El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Showing 51 - 61 of 61 comments

maddogtime
maddogtime on May 26, 2005 at 8:25 pm

I worked at the El Rey as a relief projectionist in the late sixties/early seventies. It was part of Mann Theatres chain. The most successful film shown there during my time there was PATTON.
The theatre had a Great Waterfall Curtain. And the opening scene of PATTON with that flag as George C. Scott begins to talk to his troops was a sight to behold as the curtain rose to that scene.
Haven’t been back since those days so they had to have changed it quite a bit. As a movie theatre in those days, you went upstairs to a lounge with bathrooms and the manager'a and projection room was also accessible from there.
Anyway, it was great theatre to have worked at and I am glad it still survives.

William
William on April 13, 2005 at 4:50 pm

You can see a shot of the marquee in one of the current T-Mobile cell phone commercials running now.

thomasl
thomasl on January 11, 2005 at 4:51 pm

The Art Deco-Moderne El Rey Theater still stands proudly on Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile, a monument to good taste in architecture, and a reminder of another era when movie palaces were the centers of every good community.

raymclaughlin
raymclaughlin on October 14, 2004 at 11:44 pm

During the 30’s the El Rey would have “Dish Night” on
Tuesday or Wednesday night. Between the double feature the
house lights would come on and the theatre Mgr. would start the drawing for Fiesta type dishes (sets) If you had the right ticket number you went home with a set. This was during the Big Depression
and better that they had a drawing for a ham or a chicken.
On Saturday afternoon I could see a western, cartoon and
a Saturday matinee serial for ten cents, for five cents more I could buy a roll of Necco wafers. And that shot half of my allowance.
R. McLaughlin

Knatcal
Knatcal on August 13, 2004 at 12:48 am

Sadly, I never saw a movie at the El Rey. I first went to the El Rey in 1988 when it was a night club called “Wall Street.” At that time the balcony was open to all and was a great place to hang out. I have recently been again to the El Rey as part of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile walking tour. That tour is definitely a must to take.

Mark1
Mark1 on July 27, 2004 at 11:51 am

When this theatre was the site of the 1974 Filmex/LACMA Great American Films Marathon, Groucho Marx made what must have been one of his last public appearances. When Duck Soup (I think)was shown, he walked down the aisle and everyone stood and applauded. At the same event, when All About Eve was shown, there were loud, prolonged hisses when Bette Davis delivers the speech in the car about just a woman and her man. Another very peculair incident involving this theatre. One afternoon, when seeing a movie there (perhaps Zandy’s Bride, I was sitting in the back row right by the entrance. The guy who was doing double duty as ticket taker/candy counter person stuck his head through the curtains, saw me there, and said he had to go out for a little while and would I watch the candy counter and send anyone with tickets right on in…there weren’t a lot of patrons that day, but I had never been asked to do that before.

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 27, 2004 at 11:42 am

El Rey means The King in Spanish.
This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined Rococo.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also shows in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

JakeM
JakeM on April 8, 2004 at 6:06 am

Saw a concert here the other night. Really cool looking from the outside, not so much from the inside. But it’s a great place to see a rock show, the acoustics are fantastic!

William
William on January 9, 2004 at 5:21 pm

The El Rey Theatre opened in 1928 and it’s architect was W. Cliff Balch. It was a small, angular Art Deco Moderne gem with a marvelous box office and original signage, a king’s head etched in neon. A long time Fox house located on the Miracle Mile area in Los Angeles.

ChrisWillman
ChrisWillman on April 18, 2002 at 8:29 am

The marquee is one of the highlights of the Miracle Mile area. It’s far more colorful now than it was in the theater’s final days as a last-run house and Filmex venue. When the theater was being renovated for a nightclub, the owners razed the original ticket booth. I’m not sure if they were forced to by preservation laws or what, but they did realize their mistake and build a new booth. This is a nice place to see a rock show, if you don’t mind standing and are tall enough to overcome sightline problems posed by the flat floor. A small balcony is usually open to VIPs only.

William
William on October 9, 2001 at 12:27 am

The El Rey theatre is located on Wilshire Blvd. about 3 blocks west of La Brea. The El Rey is a little Art Deco gem. The El Rey seated around 900 people. Currently this theatre used as a night club for concerts. If you see or have seen the movies “Night of the Comet” or “Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back” you can see the marquee and front of the house. The area where the El Rey is located had three other theatres. (Fox Ritz [razed], UA Four Star [church], Fox La Brea [church]. The El Rey was a Fox house and finally the last chain to run it was Mann Theatres in the late 70’s. In the late 70’s Mann theatres dropped a lot of it’s single screen theatres. (El Rey, Fairfax, Rialto, Highland, Wilshire, Academy [Pasadena], Loyola, Criterion. The El Rey spent the early 80’s as a 3rd. run house, before closing.