Fox Venice Theater

620 Lincoln Boulevard,
Venice, CA 90291

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Showing 26 - 50 of 67 comments

GaryParks on July 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

To respond to the May 2007 comment by brett421 a few posts above: On the marquee of the multiplex at Universal Citywalk, there is a salvaged and resused neon plume which looks exactly like the one which once graced the middle of the Fox Venice marquee. I believe it is the original from the Fox. I saw it at Citywalk in 1998. As that complex contains numerous vintage pieces of neon from the Museum of Neon Art, I suspect this to be the case.

kencmcintyre on April 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm

This is an S. Charles Lee sketch that the LAPL labeled as “unidentified theater”. It resembles the Fox Venice to some extent, but there’s been no mention of Lee as the architect. The sketch could have been for a project that was never built.

rmr48 on August 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Moved to Venice in 1975 when I was 23, and my first night in town went to the FV for a benefit for the Venice Renters League — Hearts of the West and The Apple War (Max von Sydow played an elf!). I sat next to a woman, started talking — we’ve been friends now, more than 30 years. In 76, I got a job there inspecting films. The Fox cared about projection quality and paid me or someone like me to ensure a good time for the audience. I ran every reel through my fingers and repaired broken splices and bad sprockets.

Amazing things happened at the Fox beyond the great double bills. Next to the projection room, the Fox had an editing bay they let filmmakers use. As a benefit for the director, who was there in person, they showed Les Blank’s great documentary about New Orleans culture in ‘Smellaround.’ We made huge vats of red beans and rice and wheeled them around the auditorium during the section of the movie where Irma Thomas showed how to make the dish, then had a post-film party in the theater for the entire audience with the beans and music playing.)

Toni Basil had a run of a live show with break dancing and punk dancing. I remember a chorus line of woman dancers in blood-spattered nurse’s uniforms as Suffragette City blasted away.

The Fox had ‘cry rooms’ at the back, glassed in rooms with their own speakers ostensibly for theatergoers to bring their babies to — though they were used most often by dope smokers and the lustful. It was my family, as it was for most of us who worked there.

brett421 on May 17, 2007 at 12:01 am

The marquee neon from the Fox Venice was once a part of LA’s Museum of Neon Art’s permanent collection, and though i haven’t seen it resurface in many years, it was in good working condition last i saw.

johnnyvegas on January 18, 2007 at 8:34 am

I was born in Santa Monica in 1944, and I lived in Santa Monica, Ocean Park and Venice the next ten years. My mother was divorced with two young boys and she would drop my brother and me off at the Dome theater in Ocean Park on Saturday mornings for about four hours watching cartoons and old movies. (This was before TV). We moved to Venice just before the Fox Venice opened. I lived down the street, so my brother and I were at the Fox on opening day (I believe it was a Saturday). It was a really big deal! There were hundreds of kids there, an emcee, some local celebrities, prizes, and so forth. They even had three or four World War II searchlights on at night during the opening period. I spent many a Saturday morning at the Fox Venice and the memories are all pleasant.

meryl on September 11, 2006 at 3:29 pm

I live near there. Inside what used to be the auditorium/lobby is a bunch of little stores, not separated by walls. I’ve bought stuff there, and all the prices were negotiable. Maybe that’s why they call it a swap meet. Behind the building, besides Smart N' Final, are a produce store and a toy store. I’ve been there lots of weekends, and have never seen anything going on in the parking lot.

kencmcintyre on September 11, 2006 at 2:29 pm

There is a Smart and Final behind the theater. I think the swap meet is in the parking lot on weekends.

mikemorano on September 11, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Perhaps it was formerly a swap meet. A business search reveals Fox Discount Department Store

620 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA, United States

Phone: (310) 392-3477

Location Type: Single Location

Embroidery Services’s Discount Department Store

William on September 11, 2006 at 11:52 am

I would say a swap meet.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 11, 2006 at 10:36 am

The marquee says Department Store, the vertical says Swap Meet. Which is it?

William on September 5, 2006 at 10:44 am

I just picked up on eBay the wooden Fox Venice Theatre calendar box from the box office.

robbiedupree on August 29, 2006 at 12:21 am

In 1978-79, I worked as a waiter in a place called The Brandywine on Lincoln Blvd. I often atended films at The Fox Venice. Lastone I can rmember was Zardoz . Don’t think it was a first run but I can’t recall. It was a great place to enjoy movies . Robbie

bgoogles on July 24, 2006 at 2:50 pm

I didn’t make it to the Fox Venice very often. I couldn’t, however, pass up a double feature which played sometime in the mid-seventies.
It was “The Cincinnati Kid” with Steve McQueen and “The Hustler” with Paul Newman. How do you pass up a double feature like that?
George Clooney and Brad Pitt just don’t make it.

pdonyc on July 9, 2006 at 6:00 pm

I grew up in Santa Monica and spent many hours at the Fox Venice Theatre. As a child, I remember seeing “Yellow Submarine” and other films there in their original releases. Later, as a teenager, I went often to see films when it was a revival theatre-seeing “Rebel Without a Cause,” “La Strada,” and many other films for the first time there. It was a beautiful theatre with murals on the walls, art deco design and I have warm memories of it.

dispar on March 8, 2006 at 9:51 am

Thanks Buckuna for a wonderful memory of the childhood moviegoing experience! I was born in 1952 and had very similar moviegoing memories, but mine were in Charleston, SC.

