Showing 101 - 114 of 114 comments
When I worked in the film industry in L.A. in the 70s and 80s, I would hear about X-rated drive ins. My boss, who had worked in film all over the country, told me that they exist mainly as ‘cruising’ spots, like the hardtop theaters. People constantly walk or drive around the field, looking for a sex partner. When they hook up, most of them go to the back of the field, or some find some obscured spot out in the open. The porn store on the premises allows the owners to make money during the day. I never found out if the films were hardcore, especially if the screen was out in the open and not surrounded by trees, like the Apache in Texas. Going to an X-rated drive in was cheaper than buying drinks in a bar, and the chances of scoring were a lot better.
I went to the Century shortly before it began programming gay adult films. I went to see “The Killing of Sister George” plus “The Gay Deceivers” for $2.00. The theater was nicely kept, clean, and with a good film presentation.
I never went there after the programming conversion, but I did go to the Richard’s Theater on Hollywood Blvd. and the Drake on Melrose (All Seats $1.00 after 11 p.m.). During that time, I had lost about 113 pounds, and people actually looked at me twice in those places. I never responded; I just wanted one person to share my life with. I never did anything with anybody; I felt too lonely and guilty. I remember staring at the screen, wondering if this was “gay life,” and I would hold back the tears while the people around me engaged in various physical activities.
When I turned 21, I started going to Studio One, replacing movies with music. Dancing with a couple of thousand other people was a hell of a lot better than sitting in those depressing theaters.
Now, Studio is gone, AIDS spread throughout the country, and the theaters closed. Never before or since will there ever be a time like that.
I wonder how many people got/transmitted AIDS or STDs in this shit hole?
Check the signage at the top of the building. I wonder if it lights up at night.
The Cine-Cienega was never a Pussycat Theater. You are thinking of the Pussycat on Santa Monica or the one on Hollywood Blvd. (formerly the Nu-View, among others). The Cine-Cienega started as an art house, then began running hardcore gay films, one of which was “Heavy Equipment” in – get this – 3D, containing, as John Waters said, “life itself” coming directly at the viewer.
The Cine-Cienega also had a notorious ‘back room’ where patrons could obtain physical relief or exposure to a then new illness which was infecting gay men and promptly ending their lives.
At one point, the Cine-Cienega had been transformed into a trendy restaurant. I went there after one of the gay pride parades, and the food was very good. I got a good look around inside but could not see any evidence of a theater.
I get so tired of seeing these beautiful theaters left to decay, only to be torn down in the name of “progress.” What a loss; we’re experiencing that here in California, also. Is it the money-driven real-estate developers, the status-seeking politicians, or is there a general apathy in our communities that leads to the destruction of these buildings? And people wonder why I want to have been born in the thirties.
Hi – I grew up in L.A. and spent countless hours in theaters that had the “old theater smell.” When I was in film school, Norman Jewison came in with “Rollerball,” and commented on how the best theaters had “that smell!”
The best program I ever saw at the Olympic was “Werewolves On Wheels,” “Hell’s Angels On Wheels,” and “Evil Knievel.” I went on a Monday night and hauled in a bunch of food and soft drinks.
A couple of years later, I was delivering stationery supplies during the day and going to school at night. After one particular delivery to a Cadillac dealership, I realized that I was on the site of the Olympic Drive In. I looked around to see if anything remained, but “progress” had eliminated any trace of the theater. This was the beginning of the end. Soon after, the Century in Inglewood would close, then the Centinela in L.A./Inglewood/Westchester and the Studio in Culver City would follow.
Now, I live fairly close to the Mission Tiki Drive In in Pomona. During the summer, the entire place is sold out, and long lines of cars wait to get in. The lines spill out into the street, and the people stay because, like so many of the people on this site, they want to continue a tradition that should have never come so close to dying.
When people are using crack, it’s loud and the chemicals smell bad – does anyone come into the auditorium and tell them to stop? Based on the above entries, this place is ripe for a raid. I used to work in social services; the last thing anyone wants is to get caught in one of these dumps. There are court fees, lawyer fees, and the mark on your police record, not to mention the worry and stress of what might happen in the future (job loss, being included in a police data bank). If you want sleaze without the risk, stay home and watch “8MM” with Nicholas Cage.
Good lord, Ken Roe, I thought I knew a lot about theaters until you started posting information and photos. My hat is off to you, sir. I went here one night. It was small, hot, and packed wall to wall with people. I watched men stream in and out of a doorway located to the right of the screen. I thought there were soft drink machines in the back, and people were having conversations and making friends. Talk about naive! I didn’t want to think about what was going on. Then again, to this day, I can’t accept the fact that Sally Field is doing ads for some bone cream. She’s Gidget, and the surf will always be up. I didn’t go back to Richard’s, even though the admission was only 99 cents. This was my first, and last, experience in a storefront theater. If the walls in this place could talk, they would swear.
It’s interesting how the Apollo and the Century burned to the extent that both were destroyed. The Apollo didn’t appear to be a firetrap, and I was there just about every week from 1972 to 1974.
I was in a bar one Saturday night and it was packed. At around 10:30, they stopped the music and said that they were closing for the evening. An hour later, a fire destroyed the whole building.
Kinda makes you wonder.
I worked with a manager named Tom Carey at the Redondo Beach South Bay Cinemas in the mid seventies. He got promoted and went to manage the Montclair Cinemas. If anyone has kept in touch with him, by chance, could you please let him know that I’m trying to contact him. He wrote me a letter of reference that helped get my first job in film distribution. Thanks.
I miss this theater so much. Thank you to everyone who worked there from 1973 to the closing. I was there the whole time and never wanted it to end. The world opened up for me; seeing Truffaut, Warhol, Fellini, early Scorcese that hadn’t been in a wide release, the Miss Shock Value contest with the woman who put electrical tape on her nipples, all of it, all of it – and never again.
I went from being an uneducated warehouse worker to a therapist with a master’s degree. The movies at the Fox showed me that there were possibilities in life. I sat there and learned from all of it. I didn’t have to keep working hard jobs, there were choices; I didn’t have to be ashamed to be gay, there other people like me, and some, like John Waters, had a sense of humor about it all.
These theaters are much more than just buildings. Many of us grew up in them and never thought they would end.
I want it back, dammit, I want it back!
This was the theater on Styxes album; did anyone notice?