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Screenvision’s content is “compelling”? Yeah, right…
Okay, I got inside on Friday to shoot photos and video, and I can confirm that my comment above is indeed correct. This place is like a time capsule. Everything is in its place just the way it was when they closed up decades ago.
I’ve posted the video on LAHTF’s YouTube channel; it’s called “Insider’s Peek #1” and includes nearly two dozen of my still photos of the place.
Someone I know went into the Fox yesterday and reports that it is “a time machine.” The original seats, carpets and decor are all still there.
Okay, I asked Hillsman Wright about this at the LAHTF tour today, and he said that Warners originally planned to build 6 theaters in this style. Three actually got built. One has been torn down. And the San Pedro Warner is the only one still operating. So the article is only talking about the small sample of Warner theaters in this specific style, not their whole empire.
Back in 2006, William commented:
“In the article it states "Today, San Pedro’s Warner Grand Theatre is the only Warner movie palace standing.” The writer failed to mention that the Warner Hollywood (aka Pacific 1,2,3), Warner Wiltern and Warner Forum Theatres and the Warner Huntington Park and Warner Downtown are all still standing. Only the Warner Beverly Hills has been razed."
I think the author of the article is referring to theaters that the Warner Bros actually built and owned (San Pedro, Huntington and Beverly Hills). William is correct that two of these theaters still exist. The Huntington Theater also stands, and the community is looking for a way to restore it. Warners only got three theaters built before they changed their business plans.
As for the other theaters he mentions, I don’t know the precise history of most of them, however I do know that the Warner Downtown theater started life as a Pantages. This suggests that the other theaters in question may have been leased, not owned. Hope this helps.
See you at the Warner Grand tomorrow. Doors open at 10 a.m., the history presentation starts around 10:30 with the tour to follow. We’ll be there until around 12:30.
Wow! Count me out. If it’s worth seeing, it’s worth seeing right — in a movie palace with a giant screen and sound, with the buzz of the audience, and a bag of popcorn and drink. The big problem for me is that Hollywood hasn’t exactly been churning out “must see” movies the past few years…
“Several hundred new spaces”? I heard that it would be in the neighborhood of 300+ new spaces…
As you know, SoCal, the Orpheum has been profitable for a while now. Technically the other theaters have not been abandoned, since they are earning their owners some money as filming locations, churches, etc. And there is movement behind the scenes right now, that if it pans out, could mean a second chance at life for some of these places.
The next LAHTF “All About” is scheduled for Nov 21 at the Warner Grand.
Chuck, there’s not much of the exterior of that building that says “theater.” I remember shooting the Mayan in the 90s, and shot a few details of the Belasco, never guessing that it had been a theater.
The link above has gone bad. Here’s the image:
and the info:
Ken, the two 1982 American Classic Images you linked to show a pole with a flourish on top sticking out of the center portion of the marquee. It’s not in the 81 or 83 photos. I wonder if it was something related to “Chariots of Fire,” the movie they were showing when those shots were taken… maybe an Olympic torch??
Want to help save the GG? Have personal history with this gem that you’d like to share? Want to see any changes made to the building be reversible?
Write your support for the sensitive adaptive re-use of the Golden Gate ASAP. The Planning Commission is meeting TOMORROW.
Address your email to:
Considering that it’s a 99 seat theater, that screen size is probably not too bad in there. What I can’t figure out, reading the posts here and on their page, is how much of the old building survived. Also, is the facade a recreation of the building’s original look?
Re: GR8B comment, “No screen — full performing arts theater.” I went by today and they are advertising a Fall Film Festival. Their website says the facility is “ideal for… classic movie screenings.”
Should the Covina Center for the Performing Arts, like the ImaginAsian that replaced the Linda Lea, get its own page?
Back in 2003, Harry Lime wrote about another El Capitan theater in Hollywood: “The Hollywood Playhouse (1927 – 1945), located at 1735 North Vine Street, recently The Palace and now The Avalon Theatre (a Clear Channel operation), was formerly the El Capitan, and the Jerry Lewis Theatre.”
Does this not have a page here? I’ve been searching on the various names (and checking “previous names”) and can’t seem to find it.
A big question at yesterday’s All About: where exactly was the fountain with the electric eye? No one can seem to find a photograph showing it. We also examined all the nooks and crannies, trying to figure it out, with no luck.
The renovation is planned to take part in 3 stages. The first involves the entrance/lobby, the second covers the auditorium, the last would involve removing everything beyond the proscenium and creating an entirely new structure that would include dressing rooms and support space. The projected completion date is now 2012.
Word is that Crenshaw Blvd will be closed tomorrow between MLK and Rodeo for a street festival.
Be prepared with an alternate route!
Doors open at 10 a.m. this Saturday. Here’s an idea of what to expect:
10:00 â€" Doors open â€" register guests
PowerPoint onscreen – LAâ€™s Historic Theatres â€" as guests arrive
10:30 â€" Program Begins in Auditorium
Welcome â€" LAHTF, DCA, & guests
Save the Fairfax â€" Friends of the Fairfax
How the tour works
PowerPoint history by Ed Kelsey of the Leimert/Vision and neighborhood
PowerPoint from design team of Visionâ€™s future
Review neighborhood dining & shopping options
Theatre Tour â€"
(self guided, with docents in place to point out areas of interest and historic detail)
12:30-1:00 â€" tour ends â€"
I just heard from Ed Kelsey, who gives the history presentations for the LAHTF’s “All About” tours. He said he has a 1967 photo of the theater which shows the tower intact; he believes it was removed in the early 1970s as a result of the San Fernando quake. If he finds a more precise date in his files, I will post it here.
Just took another look at that Wikipedia page. As well as giving an incorrect date for the removal of the tower top, it repeats that business about the Tower being the location of a sneak preview of “The Jazz Singer,” which others here have given evidence as being untrue.
Good question, DB. The top is also visible in the (circa) 1942 shot at the top of the page, and the 1938 shot posted on 2/3/07.
Anybody up for a tour of this theater and a presentation on its history? The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation will be holding an “All About…” at the Leimert/Vision Theater on October 17th. Keep an eye here for more details, check in at www.lahtf.org, or join us on Facebook.
The new marquee is up and is a pleasant surprise. I went by last night expecting back-lit plastic, and instead I saw neon. They’ve done a great job.
The barriers and scaffolding are now down (looks like we’re stuck with the indifferent color). The glass is in place, and you can see into the building where they are still working. The marquee still needs to be cleaned up, however.
Wendell is the man!