Showing 4 comments
The theater was one of my favorites – a real grand palace – but it had become careworn even in the 60s, when I was a kid. My mother loved taking me there, because she could recall how thrilling it was to see ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ there in 1950, when she was a teenager. Her godmother had taken her for a ‘girl’s day’ in the city (my mother was attending the all-girl Dominican Convent school in Marin County – now San Domenico School), and they had already had lunch and gone for a day of shopping at City of Paris. The movie theater was everything to my mother – and the movie was thrilling. Amazing how a place can become emotionally tangled in your memories like that. And she succeeded in transferring that thrill and love for the Golden Gate in me as well. Glad that it’s still there, even if it doesn’t show movies any more.
I have one great memory of this theater. No, it wasn’t anything like the best theaters in the city (I miss the Coronet!), but you had to be there when ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ opened in 1985. My sister and I had to wade through a sea of Madonna wanna-bes, which showcased the absolutely worst of 80’s fashion and hairstyles. Fun movie, though. Not an attractive theater (but really good sound, as I recall).
My godmother took me out for my birthday one year, and we spent the whole day around Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. And, of course, we went to see ‘Above San Francisco’, which was great – I even got the book for my birthday. Very small theater – the whole Cannery was a bit of an odd shopping center.
I grew up on Parker Avenue, just around the corner from the Coronet – so, of course, it was our favorite theater in town. If my sister and I were good, my mom would pay for loge seating, and we felt like royalty! (Sometimes, my mom would just buy herself a loge seat, and leave us to our own noisy devices in the cheap seats)
I remember our dog escaping from the house one day, and we were crazed, running around the neighborhood looking for him. About two hours later, we got a call from the manager of the Coronet, asking us if we had a little schnauzer named Spockie (named after Mr. Spock – it was the 60s). We went to collect him, but he really wanted to stay, since they were feeding him hot dogs. The smell probably brought him there in the first place.
And, yes, I saw Star Wars there about a week after it opened, waiting in a huge line, even though I had already seen it twice down in the Palo Alto area (one of those geodesic dome theaters – forget the name). Because I had to see it in my childhood movie theater, or it wouldn’t have been the same.
A few years ago, I took my husband on a tour of ‘my’ San Francisco, and got confused, thinking I had somehow misplaced the Coronet. We stopped at Pier 1, and the employee there pointed to the hulking retirement facility a few doors down, saying ‘That’s where it was’. Gutted.