The Regency II

1268 Sutter St. | map |

Opened: 1911 as the premises for a dance school, the Colin Traver Academy of Dance. The location is just a half block east of Van Ness. By 1912 the ballroom was known as the "assembly hall" for Puckett's School of Dancing. Puckett's was renamed the Trianon Ballroom with an opening on Friday April 9, 1926. The opening event was a three day carnival under the management of George H. Schomer. John Wolohan and his Californians provided the music.

In this 1925 photo we're looking west toward Van Ness. The building beyond the Trianon is the 1911 Scottish Rite Temple, later the home of Blumenfeld's Regency I. Thanks to Jack Tillmany for finding the photo on the Open SF History Project site.

Architect: Alfred Henry Jacobs, who did a few theatres in his time including the Curran, the California/State and the Granada/Paramount.

As the Trianon it was still in operation in November 1935. By October 1937, it had been renamed the Avalon Ballroom. It achieved fame in the 60s as a rock and roll hall. It closed after having its dance permit revoked on October 29, 1968.

The Blumenfeld circuit converted it into a film theatre, the Regency II, in 1969.  The earlier Blumenfeld operation, the Regency (later renamed Regency 1) was right there at the corner of Sutter and Van Ness.

At the Regency II, one had to take an escalator up to the 2nd floor theatre space. But once there you got better seating than at the Regency I along with a much bigger deeply curved screen. Both houses were equipped for 70mm. 

Seating: 600 as a film house

Status: Closed as a film house in 2000. It was briefly used as a concert venue again after Blumenfeld got out. It's now used as office space.

The ballroom in use in 1912 by Puckett's School of Dancing. Thanks to Jack Tillmany for the postcard from his collection. A black and white version of the card appears with a 2013 Curbed SF article that was speculating on the building's future. 

A hint of what the auditorium looked like with the big screen installed. It's a Scott Neff photo on Cinema Tour.

A peek at the booth from Scott Neff. It's a Christie platter and a Norelco DP75 35/70 machine. 

A c.2012 look at the ballroom space as built out for office use. Polatnick Properties had it for rent at the time. It's now the home of Argonaut Inc. 

More exterior views: 

Thanks to Jack Tillmany for this photo. He says: "Thanks again to the dedication of photo inclined rail fans, here's former Market Street Railway veteran #256, making one of its last runs out Sutter under the Muni banner in 1948-1949, shortly before rail yielded to rubber, in the name of progress and corporate corruption. And look what it's passing! Avalon Ballroom, to be reborn as Regency II 2 decades later."  

A look west on Sutter toward Van Ness in the pre-Regency II days. Note the vertical for the Avalon Ballroom. Thanks to Joel Kornoelje for the photo, posted on the Facebook page San Francisco Remembered as a comment to Bob Ristelhueber's post of a c.1968 photo of the Regency I around the corner.  

Thanks to Mike Fusello for tracking down this Summer 1967 shot of what was soon to become the Regency II. The photo is from the Michael Ochs Archives.

A February 1980 photo by Tom Gray from the Jack Tillmany collection.

This Ken Roe photo was taken in 2000, shortly after the theatre closed. Later it was remodeled for office space and other uses. Ken's photo is on Cinema Treasures. 

Here we're looking at the Regency II through the ruins of the United Artists Galaxy Theatres in 2011. It's a Scott Broadhurst photo, part of his post about the Galaxy's demise.

More information: Both Cinema Treasures and Cinema Tour have pages on the Regency II. The Wikipedia article on the Avalon discusses its life in the 60s as a rock venue.

Jack Tillmany's Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres of San Francisco" can be previewed on Google Books. It's available from Amazon or your local bookseller. 

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