Monday, September 7, 2009

More local ruins

Last week, in the course of what was supposed to be a post dedicated to the work of shot-on-video horror filmmakers the Polonia brothers, I went off on a bit of a tangent about the not inconsiderable number of derelict old movie houses that line Mission Street, my beloved San Francisco neighborhood's main drag. For those of you interested (or, more accurately, because I was interested), I thought I'd share a couple more views of these faded beauties.

Cine Latino is one of the city's oldest movie theaters, having opened back in 1913 under the name The Wigwam. It was rechristened The New Rialto in 1930 and then The Crown in 1947, before finally becoming Cine Latino in 1974. (Thanks to the Cinema Treasures website and its habitues for the historical info.) From what I understand, it was quite a palace in its day, with seating for almost 1500 patrons.

Here's a picture from the archives of the SF Public Library that shows Mission Street during the theater's New Rialto days. You can also see the New Mission theater -- which, as I mentioned in the previous post, is also still standing, if barely -- directly across the street.

And here's a picture from the American Classic Images website that shows the theater in 1986, just a year before it closed its doors for good, and well into its grindhouse phase.

The Tower, originally known as the Majestic, was also built in the teens, and seated about 900. It saw out its last years as a Spanish language theater and was the last of Mission Street's movie theaters to shut its doors, sometime back in the late 90s. Until very recently the structure housed a church. As you can see, it's now for sale. Any takers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! Somehow, even though I've walked by these ruins many times, I never really considered their glorious past.

By the looks of that b&w photo, the Mission was quite an entertainment district back in the days.