The Balboa Theater, San Francisco
Neon lights like elephants are an endangered species. Once every main-street was filled with neon lights of every commercial type - theaters, drug stores, and markets. As they were replaced by backlit plastic signs, the neon lights went out one by one -- so slowly we don't notice exactly when they become scarce.
Driving west on Balboa in the Outer Richmond of San Francisco as the street rolls down to the ocean, you can see the flashing neon of the Balboa Theater from far away. It is a relic. One of the few remaining neighborhood single screen theaters. Even they have split the theater into separate screening rooms in their effort to stay afloat. It seems each year the Balboa is on the brink of closing and if it does, this neon will go dark. Neon lights are still around, but very few still have the shouting flashing letters each one lighting one by one in sequence like a spelling bee B- A- L- B- O- A, "Balboa".
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