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In addition to Richard’s, this building also housed the Sin-O-Rama Adult Arcade Theatre, at 5531 Hollywood Blvd. (likely little more than a “loop” booth operation).
Prior to being known as the Gershwin, the primary building operated as the St. Francis Hotel; a notorious “flophouse” where James Earl Ray (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin) lived for the four months leading up to his crime.
The same operator may have run another adult theatre a short distance from this one. The Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection has a photo, dated 1974, which depicts Richard’s #2 Adult Theatre wedged in a storefront, between a Thai restaurant and “Danny’s Big 20”. The theatre’s sign depicts two female silhouettes, so I assume the venue ran straight adult programming. The building depicted appears to be the structure which still stands at 5533 Hollywood Blvd (currently the Gershwin Apartments).
The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble was founded in 1969 (they’re still around). While not providing a year, the newsletter recounts the group’s productions of “Three Penny Opera” and “The Serpent”, followed by three months of inactivity/hardship, and a pending “February 11” opening for the cinema. A search online came up with their Serpent production taking place in the Spring/Summer of 1970. So, I’m assuming the cinema opened on February 11, 1971.
Macerich, the company which owns the Cerritos property, mentioned the following in their Q4 earnings call:
“At Cerritos, we also announced two additional new anchors. One is the re merchandising of the old Nordstrom store that had been relocated a couple of years ago to a brand new store. That will be a theater, Harkins. And also, we announced that Dick’s will be occupying space there. That’s targeted for fall of 2015 opening.”
They’ve almost finished the box office remodel. While still in the same location (adjacent to Hollywood Blvd. sidewalk), it is now much more prominent and wraps around the corner, in to a street side entry (entrance which provides access to the escalator on the right and Grauman’s on the left). A definite upgrade from the somewhat inconspicuous configuration which existed previously.
The Loge, along with the neighboring Brookhurst Theatre, was razed on 2/27/14.
The Brookhurst and Brookhurst Loge structures (along with the adjacent wig store, restaurant, offices, and bakery) are now a large pile of rubble. They basically demolished all of the units in the southwest corner of the property (everything to the left of the post office). Currently, the only remnant of the theatre is a sloped earth pit where the auditorium used to stand. The sign hanging on the fence surrounding the demolition site merely states that “pads” are available.
The Brookhurst and surrounding property were razed last week.
Looks like Fullerton is about to enter it’s fourth incarnation, as the theatre will be undergoing a conversion to AMC’s “dine-in” concept this year. I’m unsure if the plan is for both sides or only the “classic” side, but they’ve posted the application for liquor license notice on both structures. I would assume the long vacant restaurant space, attached to the “classic” side, will be converted in to a kitchen. There is also a vacant coffee shop (prior to that an arcade) attached to the “classic” side; perhaps, they’ll convert that to a lounge or bar. Both the restaurant and coffee shop units are part of AMC’s lease.
bigjoe59 – There has been a noticeable increase in business. Still far short of the levels the theatre should be doing/once did, but movement in a positive direction, none the less. Just having decent bookings once again has helped.
As for Arclight booking the Chinese complex; it’s not all that surprising. There are many small operators that utilize larger chains and co-ops for bookings, purchasing, etc.It’s a win-win for both sides, as greater numbers mean greater buying power.
The Vine has taken down it’s marquee advertising (rental information), removed the assorted notes that were posted in the box office, and stopped hanging posters in the entryway cases. While I haven’t noticed anything in the media, this would seem to suggest the theatre has fallen dormant once again.
The current incarnation of this venue is a very barebones/DIY sort of operation; the overall experience comes across like a long shuttered theatre being reopened for a night by some enthusiasts. Access to the theatre comes via a public parking lot and rear alleyway. As the theatre originally utilized the main Egyptian’s box office, the, now separate, Arena is forced to make do with a folding table in the entryway for ticket and concession sales. Aside from the auditorium, the interior stands relatively unchanged, looking every bit the worn/modestly maintained 70’s add on. The shallow auditorium is heavily modified from its cinema days and now appointed more for live theater than movies. Seating is listed at 99, but the slightly terraced rows appear to seat closer to 50. Presentation quality is more reminiscent of home movie night than commercial cinema, but befitting the indie programming. From what I’ve seen, the theatre experiences relatively healthy business, given its alternative booking and limited seating capacity.
