Palm Theater

1705 Palm Avenue,
San Mateo, CA 94402

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Showing 51 - 75 of 88 comments

MagicLantern on May 16, 2005 at 1:22 pm

The historical society is saving the amazing mirror mural of the Seven Dwarves, as well as the deco EXIT and restroom signs. There are murals inside the theatre itself – which is remarkably tall for a neighborhood theatre – that resemble a more Pop Art version of Picasso’s “Guernica”. The lights finally went on in the auditorium after who-knows-how-long, but we were sadly gone before the time. Oh, and the seats were naugahyde with velvet backing, just in case anyone wondered how difficult it was to clean up afterwards.

FJennings on May 16, 2005 at 1:16 pm

According to the San Mateo County website, as of May 1, 2005:

“A demolition permit and an excavation and shoring permit have been submitted for review.”

My guess is, they’ll start at 8:30AM and it’d be a pile of twisted rubble by noon. Sure hope they manage to save a few items.

ANTKNEE on May 16, 2005 at 12:43 pm

I would be surprised if demolition actually begins that quickly, sure hope it doesn’t.

MagicLantern on May 16, 2005 at 12:37 pm

Not entirely ended – there’s the Regency (former Pussycat) in Sacramento, Secrets / Xanadu in SFO and a couple others in Oakland and surroundings. But certainly yes, as far as mainstream neighborhood cinemas converted into porn palaces. It was the regular customers that actually kept the place going, especially after the demise of the Burbank.

scottfavareille on May 16, 2005 at 8:25 am

And so ends the legacy of the porno theater in the San Francisco Bay area.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 16, 2005 at 4:39 am

Another one bites the dust! What a shame. Well at least porn movies kept it going for many years after regular customers had deserted it.

MagicLantern on May 16, 2005 at 3:40 am

Closed at midnight tonight. Manager said it had 658 seats. Demolition purportedly begins next week.

MagicLantern on May 13, 2005 at 7:40 pm

View link

I think that Yahoogroup is specifically not spidered, for obvious reasons.

ANTKNEE on May 13, 2005 at 11:11 am

Didn’t know there was a Yahoo group for this theater. What’s the address? Yahoo’s group search engine is totally worthless. Thanks

MagicLantern on May 13, 2005 at 7:05 am

Bump for sadness.

MagicLantern on May 12, 2005 at 3:47 am

The Yahoogroup dedicated to regular habituees of the Palm confirms it. They’d know if anyone would.

ANTKNEE on May 12, 2005 at 2:26 am

Just read an unconfirmed and uncorroborated report that said “According to a notice taped to the counter, the Palm is finally closing Sunday May 15” Can anyone confirm or deny?

robertcampbell on April 14, 2005 at 10:17 pm

The Palm Theatre is still open and still the only X rated movie theatre on the Peninsula. I used to work at the Palm and I enjoyed it very much. It was a one man operation, the movies were on videotape and shown on the big screen (pic quality actually was good). You sold tickets, did snack bar, and worked the videos. The Palm has an opera style curtain. Chuck Mello, the manager and I tried to work it one time and dust started flying everywhere and the motor wouldn’t turn well. Too expensive to fix. We used to hit a switch and the stage lights would come on to give a intermission effect for a few seconds and when lit, you saw murals on the sides which depicts sort of picasso style drawings. The lobby has beautiful cut glass etchings behind the candy counter and at the drinking fountain. Great loyal patrons went there. I have a great pic of the interior of the auditorium and will post it here when the site allows it.

FJennings on October 26, 2004 at 9:01 pm

I have a very nice black and white photo of the Palm; taken from a story in the local newspaper. It’s a nice shot and I’d love to upload it, but unfortunately the Add Photo tool for this sight is broken.

GaryParks on October 26, 2004 at 1:46 pm

William David also designed the little round Streamline Moderne building immediately on your right as you approach the Golden Gate Bridge Northbound. It was originally a restaurant, and is now a souvenier store.

mcmikecroaro on October 23, 2004 at 11:21 am

The architect of the Palm theatre was William B. David, who designed a few others around the bay area.

KenLayton on July 5, 2004 at 9:06 am

Somebody please get pictures of this theater, both inside and outside. I especially would like to see pix of the lobby, auditorium, and projection booth.

FJennings on July 5, 2004 at 8:13 am

Palm Theater’s Demolition is Delayed –

The San Mateo Daily News – Wed, June 30, 2004.

The demolition of San Mateo’s historic Palm Theater, set to be replaced with a 19-unit condominium building, has been postponed to next summer, the project’s architect said yesterday. While developers had initially hoped to begin demolition
and construction this month, that estimate appears to have been “a little optimistic,” architect Douglas Fong of the San Francisco-based Design + Build said yesterday. Fong said construction would probably not start until the next building season, in Summer 2005. “It’s mainly to do with the process and just how long it takes to get a project like this designed,” Fong said. “This will allow us to do a more thorough job.”

City planning officials said no applications had been filed for demolition or building permits on the 1705 Palm Ave. property. The theater, which has operated as an adult cinema since 1972, remains open to business in the meantime, although the theater manager said he expected it to close. While the cause of the delay remained unclear yesterday, it appears that the sale of the property has not been completed. Currently owned by the Santa Rosa-based North American Cinemas, the property was under contract to be sold to a partnership once development plans were approved, according to Allison Borden, a city planner. No record of a sale has been filed with the San Mateo County Assessor’s Office, and both Fong and Allison Borden, a city planner on the project, said they were not certain that the purchase had been completed. Fong did not return a call requesting further information on his employers, the building’s expected purchasers. Calls to North American Cinemas were not returned yesterday. The company’s president, Daniel Tocchini, said in a letter to city officials last year that single-screen theaters such as the Palm are no longer economically viable.

City officials approved the theater’s demolition in February with the requirement that the developers document the building, which dates to 1949, and preserve as many of the interior fittings as possible. The project will also require mitigation measures for contaminated ground water under the property and asbestos in the building. The building, described as a mix of Deco, Modern and Art Deco, is eligible for the state registry of historic buildings and is the only remaining neighborhood theater in San Mateo of its era. Planning Commission members concluded it was not architecturally significant.

Seth on July 1, 2004 at 11:06 am

If you can muster the courage to be seen entering a porn theater, it’s worth the trip. The frosted glass mirror behind the candy counter depicts the seven dwarves making candy. Quite an odd sight, given the venue.

FJennings on May 9, 2004 at 1:01 pm

A brief chat with the theater manager revealed that the Palm should close sometime near the end of this year. No specific date was given.

RobertR on May 4, 2004 at 1:45 pm

Long live the Palm !!!!!

GaryParks on May 4, 2004 at 1:16 pm

My wife and I were in the area yesterday, so we swung by. The Palm is still open. The front door on the right was standing open, and the “OPEN” neon sign in the box office window was on.

sdoerr on May 4, 2004 at 4:58 am

Let us know of updates DSTNE!

FJennings on May 3, 2004 at 6:08 pm

As of Sunday May 3 the building is still standing but I couldn’t tell if the theater was still operating. I haven’t seen anything in the local papers about a demolition date, but I’ll keep an eye out. It’s a pretty simple structure, so I’d guess it’ll take maybe two days to pull down and haul away.

sdoerr on May 3, 2004 at 3:41 pm

Is it still open?