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The Warfield

The Warfield
If you believe that historic buildings have soul, then you have been surrounded by it at The Warfield theatre in San Francisco. This grand dame of a theatre opened May 13, 1922. It was built by showman and theatre chain owner Marcus Loew, who named the showplace after his old friend David Warfield, a native San Franciscan who began as an usher and grew to be one of the greatest silent film actors of his time. The Warfield was built as a vaudeville and movie palace. Originally called Loew's Warfield, it became the 300th theater in mogul Marcus Loew's growing theater chain.

The interior is movie palace ornate. The lobby features marble, guilt and chandeliers, and opens to a grand staircase to the balcony. The main theater features a lyrical mural above the proscenium arch painted by Albert Herter. The mural contains images of floating matadors and their senoritas, as well as the dismembered head of their animal victim. Vaudeville shows typically had many acts, and it's reflected by the 20 dressing rooms in the back stage area.

All of the big names in entertainment played on The Warfield's stage, including Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Chaplin. Even then there were some "dog" shows with the likes of Rin Tin Tin.

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