Strand Theatre

1127 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

Unfavorite 11 people favorited this theater

Strand Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre opened on October 27, 1917 as part of the Grauman chain. It changed hands shortly thereafter and would change hands again in 1925 and 1939.

The West Side Theatre Company operated the Strand Theatre from 1940-1977. With the advent of television in the 1950’s and Market Street starting to decline in the 1960’s, the attendance at the theatre dropped (along with a change in the audience). Programming was triple bills, changed daily, with nightly bingo games.

Mike Thomas and a partner bought the Strand Theatre in 1977. (Thomas would also acquire and operate several other Market Street theatres around this time: the Warfield Theatre, the Crest Theatre, and the Embassy Theatre. He would later start up the independent film distributor Strand Releasing.) Thomas redid the theatre and hired security to help clear out undesirables. In June 1977, Thomas reopened the Strand Theatre with a revival of the Howard Hughes production of “The Outlaw” (which premiered originally down the street in 1943 at the United Artists Theatre aka Market Street Cinema). The show sold out and the Strand Theatre would become a well-known venue for revival cinema. The Strand Theatre also became a popular venue for midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

The mid-1980’s took a toll on the Strand Theatre. Home video took a bite into the revival theater business. Market Street would decline further. Then the October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake would cause the Strand Theatre to close temporarily. (Its neighbor, the Embassy Theatre, wasn’t so lucky, as it was too badly damaged to reopen.) When the Strand Theatre reopened, it was sold to Silver Screen Amusements. (Thomas would still book the theatre.)

In June 1994, the Strand Theatre closed, only to reopen weeks later as a porn theatre showing projected video. The theatre deteriorated even further as it became a haven for crack dealers and hookers. Finally, in early-2003, the city of San Francisco would raid the theatre and shut it down for good. This was also the end to theatres that showed movies on Market Street.

In February 2012, the American Conservatory Theater announced plans to to reopen the Strand Theatre as a 300-seat live theatre.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 75 comments)

davidkaye
davidkaye on March 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Here is a link to a story about the purchase of the Strand by ACT: http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/culturefeed/act-buys-strand-theater-larger-project/

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

A 2012 photo can be seen here.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on October 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

More about the Strand being taken over by ACT..

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2012/10/a_new_act_for_the_long_shuttered_strand_theater.html

hdtv267
hdtv267 on August 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Work is beginning on the ACT renovation of the Strand.

It will be divided into three theatres actually.. From today (8/5/13) SF Chronicle..

“The architectural rendering shows 15 rows of seating, steeply raked, on the main floor and another five rows on the balcony, with boxes to the side. As opposed to 1,025 seats at the main stage, known informally as the Geary and formally as the American Conservatory Theater, the Strand will seat 285. Upstairs will be an ultra-experimental "black box” third stage seating 120"

It’s scheduled to re-open in January of 2015.

Link with details including photos is here, if someone wishes to link up, that would be great, and easier for the other members..

http://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/ACT-to-begin-Strand-Theatre-renovation-4706484.php

GaryParks
GaryParks on March 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

The familiar neon STRAND letters from the marquee are being refurbished at an offsite location, but will be back for an encore at the theatre.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David L. Junchen, pg. 628, there was a two manual, seven-rank Smith theatre pipe organ installed at the Strand Theatre in San Francisco at some point. No date or further details are given.

Where is this organ (or its parts) today?

I do hope this theatre’s renovation turns out for the best, thanks!

kamerachimera
kamerachimera on November 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Strand1978, where can I view your film? I would LOVE to see it.

GaryParks
GaryParks on November 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Until the present renovation, the chamber for the Strand’s organ was still in existence onstage. It was obviously a later addition. It stood Stage Right, and was accessed by a conventional door. The openings where the swell shades had been were still there, though blocked by tongue-in-groove planks. The chamber was used to house Mike Thomas’s film collection, during his tenure as the Strand’s operator.

GaryParks
GaryParks on November 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Renovation of the Strand proceeds apace. It is still at the heavy construction stage, but is starting to move toward the more white-glove aspects of the process. The large theatre has had its new concrete risers for seating, as well as the balcony, framed and poured. It is now possible to get a good idea of how the space will appear. Restoration work on the original auditorium ceiling and sidewalls has not begun yet, but they are still there, with their simple cornice moldings and ornamented ventilation grilles preserved. Lest anyone be disappointed that there is no historic proscenium visible in the reconfigured house, be assured that there was nothing back of the later screen left to restore. The plaster of the proscenium all fell off the concrete in the Loma Prieta Quake, and had simply been covered by a quick troweling of plain plaster. The new proscenium is quite a few feet forward of the old, though structurally, the old one still exists in concrete form. Speaking now of the forward portion of the building, the views out the upper story windows of the Market Street scene are going to be wonderful. Originally this vantage point was available only to the people who lived and worked in the Strand, now many people will get to enjoy the view.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater