Fox Redondo Theatre

300 Diamond Street,
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

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Showing 126 - 146 of 146 comments

Foxmanager
Foxmanager on November 30, 2004 at 12:03 pm

As the manager of the Fox Redondo Theatre from late 1970 to its needless and tragic closure on Feb. 5, 1973, an act entirely to blame on Mann Theatres, it gives me great pleasure to read your stories about the place. I, too, look back with true fondness and nostalgia to that magical place and time. And it was, indeed. My staff and myself worked hard to put on great films for the public, while encouraging an atmosphere of fun and community. To this day, I have had no better job than with my involvement with the Fox Redondo and the wonderful public who patronized us at that time. Addressing you ‘Schrader’, I can’t recall the incident (about you and your cousin), but it is entirely possible it was me, or possibly my assistant, Jerry. In any event, your recollections are heart warming and remarkably accurate. The concession stand was on the right as you entered the lobby and the stairway was straight ahead, then about ten steps up splitting left and right. There was a lobby ceiling up to the stairway, and as a result it was possible only to see a small portion of the lobby from the mezzanine. I can recall that when we played Gimme Shelter and Woodstock, Mann Theatres were too cheap to put the stereo system into proper working order. (Imagine, playing rock ‘n’ roll films without stereo!) No problem, I had plenty of ushers working for me of the electronic genius kind who volunteered (more or less) to repair the system. This is what I remember best about the Redondo — the sense of community that prevailed. It was everybody’s theatre, to some a second home and we all cared deeply about it. I’m a writer, now, and I have a novel planned which revolves around the Fox and in which the theatre plays a role as a major ‘character’. Thank you all who came and contributed, as well as all the wonderful staff without whose help it would not have been possible. I gotta go now before I start crying. O.C. Frandsen

Schrader
Schrader on November 28, 2004 at 8:58 pm

Thanks, Terrance, for helping me find the interior shots at http://www.hollyb.com/oldsouthbaypictures.html I’ve never forgotten those guys in the murals, but I had forgotten how beautiful the ceiling was. Also now that I know that the lady out front was a flamenco dancer (not a mermaid), it seems to me she wore a red gown and had castanets in her hands. Also someone above remembers a red carpeted stairway, but I remember the carpet being more yellow/brown/green and having a leafy pattern. I remember the stairs made a sort of horse-shoe up from the lobby, identical curving stairs on either side, but I can’t remember if from the top you could look down into the lobby, or if there was a lobby ceiling. Also the lobby snack bar—was it off to the left from the entrance, or straight out front? Anything anyone remembers about the FOX REDONDO is of interest to me; the FOX is my favorite place that ever was. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some pictures of the lobby sooner or later.

WERKSTATTE
WERKSTATTE on November 25, 2004 at 9:37 pm

There are photos of the inside murals at one of the sites mentioned above. Please…If someone has photos, interior OR exterior, PLEASE POST THEM. Thanks! Terrance

Schrader
Schrader on November 25, 2004 at 9:04 pm

I remember a very small rip in the screen. Also that when they showed BEN there somebody brought in a lot of rats, though I never saw any myself. Also riding my bike there one afternoon and finding the doors open and no one around that I could see, and being seriously tempted to steal a poster for COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE that was standing in the lobby, but not having the nerve. Also having a fist-fight with my cousin on the stairs that led up to the balcony, during THE LAST GRENADE or KELLY’s HEROES, and being called into the manager’s office and him being nice to us. Also that you could stomp your feet on the floor toward the front and it would make a huge sound. Also that sometimes the floor got flooded, in the late 60’s. Also sneaking in with my dad when WOODSTOCK was playing to see if my sister was there when she wasn’t supposed to be, and looking down over the balcony railing at a lot of people not in their seats. Also the 007 double-features, and the first two PLANET OF THE APEs together. Also thinking WHERE ANGELS GO, TROUBLE FOLLOWS was a great film (it’s always on Stella Stevens' face that I remember the little rip). Also HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on a triple bill—and when NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD started the whole place went quiet, which was rare on Saturday nights, and watching that movie you felt like you were on the Titanic and everybody going down. Also how great it felt to see a matinee there and come out in the late afternoon and be near the sea. Also hearing they were going to tear the place down but not being prepared to truly never see it again until I found this site. If I were a ghost there isn’t any place I’d rather haunt than the FOX REDONDO. Also that the projectionist’s quarters was a sort of booth at the back of the balcony—is that right? Also were the murals the same on either side of the balcony, and what were they of? Also on the outside front of the theater, above the marquee—was that a mermaid, and was she blue? Also they sold popcorn both downstairs and separately upstairs, and the poporn was always great, and so were the hot dogs, and so were the people. Also the rating M. Also the last few minutes of SPIRITS OF THE DEAD, which was rated R but played with THE OBLONG BOX, which was an M, and the little girl bouncing the silent ball. Also very early in life seeing THE SOUND OF MUSIC there with my mom; we rode there on bikes, and we saw it there more than once and always in the daytime. Also wearing my roller skates after WHERE ANGELS GO, TROUBLE FOLLOWS and thinking the sound of the wheels on our pebblestone walkway sounded a lot like the song from the movie. Now you can own all these movies on DVD but it isn’t the same. Bruce, I hope you write your book someday. And O.C., you may have been the guy who had my cousin and me in your office—you were memorably decent to us. Also could you exit from the balcony and walk down some stairs to the street? If so, I remember doing that.

