Palm Theater

1705 Palm Avenue,
San Mateo, CA 94402

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Showing 1 - 25 of 88 comments

MichaelKilgore on March 18, 2023 at 3:44 pm

For at least a while, the Palm became the Paris.

Boxoffice, Dec. 9, 1950: “The Paris Theatre, described as a "cinema for patrons tired of ordinary movies,” opened December 1 in San Mateo … The Paris in San Mateo was formerly the Palm."

rivest266 on July 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

March 10th, 1949 grand opening ad in the photo section

robertcampbell on February 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I finally found my photo of the interior of the Palm, and posted it. Enjoy!

TLSLOEWS on April 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Palm Theatre what a name for a porno!

kencmcintyre on August 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

Here is a November 1953 ad from the San Mateo Times:

SteveNY on April 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I was 10 years old in 1963 when I saw Ann Margaret in “Bye-Bye Birdie at the Palm Theater. It was the moment i discovered girls……

Michael on March 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Does anyone have interior photos of this theatre?

philbertgray on November 6, 2007 at 7:01 am

For those of you who might be interested here is the planning commissions meeting on the proposed demoltion of the Palm Theatre. Several people voiced requests to save the theatre, all in vain.

NOVEMBER 25, 2003

View link

valvann on August 6, 2007 at 11:14 am

A rec room doesn’t sound like a good location for glass artifacts of historic value. I understood that in the EIR a mitigation for demolition was placement of the best artifacts with a historical society was required. Instead as so often happens the scavangers got there first and now it looks like the developers are getting to use the glass for decorating the project. It’s better than having them destroyed, but for a project that demolished a significant historic resource, with unavoidable (unmitigated) significant impacts on the environment requiring a finding of overriding public interest, this whole scene is a sad comment on how little protection there really is for historic resources against a determined developer. Once again the developer gets off scott free.

scottfavareille on August 6, 2007 at 9:18 am

Article about the new Palm Residences:

The project’s recreation room has saved some of the Palm’s etched glass mirrors & panels for installation there. Also salvaged were “2 faded, framed posters-one of Mae West & WC Fields and one of West alone-in a style reminiscent of the late Al Hirschfeld” and 3 “frayed posters” with the message “If you are easily offended, please do not attend.”

Prices range from $549,000 for a 802 sq ft 1 bedroom unit to $858,000 for a 2 bd, 2 ½ bath unit of 1320 sq ft. HOA dues are $380-424 per month on top of that. 19 units are available for sale.

kencmcintyre on January 9, 2007 at 7:59 am

Here is a 2005 article about the demolition:

Elmiguel on March 14, 2006 at 4:49 pm

I saw “The Sound of Music” at this theater in the 1960’s as a child and then I saw an X-Rated version of “Alice in Wonderland” here as an adult! Funny, sad but funny.

FJennings on November 6, 2005 at 1:11 pm

The PALM neon sign is alive and well, and switched on at night, in the window of a Burlingame antique store on California Dr at Sanchez Av. The nice man who runs the store wasn’t at liberty to tell me who bought it or for what price, but it is going to a good home. Also sold was the etched glass ticket window from the Palm; in the window also.

For those building a home theater, the copper decorative façade and a theater seat from the old Presidio Theater in San Francisco are for sale too. The façade is beautiful!

The shop owner said they light the sign every night, and it should remain in the window for another week or so. I drove by at night, and it’s beautiful. Don’t miss it!

FJennings on November 4, 2005 at 12:14 pm

A bit of history FOR SALE!

The PALM neon letters from the theater tower are now all lit up, on street level, inside an antique store in Burlingame, on California Ave just south of Broadway. I was driving by late last night so I didn’t get the store name nor the asking price for the letters. I’ll try to get a closer look this weekend and post the price of theater history.

valvann on October 5, 2005 at 7:08 am

Seth & DSTNE, thanx very much, very helpful! And I know about trying to get mirrors and such to come out well, especially in dark theater lobbies/foyers, but our best efforts may be all that’s left all too often. I spent Sun. on a “secret mission” to record an endangered property because as soon as the property owner/developer got an inkling that the structure was of interest historically, he put up No Trespassing signs all over and threatened to lock out the last tenants, whose lease ran out a week ago but were still going in on sufferance to move out the last of their things. So a couple of us went in as moving help and did what we could in bad light and short notice.

