Wiltern Theatre

3790 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90010

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Showing 76 - 100 of 126 comments

kencmcintyre on December 8, 2005 at 3:44 pm

Here is a 1951 photo from the LA Library. Do they still make Old Grand-Dad?


UKuser on November 2, 2005 at 12:49 am


T'he Los Angeles Theatre' on South Broadway, LA is playing host to the UK television show ‘Dead Famous LIVE’. We are currently looking for people who would like to come along as part of the studio audience.

‘Dead Famous LIVE’ is a studio entertainment show all about Hollywood History and the paranormal. We will be welcoming celebrity guests on to the show and investigating famous locations around Hollywood which are rumoured to be haunted including the Los Angeles Theatre itself.

This is an invaluable chance to get access to the Los Angeles Theatre, the place where Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’ premiered in 1931 and to have a thoroughly great day out! (And its free!!)

We’re transmitting ‘Live’ back to the United Kingdom so expect it to be exciting and fun!

We will be filming on three days from 11th – 13th November between 11.30am – 4pm. If you are interested in coming on one or all of these days then email me for tickets!


I look forward to your responses!

William on April 21, 2005 at 11:32 am

In 1929, Henry de Roulet decided to build an office building and theatre at the corner of Wilshire and Western. Begun at the start of the Great Depression, the Pellissier Building/Wiltern Theatre was constructed as an act of faith in the future of the city. De Roulet hired Stiles O. Clements, a partner in Morgan, Wall & Clements, to design the office building. Clements was an architect of great talent and versatility who was adept at many styles. Among his hundreds of designs are the black and gold Richfield Building (1928-30; razed 1968), the Assyrian Revival-style Samson Tire Company (1929) and the Churrigueresque Chapman Park Studio and market (1928-29). With designs for the Pellissier Building progressing, de Roulet engageed the services of Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts-traines architect G. Albert Lansburgh, a premier American theatre designer, to develop the plan for the interior of the theatre. What resulted from the creative energies of Clements and Lansburgh is one of the nation’s finest Art Deco buildings. Clements designed a 12-story steel-reinforced concrete office tower sited dramatically on a diagonal to the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. The theatre marquee and entrance face the courner, and the tower entrace is located on Wilshire Boulvard. Flanking the central tower and theatre are two, two-story wings designed to house retail shops. The exterior is clad in blue-green terra-cotta tile, created by the Gladding Mc Bean company. Gladding Mc Bean developed the unusual color at de Roulet’s request and it became known as Pellissier green. Warner Brothers leased the theatre, which was known as the Western Theatre. The tower, which rose to the city-imposed height limit of the day, seened taller than it was because of the bands of small vertical windows that pierced the facade and swept the eye upward. During that time you only could build a building as high as the Los Angeles city hall. The theatre entrace was marked by a sheet metal and neon marquee, richly decorated on the underside with a plaster relief sunburst. The movie-goer approached the ticket booth on colorful terrazzo paving and entered the lobby foyer through carved, mahogany doors. inside the theatre, Lansburgh developed a complex design using sweeping curves and large open spaces. As acounterpoint to the large flowing space, he used intricate, richly textured decorative surfaces to catch the eye and fire the imagination. Adorning the interior were metallic leaf designs, decorative plaster and tile work and colorful murals. The murals were designed by Anthony B. Heinsbergen and were executed under his supervision by Heinsbergens Decorating Company staff. Inaddition to the extravagant interior design and movie screen, the theatre housed a working stage and the largest theatre pipe organ ever built by the Kimball Company. (Moved over from their Forum Theatre nearby). On October 7th, 1931 the Western Theatre opened for the premiere of “Alexander Hamilton”. Because the city would not close Wilshire Boulvard for the opening Warner Bros. built a bridge across Wilshire Blvd. and called it the “Bridge of Stars” for the night. Although the office tower flourished, the theatre closed within a year of opening. The theatre’s initial failure may have been caused by a neighborhood population that was thought to be insufficient to suport its 2,344 seats. The theatre reopened in the mid 1930’s and was operated by 20th Century Fox and independent exhibitors as the Wil-Tern Theatre This new name was a congregate of the street names that crossed at the intersection in front of the theatre. In time Wil-Tern became Wiltern. In 1956, the Pellissier-de Roulet family sold the building and theatre to the Franklin Life Insurance Company of Springfield, Illinois. Under the new ownership the building remained virually intact. However, the original “Pellissier Building” sign was replace with the words “Franklin Life Building”, and and the nearly original sheet metal and neon marquee was replaced. During the late 30’s Warner Bros. would return as management of the theatre till the mid 60’s when Pacific Theatres would pickup most of Warner’s Southern California Theatres. Pacific Theatres would operate it until late 1979, when the theatre closed.

GeorgeStrum on April 14, 2005 at 7:25 pm

The Theatre Historical Society plans to visit this theatre on June 21st, 2005 as one of its conclave highlights.

Patsy on January 9, 2005 at 8:02 am

I just added this one to my favorites as it’s another grand art deco lady!

