When it first opened in 1928, the opulent Fox Oakland Theater in Oakland, Calif. was considered one of the finest movie palaces ever built. Fans thronged to the exotic domed temple, whose Moorish, Indian and Medieval architecture defied description, and marveled at its terra cotta tiles, paintings and sculptures of golden deities.

For more than three decades, the Fox held its own as a first-run movie house in a bustling downtown entertainment and shopping district. But as suburban malls and multiplexes began to lure moviegoers away from downtown Oakland, the Fox closed its doors in 1973. In the years that followed, the grand theater escaped the wrecking ball more than once, but suffered fires, leaky roofs, decay and graffiti.

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