Sutter Cinema

369 Sutter Street,
San Francisco, CA 94108

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Sutter Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Another of downtown San Francisco’s small theatres…The Sutter Cinema opened on May 22, 1970 as an adult movie theatre playing the American premiere of “ZAP”.

In 2008, it is occupied by the Barbizon Modeling and Acting Studio.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 28, 2004 at 6:16 am

The advert I have in the S.F. Chronicle 24th Nov 1976 lists the Sutter Street Theatre playing ‘Live Burlesque’ opening daily at 11am with adult films and live shows daily at 12 noon, 2:30, 5:30 9:00.

scottfavareille on October 17, 2005 at 12:27 pm

It started showing live sex shows as it was losing audience share to the Mitchell Brothers (who themselves later went the “live sex” route) and to a lesser extent DeRenzy (Screening Room, Kearney Cinema, and North Beach Movie, all showing harder edged fare) and Pussycat. It was known that Pickett & Elsters film tastes tended more towards XXX fare that seemed tamer than the competition.

kygemini on January 2, 2006 at 4:57 pm

My husband and I moved from Kentucky to “Frisco” back in the early ‘70’s. We both worked at the Sutter between 1970-71. If memory serves, it was called Sutter Cinema back then. I sold tickets ($5.00 each) and hubby was the projectionist. I was also hired to clean Lowell’s house during that time. Arlene hooked us up with a large rental house in the Mission District. Our housemate was Justin Green, creator of underground comic Binky Brown. Lovin’ the memories.

HarryInSF on July 23, 2007 at 12:06 pm

In the early seventies it was definitely called the Sutter Cinema.

Though I can’t now picture exactly how far down, yes, it was close to the Canterbury Hotel but on the other side of the street.

The Sutter Cinema was a walk-up. Near the top of the stairs was a room with a desk in it. Behind the desk sat a woman who took the money and issued tickets. There was no “ticket window”. (Very vague on this: was there a coffee machine nearby? A small popcorn dispenser? Could be dreaming.)

Though I didn’t personally know anyone involved, I read back then that the woman who owned the place had previously been a performer in x-rated films herself.

Searched today for Sutter Cinema after reading of the death of the last of the Mitchell brothers. Never went to their place though I remember going by it often. Sutter Cinema was a very few blocks from where I lived.

HoH on October 9, 2007 at 7:36 pm

My name is Holiday O'Hara, and I worked on and off at The Sutter St Burlesque Theatre at 369 Sutter St as an ecdysiast from it’s opening week, Nov 1976 till 80 when I went full time as stage manger and theatre manager till 83, when I left as it went “New York Live.” It closed in 84. It’s between Stockton and Grant. More later XOX ~ HOH

HoH on October 15, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Holiday again. What many don’t know about this particular piece of real estate is that it was originally The Forbidden City, a famous Chinese nightclub, in the 1930s and 40s! XOX ~ HOH

Kit on January 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Just watching “Freebie and the Bean” (1974) starring Alan Arkin and James Caan. The Sutter Cinema can be seen clearly in one of the car chase scenes. Many other good views of SF in the film.

wfa1021 on January 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Holiday O'Hara! It’s been YEARS. I remember when Larry and John owned the place and when it burned down. What happened to Stormy Weather?? or Malakamore (sp?)What happened to Judy? Has she written any more books?

gospelover on May 14, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Darn, I wrote a bunch of stuff and it just went away and didn’t post. I’ll try again later.

rivest266 on August 11, 2018 at 11:33 am

This opened on May 22nd, 1970. Ad posted.

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