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Photographed this theatre in the mid 90’s as it sat abandoned. It has a great free-standing ticket booth and an amazing 30ft+ tower marquee with the word CULVER on four sides. (you can see a glimpse of its base in the photo above). Only in LA can a huge cinema sit empty only a few blocks from a major film studio (Sony-Columbia). Will be an impressive Streamline architectural gem when renovated and the neon is turned on.
I admire your efforts to restore a theatre in need of a lot of work when perfectly good working theatres are demolished in bigger cities for quick profit.
Great facade but what a mess inside! When was it last used as a working theatre?
From the Pacific Theatres website:
“ArcLight Hollywood’s 14 new auditoriums begin with a â€œblack boxâ€ design aesthetic which favors undistracted viewing over opulence….”
Meaning: We’re too cheap to spend on any interior decor…
Many film lab screening rooms are nicer than some monsterplex mini-theatres.
Definitely time to reopen this theatre as a legitimate theatre (preferably a digital projection theatre since they’ve been testing the technology here) and encourage the redevelopment of Hollywood Blvd which is still a tacky mess. Since it’s LA, I suppose parking is a big issue for any potential investors.
Do any interior photos exist of this theatre?
Considering Famous Players is a division of Viacom Inc. (owners of Paramount, CBS, Blockbuster and MTV among others), this multiplex has more in common with Parmount’s theme park division.
With a concession area as big as any suburban mall food court and marketing driven distractions filling the public areas, its a wonder they bother maintaining the screening rooms at all.
Give us back the old Uptown Cinema 1, sticky floors and all. R.I.P
I don’t think new multiplexes located in suburban malls qualify as ‘Cinema Treasures’.
Star Wars may have changed the film business but it did not kill the American film or the way we watch movies.. If anything, it revived a dying industry in the 1970’s. How many theatres were closed, showing porn or nearly empty at the time. You can’t live in the past. The fact that SW gets mentioned so much only proves that it has lasting appeal. Perhaps not a true film classic but stil a very important part of film history. Jaws is really the precursor of the ‘event blockbuster’ film. Anyhow, these discussions lead nowhere, it’s been covered a million times and this isn’t the place to do it.
I would love to sit in a single screen movie palace watching the latest release in widescreen with full sound, no commercials and uniformed ushers walking up the aisles with their flashlights, but that’s just not going to happen anymore.
Just what St-Catherine Street needs, another shoe store! Considering the space is so big, they will probably take over the former lobby, stripped of any original features long ago. Who knows what will happen to the auditorium which was somewhat restored by Club Med after Loews turned it into a multiplex. At least Club Med made some effort to respect the original space that Loews had butchered. The auditorium was huge when I saw it not so long ago. With the Palace destroyed and empty down the street, these are difficult spaces to re-use. I know of one group which tried to host events in this theatre but their requests were turned down.
Unfortunate, there could have been a much more creative way to use this facility then by once again turning the lobby into a store and mothballing the auditorium (speculating of course).
Loews Cineplex Entertainment is owned by Onex Corp. (Toronto). They may sell all or part of this theatre chain. Onex acquired the Galaxy Theatre chain in Canada in 2003, created Cineplex Galaxy LP in early 2004, and also operates Cineplex Odeon theatres.
Sony has expressed interest in MGM. They currently own the former MGM lot, from which Columbia/TriStar Pictures also operates. The union would join MGM’s corporate offices to its fomer movie lot in Culver City. 30 years after its destruction, a modified version of MGM studios would come back to life. (The rubby slippers, backlot and Edith Head are all long gone)
Since a lot of technical information seems to be discussed on this board, were any films other than Earthquake (1974) presented in Sensurround sound?
From an article in this week’s MIRROR newspaper ‘The A to Z of Montreal Porn’:
‘Boasting the largest triple-X screen in North America, this revered palace of pud-pulling on St-Laurent and Duluth St. has been packing in porn-loving customers into seats since the late 1960’s (named at the time the PussyCat). Renamed L'Amour in 1977, it has since undergone extensive renovations, most recently the addition of the balcony couples’ lounge. Despite the carpet being stained from spilled drinks and cigarette burns and littered with bunches of Kleenex (available at the concessions stand in the lobby), the actual architecture remains a beautiful, if run-down, neo-classical mixture of ornate mouldings and Ionic columns. Appropriately, L'Amour has a rich history: it opened in 1880 (??) as the Globe, a vaudeville theatre, and is rumoured to be the site where Harry Houdini received his fatal blow from a McGill student in 1926.‘ (Houdini later died in Detroit from a ruptured appendix caused by the severe punches to his stomach)
An ad fo the theatre in the same publication reads: Free entrance for couples every Monday + Tuesday $ Private VIP section $ Meet people with siimilar desires.
It should be mentioned also that the historic Pig & Whistle restaurant was reopened in the right hand retail space on the Blvd. (6712 Hollywood Blvd, a former pizzeria) The Egyptian courtyard can be seen to the left.
