Noe Theatre

3984 24th Street,
San Francisco, CA 94114

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Noe Theatre exterior

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The Noe Theatre was one of the last pre-war theaters to be built in San Francisco and one of the first to close and be torn torn afterwards. It opened on January 14, 1937 with a third-run double feature, “Old Hutch” and “The Case of the Velvet Claws”, and remained a third-run house for the entire extent of its short life. It closed on June 11, 1952, was used as a church for a while, but soon torn down. A supermarket is now located on its former site.

Why the Noe Theatre was ever built in the first place is curious. There had always been a smaller theater or two on 24th Street, but none of them nearly so large. Judging from the late run films booked there, it could never have been considered to be a very important location. With a half dozen houses on Mission Street, a few blocks away, the Castro just over the hill, and a very limited number of local residents within walking distance, the Noe Theatre had three strikes against it before it even opened, and so its early demise probably came as no surprise to anyone.

But barely fifteen years is an awfully short life span for a theater with nearly 1,000 seats in a city the size of San Francisco, where, in typical local fashion, some theater buffs today, who were not even born yet at the time the Noe Theatre was torn down, lament its early demise.

Contributed by Tillmany

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 21, 2005 at 12:54 am

What else has the Majestic at 21st and Mission been called?

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 9, 2007 at 4:07 am

Here are some recollections of the neighborhood from a local:
http://tinyurl.com/2cxg26

Tillmany
Tillmany on June 27, 2008 at 11:23 am

In response to Ken’s above query about the “Majestic” in the photo.
That’s the Majestic Furniture Company, across the street from the former Majestic, later Tower Theatre (qv). When the Majestic Theatre changed its name to Tower, the vertical was moved across the street to enhance the furniture company, and has since been erroneously identified as a theatre in this photo which has found its way into a published book on the Mission District.

Tillmany
Tillmany on August 7, 2008 at 4:35 am

It has been brought to my attention that the supermarket which I stated above had been built on the Noe site is actually at 3950 – 24th Street, somewhat to the East. Office buildings now stand where the Noe once held domain.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2010 at 10:23 am

Architects Otto A. Deichmann and Mark T. Jorgensen were preparing plans for the Noe Theatre, according to Motion Picture Herald of February 2, 1937.

stevenj
stevenj on April 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

The supermarket Tillmany mentions is now a Whole Foods after being part of the Bell Market chain for 3 decades. There is a Victorian house on the lot just to the west of Whole Foods with a coffee shop (Bernie’s) on the ground floor and housing above and the next lot west of that is where the Noe Theatre stood. The current building on that site is a 3 story mixed use building with 2 retail stores (Just For Fun and a soap shop) on the ground floor and 2 floors of apartments above.

celaniasdawn
celaniasdawn on May 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

I was in the Noe once, the inside reminded me of the Palace in North Beach. The ladies room were in the exactly the same area, and looked the same except the drawings on the walls. Even back then parking was hard to find and we were a few minutes late for the movie. It was so cold in there, and hardly anyone was in it. We went to sit upstairs and was greeted by an usher who escorted us to our seats, we were the only ones up there.

JenniferC
JenniferC on April 6, 2012 at 4:16 am

A belated thanks for all the pictures and info about the Noe Theater. My dad lived across the street and went there on Saturdays in the mid-40s. Love seeing some of his history.

noekid
noekid on August 2, 2012 at 6:35 am

I went to the Noe Theatre as a little kid to see “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and it scared me to death. A pre-TV kid who had never known anything but radio was pretty unprepared for the big looming screen. But I soon got used to it and went to the Noe plenty of times after that. I remember a huge advertisement painted on to the side of the building for “Mighty Joe Young” which I saw at the Noe.

Jameslick
Jameslick on February 11, 2014 at 4:34 am

Remember when Johnny Mack Brown appeared in person at “the Noe”? How about when a drunk punched a hole in the screen? Or when the movies were interrupted for bond drives during WW2? Remember the XNoe coffee shop across 24th St.? How about the time that the kids' charge increased from a dime to eleven cents? Remember the drinking fountain in the lobby that was activated with an electric light?

     A magic memorable time ...
                  
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