~ The Building ~

The major movie studios were expanding during the 1920s. Movie attendance was growing continually, with no end in sight.

Film palaces were being built by the studios to lure - and accommodate - more and more patrons than ever before. The large theatre "chains" - such as those run by competitors Adolph Zukor and William Fox - were  consolidating both existing independent exhibitors and constructing new theatres - and were the theatre equivalent of the "Big Box" stores of the 1990's and beyond.

William Fox planned to build the movie palace to end all movie palaces under the direction of Fox West Coast Theatres. At the start of 1926, Fox announced that a new theatre, initially named the Capital Theatre, would be erected in San Francisco - intended as a sister theatre to Broadway's Capitol Theatre, in New York. This turned out to be merely a working title, and the theatre was soon named The Fox.

Fox's original plans called for a 1000-room luxury hotel to be built on the adjacent lots, up and over the theatre structure itself. Several theories have been put forth as to why it was never built - but it was  undoubtedly economics that nixed the concept: the onset of the Great Depression (with the stock market crash of October 1929), and the discovery of an underground river flowing under the building site, forced the cost of the Fox to over $5 million 1929 dollars - or $3 million more than the initial estimate!

The William Swain Photo Collection of
Building Scenes Added October 2006!


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