Monday, October 30, 2006

The Blue Church

I live in a part of San Francisco called Noe Valley. It's a mostly working class neighborhood. Just down the block from me is a blue building which was once home to a movie theater. It is one of the oldest movie theaters in San Francisco, though it has for some time been home to a church.   According to an article about the building in the current issue of the Noe Valley Voice (the local neighborhood newspaper):
Demolition of the church would drop the final curtain on a building that started life as a one-screen temple to Hollywood. The theater opened in 1916 as the Searchlight, according to Cinema Treasures, a web site devoted to movie preservation. The theater, which showed German and Russian films in the 1930s and later on American movies, was also known as the Empress, the Lux, the De Lux, the Isis, the Princess, the Church, and the Rita. The Rita moniker eventually gave way to the Del Mar - until 1965 when the Holiness Temple in Christ purchased the building.
I thought it interesting that this small neighborhood theater showed "foreign films" in the 1930's. And I wondered if they ever might have shownPandora's Box ? According to Jack Tillmany's book, Theaters of San Francisco, there is no known photograph of the building as a movie theater. Thus, I offer this image which I took just minutes ago using my digital camera.

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