Balboa Theater 1964
For having opened for business in 1926, it's too bad there isn't an earlier photo of this theater. Actually there is one I know of, but it doesn't show enough of the building to be worth while.
Balboa Theater 2000
Not much has changed from the photo above except the cars. Although this theater was in danger of being closed due to competition from large multi screen theater complexes, the Balboa with only two screens is still alive and well. The new management believes that neighborhood movie houses are in for a rebirth.
Too bad the first photo didn't include more to the left of the theater, maybe the bakery was there in 1964 too.
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"Original" Balboa Theater 1928.
Shown above is San Francisco's original Balboa Theater. Before the one on Balboa Street was built, there was a Balboa Theater at 1634 Ocean Avenue in the Ingelside district. Opened in December of 1922, it served as the neighborhood movie house until a short time after the new El Rey Theater opened a mere three blocks away, on November 14, 1931. Its name was changed to the Westwood Theater, but it closed the following year.
Ocean Avenue c1924.
This photo of the "old" Balboa Theater was taken from the the corner of Ocean and Faxton Avenues, facing north and east.
Golden Gate Theater 1930
Built in the 1920s at the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Taylor Street, the Golden Gate Theater was a major first run theater. Big-time vaudeville acts and world premiers atttracted many Hollywood stars to their stage.
This 1922 photo is of the original foyer of the Golden Gate Theater.
Some changes were made after a major fire damaged it.
Golden Gate Theater 2001
Looking not too different from the above photo, the GoldenGate Theater, while still in business, is no longer a movie theater. It has for some years now been the venue for The Best of Broadway stage productions.
Portal Theater 1926
Located at 85 West Portal Avenue, the Portal Theater was the forerunner of the West Portal Theater, Empire Theater and Empire Cinema. This photo was taken prior to its Grand Opening; reportedly on December 26, 1926. By 1929, it had been renamed the West Portal Theater.
Empire Theater 1940
In this 1940 photo, the biggest change appears to be the size and shape of the marquee.
Empire Cinema 2000
Although it's been seventy-four years, almost to the day, since the first parton entered this theater buildng, to me it appears little changed from the Empire Theater of 1940. A step inside, however, tells a different story. The once large single screen has given way to three smaller ones. It's called survival.
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