1518 Franklin Street,
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Previously operated by: Blumenfeld Theater Circuit
Previous Names: Bishop Theatre, Fulton Playhouse, Newsreel Theatre, Telenews Theatre
This theatre opened as the Bishop Theatre in 1916, became the Fulton Playhouse in 1918, then Franklin Theatre (#2; as there had been a previous Franklin Theatre some time earlier). It became the Newsreel Theatre on October 21, 1939. the Telenews Theatre on July 18, 1941, and Franklin Theatre once more on May 27, 1943 until its closure a decade later.
Eventually demolished, the site was a parking lot for many years, but is now occupied by the AC Transit headquarters.
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The Franklin opened as a playhouse, the Bishop, under the management of Henry W. Bishop and contained a revolving stage. In 1918, Bishop sold out to George Ebey (who had previously managed the Oakland Orpheum) and dancer/actress/scenario writer Maude Fulton and renamed the Fulton (after Maude Fulton). Under that name it became the chief legitimate theater in Oakland, operating as a “one-week run” playhouse until 1926, when “The Best People” ran for 10 weeks and “The Patsy” for 13 weeks the following year; afterwards plays ran as long as their popularity and the market would allow.
The theater was purchased by Henry Duffy (of Dufwin [q.v. as Roxie]Theatre fame) on August 9, 1929, but Duffy’s efforts failed; by the following year Ebey had resumed control but the Fulton closed in 1931, reopening as a short-lived stock company showhouse in 1932. In 1935 it reopened as the Franklin, a motion picture house under the Carroll-Blumenfield management. In 1937 Carroll retired and was succeeded by Laws. The Franklin would spend the remainder of its operating life as a first-run movie house. Its final years (post-1942) were as the Telenews (not to be confused with the Telenews [q.v.] on Broadway and 19th Street a few blocks away).
The Franklin Theater seated 813 people.
All the news plus coffee and doughnuts. From the Oakland Tribune, 10/20/39:
Opening tomorrow at noon, the Franklin Newsreel Theater will fire its first entertainment bombardment. Thirty or more minutes of the latest news, plus one full-length picture, “War Clouds Over Europe,” starring Laurence Olivier and Valerie Hobson, three short subjects, a musical reel, cartoon and novelty subject will provide two hours of the grandest show you have ever seen
In the lobby of the Franklin Newsreel Theater The Tribune’s exclusive A P. Wirephotos will be on display as a service to its patrons. Here you will see the latest happenings from “coast to coast in six minutes.” Another novel innovation of this newsreel theater will be the free coffee and doughnuts served in the lobby, every day, from noon until 2:30 p.m.
Opened August 27th, 1914 1914-Franklin Theater grand opening Thu, Aug 27, 1914 – Page 7 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · Newspapers.com
Reopening as the first Telenews theatre in Oakland on July 18th, 1941. Telenews theatre opening Fri, Jul 18, 1941 – Page 24 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · Newspapers.com