Comments from hillsmanwright

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hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Theatre at the Ace Hotel on Mar 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm

A new 4k projector and surround system has been installed – permanently. Ace Hotel plans to maintain the UA’s original purpose as a movie palace, in addition to live events. cinespia has an agreement with AH to stage premiere’s and special screenings.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Feb 21, 2013 at 9:38 am

The pool at the base of the fountain on the right side was removed when that fussy, fussy fire department and the Dept of Building and Safety decided that more clearance was needed at a major entrance portal. Why stop at a wading pool? Maybe add a water slide to the stairs/escalators that ascend from the portal? Next time you go, don’t miss the musical stairs and Sweet – a candy shop for the gods at the top of the stairs.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Jan 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Forecourt landscaping has been mentioned in several accounts that I’ve read. I don’t know the details, but will post them here when I do. I enjoyed Tippi Hedren and Veronica Cartwright on hand for a screening of The Birds. It was a pristine print, a nice sized house and wonderful to behold. So glad TCM uses the theatre as its prime festival site.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

Interesting discussion. A couple of notes. Grauman’s name was taken off the theatre in 1958. It did not re-appear until the 2001 restoration of the exterior. It will remain under TCL. In 1927, one entered the theatre from the Lobby to a very steep rake – definitely non ADA compliant. The 1958 rehab resulted in a zigzag walk in front of the booth to the lowered seating level. The plan for stadium seating is not the steep variety of your modern multiplex. One will enter from the Lobby to a level floor even with the back row of seats – no more staircase. The seats are stepped down from there. There is a cross aisle mid auditorium leading to the two side exit aisles. The front of the theatre will be excavated to continue the slope downward allowing a taller screen and much more distance from the front rows to the screen ala ArcLight. Having been on the 4th row in a packed house for The Hobbit, I can assure you that this is a good thing. The screen is about 89' wide. It is also silver, which is a problem for non-3D movies – or so say some filmmakers.I believe the new capacity will be around 1000. The auditorium atmospheric lighting was re-wired in 2001 – alas, precluding the 3-color capabilities of the four rings of lighting in the ceiling doiley. Each ring is now one solid color and lamped with incandescants – an expensive nightmare to continually re-lamp. The conduit for the 3 circuit remains and wiring could easily be pulled to return the lighting effects back to Grauman’s intent. The original light board was yanked out and the wiring goes to an electronic dimmer rack in the basement. Lighting is controlled from the booth and may be programmed from a standard PA or laptop. Since 2001, some of the dimmers for the ceiling lights have been swapped out to replace others that have failed. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation has entered into an agreement to restore the auditorium’s atmospheric lighting (with LEDs) and replicate missing light fixtures. That includes the brass lantern, which was accidentally demolished when it was removed for repairs during the 1958 rape of the auditorium. With the $5 million from TCL, the exterior will be re-painted and re-lighted and some lighting improvements will be made to the interior. Theatre management will be able to really step up their game and attract more people to the theatre. Is there any better way to honor Sid than to fill the theatre and get more butts in seats? TCL’s name will appear from time to time on the new digital marquee above the Hollywood Blvd – the current digital screens are outdated. Finally, people will call the theatre what they call it, whether Mann’s, Grauman’s or TCL. My hunch is that Grauman’s will continue to be the most commonly used. The auditorium atmospheric lighting restoration will be financed by a series of benefit screenings. I hope we can depend on all of you to support the LAHTF and management. LAHTF will also be doing a behind-the-scenes tour just before the theatre closes for the upgrades. Check our facebook page or website – www.lahtf.org for updates. I am unsure when the theatre will close for the rehab and how long it will take. You should know that the theatre’s management is committed to keeping Grauman’s legacy alive. The LAHTF will be close by to make sure they do.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Warner Beverly Hills Theater on Oct 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

William, would you consider allowing the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation www.lahtf.org to use a few of your photos of the Beverly demolition. Our group was a player in the fight to preserve the theatre. The photos would be used on our site, brochure and we’d like to post them on our Facebook site. You can find me at

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Grauman's Chinese Theatre sold on Apr 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

The LA Historic Theatre Foundation has been assured by sources close to the new lessees that the nightclub rumors are untrue, that the Chinese will once again become the premier place for premieres. We’ve been disappointed before, nevertheless, it’d be better to actually find out what’s in store rather than speculate. You can be sure there’ll be a lot of folks dedicated to Hollywood and theatre history watching this one closely. Stay tuned for late-breaking developments…

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Village Theater on Apr 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

Yet, Regency actually did it. Thus, salvation. Everything else is just hot air. Hope the same companies are negotiating to take over the Chinese, Fairfax, etc.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Village Theater on Mar 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm

One thing’s for sure. They’ll still get premieres. Studios couldn’t/wouldn’t book with Mann’s operation uncertain.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Village Theater on Mar 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm

O, ye of little faith. As long as that attitude holds, it’ll be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regency isn’t in the business of losing money, nor would they be expanding in this economic climate specifically to do so. They made money at the Fairfax, when others couldn’t. Perhaps, the lower monthly rent they negotiated with the Skouras survivors who still own both theatres will make the difference between win and lose – profit or loss. If nothing else, both houses will have a much different feel than under the long, slow death march of all Mann’s properties as they fulfill their announced intention of leaving the exhibition business. Rule #1 in exhib. – the property takes on the personality of its management.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Bruin Theatre on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Here’s the release:
WESTWOOD, CA — Regency Theatres is pleased to announce the acquisition of two of the most legendary movie theaters in Los Angeles. Beginning on Thursday, April 1, Regency Theatres will be the proud operators of the historic Village and Bruin Theaters located in the heart of Westwood Village.

