Lyceum Theatre

314-316 F Street,
San Diego, CA 92101

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Pussycat Theatres

Firms: Hamilton & Smith Brothers

Previous Names: Gaiety Theatre, Little Theatre, Ballein's Theatre, Liberty Theatre, Hollywood Burlesque, Off-Broadway Theatre, Pussycat Theatre, Cabaret Theatre

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Lyceum Theatre

Built in 1912, the Lyceum Theatre boasted a litany of different names during its 72 year existence. In the year of 1914 alone the theatre’s name was changed twice; once to Gaiety Theatre and later to Little Theatre. Over the next decade the theatre would continue to play the name game until 1924 when it became the Liberty Theatre. It would stay that way until 1936, when it became Hollywood Burlesque Theatre, featuring stiptease dancers and vaudeville acts.

In late-1960s, as the porn industry began to permeate downtown San Diego, the theatre fell into disrepair and closed in Febuary of 1970.

Vincent Miranda (of Walnut Properties) would eventually purchase two square blocks of dowtown that same year, which included the Hollywood Burlesque Theatre. He fixed up the decaying movie house and renamed it the Off-Brodway Theatre, opening it on March 6 1971. For awhile the theatre was a popular venue for stage shows. Unfortunately, the lights dimmed once again for the theatre and Miranda was forced to close its doors in 1975. He would later market the theatre as a porn house (during which it operated under the names Cabaret Theatre and Pussycat Theatre).

It would have a brief tenure under the name Lyceum Theatre once again before being demolished in 1985 to provide parking for the new Horton Plaza Shopping Center.

Contributed by Kelle Anzalone

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 7:28 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

kencmcintyre on December 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Here is a view of the Hollywood marquee in 1940:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

Google’s street view on this page is six blocks too far west. The Lyceum was actually at the northeast corner of E. 3rd Avenue and F Street, and Google street view won’t be able to show it as the intersection was obliterated by the construction of the Horton Plaza shopping center.

Work on the mixed-use building that included the Lyceum Theatre began in the spring of 1912, as noted in this announcement from the May 25 issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer:

“San Diego—The Charley Concrete Construction Co. has started excavation work at the northeast corner of Third and F Sts. for a 5 story and basement Class A hotel, theater and store building for Chaffey & Cobb. The building will cover a ground area 100x100 ft. and will be of reinforced concrete construction, the Chaffey patent system to be used. The first floor will contain six stores, a theater and the hotel lobby, and the upper floors will be divided into 168 hotel rooms with private baths. The theater will be 60x100 ft. and will accommodate 1000 persons. The building will be modernly equipped throughout and will cost about $125,000. Plans by Archts. Hamilton & Smith Bros. American National Bank Bldg.”
As built, the building only had four floors, not the five originally planned. Hamilton & Smith Bros. designed at least three other theaters in San Diego, but I haven’t been able to identify them yet. Early San Diego Theaters indicates that there was a theater called the Gaiety on this site in 1909. It was apparently demolished to make way for the Chaffey & Cobb project.

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