Rolling Hills Theatre

2535 Pacific Coast Highway,
Torrance, CA 90505

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Showing 101 - 125 of 156 comments

cgarza on August 22, 2005 at 10:24 pm

BaHa I just remembered, I got hailed to the projectionist room in early 1984 and was asked to South High Prom by my date in there!!!

Newberry’s, my friend (Nina’s sister) worked there and was held up in a robbery in the early 80’s, I remember her calling me freaking out…

The murders were in the office I believe? Not the projection room? :)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 18, 2005 at 4:39 am

I believe that Patrick Crowley and Ross Melnick are both Americans.

I suspect that one of the main reasons that the photo feature has been unavailable for so long is that this is not a for-profit web site (you’ll notice that it carries no advertising, other than a few pages devoted to their own Cinema Treasures book, and that they don’t sell any member’s name and e-mail address to spammers), so neither of them can devote full time to running it, nor is there a budget for hiring someone who could.

I’m sure that the Add-a-photo feature will become available again eventually. In the meantime, if you have pictures to share, it’s possible to get free image hosting space at several web sites, such as Photobucket, Flickr, and Webshots (use Google to find any of them), and after posting the images to your chosen site, just put links to them in your comments here.

cheviothills on August 17, 2005 at 9:25 pm

Why do the 2 Englishmen who own and run this site take so long to update the thousands of photos sent to them???

cheviothills on August 16, 2005 at 1:37 pm

manwithnoname: By any chance do you know Ed’s last name? I don’t know if you know this littlt tidbit but when I grew up tv played a lot of “B” westerns during the 50’s on ch. 5 and from 1945-1955 right across the street from the Pantages was a little theatre called the HITCHING POST. It played “B” westerns, serials, cartoons etc. exclusively however I never went there. I wish I knew who owned it!!

Manwithnoname on August 16, 2005 at 12:55 pm

When I worked at the FOX PV I worked for Harry Kotsos or Mr. K as we called him. Ed was the projectionist. I only worked Friday to close and Sundays so he could take some time off. He moved to the South Coast Plaza 3 in Costa Mesa and I helped him out there very briefly. The AM, Jewel, went on to the Old Towne Mall Theaters. I also worked very briefly at the FOX Cinemaland after it was triplexed.

cheviothills on August 15, 2005 at 8:31 pm

manwithnoname: Here I go again. After high school in west LA I was hired in 1964-1965 as the asst. mgr. at the Fox Venice on Lincoln. The mgr. was PHIL CATHERALL. When I became an operator in 68 I knew alot of the Fox mgrs. Back then Phil made 110 plus 2% on candy. I made 65.00 and the operator 200!!! That was huge pay then. I heard that Phil eventually became mgr. of the FOX PALOS VERDES. Did you know him since you worked there? Also, I saw your comments about the DOME 40th. I was one of their 2 operators in 1975. That is where I really learned alot about 70mm because the Dome was a grind house then…12-12. Where I was taught 70mm was at the Pantages during Godfather #1.

cheviothills on August 15, 2005 at 8:09 pm


moviebluedog on August 15, 2005 at 3:58 pm

Manwithnoname, I stand corrected regarding the old UA. Geronimo indeed played at the UA Del Amo (which did run a bit of 70mm when it was open.) I had the date down correctly, but I was off by a theatre. :) Please disregard my last reference to the UA on Crenshaw and PCH being a 70mm house. Just trying to get any information on if that house was equipped for the large format.

The Del Amo, at the time of the Geronimo engagement, was referered to as Fashion Sq. Mall in the UA ad in the Los Angeles Times (Dec. 17, 1993.) I didn’t have the ad on me when I posted.

Manwithnoname on August 15, 2005 at 5:27 am

Bill, I would swear the old UA was gone by 1993. Could Geronimo have played at the UA Del Amo 6 in the Del Amo Mall which did have at least one 70mm house? It is also demolished as of this year.

