San Francisco’s EL REY THEATRE to Host 80th Birthday Event

To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of San Francisco’s Ingleside neighborhood landmark movie palace, the El Rey, all are invited this November to listen to Therese Poletti, author of Art Deco San Francisco: The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger speak about Pflueger, and then view The Smiling Lieutenant, the movie which inaugurated the theatre in 1930. There will be refreshments and live music.

Date: Saturday, November 19th

Time: Doors open at 7:00pm
Movie at 8:30pm

Tickets: Available in October

All proceeds will benefit the Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse (historic streetcar barn)

Sponsors: The Ingleside Light (newspaper) and Voice of Pentecost (owners/operators of the theatre building)


El Rey Theatre is one of the largest neighborhood theatres in San Francisco, and features an enormous tower that is almost as tall as the auditorium is long. While many changes have been made to the building during its many years as a theatre and then a church, there is much of the original design remaining, including rich Art Deco ornamental plaster, and a backlit ceiling sunburst fashioned of the same kind of metalwork Pflueger used in his Oakland Paramount.
El Rey was seriously considered in the early stages of planning the 2008 Conclave, but had to be left out due to the multitude of other venues, and its relative geographic remoteness from other theatres on the itinerary. Here is a chance to go inside, and actually see a movie there as well!


  1. Gary Parks

    Jack Tillmany just gently reminded me that “The Smiling Lieutenant” and the El Rey opened in 1931, not 1930. My error.

  2. I thought this theatre building was for sale? Is It still a church? Will we be allowed to take photos or private video at this birthday event of the inside? Sounds like a great night in November.

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