MarkA on September 30, 2004 at 10:12 am

The Wiltern’s organ was by W.W. Kimball, opus 6644. It had a four manual console and 37 ranks of pipes. Nine of these ranks were for the “echo” organ in the rear of the house. The organ was indeed removed and pretty much sold for parts. The 32-foot Diaphone rank lives on in the new LDS Convention Hall organ in Salt Lake City. The Wiltern’s is another famous organ that had an infamous ending. Won’t people ever learn about these treasures?

dvdmike on August 17, 2004 at 5:02 pm

Wasn’t there a recording studio of the same name on the location or at least nearby?

scooty on August 5, 2004 at 11:48 pm

My best memory of the Wiltern is being caught recording a Santana concert in the mid-80’s, and being shuffled out a side door! Luckily, when they asked for the tape, I handed them a blank one. So I missed the encore of Europa but still had the rest of the show!

William on August 4, 2004 at 10:58 am

As per union contracts with projectionist local 150 in Los Angeles. During that time till the 60’s. Theatres had to employ two projectionists per shift if your theatre seated over 1000 seats. That worked well for the large theatre that made money. But some of those smaller theatres in neighborhoods around Los Angeles that seated over 1000 seats, it was a hardship. So theatre companies would pull seats out of theatres to be within the contract terms. So they would save in payroll on projectionist staffs.

BillSims on July 21, 2004 at 1:39 pm

07/21/04 Wednesday Bill Sims
Rumor has it that Jayne Mansfield worked in the concession stand before she became big! It is a HUGE theater, and I have generally enjoyed going there, its being not far from my apartment. But one day, for the first five minutes or so, the sound had dropped out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I complained to the concession employee, who said she would talk with the ticket taker who would talk to the projectionist. But, before anything could be done, the sound miraculously came back on. So I enjoyed the rest of this then-innovative movie.

melders on June 22, 2004 at 11:36 pm

This web site has some nice pics of the exterior. http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=116487

k0nod on April 11, 2004 at 9:40 pm

My father was a theater manager of the Hollywood and Vogue theaters, and later became a projectionist. When “The Music Man” opened at the Wiltern in the ‘60’s, I would leave Le Conte Jr. High after school and take the bus down Western Ave. to the Wiltern and wait for Dad to get off work. I had the balcony all to myself, and sat day after day watching Music Man over and over again. I can still sing all the songs. I used to walk the narrow hall from the booth, behind the north wall, to the organ lofts. On Saturdays I would often go in for the whole day, and my job was cleaning the mirrors behind the carbon arcs in the projectors, and cleaning out the copper drippings from the arc rods. In those days, the booth always had two projectionists, and there was also a stage hand on duty. I still love my memories of the Wiltern, but it will never be the same as it was then. I worked as a teen at the PIX on Hollywood Blvd.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:50 pm

Talk with you later. Charles says, “hello.” He cancelled a date because he has a tummy-ache. See-ya!

William on February 5, 2004 at 6:46 pm

It was Bob Brooke at GCC Sherman Oaks. Did you know they closed the twin down last fall and AMC sold the 5 plex to Pacific Theatres.
Talk to you soon. I’m on my last reel right now.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:42 pm

I have worked with all those guys too, except Roger Matson. I got Charles on the phone right now.

William on February 5, 2004 at 6:32 pm

Yes, he was and Studio Bob (Bob Atkins or Atkinson) and Joe Seeling and Tim Burke. I relieve for Jesse and Tim on the Westside. I only worked the Eastside twice. One early on when the Xenon Power supplies were newer and later when they were buzzing like I was working at ConED. I worked the Marina Marketplace a few times later. When I was on the extra list I worked a lot at GCC houses like GCC Sherman Oaks with Bob Burke and GCC Fallbrook with Osmend pence and Al Pearl and GCC Beverly Connection and GCC Glendale for Roger Matson and GCC Santa Anita for Conrad Button. I enjoyed the GCC houses.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:17 pm

What about Studio Bob?

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:15 pm

I’ll be darn. I used to relieve at the Vogue years ago. When I left Hollywood in 2002, I was living on Las Palmas. Remember the crappy apartment Julia Roberts lived-in in the movie, “Pretty Woman?” That was my apartment, just two blocks East of the Chinese. I had to pass the Vogue to get to the Chinese. I used to work Universal City before I landed the Marina Marketplace in 1988 with Bob Seeling. Was Messy Jesse still at Universal when you were there last?

William on February 5, 2004 at 6:07 pm

The last theatre I ran in Los Angeles was the Vogue Theatre for the AFI Screenings back in 2000. The last extra shift I took was running the Westside of the Universal City. When I was at the Vogue it was a real dump. I really like the theatre when Mann Theatres cared about it.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:02 pm

I just left a message on Charles' cell phone. This is too funny…

William on February 5, 2004 at 6:01 pm

Yes, in the heart of Times Square. I’m the one, I’ve been here three years now.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 5:54 pm

No way! Don’t you run a screening room? If so, Charles had mentioned to me that I should get in touch with you when I came here two years ago, but I just never got around to it because I have been so busy on Long Island.

William on February 5, 2004 at 5:50 pm

I did the Bel-Air circuit too, I know Charles too, I talked to him about a year ago. You’re right there is a Crossroads of the World near Sunset and Highland. But I’m in Times Square.