Four Star Theatre

5112 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 79 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 3, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Here is a January 1947 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/48wen8

twistlogic
twistlogic on May 23, 2008 at 2:04 pm

William,

Yes, for one thing, the “nearly naked” woman was on the left panel, not the right as at Pasadena. I think perhaps her arms were upraised as well, and the pose less “stiff”. And even if this particular relief panel had an exact duplicate somewhere else, that still doesn’t give those who bought the building a right to destroy it. Do you think there are high quality photos somewhere? It’s a shame that with the terabytes and petabytes of mostly worthless photos on the Web, that what images I’ve seen of these disappearing treasures are grainy JPEGs compressed to about 70Kb. With the price of storage these days, that’s like selling sand by the teaspoon and gravel by the individual pebble. It’s entirely possible that whatever photos were scanned once at low resolution, a decade ago, are themselves forever lost (how may documents are scanned so the original can be destroyed?) Some of our preservation efforts should be directed not at the buildings themselves, but the images and newspaper clippings that recorded them in their heyday.

As it is, the best image I have of the Four Star, as inaccurate as it may be, is the one in my head. As you might surmise from my first entry, perhaps the one in my head is more beautiful than the original ever was. But I kinda doubt it. And at least the builting itself wasn’t demolished. Despite the perhaps unwitting “architectural crime” committed by the “owners”, at least the building is being maintained structurally, and vagrants and vandals kept out.

-Brett

William
William on May 23, 2008 at 11:46 am

Brett all the UA’s in Southern California had slightly different facades. Depending on the size of property the company bought. But those relief panels “Unity” and “Artistry” with the muses were standard designs UA used in the Four Star, UA Pasadena, UA Alameda, UA Long Beach and UA Inglewood Theatres. It’s just like those Gold Rush panels that Fox West Coast Theatres used in some of their theatres.

twistlogic
twistlogic on May 23, 2008 at 10:30 am

William,

I looked at the pics of the UA Pasadena, and while definitely similar, I think the Four Star on Wilshire was possibly different. It might truly have been one of a kind… the UA Pasadena looks a bit “stiffer” stylistically than I recall the Wilshire example. But it’s been a long time, and memory plays tricks with the details. Now I’m curious! Unfortunately, unless we can dig up some fairly high resolution photographs, we won’t know.

-Brett

William
William on May 23, 2008 at 3:22 am

The second line shoulkd say “ You can still see the muses on…”

William
William on May 23, 2008 at 3:21 am

Those muses were standard on a few UA theatres of that era. So they are not one of a kind items. You can still the muses on the former UA Theatre in Pasadena (retail) and the former UA Alamenda in East Los Angeles (retail).

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2008 at 3:07 am

Even if you weren’t able to prevent it, it might still be worth pursuing. If the city fined the church for doing this, it would deter other owners of historic buildings from doing similar things.

twistlogic
twistlogic on May 23, 2008 at 2:59 am

Ron,

I wish I knew… and I literally RAN back to my office and tried to find out if there was someone I could call. But I didn’t know how to find information fast enough to put a stop to the destruction. The mason I referred to was a middle-aged Mexican who spoke no English. He was just putting food on his table, and probably had no larger view of what he was doing. It was all over in an afternoon. If it was illegal, they got away with it.

Strangely, I later met and became friends one of the contractors who was involved in this unfortunate affair. He had a “yard” in my neighborhood, filled with interesting “junk”. I paid him thousands of dollars to refurbish my house before I sold it. At one point, touring his yard, I came across some interesting iron grill-work. “Art Deco?” I asked. “Yes, from the Four Star Theater on Wilshire”, he replied. He’s a very nice guy and a deeply Christian. I didn’t hold it against him, whatever was his part in diminishing the Four Star. At least he saved the grillwork -he could see it had beauty and didn’t deserve “recycling” as mere iron.

-Brett

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2008 at 2:38 am

Did they violate any local historic preservation ordinance by doing this?

twistlogic
twistlogic on May 23, 2008 at 2:33 am

The Oasis Christian Center is responsible for (literally) defacing this iconic landmark when they purchased the building. I work nearby, and used to walk that stretch of Wilshire Boulevard daily during lunch break. I always looked up at the Four Star to admire its perfect Art Deco styling (fairly common along the Miracle Mile), and most especially its exceptional bas-relief sculpture (unmatched on the Miracle Mile, and perhaps the finest I’ve ever seen). One day, I was horrified to find that the surface had been sand-blasted to the point of unrecognizability, and a mason was now chipping-in with a chisel and then troweling mortar into what remained.

