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The New Potrero Theater

A mom-and-pop movie house for fifty years, the building still stands today.

Opened as the Alta Theatre in 1913. The installation of sound equipment in 1930 also brought a new name: the New Potrero Theatre.

For over 30 years, it served Potrero Hill as a strictly mom-and-pop operation unique to a city as large as San Francisco. Mom sold the tickets, Pop ran the projectors. There was no snack bar, only vending machines in the lobby. One can only guess, but the two of them probably cleaned up each evening after the show as well. They ran no ad in the daily newspaper; a monthly calendar kept neighborhood patrons abreast of what was playing.


Amazingly this operation lasted until 1963, at which time the New Potrero Theatre finally shut down for the last time.

The building still stands, having been converted into offices, a neighborhood artifact of the long distant past when such a humble operation was not only feasible but profitable.

Seating: 300, all on a single level.

Closing: It closed as a film house in 1963. Customers also called it the Flea House. It was used by the Grateful Dead as a rehearsal hall c.1968. It was later purchased by the the San Francisco Gurdjieff Society, a group still in the building.

Content adapted from the San Francisco Theater Blogspot.

Visit to join the community fun as our gift to you during this year's "holidays at home" Shelter in Place.

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