Fox Orpheum Theater

1730 Broadway,
Oakland, CA 94612

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1922 Moller Organ Console 2012

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in the early 1920’s, this was the original Fox Oakland and stood on Broadway; it became the Orpheum when the present-day Fox Oakland (on Telegraph Avenue; q.v. as Fox Theater) was built.

It remained the Fox Orpheum until it was demolished in the mid-1960’s (reportedly due to BART construction). A large bank building now stands where the Fox Orpheum once did.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

gsmurph
gsmurph on August 31, 2004 at 3:10 am

The Fox Orpheum opened August 25, 1923 as the FOX OAKLAND; it became the FOX ORPHEUM a year later. The style was French Renaissance.

The opening program consisted of Tchaikowsky’s 1812 Overture; “A Mirror of the Living World” by the Fox Oakland News; Voices from the Opera; “Jungle Pals,” a “sunshine comedy” presented by William Fox; “The Silent Command,” also a William Fox presentation (story by Rufus King, scenario by Anthony Paul Kelly) with Edmund Lowe, Alma Tell, Betty Jewel, Florence Martin, Martha Mansfield, and Bela Lugosi; and “The Festival of Progress,” a story of Oakland’s Golden Hour, with Theodore Aldolphus and Ballet.

From 1949-50 the theater was the site of a last attempt by the Fox West Coast chain to revive vaudeville; among the performers were the Will Mastin Trio (featuring Sammy Davis Jr.), Pinky Lee, Eddie Peabody (the “king of the banjo”), Nick Lewis (“the singing troubadour”), Alvino Rey and his Orchestra, and Pat Rooney Sr. However, the effort failed and ended May 30, 1950.

barney5
barney5 on July 15, 2005 at 10:07 am

My father told me in the late 30’s that this theatre had a revolving stage for speed of changing scenes and performers.
shoe2

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 20, 2006 at 4:25 pm

This is excerpted from a 9/15/07 article in the Oakland Tribune. This is clearly a different building, and may not have shown films at all:

The big new temple of vaudeville on Twelfth street, the new Orpheum Theater of Oakland, which for a year has been in the hands of the architects and contractors, today was turned over to the force
of interior decorators employed by the Orpheum Circuit Company to embellish and make beautiful throughout the magnificent house which is to be devoted, hereafter, to the staging of vaudeville shows in Oakland.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 26, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Here is an article from the Oakland Tribune dated 6/8/56:

Orpheum Theater May Be Torn Down for Parking Lot Site

The Orpheum Theater at 1730 Broadway, closed for the past four years, may be torn down to make way for a parking lot. Officials of Fox West Coast to what a Fox spokesman called Theaters met with wrecking company representatives today to discuss possible razing of the 33-year-old theater. Robert Bracken, purchasing agent for the theater chain, said only the theater itself would be razed and the adjoining three-story office and store building would remain.

The theater seats 2,550 persons. It closed in May, 1952, due to a “multiple first run situation.” If the theater is torn down, Bracken said a ground level parking lot with a capacity of about 55 cars will be put in. He said the company will have only its decision in about a week.

Clark Gray
Clark Gray on November 20, 2008 at 8:01 am

I recently completed writing the biography of my great uncle, Bee Ho Gray. He was a Western performer from Indian Territory. He performed at this Orpheum Theater during the week of January 6, 1918.

More information about him can be found at www.beehogray.com

Thanks,
Clark Gray

nnunes
nnunes on July 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm

In the middle or late 1940’s ( I think 1947) my family went there to see a Marx Brothers movie. After the movie, Groucho, Harpo and Chico came on stage and did about a half hour of some of their funny routines, complete with colorful props and scenery. Re3ally enjoyed it.
Norm Nunes

Impressaria Maria
Impressaria Maria on May 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Here are some pictures of the 1922 Moller Organ from the Fox Orpheum in 2012. http://aztecatheater.com/fox_orpheum_moller_organ.html

nnunes
nnunes on May 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Yes, gsmurph, My family and I saw Eddie Peabody on stage there. Must have been about 1949. It was a standard vaudeville production, and I believe he was the final act to come out.

gill
gill on March 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

There is an excellent 1928 photo of the Fox-Orpheum Theatre on the Historic-Memphis.com wesite’s Theatre page. Here’s a link to the page.

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