Update: CRUCIAL HEARING to SAVE THE NATIONAL THEATRE on NOV 1st.
LOS ANGELES, CA — The following was sent in by Cinema Sightlines:
“The National Theatre in Westwood is one of the 3 last big-screen, large capacity individual movie theatres still standing in greater Los Angeles. This theatre is a rare example of late 60s-early 70s modern architecture, with some historical significance regarding the motion picture events that have taken place there. Known for superior picture and sound presentation, The National Theatre has been a favorite movie showplace in Los Angeles for over 37 years.
The property owner, Simms Development corp, has definite plans to demolish this irreplaceable theatre, to build condominiums and probably some commercial space.
A group called Friends of the National Theatre is applying to the LA Cultural Heritage Commission to grant the building Historical-Cultural Monument status, which could delay demolition while the case is fully reviewed.
The National application is the final item on the agenda of a meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 1 at 10am in Room 101 of City Hall.
If there is any hope of saving the theatre, this is the opportunity for Friends of the National Theatre, and anyone wishing to speak up with reasons not to destroy it, to come forward.
What: Cultural Heritage Commission Hearing on the National Theatre
When: Thursday, Nov 1 at 10:00AM
Where: LA City Hall – 200 North Spring Street – Room 1010 – Los Angeles, CA 90012
We suggest you make the Cultural Heritage Commissioners aware of your support for the National Theatre, and help them recognize its historical & cultural significance by faxing polite letters to the Cultural Heritage Commissioners:
Mary Klaus-Martin – President
Glen C. Dake, ASLA
Miriam “Mia” Guttfreund Lehrer, ASLA
Cultural Heritage Commission
Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring Street, Room 620, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone (213) 978-1200 Fax (213) 978-0017
Just asking to keep the theatre standing isn’t as persuasive without some practical ideas for how the theatre could be made into a profitable venture. We are working on a proposal suggesting that the National could be very commercially viable if adapted into the popular Movie Tavern/Studio Movie Grille/Alamo Drafthouse concept, which has yet to be done in this area and seems particularly suitable for an upscale college community like Westwood.
Keeping the first-rate bigscreen picture & sound presentation, while adapting part of the audience area to accommodate several levels of food service, could greatly increase the theatre’s commercial potential, and make the National desirable for private parties, events, etc. Quality food served directly at the seats, and a wide variety of programming, mixing current hits with cult favorites, retro series, midnight movies, family matinees, live acts, etc. could broaden the theatre’s appeal by offering something for everyone that is not available elsewhere.
Anyone with other ideas is encouraged to write them up and have them ready for the hearing. Please take this opportunity to speak up now, rather than regretting later on that the theatre was lost due to lack of support. TAKE ACTION NOW!
- TJ Edwards, Cinema Sightlines