San Mateo Theatre

66 E. 3rd Avenue,
San Mateo, CA 94401

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres, Peninsula Theatres Company

Architects: William I. Garren, Irving F. Morrow

Functions: Office Space, Retail

Styles: Art Deco, Neo-Classical, Renaissance Revival

Previous Names: Fox San Mateo Theatre

Nearby Theaters

San Mateo Theater

Opened on July 23, 1925, the San Mateo Theatre was a beautiful movie palace with thick gold curtains. It was built for and operated by the Peninsula Theatres Company chain. The 1,200-seat former theatre building today is used for retail and office space.

Contributed by Jim Crowl

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 8:25 am

The architect’s of the San Mateo Theater were Irving F. Morrow and William I. Garren.

tarantex on June 16, 2007 at 5:45 pm

I use to change the marquee when San Carlos Cinemas leased it from Mann Theatres, The theatre was so run down from when mann theatres ran it the upstairs balcony was closed off the upstairs lobby which in itsday circled around that was boarded up and used to store all kinds of theatre crap, i remember when Beverly and scrappy ran it for mann it was the philtist dump, Bev use to live in the Janitors Closet and they would drink the night away at the Ben Franks, when i was changing the marquee all seats were a $ 1.oo what a fun time that was

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Here is a 1965 ad from the San Mateo Times:

woodcubed on July 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Mr. Tarantino,

I am a San Mateo resident doing a project on the San Mateo Theater. I am trying to gather any images I can, especially of the front of the the theater, and the box office. The photos I have so far been able to find are all at a distance and obscure the area under the marquee. If you have any other information or photos of the theater I would greatly appreciate hearing from you, or simply a chance to speak with you about the theater. Thank you.

kencmcintyre on August 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

Here is a November 1953 ad from the SMT:

tarantex on August 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Go ahead and email me direct at .and i will help you out with what i know and have pictures of the theatre.

AndrewBarrett on September 26, 2014 at 12:51 am

What an awesome-looking interior, and I normally don’t really care for Art Deco! (although I do think those theatres should be preserved, too). Too bad it’s no longer a theatre, although good the building is still there.

I note the organ console in the pictures, could this be a Smith or Leathurby-Smith organ?

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David Junchen, pg. 629, there was a 2 manual, 8 rank Leathurby-Smith organ installed at a “Balboa Th.” in San Mateo, California, in 1925. No blower info is given, but as you can see, most of the essential details are there. I see no mention of a “Balboa Theatre” in San Mateo, and so assume this must be a misprint(?) and perhaps they are referring to the San Mateo Theatre(?) Does anybody know what happened to this organ?


rivest266 on July 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

July 23rd, 1925 grand opening ad in photo section.

pnelson on July 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm

One of the most handsome interiors for a theatre in the country. Rivals LA’S best. Art Deco meets mission. What a tragedy not to save it. The exterior is great too.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.