Fox Theatre

2215 Broadway,
Redwood City, CA 94063

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Fox terrazzo

The Fox Theatre was opened on January 5, 1929 as the New Sequoia Theatre, developed by Ellis John Arkush, an owner of a chain of movie houses on the San Francisco Peninsula. Arkush was said to have toured Europe, viewing famous buildings which gave him ideas for the New Sequoia. The building was designed by the Reid Brothers of San Francisco, and featured and Atmospheric Moorish styling in the interior and Gothic Revival styling on the exterior.

Although used from the beginning for motion pictures, the New Sequoia Theatre had a stage for vaudeville and a pipe organ by the Robert Morton Organ Company. A projection machine was provided to show moving clouds and twinkling starts across the ceiling. Hand-carved tiles were used extensively in the interiors. The building was purchased by the Fox West Coast chain in October of 1929, and was used for movie attractions for a number of years.

After a partial collapse of the main auditorium ceiling over the balcony in June 1950, the Fox Theatre underwent extensive remodeling on the interiors, specifically in the auditorium area which was re-done in the Skouras style identified with many Fox movie houses. The new design was done by architect Carl G. Moeller and it reopened on September 15, 1950, with a slightly reduced seating capacity of 1,325.

In 1993, the Fox Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was closed in December 2009, but reopened in September 2010.

Contributed by Peter Berner

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

TLSLOEWS on June 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Nice link thanks for posting.

larrygoldsmith on June 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Great interior photos of the Fox Theatre, brought back so many memories. THANX!

CharmaineZoe on February 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

Some pics of the New Sequoia Theatre in 1930(apologies for quality)
View link
View link

larrygoldsmith on February 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Yes. Those are waaaay old but great pics!

stevenj on February 28, 2013 at 11:07 am

I grew up on the SF Peninsula (San Carlos) during the 50’s and 60’s and the Fox was one of 3 theaters (along with the Laurel and Carlos in San Carlos) that became nearby homes away from homes to escape the parents. During that time the Fox showed mostly 1st run American International horror films and 20th Century Fox releases. The auditorium was in great shape then and quite beautiful. The proscenium was drape covered and lit with alternating colors at intermission. There was a round clock above the left front exit tunnel lit in blue neon and the name of a local nearby car dealer (EZ Davies – who probably paid for it) across the top half. Sneaking up to the balcony without getting caught was the Saturday matinee game we played with the uniformed usherettes (never using the lobby grand entrance but the one to the right of the snack bar). Saw many many Elvis/Christopher Lee/Vincent Price films here.

larrygoldsmith on March 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

The Fox was a beautiful theatre. I feel very fortunate to have worked there for so many years. Still miss it. Stevenj is very accurate with his memories/descriptions.

cmeyerson on October 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Re-opened September 2010 Located in the heart of downtown Redwood City; the Fox Theatre is the premier live entertainment and rental venue in Silicon Valley. Downtown Redwood City has over 60 dining options within walking distance of the Fox for pre or post-event dining. The capacity of the Fox Theatre is 1,348 amongst its three floors. Club Fox capacity is 240 and is right next door to the Fox Theatre, allowing for endless possibilities for public or private events. We also have the ability to book the Courthouse Plaza directly across the street from the Fox, providing open air or tented event experiences for 500 to 1000

Godzilla on March 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Like another member here, I too grew up on The Peninsula watching films at The Fox, The Laurel and The Carlos and The Manor before it turned into a porno theater. As an adult I had the priviledge to work in many theaters including the Fox and the Laurel. I was the manager/projectionist when The Fox finally closed it doors to showing films. If my memory serves me, FAME was the last film we showed that night.

EmpressDR on July 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm

First time I saw a movie (while it was a repretory cinema): Gone With the Wind in the late 1970s probably 1980, and I bought records at Tower Records — about a dozen (including the soundtrack for Empire Strikes Back, I think or maybe Mary Poppins). Also saw Ben Hur (road show) and My Fair Lady when they had a special champagne reception; later they tied-in to a deli next door for dinner and movie (a tiny meal item). I loved going to this theater until it changed management or staff. I was there for the Mae West auction, where I wanted to buy Margaret Hamilton’s shoes from Wizard of Oz or the Shirley Temple doll, but I could afford nothing. I was angry when they chopped out 12 rows of seats for the auctions! The chopped-out areas caused drafts, it was freezing cold, and when I complained a mean usher told me I could just leave if I didn’t like it! Lousy customer service! There were two rotten females in their 20s-30s who were always guffawing and jeering at G-rated movies and ruining my experience. They jeered loudly at the scene in Rocky 3 where Rocky was crying in heartbreak when his manager Mickey died, and they jeered loudly at the Sound of Music where Maria and Georg are dancing and at many other scenes and when I complained, once more a mean usher told me I could leave, so I bet they were relatives of the staff. On New Year’s Day 1983 they were supposed to show Some Like it Hot, but the manager or some man stood outside the theater for hours past the time, then told me the film hadn’t arrived, so I ate at a bad restaurant and got food poisoning, then went to Hyatt Cinema to see E.T. again. That manager in 1983 also covered up for the two mean females on another day, so maybe they were his relatives. I go to movies so I can enjoy the whole experience, to be immersed in the film and its world, what is so hard to understand about that? Others feel likewise, not just me, to fully enjoy a film not to have it ruined by jeering idiots. At the other Redwood City theater, one of the females let a little boy she was with pull at my headscarf and torment me all through a movie and I couldn’t move anywhere because it was crowded. Thanks, jerk managers for wrecking my experience.

larrygoldsmith on July 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm

EMPRESSDR…….You need to stay home….too much drama!

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