Boulevard Theatre

1615 W. Washington Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90006

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Showing 26 - 41 of 41 comments

vokoban on February 22, 2006 at 7:13 am

I wonder if Thriftimart is the same as Thrifty Drugs. I know that films were shown here until 1964. At least it wasn’t turned into a drugstore before they tore it down.

(Jan. 24, 1960)
The Thriftimart Co. has purchased the 76,000 sq. ft. Fox West Coast theater building at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Vermont Ave. for use as executive offices. The air-conditioned office building and adjoining parking lots were purchased for a sum reported in excess of $750,000. Harold and Leonard Jaffe, of the Jaffe Realty Co., represented both the buyer and seller.

vokoban on February 22, 2006 at 7:05 am

Here’s a few LA Times items about robberies at this theater:

(Nov. 8, 1932)
Two taxi bandits armed with revolvers escaped yesterday with $150 cash from the Boulevard Theater, 1615 West Washington Boulevard, after they had bound and gagged the manager, Max Duncan, while he was alone in his office, according to police. Duncan reported the bandits surprised him as he was leaving to make a deposit in a near-by bank. He said they walked from the theater and escaped by a taxi.

(June 4, 1945)
Two men, one armed with a gun, held up the cashier at Fox West Coast’s Boulevard Theater, 1609 W. Washington Blvd., Saturday night and escaped with $148. The cashier was Yvonne Arbuthnot, 809 S. New Hampshire Ave.

vokoban on February 22, 2006 at 5:41 am

The correct opening date for this theater is May 27, 1925. From looking at more than a few accounts of the opening and the listings up until the late 20’s, the correct opening name was West Coast Boulevard Theater. Every article lists the ‘er’ ending and not the ’re' ending. Here’s a short item on the opening:

(May 16, 1925)
Fred Niblo, noted director, whose latest cinema triumph, “Ben Hur,” is nearing completion, will be master of ceremonies at the grand opening of the new West Coast Boulevard Theater at Washington and Vermont the 27th inst. Louis J. Golden, managing director of the new showhouse, is having the neighborhood in the vicinity of Washington and Vermont decorated elaborately in honor of the gala occasion which will mark the grand opening.

hadabob on February 21, 2006 at 10:35 am

I toured this theatre several times when it was used as a warehouse for the Thrifty Mart corporation which had occupied the building, I believe, in the 70’s – early 90’s period. My first tour of it included mostly the offices and theatre which were remodeled in Art Deco, which I assume was a carryover from its Fox West Coast operation days. The office doors were covered with leather. The lighting and decor was very “high Tech Art Deco”. The Lobby had been converted to offices and very little of the original layout could be found.

I was fortunate to tour it again – this time on my own – when the place was being torn down. I was astounded as the demolition had revealed much of the original plaster work hidden by later remodeling. The original theatre plaster work was very ornate and colorful. (The interior pics shown on this page are of the remodeled interior.)

The stage area, which was the equivalent 3 stories, was converted most likely during the 30’s. The remodeling included a ballroom and other office/executive areas. If I’m not mistaken, this was where the elevator was installed. The auditorium was in its remodeled condition. The penthouse was spectacular in its views of Los Angeles and the surrounding mountains. Utilizing the finest materials – marble, colored glass, mirrors – the entire penthouse was original Art Deco in design.

At the time of its demolition, I saw the lobby, which had been gutted, revealing the original layout, staircase, upper lobby, balcony. The former stage area had its floors removed to reveal the ballroom and the aforementioned 30’s renovation.

Without being able to dig up the pictures at this time, I can state from memory that this was truly a magnificant palace.

noloss36 on November 29, 2005 at 6:08 am

Ken mc,

Great interior photos. Do you have any more, as these brought back great memories? I worked there in the 1950’s when my father was the manager.I appreciate your taking the time to post these. Patrick Howard

Evan39 on May 9, 2005 at 1:53 pm

The Boulevard Theater was a magnficent landmark in that part of Los Angeles. It was easily visible from the busy Santa Monica Freeway. One Sunday on the way to Venice via the freeway I saw what was left of the Boulevard during the process of demolition and thus got into the auditorium visually for the one and only time. Why I didn’t get off the freeway and get up closer for a look and take some photos is related to always be in a hurry.

