Victoria Theatre

2961 16th Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

NorCal
NorCal on June 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I remember Lee very well Lake. Please contact me at

theatrebuff333
theatrebuff333 on October 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I remember The New Follies Burlesk in the early 1960s. It was towards the end of the original type of burlesque shows. The strippers still wore “pastes” but every now and then they might fall off. They even had the traditional comedy acts (top banana and second banana and these were quite good. The theatre, as I recall, was quite nice and kept in good condition.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

There were two theaters that bore the name Princess in San Francisco over the years. The one referred to above is probably the theater called the Ellis (on Ellis) and was demolished in the early 1970’s; its entry here on CT is /theaters/7112/. The other one-time Princess ended its days as the Rita (it had several names) and was demolished in 2009; its entry can be seen here: /theaters/7117/. Both were used as churches after they closed.

celaniasdawn
celaniasdawn on May 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

My Husband and I went to the Victoria when it was called the Follies in the 60’s to see Tempest Storm. The burlesque was fantastic, beautiful costumes, very talented women with great singing and dancing acts. There was a full orchestra in the pit and a great time was had by all. A few years later in the early 70’s we went another time, and noticed that the signage was changed to the 16th Street Follies. It wasn’t the same, the acts weren’t as good and they stripped totally nude which they didn’t do before. Burlesque was gone. They also showed hardcore movies, I remember how awful the movie was and my husband didn’t even like it. The above posting by Joe Vogel mentions the Princess Theater. I do remember the Princess Theater, for the life of me I cant remember the name of the street it was on, but it was across town. The building looked exactly like the Victoria, and it was a church and torn down in the 70’s. Next to the Princess was another theater, which looked exactly the princess, but the inside was a dance hall, I believe it was called the Eddy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

This house was listed as the 16th Street Theatre in an ad for architects O'Brien & Werner (Matthew O'Brien and Carl Werner) that appeared in the 1907-1908 edition of Henry’s Official Western Theatrical Guide. The ad listed five theaters designed by the firm. The other four were the Orpheum, Valencia Street, Mission, and Princess theaters.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Nice looking place,Mike check out Cinema Village in N.Y.It is in a new movie.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

“The Laughing Policeman” was no comedy. a gritty cop movie of Dirty Harry style. Haven’t seen it years.In the movie didn’t Mattheau get his young son out of an X-rated theatre was that the Victoria?

darquil
darquil on April 24, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’ve posted information and photos from a recent visit here.

lake95464
lake95464 on August 10, 2009 at 9:14 am

The movie “the laughing policeman” with Walter Mattheau, has a great interior shot of the Victoria. For trivia buffs, in the movie, there is a scene at the Transbay Terminal, showing the Fun Terminal in the background, which was a 24 hour arcade. Parked in front of the Fun Terminal was a 1955 white T Bird Convertible, which belonged to my Aunt Lee Smulling who was a cashier there. She parked in the red zone in front to keep a eye out on it.

StevesNostalgia
StevesNostalgia on March 4, 2008 at 9:30 am

I caught only one film here (sadly only one) as part of a horror film festival a few years ago. I instantly fell in love with the auditorium! Charming is the word. I loved the architecture. I’m looking forward to going back someday.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Here is another photo taken during the bicycle film festival:
http://tinyurl.com/2t3xgy

hadabob
hadabob on April 20, 2006 at 10:00 am

My memories of the theatre date back to late ‘81/early '82 period.
A promoter of punk shows at that time, I once used the Victoria as a venue for a concert. I painted the marquee, helping the owner fix a section of flooring that had deteriorated over the years. What I found interesting was that the wood floor had essentially been laid on dirt as I recall. We removed the section and replaced the joists with railroad ties – then plywood – and reinstalled the seats, which were old and not like the current seats that were popular.

