Historic Theatres


Photo of the Castro Theatre, San Francisco CA by BWChicagoHistoric Theatres in Modern Times

No matter what city I’m in, I enjoy seeking out historic theatres for viewing feature films. In Chicago, I love the Music Box; in Omaha, I frequent The Dundee; here in San Francisco, I really enjoy the Castro.

A lot of care goes into their programming schedules: they offer classic films, Midnight Movies, film festivals, new independent films, and, sometimes, the new Hollywood blockbuster (with 3-D). The theatres are usually beautiful and elegant, and a nice change from the hustle and bustle of multiplexes. Even the popcorn just somehow tastes better.

Theatres of the Past

A new book, Theatres of the San Francisco Peninsula, explores the history of movie houses in this region. Jack Tillmany (author of Theatres of San Francisco) and Gary Lee Parks (board member of Theatre Historical Society of America) have thoroughly researched the topic, amassing a collection of vintage photographs and histories of theaters--many which are long gone. From the small town of Brisbane with its 330 seat Brisbane Theatre to the Redwood Drive-in, with a 1,300 car capacity, the fascinating book covers a wide variety of cities and theatres.

Still Standing

Of the theatres covered in the book, two are still in operation: the Stanford in Palo Alto and the Fox Theatre (site of this year's Packing for Mars - One Book, One Community Event) in Redwood City.

Photo credit: BWChicago


Author Bio:

Karen Choy is the temporary branch manager of the Brisbane and Atherton Libraries.

Sign In