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Daly City Theatre (photo credit Jack Tillmany Collection)

Daly City Theatre

Daly City, California, USA

First Opened: 27th November 1928 (95 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Spanish Garden

Architect: Creston H. Jensen

Status: Demolished

Address: 6212 Mission Street, Daly City, CA 94014 Link opens in new window


The 1,250-seat theatre, located in Daly City just south of San Francisco, opened in late November 1928. It was built by local man (John) William Marchbank and leased to San Francisco peninsula film exhibitors Edward B. Baron and Carol A. Nathan (Baron and Nathan).

Auditorium circa 1930
Auditorium circa 1930

Prior to the theatre’s opening, the Daly City Record proclaimed that the Atmospheric style auditorium was the first of its kind in San Francisco or indeed the Peninsula. The effect was described as a theatre “under the stars” with the audience seated under a blue sky ceiling and surrounded by a garden. The garden scenes were a series of 18 painted panels, framed within a Spanish wall encircling the auditorium, and with clever lighting were made to appear outside the theatre. The fleecy clouds that floated lazily in the sky “caused a great deal of comment” at the theatre’s opening.

Research work on the Creston H. Jensen collection, held at UC Berkeley’s Link opens in new window Environmental Design Archives Link opens in new window, has revealed that the audiorium was originally designed in a highly-ornamented but non-Atmospheric form (January 1928). The design of the proscenium arch and flanking panels was changed to an Atmospheric design in May 1928.

The theatre was originally equipped with a $22,500 Robert Morton 2-manual, 6-rank organ, which “reproduces every instrument in an orchestra”. Opening addresses were given by Daly City Mayor H.H. Smith and City Attorney McCurdy.

The theatre closed on 22nd December 1955. In April 1957 the theatre started to be used by Missionary-Evangelist the Rev. O.G. Ogburn to preach about his Ogburn Healing Campaign. Ultimately, the theatre was demolished in 1958.

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