T & D Theatre

419 11th Street,
Oakland, CA 94607

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rivest266 on August 2, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Grand opening ad in the photo section.

DavidZornig on February 20, 2017 at 6:06 pm

11/21/16 newspaper announcing grand opening added to Photos Section, via the link below. Image will enlarge in link as well.


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

The article about the proposed T & D Theatre in Oakland that was published in the August 28, 1915, issue of the trade journal Motography is worth quoting in full, as this was one of the earliest of the immense movie palaces that proliferated in the 1910s and 1920s to be built.


“The Turner and Dahnken Circuit of San Francisco has just completed arrangements for the immediate erection of a new theater in Oakland, to take the place of the Oakland Photo-Play, on which the lease will expire at an early date.

“A lease for 15 years has been secured on the property of the James K. Moffitt estate, southwest corner of Eleventh and Franklin streets, the lot being 100 feet on Franklin, and 175 feet on Eleventh street.

“For months, this concern has been negotiating for a site at Fourteenth and Franklin, and the change to the location secured came as a great surprise.

“Plans for a high-class motion picture theater are being prepared in the offices of Cunningham and Politeo, the architects who designed the Imperial and Alcazar theaters in San Francisco.

“This house will be the largest and most modern on the Pacific Coast, with a seating capacity of 4,000.

“There will be but one balcony and no stairs, the balcony to be reached by inclined planes only. Between the main floor and the balcony a large mezzanine floor is to be arranged with reception rooms for ladies and gentlemen, ladies' dressing room, men’s smoking room and a nursery.

“The theater will be constructed exclusively for moving pictures, the stages and flies being eliminated. An organ that will cost not less than $25,000 will be installed, and the house will be built to accommodate this instrument.

“The operating room will be a model, built on the lower floor, thus giving a straight throw to the screen.

“The interior will be most modern, with special attention paid to the lighting, heating and ventilating systems. Fresh air will be brought from above, cleansed and warmed and completely changed twelve times an hour.

“The foyers and lobby will be entirely of marble and tile. An innovation here will be checkrooms where hats, coats or bundles may be checked free.

“The auditorium will be wider in the rear than it is in front, thus affording an unobstructed view of the screen from every seat and facilitating the planning of the aisles. The aisles will be bordered with white tile through which light will shine in sufficient intensity to enable patrons to see their way.

“The exterior is designed in modern art and reflects to a marked degree the influences of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in architecture. The front will be illuminated by indirect lights, producing a soft effect that will enhance the beauty of the designs and colors employed.”

Although as built the T & D Theatre had a seating capacity a bit less than the 4,000 reported in the article, I think the completed house had all the other advanced features originally proposed. The Strand Theatre on Broadway in New York City, opened in 1914, is considered by some theater historians to have been the first true movie palace, but the Strand also had one of the largest stages in New York. There might have been one or two theaters as large and palatial as the Oakland T & D that were built exclusively for movies as early as it was, but if so I don’t know about them.

CharmaineZoe on February 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm

This article appeared in the Moving Picture World for November 18th 1916.

“Immense Organ for Oakland House – A Wurlitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra costing $48,500 is being installed in the new T & D Theatre at Eleventh and Franklin Streets, Oakland, Cal., which is to be opened November 22. The delivery of this instrument at the theatre a short time ago took the form of a parade, wagons bearing the sections being covered with banners calling attention to the fact that this instrument would be the largest on the Pacific Coast and would be installed in the world’s greatest photoplay house, one with a seating capacity of more than 3,600.

The largest pipes in this unit orchestra weigh as much as a ton and are installed in specially constructed concrete chambers above the proscenium arch. A large force of workmen are busy installing the instrument in order to have everything in readiness on the opening date."

Accompanying picture can now be found in the CT photo section for this theatre.

pchas on January 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Apparently that was never built. The article you linked mentions the “old Central Park site” at 8th and Market. According to http://www.sfcityguides.org/public_guidelines.html?article=369&submitted=TRUE&srch_text=&submitted2=&topic=Buildings%20and%20Theaters

“The four-acre lot at Market and Eighth had hosted crowds well before the Crystal Palace Market was built there. From 1874 to 1881, it was the site of the Mechanics Institute Pavilion where annual mechanics’ and manufacturers’ fairs were held. After that pavilion was demolished in 1881, the California Baseball League got its start at Central Park built on the lot. Shortly before the turn of the century, when the league outgrew the site, the park was replaced by the Central Theater, featuring touring shows and melodramas. It was destroyed in 1906, and for the next 16 years the empty “Circus Lot” hosted Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey, and all the other big circuses and carnivals, plus a balloon ascension attraction.