Tropicalgirl: If that is what is on the NW corner now then that is the place.

hoppy: I worked at the UA Del Amo when it was a 4 plex at the time of the Rolling Hills murders. The manager at UA Torrance then was a man who later worked the UA Santa Ana. Because of him I got into the re-premiere of Animal Crackers at the UA Westwood and met Groucho Marx. I was in the UA Torrance booth once but don’t remember what was in there. When I worked at the FOX Palos Verdes the projectionist offered to teach me and help me get into the union. I wonder what I would be doing now if I said yes. Hope you feel better soon.

cheviothills on August 14, 2005 at 7:44 pm

Manwithnoname: Today I have a bad back injury which keeps me home nd in front of the PC alot.Also, I am over 60. If you have any questions about my old field please contact me. 2 months ago I started a project and was successful within 75%. Thru 20 websites I collected 150 photos of theatres I worked and some I didn’t work but respected. All told I worked 200 theatres in 22 years. I liked relief work and seeing so many films. After I retired at 50 I got a B.A. in a field where all the good pay requires a Masters. B.A.s today are powerless compared to when I grew up.

cheviothills on August 14, 2005 at 7:30 pm

Manwithnoname: It has been almost 30 years since I did weekend relief at the UA. I have no memory of the brand name of the equipment but I am certain it was not a 35/70mm booth. I was taught 70mm early on and once you see 35/70 projectors you don’t forget. Count on it! I do remember that it did have magnetic and optical sound heads so it could run 35mm film which was striped for stereo. When the magnetic tape wore down if it was a long run then the film could be run thru the optical heads. Optical film did not come with mag stripes but 35mm mag stripe film always had an optical track. The typical equipment in those neighborhood houses was Simplex projectors or occasionally a Century. Peerless lamps were with Simplex and Strong lamps were with Century. 70mm was practically always huge Phillips/Norelco and the reels were horribly heavy. I believe the manager was a woman and I seem to remember a great little restaurant next door. It was a nice area.

tropicalgirl on August 14, 2005 at 7:24 pm

Was the location on the NW corner of PCH and Crenshaw? This is where a restaurant is now located with a spa upstairs next to Big Five, was this the location?

moviebluedog on August 14, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Manwithnoname wrote: The UA Theater occupied the space at the corner end of the property..

Then perhaps I did see the building during my visit to Rolling Hills. I might be wrong on this, but it looks like a bank now occupies the building, but not sure.

I read that the UA wasn’t huge (around 600+ seats), but it did run some 70mm prints. The last one was “Geronimo: An American Legend” in late 1993. I’m rather bummed that I didn’t simply take a drive out to the theatre to see the film. It was playing in Orange at the Cinedome (also demolished), but had no desire to see the film.

It’s too bad that the Rolling Hills has those unfortunate murders linked to the theatre’s past. Sounds like many who’ve written in this thread had mostly positive memories of the theatre.

cheviothills on August 14, 2005 at 1:33 pm

manwithnoname: I read months later that one of the killers was in custody on another charge at the time the second killer was caught. I assume the second killer gave up the first killer. Back then the press was under strict governmental mandates about what could and could not be said. Also, the public never found out the verdict, sentence or anything unlike today when Court TV shows and tells everything. However, Nancy Grace and several other so-called experts never heard of innocent until proven guilty. Remember that next to the Depression and W.W.2 Sociologists consider the years 1968-1973 to be terribly tumultuous years. The minute I heard about the carnage I said: It is another MANSON. Manson was 1969 and Rolling Hills 1973.

Manwithnoname on August 14, 2005 at 6:33 am

I had read shortly after that a knife was found in the trunk of a person already in custody and that it had been linked to the murders. I don’t know the outcome of that.

cheviothills on August 14, 2005 at 2:06 am

In 1968 I joined the Los Angeles Projectionists Union. I was working at the World in Hollywood the night of the day they found those kids brutally murdered. As I remember they were stabbed not shot. I was horrified as was every operator I talked to for 2 weeks. Eventually I was a part-time relief operator at the UA Torrance nearby several years later. I also remember a famous bird farm nearby which burned down. In 1980 automation was starting and the union sent me to be interviewed for projection/manager at the Pasadena Colorado. i went to the Miracle Mile and met the head man at their office. I was accepted and Garrett Vanderbend was my supervisor. This job of being a manager/projectionist was terribly stressful. There was a probation period of 90 days. They accepted me after 90 days but I refused them. By 1990 platters and automation killed the profession and I left after 22 years. Even the studio union was taken over by studio sound men.

cgarza on August 13, 2005 at 9:38 pm

Another friend of mine who grew up in Torrance wrote me tonight…

“It was the very first theater I ever went to.
Grandma took Ron and I to see "Mary Poppins” at a matinee.
I remember going there later. They had rock n roll bands play before the feature, and we threw pennies at em. I remember a band playing the Stones “Paint It Black” and CCR’s “Who Can Stop The Rain”.