BruceBerns
BruceBerns on October 30, 2004 at 9:59 pm

Terrance, yes that is the El Ja Arms, a classic hotel in its time. I think a president may have stayed there once. It was way to spooky for me as a kid. Although my brother and I “ran” that corner and every rooftop of the block in the 50’s, the El Ja Arms, then occupied in its last years mostly by transients, was too dark and scary for us. Our hotel, the Del Mar, was around the corner to the South on Pacific Avenue. I’m familiar with every business that was on that block from 1946 through the 60’s. The site you offered has some great old shots! Thanks

WERKSTATTE
WERKSTATTE on October 30, 2004 at 9:46 pm

Bruce…Check this site out. There’s a picture of the hotel across the street from the FOX (corner of Diamond & Pacific). View link

BruceBerns
BruceBerns on October 30, 2004 at 9:30 pm

Terrance…Hmmm, you got the chandelier, I got a piece of concrete! If it’s one of the chandeliers in the interior shots you’ve seen, I can tell you that I once walked above it in the crawl, and I may have cleaned and changed its bulbs! For a week or two before Hitchcock’s “The Birds” ran, I kept our Myna Bird “Smoky” in his cage in a corner of the lobby to advertise the upcoming movie, but he wouldn’t shut up during the shows running, and there were a lot of complaints! For “Hatri,” I was dressed in safari garb, and rode an elephant through the downtown streets of Redondo. For “5 Weeks In A Balloon,” I dropped balloons (with passes in them) from a small plane we hired.“ The exterior shots of the Fox look as thought they were taken almost in front of my family’s business across the street, the Del Mar Cleaners. They also owned the Del Mar Hotel above it, and Del Mar Liquor next door. I once had a snapshot of the lobby somewhere, but have yet to located it after all these years. I’m still hoping to find it for all interested. Thanks for the memories!

WERKSTATTE
WERKSTATTE on October 30, 2004 at 5:29 pm

I can remember standing out in front of the entrance, behind the hot dog stand and getting drenched by a wave. Here’s 2 sites with great exterior/interior shots (but, NO lobby). http://home.earthlink.net/~streets.of.redondo.beach/History.html
http://www.hollyb.com/oldsouthbaypictures.html

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on October 30, 2004 at 10:07 am

I remember playing on the beach in 1967 and overlooking us was the huge figure of Sean Connery as James Bond for “You Only Live Twice” completely filling the arch where the flamenco dancer was.

WERKSTATTE
WERKSTATTE on October 29, 2004 at 10:42 pm

Bruce…It was great to read about your experiences at the old Fox. Do you remember for the opening of Alfdred Hitchcock’s “THE BIRDS” that they pasted big black bird cut-outs all over the front tiled entryway? It was an incredible place. I wasn’t here when they ripped it down, or I would have raised hell. Redondo is still kicking itself. I find it interesting that, in an old photo on the R.B. Historic Society’s website, it shows that the R.B.Chamber of Commerce was in the same building. I sell antiques and was at a flea mkt. and bought a wonderful large leaded chandelier. As I was putting it into my van, I noticed some plastic printed tape reading “FROM THE BALCONY OF THE OLD FOX REDONDO”. I nearly dropped it! It now hangs in my bedroom. Everytime I dim it for TV or sleep, it conjures many pictures. I saw THE WIZARD OF OZ at the FOX REDONDO for the first time…It seemed like GONE WITH THE WIND played there forever…and quite right, too…That lush bright red carpeted stairway could have BEEN Tara. My sister was in a dance recital on that fully equipped stage. I can only imagine what glorious productions would have been brought to Redondo. I live in San Pedro. Fortunately, the WARNER GRAND here is a shrine with a great group of people (THE GRAND VISION) restoring/protecting it. >>> Do you know of anywhere I could get copies of interior shots? I would especially like some of the lobby. Thanks, Terrance ()