At the time, I also ran the projectors for “ The Great Rock and Roll Swindle ” which was showing there for a limited run. Getting back to the sMy memories of the theatre go back to late ‘81/early '82 period.
A promoter of punk shows at that time, I once used the Victoria as a venue for a concert. I painted the marquee, helping the owner, Robert, fix a section of flooring that had deteriorated over the years. What I found interesting was that the wood floor had essentially been laid on dirt as I recall. We removed the section and replaced the joists with railroad ties – then plywood – and reinstalled the seats, which were old and not like the current seats that were popular at the time.

At the time, I also ran the projectors for “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle“, which was showing there for a limited run.

Getting back to the show that I promoted there, I booked the notorious Black Flag w/ the
Circle Jerks, Code of Honor, which I managed at the time, and several other bands in support. What was unique about the presentation of the bands was the way the groups played in relation to the theatre. Rather than have the band on stage facing the auditorium in the usual manner, the musicians faced the rear wall of the theatre and each group’s drummer who was at the rear of the formation was actually at the front of the stage at the edge of the ‘orchestra pit’. We took the curtains and used them as the backdrop. Respectful of the theater’s history, my concern was to protect the auditorium from the expected rowdy crowd. The patrons entered at the stage door after traveling between the west wall (alley) and the adjoining building. As the concert-goers had the run of the dressing rooms that were located in the basement, the clean up was fairly simple. The title of the show was, naturally, entitled “Backstage at the Victoria”.
Although monetarily I just broke even w/ this interesting production, the show earned
plaudits in Rolling Stone if I’m not mistaken.
It also left w/ me an incredible memory: Policing the ‘backstage’, I would intermittently take a peek out into the auditorium, catching a view of Victorian serenity which was harshly juxtaposed against the violent West Coast underground.

davidkaye
davidkaye on July 8, 2005 at 9:54 am

It’s doing well, but not as a strip club. It houses everything from plays to concerts to animation festivals. It’s also home to the nation’s only transgender film festival, which I think is now in its 6th or 7th year.

robertgippy
robertgippy on July 7, 2005 at 10:06 pm

I remember going to the New Follies theatre, aka 16th Street Follies. It was a blast back then. You paid your ticket and walked in and in the center was the candy counter, with rickety looking wooden staircases leading to the loge and balcony. I remember seeing the SF cops go up there a lot. The strippers were called the Follies Dollies, and had names like Silver Dollar, Lelani, The Snake Lady, and the Human Salad Bowl, she would be wheeled on stage ina gurney and fruits and vegetables were piled on her. The curtains would close and you hear a loud thump when the screen was lowered down. Porn movies were shown in between shows. At midnight all the strippers would come out all at once and bump and grind on the stage, it was a lot of fun. It was boarded up for a few years, then reopened as the Victoria. Horrible location on 16th & Capp which is a drug filled neighborhood. Still open, and doing well.

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on January 30, 2005 at 6:54 pm

Currently showing films.

davidkaye
davidkaye on November 30, 2004 at 1:53 am

It is the oldest continually operating theatre in SF. One look at the front reveals that little has been done with the facade since its construction in 1908. It has one of my favorite exteriors, even though it’s just a workingman’s kind of theatre, not a palace.

tjmayerinsf
tjmayerinsf on November 4, 2004 at 9:48 pm

The Victoria Theater came close to demolition in 1978, when I was a partner in the Roxie Cinema two blocks away. I called Robert and Anita Correa who bought it, restored it, and reopened in March 1979. The Correas still own and operate the Victoria and you can find the Victoria’s schedule of programs at www.victoriatheatre.org

GaryParks
GaryParks on April 8, 2004 at 1:25 pm

This theatre was built circa 1908, not long after the ‘06 earthquake and fire. The man behind its construction was the father of Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, who became Governor of California, and whose son Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. (Mayor of Oakland as of 2004) also became Governor.
At one point, the Victoria was known as the 16th Street Theatre, and a mosaic with this name still exists on the floor of the ticket lobby, with a later, circa 1930 box office partly obscuring it.
The facade of the mainly brick-built theatre is stucco, and done in a Mission Revival style. There is a circa 1930 marquee, which once had neon, and still retains its chaser-light-bordered reader board. There is also a nice vertical sign, which likewise once featured neon, and today has the Victoria name nicely painted.