San Francisco Adult Movies
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Sandwiched between the old Astor and Victoria Theaters smack in the middle of Times Square, this short-lived and tiny basement porn pit was opened in May of 1972 by N. Carroll Mallow in space that had been previously occupied by the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Wax Museum.
Mallow also operated the Paree Adult Cinema and Live Show on Seventh Avenue and 51st Street and as with that theater, patrons of the San Francisco were solicited to adjourn to the back rooms for private “body rubs”.
Police raided the theater one afternoon in August of ‘72, removing signage from the street level entrance and lobby that advertised “Adult Movies in bright, bold living color and stereo sound” and “New live show for ladies and gentlemen over 21”. Customers, who paid $3 admission, continued watching the show unfettered, since no films were seized in the raid; however, the activities on street level attracted a bemused crowd of businessmen, tourists and matinee theatergoers.
Sporting hastily hand-written signs proclaiming “Porno Movies Last Days” and “Last Days of Hardcore Porn”, the theater was finally evicted on December 8th 1972, in the wake of the Lindsay Administration’s crackdown on mid-town porn. The site - in fact the entire block front between 45th and 46th Streets running halfway back to Eighth Avenue and including five historic movie houses and legitimate theaters - was pounded to dust in 1982 to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
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The excellent documentary “Inside Deep Throat” contains some archival footage of the August ‘72 raid on the San Francisco Adult Movies I described in the intro above.
Here’s a screenshot image I snagged from a cable TV showing of the film showing a police crowbar about to pry some of the signage off of the facade above the cinema’s entrance.
Here’s another image of signage coming down from above the outdoor box office. Other footage of this raid (too blurry and quick cut for me to capture) includes a policeman ripping down a crudely handwritten sign (in colored marker) on thin paper from a vestibule sidewall advertising the “stereo sound” and “bright bold living color” adults-only presentations within.
Why was it called San Francisco?