The problem? Nipples. A muse, a goddess, I’m not sure what she was, but lovely and lithe, she graced the central panel, her nudity barely concealed behind a diaphanous drapery pressed up against her slender form by an invisible zephyr. On that same breeze, a banner floated, bearing a slogan of some sort in Latin or Greek I think, about art meeting science (and referring to cinema). It was all very tasteful to a person of civilized upbringing, the effect Grecian and Classical. But to the prurient-minded, the tips of her nipples, hardly noticeable to the rest of us, were just too… impertinent. This so deeply offended the puritanical instincts of the new “owners” of the building, that without asking permission, or even considering less drastic measures, such as troweling-in a removable plaster or simply covering it with some kind of sheathing, in a single afternoon these self-proclaimed soul-savers destroyed the soul of an architectural monument.

I was horrified. I was certain that an architectural crime had been committed, but it was, at that point, too late. My own distaste for all forms of organized religion was greatly increased on that day. Soon, the “owners” placed a “Hollywood Walk of Fame” star (of sorts), in “honor” of Jesus, into the sidewalk at the entrance. The star is unsymmetrical, unpretty, and quite frankly tacky (the whole idea is tacky). I have to admit that I’ve been secretly delighted, on many of my usual strolls down this stretch, to find this star is evidently the deliberate target of spillers-of-Coke, droppers-of-chewing-gum and whatnot, mostly from the Burger King next door. (“Whatnot” includes French-fries, chocolate malts, and liquids that best remain undescribed). It is not that I don’t admire Jesus and his teachings. It’s just the symmetric irony visited upon the oh-so-earnest pinheads who destroyed the Four Star: too thick-headed and zealous to recognize beauty, they deface a landmark. In the same spirit of not seeing the blatantly obvious, they prove too thick-headed to recognize the implicit insult of putting their Savior’s name underfoot. Then they fight an ongoing war with a broom and a mop, against the legions of people who can’t resist showing a little bit of their own disrespect.

-Brett S.

Michael
Michael on March 21, 2008 at 11:35 am

Saw restored Lawrence of Arabia and You Only Live Twice here. Great theater. Remember seeing King of New York here too, so it did show new films as late as 1989.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 26, 2008 at 7:17 am

Looks like it is both a church and a theatre, from that link.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 22, 2008 at 5:26 am

Here is an October 1950 ad for a Nancy Reagan film, per the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/2k7j9e

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 21, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Have any live shows actually been booked here yet under the new name?

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on February 20, 2008 at 7:50 pm

During the 90s, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films occasionally screened at the Four Star. One weekend we gathered there to see The Crow 2, but the studio made a mistake and sent us the original Crow instead. As it turns out, they did us a favor, because I later learned that the sequel is terrible, but what was memorable about the whole experience was this: if you remember The Crow, it’s raining for much of the film. And at that time, the Four Star’s roof was in terrible shape, and it was raining outside. For the entire movie, we could hear water pouring down somewhere behind the screen as an accompaniment to the movie’s soundtrack.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 20, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Per the photos taken in October, it’s not a church anymore.

haineshisway
haineshisway on December 13, 2007 at 8:56 pm

I may call the number on the side of the building and go see what the interior looks like.

Stevie
Stevie on November 30, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Carnation restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor was across the street from this baby. Me, my sister, and father used to go here in the early 70’s, and eat burgers and ice cream across the street. This took me awhile to find the name of the Four Star. Thanks Cinema Treasures, you brought some joy to a couple of 40-50 somethings ;)

William
William on October 11, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Kirk, the scenes were shot over at the El Rey Theatre down the street. It was the lobby and booth scenes and behind the theatre in the alley.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Here is an early forties ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/3y63fz

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 12, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Here is March 1975 ad from the LA Times. Kids always welcome with ID:
http://tinyurl.com/36tpsb

KJB2012
KJB2012 on July 30, 2007 at 10:01 am

I may be wrong but were some of the theatre scenes in “Night of the Comet” (1984) shot at the Four Star?

William
William on July 23, 2007 at 3:17 am

The former Fox Wilshire Theatre’s Norelco AA 70MM/35mm projectors that were installed in the Four Star during the 1980s were removed. And installed in the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, Ca.. So they would have to install new or they might of put back the old 35mm only projector back in.

MichaelDequina
MichaelDequina on July 23, 2007 at 12:53 am

Apparently the building is no longer a church but a general theatre venue. The signage now says “Oasis Theatre” (as opposed to “Oasis Christian Center”) and there are big ad banners on the wall announcing its availability to be booked for concerts, plays, and films.