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San Francisco’s Castro Theater was designed by architect Timothy Pfleuger and completed in 1922.  Motion picture theaters matured as a building type during the 1920s; by the end of the decade, the largest “movie palaces” were seating up to four thousand patrons in breathtakingly sumptuous surroundings.  The Castro, which seats 1800, is an early and relatively modest example, yet it attests to the care lavished on theater buildings of the era.  Its elaborate Churrigueresque facade features a central espadaña executed in stucco surmounting an enormous central window.  The large vertical sign is a later addition, as neon tubing did not arrive until the early 1930s; the original would probably have employed large numbers of incandescent bulbs arranged to “chase” or flash in sequence.  The marquee’s ornament is executed in pressed sheet metal, an inexpensive material that also minimized the load on the projecting structure.