Regal Theatre

1046 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Regal Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Pompeii Theatre opened in 1925. It was renamed Regal Theatre in 1936. In 1974, it became the Bijou Theatre screening adult movies.

Later renamed Regal Theatre, it featured live adult entertainment for many years, but had closed by early 2009.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Tillmany
Tillmany on May 15, 2004 at 11:39 am

The correct name of the theatre is Regal, not Regal World.
It opened in mid-1925 as the Pompeii, and was renamed Regal on February 8, 1936. For nearly thirty years it was one of several popular little Market Street theatres that provided the walk-in trade with good value for their money, worthwhile films, usually geared towards the action market, low prices, and four changes a week; in the mid-1950’s double features became triple features, and, as pointed out above, there were also 6 color cartoons on every program.
When the Mitchell Brothers took over, it was renamed the Bijou on October 30, 1974, but later was changed back to Regal.
Still in operation under the name L.A. Girls, the site now offers lap dancers, but, alas, the color cartoons are gone forever.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 28, 2004 at 2:03 pm

I have it still listed as the Bijou, operated by the Mitchell Brothers in the S.F. Chronicle dated 24 Nov 1976

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 22, 2005 at 10:25 pm

The SF Public Library lists this as being outside the Paramount, but the marquee indicates otherwise:

View link

GSenda
GSenda on May 12, 2006 at 12:35 pm

This theatre used to run 3 films for $1.25 in the 60s.

At one time they ran 3 Godzilla films at once.

You walked by the former box office up a ramp, and bought your ticket inside.

The restroom was the strangest and smallest I have ever seen. It had a urinal which worked like a waterfall, a toilet with a stall and the usual condom machines on the wall. It was so small that 3 people could not fit in it at the same time.

For awhile after it closed as a theatre and reopened first as a peep show booth place, the name Regal Cinema could still be seen done in tile on the tiled front entrance where you used to walk in.

The Regal was further up the street from the current site of LA Girls. I know this because I went into the Bijou a few times. ( which had porn stars of the 70s and 80s appear including Long Jeanne Silver who only had one foot and did incredible things with candles) and then worked as a fill in cashier when it got changed to an adult video store in the late 90s.

Sadly I never thought about asking to look around when it was the Bijou.

George Senda
Concord, Ca

raybradley
raybradley on October 28, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Interior decor was obviousley somewhat all original when this house operated as the Bijou.
The raked lobby was long and narrow with recessed coming attractions display cases along the left wall, while a carnival type concession stand filled up the right side.
Ticket holders entered the auditorium up a steep ramp and proceeded to either walk down a long single center isle, or go right or left where the isle split into two isles running upward along the entrance ramp. Black painted walls were lined with cast plaster, rectangular yellow frames that concealed indirect lighting. Inside each frame was a large plaster bullseye circle (reminding one of the opening credits for WB cartoons in that these circles were painted bright orange, with red highlighted edges). In the center of each circle was a single 10-watt orange light bulb. Navy blue paint dulled an intricate pattern on a gently vaulted ceiling.
Strange as it may seem, the one and only exit consisted of a sheet glass door from which pedestrians could be seen walking past along Golden Gate Ave.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm

This is a 1990 photo from the SFPL:
View link

GaryParks
GaryParks on May 30, 2009 at 5:42 am

The Regal is currently closed. I walked by it last Sunday. The entrance is boarded up. The vertical sign has the name covered over. The entire building’s facade has been painted dark green for quite a few years, and looks dirtier and dirtier as time goes on. Many decorative details still survive. To the right of the theatre entrance, one storefront transom window is surrounded by remnamts of a deco remodel from the Thirties. If one looks closely little geometric embossed patterns can be seen. With a lot of money and care, the whole building could be made quite handsome once again. As I always do when walking along that part of Market Street, I paused respectfully at the little “seam” of surviving terra cotta ornament from the facade of the Granada/Paramount next door.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 3, 2013 at 4:24 am

A photo of the Pompeii Theatre’s entrance and marquee can be seen on this page of the March 6, 1926, issue of Motion Picture News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Here is a 1925 photo of Market Street with the Pompeii Theatre at the left.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on April 25, 2014 at 3:49 am

I do hope this building is conserved so it doesn’t become more run-down, and that this theatre is eventually restored! That would be great!

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David L. Junchen, pg. 628, the “Regal Theatre” (noted in the listing as “Opened as Pompeii Theatre”) had a two manual, six-rank Smith theatre pipe organ, installed in 1926.

Does anybody know what happened to this organ and where it (or its parts) are today? Are there still organ chambers in the theatre building?

Thanks!

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