SDyer777 on May 21, 2004 at 4:45 pm

Oops. I actually don’t recall the street I was on, but I thought I’d read the theater was on Pico. My bad. My Dad lived on Catalina when he was a boy. USC is around Vermont, Figueroa, Exposition, Hoover, etc.

William on May 21, 2004 at 3:32 pm

You must have been driving down Vermont or Washington Blvd. to see the razing. Because Pico Blvd. is about a mile North of the theatre.

SDyer777 on May 21, 2004 at 11:56 am

My father lived near this theater when he was a kid in the 40’s and 50’s. He has many fond memories. In the 80’s, I attended USC, which is near this theater. I remember seeing it boarded up. I was impressed by the size of the theater, and the two towers on the top. My dad told me there was a lavish apartment at the top for the owner. He’d heard stories about it when he was a teenager but had never seen it. Sadly, in one of my last years at USC I drove down Pico and saw the demolition in progress. The first time, the facade was gone and I could see inside – a lobby on the lower floor, and a large staircase above that going into the theater, I assume up to the balcony. The second time I went by, a few days later, more of the building was gone. Everything in front was demolished and I could see directly into the auditorium. It would have been great to tour this theater before it went, and the penthouse. It must have been quite a place.

noloss36 on January 10, 2004 at 2:40 am

The Boulevard Theater,as already noted, was co-located with the corporate offices of the Fox West Coast Theater chain. In addition to Charles P. Skouras' fifth floor penthouse, with private elevator and full film projection facilities, the corporate offices also contained an employee cafeteria, barber shop, complete medical and steamroom facilities, as well as a 50 seat screening room. The Boulevard was the first theater in Los Angeles to have a Cinemascope wide-screen installed for the initial screening for the industry of the moton picture “The Robe” starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons. It was subsequently used to privately screen other films, such as “The Egyptian” and “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.” It was also used, on occasion, as a convention location for groups such as the Teamsters Union in the early ‘50’s. Although located in a declining neighborhood, the Boulevard attracted a regular clientele of movie star patrons, such as Marlon Brando. It was managed by Leonard J. Howard from 1946 to 1957. I was priveleged to work at this Los Angeles landmark as an usher from 1953-1957.

William on January 9, 2004 at 9:37 am

The Boulevard Theatre’s style was of a Spanish Colonial Revival and it’s architect was Albert C. Martin. The last people to use the Boulevard Theatre before it was razed was a small theatre group “Intercity Repertory”.

HarryLime on October 21, 2003 at 11:52 am

This theatre was located at 1615 West Washington Boulevard (at Vermont Avenue).

William on October 20, 2003 at 6:38 pm

When this theatre opened in 1925 it was known as the West Coast Theatre. When they opened it had a Wurlitzer theatre organ (opus#1011) style 235, it was installed 3/10/1925. During the 50’s Fox West Coast Theatres sold many of the theatre organs that they had in their theatres. Only a few stayed till the 60’s.

William on August 20, 2001 at 12:40 pm

The Boulevard theatre was located near Washington Blvd and Vermont Ave. (this theatre was razed in the mid 80’s, to make way for a strip mall). The Boulevard seated about 2300 people. Fox West Coast theatres used for offices till new offices were built next to the Carthay Circle theatre in Los Angeles. The Boulevard theatre was located near the exchange row. Exchange row was were the studio’s had their film offices in LA. In the offices at the Boulevard, Charles Skouras had a apartment with a swimming pool. Skouras was the head of Fox West Coast Theatres , another Skouras ran the Studio. The last tenants in the Boulevard, used the theatre for a small stage group. The closes theatre to the Boulevard is the old Victoria theatre (700 seats) on Pico Blvd. about 3 blocks west of Vermont Ave. (now a store)