Clay Theater gets a reprieve

What a difference a day makes.

On Saturday, Michael Blythe, a manager at the Clay Theatre on Fillmore, was grappling with what to do after the Clay played its last picture show on Sunday. But by midday Sunday, he had a happier problem on his hands: how to phrase the good news on the marquee that there was a reprieve — the Clay wasn’t closing immediately after all.

The news came late Saturday afternoon as cast and crew were readying for what they believed to be the finale of an institution at the Clay: the monthly midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“We were all hovering around watching the telephone like it was an execution,” says Blythe. “This is a big Band-Aid, but it’s the best thing we could hope for in this situation.” Blythe says the ultimate goal remains to have a group such as the San Francisco Film Society take over the theatre that’s been operating on Fillmore for the last 100 years.

Early Sunday afternoon he was scrambling to call the popcorn vendor and others who were told their contracts with the Clay were canceled — and telling employees, including one who’s worked there since the 1970s, to come back to work.

“This has been a real roller coaster ride,” he says.

And it’s not over yet.