Bella Union Theatre
825 Kearny Street,
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Previous Names: Shanghai Theatre, Kearney Street Theatre, Kearny Burlesque, Rex Theatre, Kearney Theatre
The Bella Union Theatre, third and last San Francisco theatre to use this once popular name, located on the eastern edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown, opened around 1911 as the Shanghai Theatre. In 1913 it was renamed the Kearny Street Theatre, and, by the 1940’s had become Kearny Burlesque. It began screening adult movies on September 11, 1943.
In 1948, it was renamed Rex Theatre, and, as such, was an outlet for Filipino films. On October 5, 1948, it was renamed Bella Union Theatre, the occasion being a short-lived attempt to show silent films, with recorded musical accompaniment, but this venture was not profitable, and Chinese films soon became its mainstay. On June 14, 1974 it became an adult theatre renamed Kearney Theatre.
Following this it successfully operated as the Bella Union Theatre until 1985 at which time the space was converted into retail space.
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