Gilded Cage Theater

626 West Broadway,
San Diego, CA 92101

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Gilded Cage box office

The Gilded Cage opened around the end of 1966. Located near Effie’s Liquor, it was created by remodeling a store-room and designed to service the needs of lost souls and sailors on liberty in Downtown San Diego.

Most of the movies it played were never advertised, and the ones that were, stayed a week or two at most. Among them, “The Weird World of LSD”, “The Playpen”, “The Vampire-Beast”, and “Mondo Cane” (probably the most famous film to play there). These films were projected using a rear-screen projection system.

The Gilded Cage disappeared from the daily movie listing after 1969. There is no record of how long it continued to play movies.

The One America Plaza (San Diego’s tallest building) currently stands on the site of the Gilded Cage.

Contributed by Gabriel Neeb

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

danwhitehead1 on March 6, 2008 at 7:36 am

This house was in the same block as the beautiful old Tower Bowl (Tower Bowl on one side, Effie’s Liquor on the other). I sure wish some more history about it would turn up. When I was working for Wesley “Andy” Andrews and Charlie Smith at the Aztec, they wanted to buy this theatre and I was all excited because of the rear-screen projection; they never bought it though. Also, Andy used to work at Effie’s Liquor.

JayAllenSanford on October 31, 2008 at 7:03 am

I’ve been trying to find a photo of this theater – the best I could do was to freeze a fleeting frame in the 1979 film Hardcore, with George C. Scott stumbling around downtown San Diego in search of his porn “star” daughter. You can find the pic here:

View link

danwhitehead1 on March 28, 2022 at 8:28 pm

At the time Andy and Charlie were thinking on buying the Guilded Cage the Tower Bowl was also for sale for a million dollars (can you believe that?). Andy could have come up wit a million easily but, at the time, thought it too much. Years later he was kicking himself in the slats for that mistake.

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