“In 1922, brothers Oliver and Arthur Rosseau bought the four-acre site and started their fabulous bazaar. Emporium-Capwell purchased it and the adjoining property in 1925; then in 1944 it was bought by 33-year-old Joseph Long of Alameda, who in the previous seven years had started a chain of drug stores. He “modernized” the huge market by breaking up its open spaces and building a large drugstore in one corner. But postwar tastes changed as families moved out to the suburbs. On August 1, 1959, the Crystal Palace Market closed its doors and was demolished to make room for the new $8 million, 400-room Del Webb TowneHouse luxury motel.”

missmelbatoast on April 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Another theatre that utilized a “ramp system” to reach the balcony and fourth floor ballroom was the Hippodrome Theatre (a John Eberson design) located in Okmulgee, OK.
View link

celaniasdawn on January 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

My girlfriends and I went there once to see Tempest Storm. When we walked in the manager approached us and advised us to sit upstairs so we wouldn’t get hassled by the male customers. We did. Snuck in some rum and bought cokes from the snack bar and got blitzed. We had a blast. When tempest storm came onstage she was amazing, how she had the tassles on her breasts go in different directions. This girl named Patty was topless and walked up and down the aisles banging on a drum, selling cigarettes and candy. They showed this movie called the Diary of Knockers McCalla. When we decided to leave we used the exit door of the loge on the left, there was this staircase that went down to 11th street. halfway down the stairs, there was a little apartment that was filled with strippers. We got invited in and partied until about 3 in the morning. What I remember also was above the screen was a plaster face of a woman with glowing eyes in the dark. Kinda spooky looking

RichardLane on October 2, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I had two cousins that lived in San Leandro in the early 1950s when I was a teenager. I would visit them on weekends once or twice a month and after my older cousin would talk his Dad into using the car, we’d go trolling, or snaking as it was referred to in those days, for broads. In order to have any chance at scoring we would cruise the streets looking for broads or go to the movies hoping to meet some broads. Consequently we were always going to movies that teenage girls liked; i.e., romance pictures, musicals; movies with their current teenage heart throb; James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Frankie Avalon, etc. We could never go to a war movie; broads definitely didn’t like war movies. After trolling / cruising the streets for a couple of hours to no avail, we quite often would go to the late show at the T&D, or the “Tough and Dirty” as it used to be called. Over the years we must have trolled hundreds of miles looking for broads; but we had to be cautious that any broads we picked up were of age, lest we’d end up with an under age “San Quentin Quail”. But we had no reason to worry. Despite the miles, the gas, and the time we spent trolling, we never scored once. Ya, the good old T&D; it brings back a lot of memories of a simpler time; the good old days. But in thinking about it, the good old days really weren’t that good after all.
ick Lane (New Member)
Dick Lane

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

KenMc thanks for great newspaper ad I can’t get enough of them Pictures great too,Guys.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm

The October, 1919, issue of Architect & Engineer published the death notice of architect Harry L. Cunningham of the firm of Cunningham & Politeo. It mentioned the T&D Theatre in Oakland as one of his designs.

Incidentally, Cinema Treasures currently misspells Matthew V. Politeo’s surname as Polito.

kencmcintyre on May 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Here is an August 1960 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

Rosealle on April 27, 2008 at 10:13 am

Of all my box office cashering days, I enjoyed working at the T&D. For a whole week in 1973. It was the T&D Follies “showing the best in burlesque” with dirty movies (not X but pretty close). Beautiful theatre, the description from robertgippy was very good! At the time, for $5.00, you got all you can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, cokes, candy. I met Jane Fonda that week when they were filming steelyard blues, you can see a good nighttime exterior shot of the T&D. She went inside for a few minutes (movies were on) and she came out laughing, but said what a beautiful place it was. When Deep Throat opened there, I got a call from Harold, the manager, needing a cashier. First night, we got raided by the Oakland Police. There were over 750 people in attendance, I had to give them all their money back, the police told me to go home. I was back at work there for 2 more days. The girls would bring me food from the Original BBQ on the corner, the french fries with the bbq sauce over them was fantastic! I remember how musty it smelt inside, they repainted the underside of the balcony brown paint. The light dome on the ceiling was turned on and it lit in soft blue, the loge was open at that time and the isles to the balcony were boarded up with plywood to prevent access. The loge was closed when vice saw people drinking alcohol and pot, (the night of the raid). After hours, there were parties and private screenings of some hard core porn, rented out by big shots who wanted to be discreet. Fun job