I see from Seth’s photos that the neighbors to the Lark parked across the sidewalk. It’s a wonder someone didn’t seriously crunch the planter box. How did all that glass/mirrors outside survive so long? Amazing!

Were the palms etched on mirrors, or colored glass? or colored glass with mirror behind? Green?

The dwarf mirror photo is terrific, especially considering the circumstances.

Seth on October 5, 2005 at 4:42 am

There’s a link to the first of four photos I took. Getting to the rest is easy from there. I couldn’t get my shot of the mirror behind the counter to come out well, but mirrors are hard to photograph.

FJennings on October 4, 2005 at 6:33 pm

Recently –

Sorry for the poor quality color photo, but it’s all I have:

View link

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”

valvann on October 4, 2005 at 5:36 pm

DSTNE, that’s tremendously helpful.
Is the photo digital? would you be willing to email it to me, or post it on a photo site at least temporarily?

Everybody: What San Mateo has trashed after the PC declared it “architecturally insignificant” is beginning to look like very possibly the next to last – chronologically – or at least one of the latest – theaters William Bernard David designed, and one of his most mature and original in style. The commentator or critics were getting increasingly confused as to how to characterize his style, usually settling for Art Deco or Streamline Moderne, but by the late ‘40’s, that doesn’t quite fit any longer.

I believe he was headed into Modernism, and getting more creative as he went in that direction. A very interesting designer, and certainly greatly important in Cal theater design, especially regionally. Hardly insignificant, except to a PC tickled to have a reason to get a “neighborhood nuisance” out of their hair.

The knowledge that I missed seeing the Palm by a mere matter of months makes me sick; it’s like discovering one of your extended family who could solve a family mystery has died just months before you located them.

Turning into a porn house was certainly a mixed blessing; on the one hand, the Palm wouldn’t have survived as long as it did, as intact as it apparently was, if it hadn’t been “adult”, and on the other, that was the death of it.

For a bio of David by a Northern Cal architectural historian, see David L. Wilkinson, “Crafting a Valley Jewel, Architects and Builders of Woodland”.

FJennings on October 4, 2005 at 3:11 pm

Recently –

I have a not so great color photo of the front of the Palm and the stripy looking siding is red “used” brick. Not 100% sure, but I’d say it was half thickness.

lvmstar on October 4, 2005 at 8:53 am

Attn: Magic Lantern – does the historical society actually have the mirrored murals from the candy counter? Do you know how to get in touch with them?

Gary Parks – the phone booth your friend has, is it for sale? Any other items available.

Sorry to all that I have not gotten around to the family photo archives to post some old pics – I promise I have not forgotten and will get to it as soon as I can.
Thank you

valvann on October 4, 2005 at 8:24 am

I’ve looked at the big B&W photo of the Palm linked above.
Can someone tell me if the mottled/stripy looking siding of the entrance, around the ticket booth and poster cases,
is brick or something else? If it brick was it a really thin type, about half the thickness or ordinary brick?
I’m researching another theater that has been “architect unknown”, but may be by Wm. David too.

PhilipTravisano on August 11, 2005 at 5:09 pm

DOES ANYONE HAVE PHOTOS OF THE PALM THEATER IN SAN MATEO??? I totally missed the boat on this one. I had no idea it was on the outs until I passed by the site tonight and saw nothing but a big hole in the ground filled with construction vehicles. If I had known, I would have taken my own shots. Please, ease my pain. I am very depressed.


BLFT on July 28, 2005 at 3:11 pm

The construction crew seems to be working very quickly at getting site of the Palm ready to start building the condo structure that will be going up. It’s a shame that nothing was really done to save the theater from the wrecking ball.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on July 26, 2005 at 5:38 am

Thanks to those who posted some nice photos of the Palm. I hope lvmstar will post the family photos on a web site, or maybe email some to those who want to see them?

ANTKNEE on July 18, 2005 at 9:09 pm

Excellent! I think I can speak for most everyone else here in that we’d love to see these pix.