BruceBerns
BruceBerns on October 15, 2004 at 11:15 pm

I “worked” at the Fox Redondo for about 13 years, starting by folding popcorn boxes around 1954 under the watchful eye of Manager, Scottie. When I was old enough to work legally, I spent more time there than at home, which was only a block away. Later, under the Manager, Bill Mauck, I learn what it was to be a showman. In the 60’s, we would ballyhoo openings with stunts and giveaways, and Mauck was a pro at getting attention to his openings. I stayed with the Fox, working both full and part time until I was about 21 years old, even driving to work at night after moving to college in the San Fernando Valley. I knew, and still remember, every square inch of that wonderful, one- time vaudeville palace. I crawled under the sub floor in search of loose change as a kid, and climbed the rafters above the chandeliers as an adult. I filmed the building of King Harbor form its rooftop. I explored the abandoned organ pipes then covered with gilding, and took girlfriends for tours of the spooky, long empty dressing rooms in the deep underground of the backstage area. All the original equipment of a bygone area remained, from painted drop curtains to the antiquated lighting board. What history that building held! I can still see my ring of keys and know each for their function, from the box office to the fuse box panel! I walked the 16' ladder (for an extra $7.50 per week) to change the marquee. “Living” at the fox in the 50’s and 60’s offered me status as a teen, and by the way, I will still accept a challenge to be dethroned as the Fastest Popcorn Box Folder In The World! It was my home away from home where I saw many, many ushers, managers, and assistants come and go through those years. Of course, I saw every movie that played the Fox for two decades. In my more ambitious years I considered writing a book about my adventures, both during and after, operating hours there. Even after I left and lost touch with those that still ran the Fox, I felt it was my roots, my home. It was difficult to return and not recognize any employees. I still have the posters from every movie that played the Fox Redondo in the 60’s. I networked with friends at other theatres to allow me courtesy passes throughout Los Angeles' Fox, then Mann theatres. Paying for my first admission to a movie theatre around 1974 was personally devastating and humiliating!
I now have only a piece of concrete as a souvenir of the Fox Redondo as my home and my youth which are inseparably linked. And I still have a great memory of seeing the huge, white building from my house. If you looked very hard at it’s faded paint, the Fox would allow its past to show through: On the East side, from one end of the building to the other, in 5-foot tall letters were the nearly invisible words, “TALKING PICTURES.” My Name is Bruce Berns. If you
were a part of that era at the Fox with me, I would love to hear from you.

Foxmanager
Foxmanager on August 27, 2004 at 4:26 am

For Moviemanforever – I was the manager of the Fox Redondo in the last two years of its great life. I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed going there, since me and my staff worked hard to put on the best shows (and prints) we could get. How we managed to get the high quality prints we usually did makes quite a story, but can’t be divulged here). The utterly needless closure of this great old house was one of the sadder chapters in my life, but the blame must go entirely to Mann after he bought the National General Theatre chain. You mentioned somewhere going to the 5th Ave in Inglewood and seeing The Graduate there. That must’ve been in 1968 when I was manager, then. The 5th Ave was the best experience for me in my ten years as a theatre manager, since we showed the kind of artsy films I liked. Besides, I also had a small harem of the cutest girls to help me run the place adding to the enjoyment. If anyone has photos or knows where I can get them (I’ll be glad to pay) of the exterior and/or interior of the following theatres, I’d be most grateful — The Inglewood Theatre (Also known as The Little Inglewood) on La Brea, The Loyola in Westchester, The 5th Avenue, Inglewood, The Academy Theatre, Inglewood, The Fox Redondo, Redondo Beach and the El Portal in North Hollywood. My name is O.C. Frandsen

GaryParks
GaryParks on June 3, 2004 at 4:18 pm

Yes, the (Fox) California in San Jose is being restored, as well as expanded. Check out its page on cinematreasures. I’ve recently written a construction update on it, following a tour of the theatre I got from one of the individuals in charge of installing a restored Wurlitzer organ there (actually two organs—one for the lobby as well as one for the auditorium).

meheuck
meheuck on June 3, 2004 at 6:10 am

I think XvXMatthewXvX was talking about the Fox California in San Jose that was being remodeled, according to LarryS.

I hope that is indeed true.

WERKSTATTE
WERKSTATTE on June 2, 2004 at 11:03 pm

Hello…Can anyone tell me where I can buy interior/exterior photos of the old FOX REDONDO THEATER? THANKS, Terrance ()

William
William on March 10, 2004 at 6:09 pm

This theatre was demolished in the mid 70’s.

XvXMatthewXvX
XvXMatthewXvX on March 10, 2004 at 3:37 pm

if anyone has a direct contact with the manager/owner or lease holder of the fox plese contact me

Lawrence
Lawrence on December 12, 2003 at 11:50 pm

San Jose’s FOX CALIFORNIA also run by Fox West Coast was a 75 Cent house
in its last days. In fact, the same double feature was playing
in its final week of operation in the 70’s … Mad Dogs & Englishmen with Woodstock! By God’s graces, it is currently being restored
by the City of San Jose and will reopen very soon!

William
William on November 12, 2003 at 10:41 pm

The Fox Redondo Theatre was located 103 W. Diamond.

William
William on February 26, 2002 at 5:59 pm

The architect for the Fox Redondo Theatre was J. P. Perrine. The theatre opened in 1928.

William
William on February 20, 2002 at 8:49 pm

The Fox Redondo seated around 1324 people. It was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres, the last chain was National General Theatres. This theatre was in District #4 for Fox West Coast Theatres. The move-over house in Redondo was the Fox Strand theatre.