236 C (NW corner 3rd and C St)


One of the few legitimate houses that did not surrender to motion pictures was The Savoy. This theatre, opened on Monday, September 18, 1911, with a stage production and closed twenty-nine years later with another stage production.

The Savoy was constructed for the then imposing price of $150,000. The auditorium, with a capacity of 1,408, was built of reinforced concrete. The floor was pitched in such a way as to allow every audience member an unobstructed view of the stage. A rather new innovation was a ventilation system that caused a complete change of air every five minutes. This air passed through a system of six-inch ventilators placed under very other seat. Though this may have caused a few cold feet, it at least supplied the members of the audience with cool, clean air to breathe.

The stage was large, 80 feet wide and 40 feet deep, and well equipped. The proscenium arch had a width of 35 feet and a height of 28 feet. This enabled the Savoy to stage all but the most spectacular theatrical productions of the day.

The final performance in 1940 marked the end of a long and successful life of nearly thirty years. When one considers the history of its contemporary houses, he might find the Savoy’s greatest boast being that its stage never held a permanent motion picture screen. [although note Pantages posters promoting “New Motion Picures”]

[excerpt from a Thesis Presented to the Faculty of San Diego State College by Morgan Jackson Lane, June 1969, entitled “Commercial Theatre in San Diego with Special Emphasis 1892-1917”]

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