“We are excited to be adding the iconic Village and Bruin Theaters to the Regency family of theaters” said Lyndon Golin, President of Regency Theatres. “These celebrated movie houses have been landmarks in Los Angeles since the 1930’s and we plan to extend their legacy far into the future.”
Built in 1930 and opened in 1931, the Village Theater has been a popular location to see movies for several generations of moviegoers. The theater’s grand architecture, large auditorium (which seats over 1,300 patrons) and state-of-the-art presentation make it a destination movie theater for film fans everywhere. The most striking feature of the theater is the 170-foot white Spanish Revival-style tower which looms high over the Broxton and Weyburn intersection.
The theater is a favorite among movie studios, which frequently select the theatre to premiere their top films. The Village Theater will soon celebrate its 80th Anniversary.
The Bruin Theater, a streamlined Art Deco cinema, opened its doors in 1937 directly across the street from the Village Theater and the two have stood side-by-side for over seven decades.
The Regency Village Theater is located at 961 Broxton Avenue and the Regency Bruin is located just across the street at 948 Broxton Avenue. Movie information and ticketing is available at www.regencymovies.com

About Regency Theatres:
Based in Calabasas, family-owned Regency Theatres was founded in 1996 and operates 22 locations in Southern California as well as theaters in Nevada and Colorado.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Village Theater on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Here’s the release: Variety is mis-reporting that Regency bought the theatres. They’re just leasing for now.

WESTWOOD, CA — Regency Theatres is pleased to announce the acquisition of two of the most legendary movie theaters in Los Angeles. Beginning on Thursday, April 1, Regency Theatres will be the proud operators of the historic Village and Bruin Theaters located in the heart of Westwood Village.

“We are excited to be adding the iconic Village and Bruin Theaters to the Regency family of theaters” said Lyndon Golin, President of Regency Theatres. “These celebrated movie houses have been landmarks in Los Angeles since the 1930’s and we plan to extend their legacy far into the future.”
Built in 1930 and opened in 1931, the Village Theater has been a popular location to see movies for several generations of moviegoers. The theater’s grand architecture, large auditorium (which seats over 1,300 patrons) and state-of-the-art presentation make it a destination movie theater for film fans everywhere. The most striking feature of the theater is the 170-foot white Spanish Revival-style tower which looms high over the Broxton and Weyburn intersection.
The theater is a favorite among movie studios, which frequently select the theatre to premiere their top films. The Village Theater will soon celebrate its 80th Anniversary.
The Bruin Theater, a streamlined Art Deco cinema, opened its doors in 1937 directly across the street from the Village Theater and the two have stood side-by-side for over seven decades.
The Regency Village Theater is located at 961 Broxton Avenue and the Regency Bruin is located just across the street at 948 Broxton Avenue. Movie information and ticketing is available at www.regencymovies.com

About Regency Theatres:
Based in Calabasas, family-owned Regency Theatres was founded in 1996 and operates 22 locations in Southern California as well as theaters in Nevada and Colorado.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Regency Village Theater on Mar 30, 2010 at 8:51 am

Look for Regency Theatres to make the Village/Bruin announcement today, March 30. I’ll post the release as soon as I get clearance from Regency. Such wonderful news! Having been forced out of the Fairfax, Regency now steps up to operate two gems. It’s up to us to actually support them and buy tickets – and lots of their fresh-popped popcorn. While you’re in the neighborhood, support the Crest with your $$, too.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about "Exhibiting Change" Lecture at National Heritage Museum on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:04 am

Ross, excellent!
When can we book the L.A. lecture? The LAHTF would love to present you in the historic theatre of your choosing (pending availability, of course.) I really miss Massachusetts. Hug Boston for me and give my regards to Lance at the Emerson Majestic – and all over the theatre district.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about LAHTF: "Insider's Peek #1 - Fox Theatre, Inglewood, CA" on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:56 am

