Showing 14 comments
I miss Westwood back when it was a Village. I was at UCLA from 85-88, but had been frequenting since 1980 or so, and it still had all the small town college vibe. Now days it’s in a very sad state. I take my mom to her eye doctor on Wilshire/Gayley often and see the vacant weed strewn fenced lot where the National and a lot of my youth once stood. I remember Cafe Casino, DB Levy’s, Ships, Acapulco, Pinoccio’s, Baxter’s, as well as the National, Picwood, Plaza, UA Cinema Center, Mann’s Westwood, Plitt, Tower, Wherehouse, Penny Lane, Old World, Alice’s, etc… and the entire fun vibe that Westwood had. You didn’t need a destination in mind, you just ‘went down to the Village’ and humg out. Maybe a cafe/restaurant, browsing a bookstore or independent store. Now it’s all corporate destination driven trips. No wonder a snooty eatery like EuroChow failed. This is supposed to be a fun free-wheeling college town, not an investment banker high-end ‘what’s the bottom line’ exclusive town. I thank God I got to experience it in the 80’s as it is all gone now and all the fun of being young is stripped. Too bad no older teens or UCLA students will ever experience what it was like to go to Mardi Gras, the Homecoming parade, and just hanging out in Westwood on a Friday or Saturday night was like. They may think it is fun but while they have a couple national chain stores and three worthy movie houses left ( Village, Bruin, Crest) they too will soon be gone or be diced into multiplexes. When I was there we had 10+ theatres and tons of stand alone stores. R.I.P. Westwood.
As another sidenote to my just posted message, I especially miss the passing of Mann’s National in Westwood. My favorite movie house after the Plitt Century City. Very sad every time I’m in Westwood and see it as a fenced-off weed strewn vacant lot. Oh the memories!
As much as I love Grauman’s main, the actual Dome, and the Village, nothing will ever compare to the Plitt Twin. Star Wars, Ghandi, The Right Stuff, Poltergeist, all on 70mm 6-track Dolby with reclining seats and a yard or two of legroom will never be restored. Cineplex/Odeon absolutely destroyed modern movie-going. Even other houses like the original Egyptian, Fox Venice etc… are sorely missed in these days.
Just in Westwood today, how sad to see the corner block of my favorite movie theatre a vacant dirt filled lot. I had many a fun high school night and later college night spent at this theatre. Great 70’s architecture and colors but when the lights dimmed and the curtain opened you had one of the largest screens ever and immaculate quality. Along with the Plitt Century Plaza, I miss this place so much! Here in LA we still have the Village, Chinese, and Cinerama Dome, but that’s just three compared to what we have lost due to the AMC virus.
My older sisters and their friends went here when it was a first run single theatre in the 70’s to see The Who’s “Tommy” film. I went here with my dad to see a restored revival of “Once Upon A Time in America” in the early 90’s.
Whatever name you call it this has always been an also-ran to the grand palaces of Westwood, but with the demise of these (National, Plaza, Regent [still there, under different mgt.], Picwood, and the Mann Westwood and UA CInema Center) it is one of the few left. Even ACVO is a distant memory of what it once was.
Me again, the ABC Entertainment Center also includen the Los Angeles location of the Playboy Club. I also remember when the Los Angeles International Film Exhibition (FILMEX) was headquartered there they showcased Once Upon A Time in America. Unfortunately this was I believe the Ladd Companys cut and stripped version and had quite mixed reviews. Years later it was released in the original 3 hour plus version to great acclaim. Too little too late. The Plitt Century Plaza was simply the greatest Los Angeles threatre ever. I had seen Star Wars in a local ‘masking tape and cardboard’ theatre earlier but one day my sister and mom went to see A Chorus Line at the Shubert and I went to see Star Wars again, this time in 70mm 6 Track Dolby and I have never been the same.
To an earlier poster, sorry if it has been answered, the ABC Entertainment Center which contained the Plitt Theatres, Shubert Theatre and the twin triangular towers was meant to resemble a movie theatres seating area while the next-door Century Plaza Hotel with its curvilinear shape was meant to resemble a wide screen screen. Yes it was all built on 20th Century Fox’s former backlot, hence the name ‘Century City’. One of the latter Planet of the Apes films was even shot here due to the modern style of the architecture. Many a premiere was held here as well as opening nights at the adjacent Shubert Theatre and patrons would walk through the tunnel beneath Avenue of the Stars to attend the parties at the Century Plaza Hotel.
One of my favorite threatre ever when it was the two-screen Plitt Century Plaza. High-backed rocking seats and legroom to stretch your legs out. Saw Star Wars, Poltergiest, Ghandi in 70MM 6-track Dolby magnificence. Brilliant gigantic curved screens and palatial lobby. Really missed it when Cineplex/Odeon hacked it into four screens, and now it’s all gone forever.
A better choice over the nearby AMC 16 at Pine Square. With both of these they are sometimes so understaffed you can walk right in without a ticket.
I grew up in Bakersfield from 1964, when I was born, until 1972 when we moved. The Valley Plaza was amazing as my first theatre I ever remembered. The auditorium was large, as I remember, and was covered with gold and purple striped curtains. When the lights dimmed the striped curtains opened, revealing a gold curtain which then opened. After the previews the gold curtain closed, the lights went to blackout, and the gold curtain re-opened for the feature. During the summer they ran a special of weekly shows you could but tickets for in advance; such as the Disney/Dean Jones/Tommy Kirk family films. After I grew up, the National in Westwood reminded me greatly of this theatre. Sad they’re both gone. Nothing like a big single screen movie house.
Anyway all of us South Bay nostalgians (sp?) can get together somewhere. I have become so nostalgic over reading about the ole' Del Amo Theatres and Mall, South Bay Center, Old Towne, etc… It would be cool to get together and share times. Is there a consolidated site for all of this?
Ron K. if you’re still out there email me. I grew up right aroung the corner from you and went to WHS too.
I moved here, Torrance, in 1972 when I was 8 years old. Growing up we had the South Bay Center Cinemas, Del Amo 6, Rolling Hills, UA Torrance, Marina, and the Cove. Old Towne was so fun for the overall experience. It was always getting dropped off by the parents and then ‘doing’ the mall either before of after a movie. One of my first multi-plex experiences of buying a PG ticket and going to an R film. I did this for The Jerk, 10, Friday the 13th, etc… Also that back door at the south end where you could always sneak people in to when their wasn’t an usher. The mall itself was fun too, from the two tacky rides, the pot lover’s haven of the Scorpio Shoppe, Leyland’s Gifts, and the arcade, Kingdom of Oz I believe. Old Towne was a true growing up experience for kids in the 70’s and early 80’s.