Hope you made it back to Venice to see the FOX (my last visit to the FOX was around 1985).

Buckuna on February 11, 2006 at 9:54 pm

I was born in 1950 and grew-up in Venice. From a child’s eyes, the Fox Venice was magnificent! My Saturdays were often spent at the Fox taking in a double feature – War movies or Westerns, cartoons, shorts and newsreels. Sometimes there were activities for the kids, pie eating contests with prizes; a new Schwinn bike was given away one time, but most often, the prizes were candy or free tickets. I remember standing in line at the concession stand and buying my “Sugar Daddy” or “Charms” sucker with what was left from my fifty cent allowance. Either one was the good deal – long lasting. I’d get popcorn – if I had enough money. The game was, after you’d eaten the popcorn, you could flatten out the box, bend the bottom flaps down and presto! The coolest UFO you ever saw! The air inside the theater during intermission was often saturated with these “UFOs” – until the ushers started singling kids out with their flashlights. We’d immediately stop. (Sooo different from the story of the gang kids flicking cigarettes at the security guards years later). What an innocent time it was back in the late fifties and early sixties. I’ll never forget, so many times, walking into the theater, my snacks in hand, past the “crying room”, and sitting down in one of the red velvet-upholstered seats. I would rest my head back and look straight up at that beautiful domed ceiling. It used to remind me of an upside-down swimming pool. The gold-leafed decorative rim hid the purple neon lights that circled the giant oval and gave off a mystic glow. I used to love just staring at that ceiling. It was a magical time.
After the sixties had passed, and the Vietnam war had wound down, I attended Santa Monica College. My monthly check from the GI Bill was enough to pay tuition, books and help with the rent. I spent time at a fellow art student’s studio named Ken, who did the artwork for the new monthly Fox movie schedule. It was a great connection, because we’d get into the movies for free. I have to say, the folks who had given the Fox it’s second life really did a great job breathing new life into it. Along with everything else by then, the Fox had lost a bit of its luster, but early memories kept a warm spot in my heart for the old girl. After a couple of years, I moved to Long Beach to attend Cal State Long Beach. Since then, I’ve been back to Venice less times than the fingers on one hand. I’m a bit saddened to hear that the Fox now houses an indoor swap meet but on the other hand, the old girl is still there, and has somehow managed to avoid the wrecking ball. And now, after writing this, I suddenly have a real desire to leave my little San Clemente beach house, get in my car and head up to Venice. Who knows? Maybe in the very near future, some vendor at the Fox indoor swap meet might find himself getting smacked upside the head with a flying UFO in the shape of a flattened popcorn box! (Thanks for the site and thank you to the folks who posted links to the old Fox Venice photos – wow!).

GWaterman on December 26, 2005 at 4:23 pm

I just went in this theatre the other day, into the Swap Meet. You can still see some ornamental plaster on the ceiling. It’s pretty modest, but you can still see it, and you can tell that the back wall is a “stage” area.

dispar on December 5, 2005 at 6:03 am

In the “memory of my days” in LA, I think I saw all of Werner Herzog’s and other German Directors films at the Nuart (at least the first time).

A movie fan couldn’t go wrong attending double features at either the Nuart or the FOX Venice.

Even when the foreign movies were poor (like a Nuart doubleheader of sadistic Pasolini features), they were always interesting (bright note for 1979 after that Pasolini doubleheader – I got laid – I STILL remember that night of highs and lows).

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on December 4, 2005 at 9:09 pm

The one and only time I ever made it to the Fox Venice was in late 1985. I had just moved back to Los Angeles to attend college, and I was listening to KROQ, as all teens were required to at the time. So one night, there was a call-in contest to win tickets to a sneak preview of something called “Grunt: The Wrestling Movie” which would be playing the following evening at the Fox Venice. Never one to turn down the chance for a free movie, I called in… and I won. While the movie was pretty bad, the theatre (which also had a video store catering to more independent films in one of store fronts with a common door between the store and the theatre) was inspiring. As I lived and went to school in Long Beach at the time, I did not make many trips to Venice, so it would be years before I ended up driving down Lincoln Boulevard again. By that time, it had become the lousy indoor flea market it is now. Blech.

meredithlee on December 4, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Meryl, yes I remember that day so well, we sat in the back row in front of the old glass enclosed seats (for the moms and babies as I’ve read above!)and the staff took very good care of us. That upstairs office was very authentically hippie shabby chic.
I saw so many great double features at the Fox Venice, even though later I had moved away I was so sad when I heard it closed. I think it was the first or second theater I went to when I moved to LA in 77. Seem to recall seeing all of Herzog’s films there (the few that had come out then).

meryl on December 3, 2005 at 11:25 pm

One day in the summer of 1979, my Tiffany staff & I took a day off from Rocky Horror, and went to an all day Beatle Film Festival at the Fox Venice. The manager & staff were very hospitable, and took us on a tour of the theatre. Upstairs, there were couches, and windows that overlooked the marquee. You can see them in the above picture.
Meredith, do you remember that day? I loved it!

meredithlee on December 2, 2005 at 7:07 pm

I lived in LA in the late 70’s-early 80’s – took pictures of some of these theaters that I will find and scan in for this site. Also did some volunteer work for the LA Conservency and have some of the old tour brochures somewhere with some good pictures. Worked at the Vagabond, will write about that soon on that page.