Fox Theatre

912 K Street,
Sacramento, CA 95814

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres

Architects: E.C. Hemmings, Leonard F. Starks

Firms: Hemmings & Starks

Previous Names: Senator Theatre, Fox Senator Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Fox Theatre

The Senator Theatre was opened on September 29, 1924 with Norma Talmadge in “The Only Woman”. It was operated by West Coast Theatres and was created from two earlier theatres, a large one on L Street and a smaller theatre on K Street. It was equipped with a theatre pipe organ. It was soon renamed Fox Senator Theatre. From 1962 it was renamed Fox Theatre. It was closed on April 30 1973 with Richard Boone in “Rio Conchos” & Jenny Agutter in “Walkabout”. It was demolished in August 1977.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

jokirb on December 16, 2007 at 12:20 pm

My father Elmer Thomas Davis worked for the Senator Theater From July 1929 to October 1932. At that time all the first run theaters had one or more full time artists that produced beautiful posters of the upcoming attractions. They also created other lobby displays appropriate for the movie of the day. My father was a talented artist and worked for a number of theaters in this capacity in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Cleveland in the thirties. He was known as a lobby display man (per the union). I wonder what happened to all these wonderful posters that were made during this time?

jokirb on January 15, 2008 at 10:19 am

continued: In addition to painting wonderful huge posters of the old silent stars and the new talkies these artists had to be excellent lettering men. All the posters were hand lettered with the stars names, the movie title, the co-stars, the directors, etc. This was a special talent my dad worked hard to perfect.

alangary on November 7, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Responding to your previous comment about the Sacramento Fox Senator looking like two different buildings in the photos –
They actually were two different buildings. The photo from 1925 is of the back wall of the auditorium, on the North side of L Street between 9th and 10th Streets. The 1953 photo is of the main entrance on K Street. The 1st floor had a long narrrow entry lobby leading to stairs which were in a connection over the alley, leading to the auditorium on the other side. From inside, it appeared seamless. The Trianon Ball Room was located on the 2nd floor of the K Street building. It is all that is left today, converted to office space, after being a Burger King in the 80’s! Very sad.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 7, 2010 at 7:14 am

Leonard F. Starks was involved in the project that eventually became the Fox Senator Theatre at least three years before the house opened. When the project was announced in the June 29, 1921, issue of the trade publication Engineering and Contracting, it was to be called the Paramount Theatre, and Starks was already the lead architect. Though a native of California, Starks had been working for some time in New York City in the office of theater architect Thomas Lamb.

This thumbnail biography of Leonard Starks from the Historic Fresno web site doesn’t mention the Paramount specifically, but tells of the intention of the Famous Players corporation to build a chain of theaters on the west coast. The proposed Paramount was undoubtedly one of these. Famous Players had contracted with Lamb’s office for architectural services, and Starks was to return to California to oversee design and construction. When the plans for the chain fell through, Starks resigned from Lamb’s firm and set up his own practice in Sacramento.

Starks' partnership with E. C. Hemmings was formed in 1923, and Hemmings died the following year. The Senator Theatre might have been their only major project together.

JohnRice on July 12, 2011 at 10:52 am

During the time I lived in Sacramento 1962-1965 the Fox (Senator) was my favorite theatre. I even liked it better than the Alhambra. It was in beautiful shape and film presentation was superb.

The last time I was in the Fox it was doing a brief stint as a discount house with all seats 49 cents! That must have been in 1970 because I remember one of the features I saw that day was “Adam at 6:00 A.M.”, a 1970 release.

Personally I think it would have been much more practical to save the Fox than the Alhambra just because of it’s much better downtown location for a mixed use venue. Of course both theatres, our only real Sacramento movie palaces, were ultimately demolished and that’s doubly sad!

Coffeematekimberley on March 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

I am wondering if anyone knows or has pictures of the ballroom above the fox theater. It was called Palm Grove Ballroom. Please let me know you you have or know where to see pictures. thanks Loved the fox used to go there

Bobbo on August 20, 2015 at 11:31 pm

As a kid, I always wondered where that door went to. But my mind and nose always went to the KarmelKorn place…God…fresh, hot, and you could take it into the Fox… I also remember in the late 50s for three Pepsi Cola bottle caps, gave you entrance to the Saturday Morning kids movies. I won a transistor radio with my ticket number.

Kathy50 on January 16, 2018 at 7:57 am

Kimberly, I found one in the old Sac Union archives yesterday. If you still need it, let me know. Kathy

rivest266 on May 4, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Became the Fox theatre on May 30th, 1962.

50sSNIPES on April 5, 2022 at 3:30 pm

The Fox closed on April 30, 1973 with “Rio Conchos” and “Walkabout” as its last films.

However, on July 1, 1973, the Fox’s next door neighbor, the Don Burton shoe store, was devastated and partially destroyed by a fire causing an estimate $45,000 in damage. This did cause very minor damage to the Fox Theatre next door.

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