As of 2013, this entire block continues to house five independent live theaters (and a rather humorous statement on indie theater life, with a liquor store capping “theater row”). It appears the complex is the result of neighboring retail spaces being converted to theater use.
The building the theatre is housed in was built in 1919.
Interesting trivia related to this building: In the mid to late 70’s John Holmes was utilizing 5466 Santa Monica Blvd. as his business mailing address (currently the discount store located next door to the Tiki Theatre, but likely some sort of message/postal box service in Holmes' day).
Over the past month, they’ve boarded over the theatre and office space entrances, removed an old tobacco store sign, and “blacked out” the street level units. Whether this is a sign someone is about to undertake some work on the property or merely the final stage of “mothballing” the building is a mystery (i.e. nothing has been mentioned in the media).
dctrig: as far as the ceiling goes, it looks different because they switched over to LED lighting; bringing out a lot of the detail which was not as visible under the previous incandescent lighting.
Walking by this afternoon, I noticed they’ve added a metal “TCL Chinese Theatres” sign directly above the main doorway. Between a work ladder still being adjacent to the area and my not noting it before (I walk by the theatre almost daily these days), I assume this was just installed. While not overwhelming or obnoxious, it does seem to look a bit out of place (in my opinion). I’ve uploaded two pictures.
Yikes! That would be a terrifying welcome.
Regarding the whole IMAX issue: In the end, the theatre will have a larger screen and, more importantly, competitive bookings. Whether the branding attached to that is IMAX, ETX, IDX, XD, or Giganto-Vision is a moot point. I would much rather see the Chinese thriving with “IMAX lite” than struggling without it.
Jerry Lewis Mini Cinemas caught on for a time. The company, a partnership between Jerry Lewis and the Network Cinema Corporation,were in business from 1969 to 1980. At the company’s peak (mid 1970’s), there were roughly 200 franchised theatres operating and another 100 pending development. It was more a case of an idea that did catch on but couldn’t be sustained.
In the 1970’s, Debbie Reyonlds was almost the universal “go to” celebrity for grand openings and promotions. You’ll find her name attached to countless theatre openings from the period. At the time, she was attempting to pull herself out of financial distress (husband Harry Karl had gambled away her money)and she was willing to lend her name/presence to nearly any paying gig.
Originally opened as Sardi’s restaurant in 1933. After a fire, it reopened as a nightclub. Then, it became the Cave adult book store/theatre. After that, it became the Hollywood Cabaret strip club. Now, it’s the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club. It should probably be listed as “closed”, as the building’s current incarnation doesn’t show movies or even have a screen in place.
The “spooky old abandoned, derelict apartment building” was the Garden Court Apartments.
I’m having trouble picturing where the Avon was. That block of Hollywood Blvd consisted of the Hillcrest Motor Building and the Garden Court Apartments throughout the 20th century. The apartment building stood from 1917 to 1984; the Hillcrest building (later a Shakey’s Pizza, Motorama Museum, Hertz/Avis car rental, and always a collection of misc stores on street level)1929 to present. The apartment building was replaced by the current shopping center (former home to the Galaxy Theatre).
The Garden Court was at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. and the building on the opposite corner of Hollywood and Sycamore, which currently houses Author’s Services, is 7051. Given the Avon’s listed address being 7039, that would require some sort of building wedged in between the apartment building and the corner of Hollywood and Sycamore. However, every picture I’ve found shows that parcel of land being a small parking lot up until the shopping center was built.
While the theatre was shut down by the city in 1983, the legal battle between the City of Anaheim and the Pussycat chain continued until the Summer of 1986; at which time the city paid $800,000 in an out of court settlement.
To handle the demolition stage of the remodel, they appear to have broken through a wall in the underground parking garage and accessed the Chinese Theatre’s basement. Monday through Thursday, debris is being carted up the Orange Drive parking entrance and hauled away in a dumpster. Thus far, the debris has been little more than concrete and miscellaneous metal (i.e. nothing particularly interesting being hauled away). I uploaded a picture of the work.
In 1977, the Hillcrest 4 hosted the “world premiere” of the super cheesy movie “Supervan” (the movie had been filmed in the area).