Alcazar Theatre

260 O'Farrell Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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rivest266 on August 4, 2018 at 6:40 pm

This opened on May 1st, 1945 as United Nations for those holding conference credentials. It opened to the public on June 27th, 1945. Ads in the photo section.

Ron_Gurich on February 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Those were the days. In 1956-57 my brother and I were ushers at the Alcazar Theatre on O’Farrell Street in San Francisco. I was just 16 at the time and got to see a lot of plays including Anniversary Waltz, Whiteness for the Prosecution, Tea House of the August Moon, The Diary of Anne Frank and many more. I knew every line in the play Anniversary Waltz because it ran for almost a year and of course I knew all the actors too including Marjorie Lord and Mary Jane Saunders. Mary Jane was playing the teenage daughter and was really good. I like her a lot and we uses to go behind the box seats and make-out a little until one day she missed her cue and she was late getting on stage. We both got into trouble for that. Great memories…

larrygoldsmith on December 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Gotta love that marquee in above picture!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 26, 2009 at 12:21 am

There’s a misspelling in the architectural firm name at top. Harry L. Cunningham’s partner was named Matthew V. Politeo, not Polito as it currently says.

kencmcintyre on August 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

This article from last month refers to the Alcazar, but I assume they’re talking about the Uptown, since the Alcazar on this page is long gone.

Tillmany on June 27, 2008 at 4:20 pm

So where is the UPTOWN page? For information and photos, see page 105 of my book, THEATRES OF SAN FRANCISCO.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2007 at 10:51 pm

I think the recently added Cinema Treasures Uptown Theatre page just got pulled as a duplicate listing of this Alcazar Theatre. In fact I now see that it was the 1907 photo linked there and above on this page by Seymour Cox, and even earlier (January 2005) by Lost Memory which was the duplicate. I think that photo is of the New Alcazar/Republic/Sutter/Uptown, which was on a corner lot. This Alcazar Theatre on O'Farrell Street was on a mid-block lot, as can be seen by the photo provided for this page by frenchjr25.

I’m still not sure about the interior photo Seymour linked to above, but it’s probably the of Uptown.

The question also remains as to which of the two theatres was actually designed by Cunningham & Polito.

The Uptown page can be restored, but with the correct location of Sutter and Steiner, southwest corner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2007 at 10:32 pm

There was an Uptown Theatre on Sutter at Steiner which was once called the New Alcazar, according to the San Francisco Theaters, Cinemas, Dancehalls, after 1906 page. I can’t find anything about an Uptown Theatre at Post and Filmore, though.

seymourcox on October 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm

San Francisco’s one and only atmospheric, the Uptown Theatre, was located on Post at Fillmore, next to the Winter Garden. Several photos listed as the Alcazar on this page are actually those of the Uptown …
Uptown exterior -
View link
Uptown atmospheric auditorium -
View link

Curiously, on CT listings I find no reference to San Franciso’s Uptown

frenchjr25 on July 8, 2007 at 11:39 am

The last theatre to be named the Alcazar still stands, but what was used to show films I am not sure. The bottom floor is a parking garage and the doors to the upstairs do not look like they have been opened in years. It is a nice looking building and it is sad it is in the condition it is in.

williame303 on August 5, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I have been compiling notes my Grandmother made on a trip to San Francisco in 1960. In April, she and her sister went to see Bette Davis and Gary Merrill in “The World of Carl Sandburg.” I started looking through some old file cabinets and found the playbill! It was at the Alcazar. It was fun looking through the playbill and reading the ads. A few of the business are still going.

Patsy on May 11, 2006 at 5:26 pm

I’m in the middle of reading a book by Danielle Steel entitled The House which is set in San Franciso as many of her novels are. I just might send her an email and ask her to consider writing a novel entitled The Theatre and base it upon this one or any by gone theatre in San Franciso of which I’m sure there are many.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2006 at 4:36 am

The photo at the Noe Hill web site, linked above by TC on Sep 27, 2005, depicts a different Alcazar Theatre, at 650 Geary Street, built in 1917 as a Shriner’s temple, designed by architect T. Patterson Ross. Some time after the O'Farrell Street Alcazar was demolished, the former Islam Temple on Geary Street became a legitimate theatre and took on the name Alcazar. I have no information on whether or not the Geary Street Alcazar has ever been used as a movie theatre, but as of 2006 it is still in operation as a live theatre.

kencmcintyre on December 21, 2005 at 6:42 pm

United Nations Theater, 1947:

View link

Interior of the Uptown/Alcazar, 1930:

View link

katybejarano on March 11, 2005 at 3:49 pm

I remember attending a performance at the Alcazar Theater of “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1960 or 1961. I was in high school and it was one of the first times I had worn high heels. Our tickets were in the highest balcony and I have never – before or since – been in such a steeply sloped theater. I was sure I was going to tumble down the aisle and right over the railing. The play was stunning, but not nearly as memorable as trying to get to my seat!

frenchjr25 on October 7, 2003 at 8:18 pm

This is the theatre where the actress Eve Arden got her start. After working in a stock company at this theatre Eve went to Los Angeles where years latter she would star in the TV show Our Miss Brooks.