San Francisco Fox Theater.

One of the 5 “super-deluxe” Fox Theaters (Detroit, St. Louis, Brooklyn and Atlanta were the others), the San Francisco Fox opened on Market St. in 1929.  Billed as “The Last Word,” in moviegoing, this was noted theater architect Thomas Lamb’s masterpiece, a French Baroque movie palace of over 4,000 seats and rich in detail–most of it gilded in gold-leaf–second only to New York’s Roxy Theater in terms of breath-taking luxury and stately elegance.  Take a look at the photo.  I mean–isn’t this what a movie palace should look like?

With declining audiences, Fox West Coast Theaters offered to sell its magnificent crown jewel to the City of San Francisco for less than 1 million dollars in 1963.  Shamefully, the city played politics on the issue and voters rejected a proposal that would have given them a civic treasure.  The result was the demolition of the Fox–a loss that galvanized the preservation movement and has allowed many movie palaces since to be saved and rejuvenated. The Kings in Brooklyn being the latest  example.