cgarza on August 13, 2005 at 9:08 pm

(Hey Nina!) I used to frequent R.H. Theater w/ Nina’s sister in the early 80’s…it seemed always empty though by then in the evenings, even a Saturday night. We saw movies like A Christmas Story, Something Wicked This Way Comes, that creepy muppett-people made movie w/ the dinasour like guys humming “ohmmmmm” what was the name errgh! My dad’s last movie in Calif before he moved in 1988 was Top Gun there, Lots of memories. Never felt creepy in there about the ghosts of the past, maybe I’m not “sensitive” enough to that ha! Carolyn

Manwithnoname on August 13, 2005 at 5:18 pm

The UA Theater occupied the space at the corner end of the property, with one side of it’s lobby running along PCH. I think the original building was incorporated into the new center but I am not sure. Frankly, there was nothing special about this theater in terms of appearance but it had a huge screen. On the corner was a fast food place then walk down PCH to the theater. The Circuit City portion was added later after the theater closed and as far as I know has always been Circuit City. The theater layout was similar to the Rolling Hills in that you would enter the building and make a hard right turn to enter the auditorium. This is my deteriorating memory but I’m sure the UA was smaller than the Rolling Hills and the UA was never twinned. The UA was a prestige house in the South Bay in the 1960’s getting premiere runs of “Bonnie and Clyde”, “The Graduate”, “The Odd Couple” and “Once Upon a Time in the West”. Of course, they also ran the occasional “Bikini Beach”. The UA’s free standing marquee was on Crenshaw and the other marquee ran around the building down PCH. Next time I’m there I’ll see if the original building is still there. If it is, I’ll know.

moviebluedog on August 13, 2005 at 9:34 am

Thank you Teri and Manwithnoname for confirming this information about the Rolling Hills. It seemed like it was probably a nice theatre in its former glory, before twinning and gutting, etc.

As for the UA, I had a difficult time figuring out if the structure was still there or not. Again, I hadn’t read this thread before I visited Torrance, and am not familiar with these theatres. Anyway, the shopping mall across the street looks like it had been totally re-modeled. The only building, at first glance, that might’ve looked like it had been a theater at one time, is the Circuit City. But that building is very large. Was that possibly a Montgomery Wards or JC Penny? There are other buildings in the parking lot, but they all seem small for a theatre, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have held a theatre. Do you happen to know if the UA was large like the Rolling Hills?

Manwithnoname on August 13, 2005 at 7:09 am

The roof is indeed sloped and located in the back of the center. The theater building has been extensively remodeled (as has the entire center) and I am pretty sure several businesses now occupy it. I do not remember a 70mm presentation in this theater but that does not mean it wasn’t equipped for it. There was a JJ Newberry’s store there at one time and that building might still exist. The only thing in the theater building until it closed was the theater.

The UA theater was on the Northwest corner of PCH and Crenshaw. Rolling Hills was on the Northeast side. I don’t know what occupies the space today.

KimF on August 13, 2005 at 6:55 am

I moved away in 1969, but I believe the roof was indeed sloped. I know that at the time, it was stand-alone and there were driving aisles both in front and on the left of the building (as you faced it). The ‘emergency’ exit was on the left as you sat in the theater (Adam West and Burt Ward used it as an entrance when they came to a Saturday matinee I attended – we were probably seeing the Batman full-length feature – I remember they conducted a prize drawing and the winner got to visit the TV Batcave. Pretty cool. :–)

Killian’s or any other restaurant/amusement was definitely not part of the original building. It wasn’t a strip mall back then.

moviebluedog on August 12, 2005 at 6:26 pm

Was this theatre equipped for 70mm?

I think I saw the building for the first time today (I’m not familiar with Rolling Hills or the theatre—and I didn’t have this thread printed during my visit). It’s located towards the back of the shopping center and it has a sloped roof, correct? It appears that there has been so much re-modeling to this theatre, it doesn’t look like an old movie theatre (plus the fact it has an unusual design).

I had a difficult time trying to decide if this was indeed a movie theatre at one time. There is another rather tall brick building in the same shopping center which houses a drug store and Trader Joe’s grocery store. Either one could easily be a 1100-seat theatre building constructed in the 1960s.

Is Killian’s a part of the original theatre, or was this built afterwards? Thanks.

tropicalgirl on April 24, 2005 at 10:58 am


Is the location where the UA Theater was located now the Panera Restaurant and there is a large spa upstairs from the restaurant on Pacific Coast Hwy?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2005 at 7:10 am

Now that steveorini has revealed that the address of The Rolling Hills Theater was 2535 Pacific Coast Highway, perhaps someone can restore the entry for the United Artist’s Torrance Theater mentioned in comments above. The U.A. Torrance was located at 2735 Pacific Coast Highway, according to the theater listings in The Los Angeles Times of February 10th, 1971.