kencmcintyre on January 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Here is a look at some promotion for a Linda Darnell film in 1952:

kencmcintyre on September 17, 2007 at 6:53 am

Here is an April 1950 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

twd113 on June 19, 2007 at 11:03 am

I remember seeing the first James Bond movies at the T&D. The best french fries and BBQ sauce were available at the corner restaurant.
Pictures of the T&D and many other buildings in downtown Oakland are available for viewing at in the Downtown Merchants collection at the history room of the Oakland Public Library.

moviebear1 on October 31, 2006 at 5:44 am

Anyone on here have any photos to share? I know I went to this theatre as a kid but can’t recall the interior. my e mail is

kencmcintyre on October 21, 2006 at 6:54 am

An ad in the 11/24/52 issue of the Oakland Tribune touts the fact that the theater is open all night. The feature that day was “Operation Secret”, with Cornel Wilde, Karl Malden and Steve Cochran.

RonnieT on October 9, 2005 at 2:40 pm

Sad to hear all these commments re:The Roxie, T&D, Lux, Tower falling on ‘rough'times. Oakland was a wonderful town to grow up in, in the 50’s and early 60’s. In '57, I was ten yrs old, and thought nothing of bicyling around Lake Merritt, etc. Taking the 'B'bus (train, earlier)to downtown, or wherever! Capwell’s, Kahn’s, Broadway Bowl, all the great movie houses, Peralta Park, Fairyland, boating on the lake. Lakeshore, Grandlake, Park Blvd. Great neighborhoods, Mom 'n Pop stores for 'penny candy’. Just a great place to be a kid. (I can still hear the ‘ding ding’s, and ladie’s high heels 'click'n’, in Capwells ‘n Kahn’s!;)

stefoscope on May 2, 2005 at 7:03 pm

Any chance of making your film publicly viewable someway? I (and I’m sure others) would love to see it. It seems to be very difficult to find photos of the T & D these days, much less film footage.

robertcampbell on April 15, 2005 at 12:45 am

i also forgot, that I did make a super 8 movie of the interior of the theatre, walking up the ramp to the balcony, the lobby and excellent views of the main auditorium. I also got great shots of the marquee lit up at night with the vertical T&D flashing.

robertcampbell on April 15, 2005 at 12:39 am

The T&D was a hangout for me in the early seventies. Had a great chinese restaurant called “nan king” next door. The lobby had a enormous ramp to the right that was sealed off half way with plywood with a door carved in. When you went up the ramp and went to your left, there was a lobby that housed a radio station at one time. Outside the entrance to the womens restroom was a huge lobby area with windows that when you looked out you could see 11th street.n! The mens room was massive with white marble. Two ramps on each side of the floor, led into the loge and balcony sections. The walls had paintings of trees and landscape with a huge round light fixture in
the center of the ceiling. In the center of the arch was a head of a woman. The projector booth was on the main floor, very similar to the New Mission in San Francisco. The right side of the auditorium had about 20 rows sealed off, and a separate cinema was there with a ramp way. It quit porn for about a year, tried to go legit with a triple bill policy like the Roxie, but several shootings there, led it back to porn, where it remained porn until its final closure.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 10, 2005 at 6:34 am

Somewhere on the Internet, I came across a picture of the lobby of the Raymond which shows the lower sections of the ramps. Once you get near the side walls of the building, the ramps curve sharply, loop around, and emerge at the upper level. I’ll try to hunt the picture down again- I might even have it copied somewhere on my hard drive, but I can’t remember where.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2005 at 3:34 am

The only example of a ramped access to upper parts of a building I have seen (having never been inside the Raymond Theater, Pasadena) is the ramped access to the Casino Ballroom which is located above the Avalon Theater, Avalon, Catalina Island CA.