Paris Theatre

124 University Avenue,
Palo Alto, CA 94301

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Paris Theatre Espresso

Nearby Theaters

Paris Theatre - front

This theatre was located at the beginning of University Avenue down the street from the Stanford Theatre. The Paris Theatre was opened in 1945. On July 27, 1961 it reopened as the Paris Theatre Espresso which had its own coffee bar. The reopening movie was Jean Renoir’s “Picnic on the Grass” (Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe). In later years it was run as an adult theatre by San Carlos Cinemas, which ran the Laurel, San Carlos, Palm, and San Mateo Theatres.

The Paris Cinema was closed in 2000, and was demolished in 2002.

Contributed by Tony Tarantino

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

scottfavareille on August 6, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Closed in the mid-1970’s & spent its last years showing XXX fare (1972-close). It went to XXX fare right before the Palm theater in San Mateo did.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 5, 2009 at 3:37 am

When this theater opened, Boxoffice Magazine’s headline writer apparently conflated the location of the theater with the town its owners lived in. Under the headline “Opens Redwood City Paris” in their August 21, 1961, issue is a brief item saying that Jean Renoir’s “Picnic On the Grass” had been the opening attraction at the new “…Paris Theatre and espresso house….” The owners were named as Mr. and Mrs. Harold Snyder, of Redwood City.

larrygoldsmith on March 7, 2009 at 4:33 am

The Laurel Theatre in San Carlos was operated by Westside/Valley Theatres. The Carlos Theatre was operated by National General Theatres. The San Mateo Theatre was operated by National General Theatres. The Palm was operated by Westside Valley Theatres. The Palm Theatre may have changed owners in the 70’s as I seem to remember, but not positive. There was no connection to “San Carlos Cinemas”, to above mentioned theatres author lists. In fact, I have never even heard of San Carlos Cinemas as ever being a chain of any kind. May have been Paris Theatre by itself. The Paris Theatre was originally opened by a local married couple, they may have sold it in later years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 7, 2009 at 6:26 am

Larry: I found a reference to a chain called San Carlos Cinemas in the March 4, 1974, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The item said that the chain was shuttering the Magnolia Adult Cinema in Larkspur. It looks as though San Carlos Cinemas was the porno outfit that ran the Paris in its later years.

The introduction on this page should be updated to include the information about its early years I noted in my earlier comment.

larrygoldsmith on March 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Joe, You are probably correct. As I now recall, it would seem when Westside/Valley Theatres closed the Laurel Theatre in San Carlos, there was an attempt to re-open the theatre with porn films. This may have been an outfit known as San Carlos Cinemas. The Laurel was a FIRST CLASS theatre while Westside/Valley operated it for many years. Since the Laurel is in a upper class neighborhood, residents threw a complete fit at the thought of porno in the beautiful Laurel. The city listened, and it never happened. It was eventually torn down, and upper scale condos replaced it. The Palm in San Mateo was in the same situation, also operated by Westside/Valley. It would seem porn did go on there for a while, but not long. However, when it comes to the Carlos Theatre and the San Mateo Theatre it was operated by National General Theatres and previous Fox West Coast from the beginning to the day they closed. The San Mateo closed first in about 73, while I was still managing the Fox Skyline in San Bruno. The Carlos closed around 75 or 76. The Fox Skyline and Fox Burlingame and Carlos all closed, by Mann Theatres by 1976. No other operator was ever involved with the Carlos or Fox San Mateo.

larrygoldsmith on March 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Correction to above comment, After visiting the CT Palm Theatre site, it was noted that porno was running there for a long time. It doesn’t seem possible that Westside/Valley had let that theatre go so long ago. A first run house for so many years. I guess time got away from me. It must have been sold or leased back in the early 70’s, when porno was the main attraction there.

rivest266 on July 2, 2022 at 8:38 am

This opened as Paris Theatre - Espresso on July 27th, 1961. Grand opening ad posted. Opened with Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1959).

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