Paris Theatre

779 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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stevenj on December 6, 2013 at 9:22 am

Mr Senda’s 2006 comments on the location are slightly off. The Bank of America building to the right of the now gone Paris Theater is the historic Humboldt Bank Building. The Men’s Wearhouse currently occupies the ground floor. The Ross store he mentions is at the southeast corner of 4th and Market and in a building built on the site of the demolished State (California) Theater. Currently a coffee shop sits right where the Paris Theater once stood and to it’s left is Yerba Buena Lane, a pedestrian promenade leading south to Mission St.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

The Portola Theatre rated several lines in a July 15, 1916, article about San Francisco’s movie theaters in The Moving Picture World:

“The Portola theater on Market street, near Fourth, is one of the most interesting houses in the city. When first opened it was devoted to vaudeville and moving pictures, but has been showing the latter exclusively for several years. Under the able direction of Eugene Roth it was been made a great success with its never varying policy in regard to prices and the selection of attractions. It has a seating capacity of 1,100 and has shown many of the greatest films produced, at ten and twenty cents. So marked has been the success of this house that a company known as the Market Street Realty Company has been formed to erect a moving picture theater at Fourth and Market streets with a seating capacity of about 3,000, this house to be one of the finest in America. This company has taken over the Portola theater, as well as the Market Street theater, two blocks further up the street. This latter house, which has been conducted since its erection by Hallahan & Getz, has a seating capacity of 1,100, so that when the new theater is ready Mr. Roth will have charge of three houses within two blocks, with a total of about 5,200 seats.”
The proposed theater at Market and Fourth opened in November, 1917, as the California Theatre, and was later known as the State Theatre.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on August 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 13, 2011 at 4:19 am

I’ve been unable to discover the original architect of the Portola Theatre, but the February 27, 1918, issue of Building and Engineering News said that architect Alfred Henry Jacobs had prepared plans for a $5,000 renovation of the house, to include redecoration, new marble and tile work, and some plumbing.

raybradley on October 28, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Other vintage views as seen beside the California (AKA-State) Theatre -
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Rodney on October 28, 2007 at 11:34 am

Adult film “FLESH and LACE” must have been quite the controversial boxoffice blockbuster for photos to be made of theatres exhibiting it. Below is a photo of the Sooner Theater (a former WB house), Oklahoma City.
OKC Sooner c1966 -
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SF Paris c1966 -
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GSenda on May 12, 2006 at 6:35 am

Where the Paris stood is now the back entrance to a hotel.

The former Bank of America branch is now a Marshalls or Ross store and an atm is in the wall.

For years this site stood vacant and boarded up.

George Senda
Concord, Ca.

kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 2:24 pm

Another photo from the same source:

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kencmcintyre on December 12, 2005 at 4:28 pm

Here are some photos of the Portola and its successor:

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kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 6:20 pm

From the SF Public Library website:

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Broan on December 14, 2004 at 1:46 am

Here is a July 22, 1966 sidewalk view of the Paris from the Cushman collection

scottfavareille on May 15, 2004 at 10:05 am

During Farros' run of this theater, it strictly played “adults only” fare. (Farros was also a distributor of “adults only” exploitation fare and is better known by exploitation film historians as one of the “forty thieves”, along with other stalwarts as Kroger Babb and Louis Sonney. Sonney’s son, Dan Sonney, co-founded the Pussycat theater chain with Dave Friedman, who after starting as a publicist for Paramount, became a distributor for Babb and then a film producer.)