Royal Theater

9411 International Boulevard,
Oakland, CA 94603

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Elmhurst Theater

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Another Oakland neighborhood theater from days gone by.

Opened in 1916 as the Elmhurst Theater, it became the Royal Theater on July 20, 1931 and was closed in 1940.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

William on December 3, 2003 at 8:09 am

The Royal Theatre seated 300 people.

gsmurph on February 15, 2004 at 1:34 pm

The Royal’s address was 9411 East 14th Street (now International Boulevard).

gsmurph on March 5, 2020 at 7:35 pm

I was in the area recently and noted that the building housing the Royal has been torn down; I’ve no idea when that happened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 7, 2022 at 11:43 pm

The January 30, 1931 issue of Film Daily says that Royal is the new name of an Oakland theater formerly called the Fern. I’ve checked the 1926 and 1927 FDY’s and no houses called either the Elmhurst or the Fern are listed, and the only theaters listed on 14th Street (former name of International Boulevard) are nowhere near 94th Avenue, which is where 9411 would be. The Fern Theatre is first listed in the 1928 yearbook, without details, but in the 1929 edition it is listed at 9719 E. 14th Street, with 240 seats.

So there’s a puzzle. Was there an address change? (unlikely, given that the address numbers match up with the cross street numbers.) Did either Garrett Murphy or the FDY (an FDY mistake would not surprise me) get the address wrong? Did the Royal move from the 9700 bock to the 9400 block at some point? Was the Royal really in the same building as the old Elmhurst? Why wasn’t the Elmhurst listed in 1926 and 1927?

And for additional puzzlement, although Oakland annexed the formerly independent town of Elmhurst in 1909, the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory still lists it separately (the FDY’s don’t– I checked) and it lists two theaters at Elmhurst: the Elm, with no details, and the Grand Theatre at… 94th and E. 14th Street! Was Grand a previous name for the Elmhurst Theatre that opened in 1916? Or was it a different theater nearby?

I’m at a loss, but something doesn’t add up. This is where some old city directories or telephone books would come in handy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 8, 2022 at 12:03 am

Correct date of the Film Daily report of the name change at (what might have been) this house was July 20, 1931.

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