Reginald Denny in “I’ll Show You the Town”. It had an original seating capacity of 1,454. Operated by Fox West Coast Theatres, some remodeling was carried out in 1956 to the plans of Gale Santocono.

In 1987, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation purchased the theatre (located in downtown Palo Alto, California) to preserve the historic building and provide a proper setting for exhibiting films from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The Stanford Theatre Foundation was established for the purpose of operating the theatre and promoting the preservation and public appreciation of classic films. Today, the theater’s programming consists of 100% classic films, primarily from the years 1920 through 1965.

Contributed by Cynthia Mortensen

Recent comments (view all 47 comments)

William
William on June 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

The zone code for the street view should be 94301.

pedalmasher
pedalmasher on January 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Heatherwind, I served with your grandfather, Capt. Guy Wathen on the PAPD back in the 60s – he was an amazing, one-of-a-kind man!

Heatherwind
Heatherwind on January 28, 2012 at 5:22 am

Thank you pedalmasher! That’s very kind of you to say. Sadly I only had the opportunity to meet him once before he passed away, but it was a day I’ll never forget. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to respond! :)

pedalmasher
pedalmasher on January 28, 2012 at 6:20 am

If you have the time, please write me at . He was such an amazing person who everyone respected. I’m curious as to when he retired, when he passed away, etc. Did he stay in Palo Alto after retirement? Thanks. Sandy

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

A few 2011 photos can be seen here and here.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on September 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

The Stanford Theatre will be celebrating Universal Pictures 100th Anniversary with a festival that will go on the rest of 2012 and into 2013 a bit I am sure.

The first part of the festival, from 1930 to 1935 (and even some pre 1930) are running now until November 2nd.

Here’s the link for information with the schedule..

http://www.stanfordtheatre.org/calendars/Universal%20Part%201.html

Dramatrauma
Dramatrauma on May 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

Heres a few photos of the interior, bits and pieces from the balcony.

http://s227.photobucket.com/user/Dramatrauma/library/Pasadena%20Rialto%202008/Stanford%20Theater?sort=3&page=1

hdtv267
hdtv267 on May 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Thanks so much for the photos, especially the marquee shot. Might be my 2nd favourite one of the Stanford’s fare. (The first being from an Olsen and Johnson movie playing there)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

The Mighty WurliTizer Theater Pipe Organ in the Stanford, Opus 1825, a 4/20 (manual/ranks, keyboards/sets of pipes). It was originaly shipped to the Loews Theater in Syracuse, New York on January 13, 1928. In 1964 it was sold to a private owner in Glendale, California and in 1965 it was sold to another private owner in San Lorenzo, California. In 1995 it was sold to the Stanford and it is played all the time. Does it now have more ranks?

WurliTizer Church Pipe Organ Opus 274 Shipped to the San Francisco WurliTzer Store on January 16, 1920 and then on to the 1st Baptist Church in Martinez, California was also been sold to the Stanford several years ago, much to the chagrin of a former 1st Babist Church organist. He believes “they bought it for augmenting the installation there”.

There was an organ in the theater when it opened and it was removed. Anyone know anything about that organ or what happened to it?

MK

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

It is wonderful that this theatre is open, showing movies, and also has a theatre organ installed and playing, although I must agree with Mr. Jensen that 20 ranks is plenty large enough (especially for a Wurlitzer), and it doesn’t seem right to take another additional organ and add it to this one, although this sort of thing has happened countless times over the years.

Couldn’t the buyer of opus 274 have found a good home for it, the way it is/was?

Regardless, the “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ”, pg. 628, notes that the Fox Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, California, had a three manual, 10 rank Leathurby-Smith theatre pipe organ installed in 1925. The blower serial # for this organ is 16848, and the blower was 5 horsepower, putting out 10" of wind.

Does anybody know what happened to this organ and where it (or its parts) are today?

Mr. Bob Loesch, of Northern CA, noted on his website (no longer up) that he started out learning to play the theatre organ on a 3-manual 10-rank Smith organ, and provided a photo of the organ’s console on his website. Could this be the same instrument?

Smith appears to have built relatively few three-manual organs (at least seven of them, compared with dozens of two-manual organs), could this be the same one?

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