Picnic in San Jose – Lot of Fun

Diary of Helen Hussey

Fillmore Hotel 1936

Shopping along Fillmore Street and the New Fillmore Hotel on the right. Image source: http://newfillmore.com “The New Fillmore – The Latest News From The Heart And Soul Of San Francisco.” Robert F. Oaks the the author of the Arcadia published “San Francisco’s Filmore District.” https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9780738529882/San-Franciscos-Fillmore-District

Wednesday November 8, 1939 “Went to the bank and post office. Money Order came from Ruth McKales. Sent receipt and final payment on tires! Matinee at the Alexandria. Nite – Sam and I to Fillmore to buy dinner for tomorrow. Bought some Port.

Alexandria_SF-111

On the marquee “Tea And Sympathy” starring Deborah Kerr. It was released November 5, 1956. Image source: Richmond Street Blog

From Cinema Treasures

The Alexandria Theatre opened on November 26, 1923 with Douglas MacLean in “Going Up.” It was built at a cost of $350,000 by Oppenheimer & (Alex) Levin; Reid Brothers were the architects. From the beginning, it was one of the Richmond district’s leading second-run theaters.

In 1941, it underwent extensive remodeling, emerging totally Moderne, with only the original stone pillars on its corner facade still exhibiting evidence of its original Egyptian roots.

It re-opened on June 19, 1942, but due to wartime blackout restrictions, much of its new neon elegance had to be subdued until sometime later. In the late-1950’s it was upgraded to a first run 70MM, reserved seat policy premiering such roadshow attractions as South Pacific (48 weeks), Exodus (20 weeks), Can Can (19 weeks), El Cid (21 weeks), The Longest Day (19 weeks),Cleopatra (56 weeks) & Oliver! (43 weeks).

On November 24, 1976, it re-opened as Alexandria 3, with the former balcony and loge sections converted into two separate, smaller auditoriums, but with the original downstairs section more or less intact.

Beneath the remodeling, rumor has it that the original dome and atmospheric ceiling still exists, retaining its twinkling lights, or at least the sockets, and that behind the bland walls of the lobby one can still see lotus-topped columns and colorful hieroglyphics.

The theater closed in the beginning of 2004 and its future is uncertain.

The Golden Gate Theater

Ritz Brothers The Gorilla

Image Source: Amazon

Thursday November 9, 1939 “To town and bought shirts and shorts for Sam. Went to the Golden Gate and saw the Marx Ritz Brothers. Very funny. Marc out with Sam for dinner. Phil stopped in tonight.”

Friday November 10, 1939 “Busy morning. Shampoo and bathed Bijou. Washed, shopped, etc. Walked in the park. Nite met Sam and dinner at Hotel Espanol. Stopped at Tony’s. She’s not feeling so well. Home and port. Sam doesn’t have to work tomorrow. Found a parking ticket on the car. Pacific.

Hotel Espanol. 2016-02-05 18.58

Hotel Espanol was at 719 Broadway. There is no 719 there anymore – probably demo’ed. The highest number on the corner building goes to 715.  The peach color stucco building next to it is number 777. Google maps points to the empty space of an alley for 719. Nothing there.

Saturday November 11, 1939 “Jeanne and I to town. Had to walk from Civic Center on account of the Armistice Day parade. Bought new hat, sweater for Jeanne. Nite Ruth and Bill came in. Quite a binge. They brought a bike, etc.”

Winchester House

Sunday November 12, 1939 “Tony, Jeanne, Ruth, Duke, and I to see Winchester House. Picnic in San Jose – lot of fun. Beautiful country. Home about 3:30. Nite gabbed and beer. Bed about 11:30.

Palace Hotel_s-l1600-3

Monday November13, 1939 “Ruth and Bill left about 9. Met Tony at 5 and to the Palace Hotel. Saw Boys of Brazil band. To Jacopetti’s for sandwiches. Then to the Curran – first night of Taming of the Shrew, Lunt and Fontaine. Swell!!

Stanford_Daily_Taming Of The Shrew

Standford Daily

Tuesday November 14, 1939 “Ironed in the morning. Then shopped, library, and walked Bijou in the park. Afternoon and Nite, Read + Radio.”

Dan Soderberg
I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

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