“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

The Screening Room - 1966-1980's

Uptown Tenderloin Historic District


—Uptown Tenderloin Lost Landmarks —

The Screening Room Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 9, 2013
1. The Screening Room Marker
Inscription. Alex De Renzy produced "Pornography in Denmark: a New Approach", and billed it as a documentary to avoid legal problems. The film, the first full-length adult oriented hardcore feature legally shown in the U.S., premiered here in 1970 at The Screening Room. With this landmark success, De Renzy helped launch the U.S. adult movie industry.
Location. 37° 47.004′ N, 122° 24.746′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on Jones Street north of Turk Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. The marker is set in the sidewalk in front of the theater. Marker is at or near this postal address: 220 Jones Street, San Francisco CA 94102, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Antonia Manor (within shouting distance of this marker); Dancing, Roller Skating & Bowling (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bulldog Baths (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hotel Drake (about 300 feet away); Gene Compton's Cafeteria Riot 1966 (about 400 feet away); Compton's Cafeteria Riot - 1966 (about 400 feet away); Hamlin Hotel (about 400 feet away); Cadillac Hotel (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in San Francisco.
Regarding The Screening Room - 1966-1980's.
Day of Premiere Advertisement for De Renzy's <i>Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach</i> image. Click for full size.
By San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 1970
2. Day of Premiere Advertisement for De Renzy's Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach
De Renzy's advertisement for the movie's premiere at the North Beach Theater eschewed the lurid graphics common to the advertisements for adult-oriented films of the period, and instead took a disarmingly straightforward approach to invite potential viewers to the film. This combination of information, warning, and invitation apparently worked, as the film was commercially successful right from its debut.
(Click on image to enlarge for details)

• Although the marker lacks this precision, the movie premiered on February 24, 1970. The ad for the movie's premiere, as it appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on that day, gives the movie location, however, as the North Beach Theater (also operated by De Renzy), contrary to the indication on this historical marker. According to the same paper, the movie "Boys and Girls Together - A Light-hearted Dirty Movie for Grown Ups Only" was actually showing at The Screening Room on that day. Advertisements days and weeks subsequent to the premiere also give the North Beach Theater, not The Screening Room, as the location of where Pornography in Denmark was exhibited.

• In the February 25, 1970 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, noted entertainment critic John Wasserman reviewed the film: There has never, believe me, been any film shown in a commercial movie house open to the public, which has approached this film...Rather than itemize matters, lets just say that virtually every sexual activity possible between human beings is shown. And no cute camera angles! It's all there in unblushing color. De Renzy must have appreciated this particular review, as weeks later he used large portions of the review verbatim as ad copy for his film.

Pornography in Denmark was De Renzy's directorial debut, and he went on to produce more than 150 titles
Serving Film Buffs and Dance Fans Since 1966 image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 9, 2013
3. Serving Film Buffs and Dance Fans Since 1966
With more constancy to theme than to name, this converted storefront theater has been serving patrons of the erotic arts since 1966 under the following names: The Screening Room, Campus All-Male Theater, Savages Theatre, Chez Paree, Pink Diamonds, and now, The Power Exchange ("a pansexual nightclub").
in the pornographic genre. His films Babyface (1977) and Pretty Peaches (1978) are widely considered classics within the genre.
Also see . . .
1. Looking Back on S.F. Porn's Golden Era. In this San Francisco Chronicle article (7/12/2011), David Wagner explains how and why San Francisco became for a number of years the center of the pornographic film industry: Before porn became mass-produced on San Fernando Valley factory lines and beamed directly into computer screens and hotel televisions for private consumption, it was a very public phenomenon, and nowhere more than in San Francisco....In 1969, Baghdad-by-the-Bay became the first city in the United States to legalize films that explicitly depicted penetration.... (Submitted on March 16, 2013.) 

2. The Screening Room. provides an overview of The Screening Room. (Note: the date it provides concerning Pornography in Denmark is incorrect.) (Submitted on March 16, 2013.) 

3. Lost Landmarks. This marker is one of 9 Lost Landmark sidewalk plaques authorized by the Board of Supervisors on September 6, 2011. “These ‘Lost Landmark’ sites will greatly illuminate the forgotten history of these San Francisco sites of historic significance; now, therefore be it.” (Submitted on December 23, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 378 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   2. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   3. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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