Although only in name, it was a nice touch to bring back an old Hollywood landmark formerly located at 6301 Hollywood Blvd. (a picture of it appears in the book SEVERED by John Gilmore. An odd fact is that much of the original decor of this place was purchased by Micelli’s and is now located in a space nearby .(Miceli’s Italian Restaurant, 3653 Cahuenga Blvd W, Los Angeles)
I’ve been to a few screenings at the Egyptian. Considering how far gone the theater was, it’s a miracle the Cinematheque saved it. The auditorium and lobby are a disappointment but the projection and sound is good. Definitely much better than a multiplex experience. The exterior and courtyard have been restored nicely and make the visit worthwihe. The El Capitan is much more impressive for interior decor but is missing its original proscenium columns ( lack of funds to recreate). Some nice landmarks on the otherwise run down and forgettable Hollywood Blvd.
I don’t think it will ever thrive again unles major retailers take over more of the retail spaces. Go downtown to Broadway, it’s much more interesting.
Perhaps if concession stands stopped selling those gallon sized soda fountain drinks, there wouldn’t be such a concern about bathroom facilities.
As to projection problems in multiplexes, actually finding an employee to complain to when the sound goes out or the picture goes out of focus is a problem in itself. The teenaged staff is generally chatting in the lobby and stares at you bewildered that someone is actually complaining to them. It took repeated complaints by the audience during one screening at a Cineplex facility for the framing of a film to finally be fixed. These are not the days of Cinema Paradiso anymore. We are supposed to pay $10+ per screening for this? No wonder DVD’s are so popular….and no annoying commercials either.
The auditorium held 2,300 seats (per Palaces of the Night by John Lindsay). In the auditorium, hundreds of hidden lights contantly changed colors on the smooth plastered walls. The patented lighting panel known as the ‘Thyratron’ ran the light show. The enormous 2 ½ ton sculptered curtain rose slowly with each swag controlled by a separate motor.
Although Canada’s most spectacular post WWII movie theatre, only a few people came to the last screening in 1974. The organist, Colin Corbett played an emotional farewell. The theatre was so well constructed that it bankrupt the wrecking company that brought it down. It was similar in design to London’s Leicester Square Odeon and evoked the design of the Queen Mary and Normandie ocean liners.
There is a fantastic cross-section drawing in Mr. Lindsay’s book showing its numerous and large public spaces.
The site is currently occupied but a plain office tower which houses in part, the offices of the Toronto International Film Festival (2 Carlton Street).
The ‘new’ Carlton Cinemas (20 Carlton Street), just East of the former Odeon site, show a good mix of first run independent and foreign movies. However, these are the shoe-box type of multiplex screening rooms built by Cineplex/Odeon in the 1980’s. Projection and sound is average and the decor is awful and outdated. A few of the smaller screens are rear projection. A nearby university uses the theaters for lecture halls during th day. Definitely NOT a Cinema Treasure.
This huge theatre still functions as a popular nightclub and concert venue. The beautiful marble lobby is still intact although the auditorium and massive U-shaped balcony have been substantially modernised. Located in Montreal’s east end red-light district and one of the city’s most unique spaces. No pictures available but current info can be found here:
Updated link to the Los Angeles Conservancy – Last Remaining Seats:
-Eventually re-create missing light fixtures taken from the Loew’s Jersey when it was to be demolished. When Friends of the Loew’s managed to save the theatre from the wrecking ball, only a VERY FEW items were given back to the theatre. These, alas, were one-of-a-kind items that must be recreated from photographs on hand.
What did the wrecking company do with these items? Were they stolen by workers or vandals?
The marquee letters do spell out BURBANK. More than likely, B-A-N were changed on the vertical sign to L-E-S to spell BURLESK.
In the book, Palaces of the Night by John Lindsay, two photo captions read:
1) The Ottawa Capitol likely had the most magnificent staircase of any theatre in Canada. This theatre was considered by some to be the best of Thomas Lamb’s Canadian designs. The auditorium closely resembled the Toronto Pantages (now Canon Theatre) which also opened in 1920.
2) Many felt the Ottawa Capitol was the most attractive of all of Lamb’s theatres.
Closed and demolished in 1970. The last show was a special screening of Mary Pickford’s POLLYANNA and a benefit stage show which played to a packed house.
A recent article on this theater:
Although the theater is in need of extensive repair and needs to be delisted for demolition, concerned citizens could try and pressure the National Register administrators to hold off on delisting it. The proposed new commercial space should at least be built using the handsome existing facade.
This theater reminds me of the Royal in Toronto, Canada (opened as the Pylon).
Similar curved marquee and glass block tower on facade. The Royal also faced extinction a few years back (to be demolished for parking ). After several years of being abandoned, it was bought and renovated. Now a successful single screen neigborhood theater with excellent programming (currently running a French film festival).
Hopefully the Trylon has as much support from its community. These theaters, if successfully rehabilated, are an important part of a neighborhood’s life.