That’s part of why it’ll be so much fun! The Inglewood Redevelopment Agency is planning a mixed use development for the entire block – a special events/entertainment venue should be a critical piece of that. The other folks moving into Inglewood are artists displaced by downtown gentrificiation. It’ll be interesting, at the very least.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Theatre at the Ace Hotel on Nov 8, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Thanks for all the great photos and history – both true and anecdotal. As a regular attendee of Sunday services, I can recommend the experience. Pastor Melissa Scott is a gifted teacher and her hour-long “classes” about history, language, and the Bible are interesting, whatever your beliefs – or lack thereof. The UA is maintained meticulously with TLC. When you attend, you’ll understand the need for the church to have its high level of security. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation posted 9 minutes of video footage shot of the theatre interior during the late ‘80’s. You can find that at www.youtube.com\lahtf With Pastor Scott’s approval, the LAHTF is planning an All About docu-tour and history presentation at the UA in early 2010. Along with Grauman’s Million Dollar, the UA is extraordinary in just about every way.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Owner promises renovation of Los Angeles and Palace theaters if... on Nov 5, 2009 at 10:01 am

Though there may be honest disagreement whether or not a new parking facility in the heart of the Broadway historic district is really needed – especially with a streetcar planned to be operational by 2014, there is no question that the Los Angeles' loading facilities are one of its greatest liabilities. The parking structure will resolve this problem and include space to supplement the theatre’s limited wing space. Because of its shallow stage and partial fly loft, the Los Angeles will likely never house a Broadway show, the Palace is much better suited for that use; however,it does have a bright future as a concert hall, live broadcast venue and for specialty film presentation. Funds for property aquisition and construction of the garage come from a dedicated parking-only pot. The Delijani family purchased the Los Angeles in 1987 with the understanding that a dedicated parking structure would be built to serve it. Now that the promise may be fulfilled, they are honoring their end of the bargain by restoring and renovating the theatres at considerable expense with their own money. The Pershing Square garage (an S.Charles Lee idea, by the way) has leased a large number of spaces to renovated condo/apartment buildings in the area, dramatically reducing the available parking after 5pm. If construction of this garage by the City is what it takes to break a 22 year stand-off, it’s a pretty good trade-off. Remember, city-owned parking made the Cinerama Dome/Arc-Light viable and Hollywood Highland parking has helped the El Cap, Chinese and Egyptian. Why not downtown, too?

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Start a volunteer program? on Jul 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Wonderful idea. The non-profit Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) would like to help organize – on a trial basis – such a program for a few theatres in Southern California assuming liability insurance and other niggling details can be resolved. Our members really enjoy getting “hands-on” in old theatres. Our web site should be ready in a couple of weeks www.lahtf.org check in there for contact info.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Meet the people who run Cinema Treasures! on Nov 5, 2007 at 8:05 am

Dr. Roadshow, if you can get there, gerew will chauffer you home, after checking your papers. Big square screen? Hmmm, can you say 1:33? Some of the auditoriums seemed to be shaped oddly, but in this case, in these theatres, the show is not the theatre, but what’s on the screen. Go see Blade Runner, in what Scott says is its last iteration. As an old sprocket head, gerew was blown away by the quality – even the blacks – of the digital projection. For Landmark, I do believe patron comfort is up there with image and sound quality. Lots of lobby space, big bar and lounge, friendly helpful staff, sparkling clean rest rooms – with fresh flowers. The decor is not necessarily my cup of tea either and I’m not crazy about all-reserved seating. Nevertheless…

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about California Theatre on Nov 5, 2007 at 12:14 am

Just wrote two long responses, which the site apparently ate. Been to the last picture show at the NuWilshire (1931) designed by Cooper, who also did the Roxie. Our favorite death threat was left on the answering machine. I still have the tape. It’s hilarious! Die Yuppie Scum, we know where you live, watch your back, etc. The death threat was one thing, being called a Yuppie was unendurable. The LAPD thought it was funny, too, though there was not much they could do for us. But that was so many years ago. AS far as I’m concerned, Steve has committed a perfect act of contrition with the Orpheum. May he and it grow and prosper. I shook his hand and told him the same on more than one occasion. How can we go forward from here and make the rest of Broadway happen?

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about California Theatre on Nov 4, 2007 at 7:10 pm

IF an injunction was filed with the court, it definitely was not filed by the LAHTF, LAC, CRA, Cultural Heritage or other public players in the drama. A reporter for the Downtown News, who covered the theatre beat at that time, backed a pick-up to the demolition site and got the central metal arch with “California” from the marquee and two capitals from the front facade terra cotta columns. One went to NJ with a pal of his and the other, who knows? 10 years ago, the marquee piece found its way to Heaven or Las Vegas, a neon prop house still extant in Mar Vista. The huge murals, added later, of Santa Ana and ?, thanks largely to Al Nodal,made their way to the Latino Museum collection. I should be able to dig up more info next week as to what else is around and where. Part of the final settlement that was reached with the Needlemans by the City of Los Angeles, through their agents, the Cultural Heritage Commission and the CRA, was that artifacts would be saved and displayed at the building that replaced the theatre. Of course, this didn’t happen. For a time, there was a display window built into the Main st. facade where photos and a brief hitory were on display. This is no longer the case. Perhaps, you could get the Needlemans and the CRA to consider getting that display back up. We could work together to locate any “pieces” appropriate for display. The two balcony chandelier bowls – about four feet across – are in storage in Hollywood. We might even be able to track down the facade pieces that would fit into the display niche. So yes, the “preservationists” have “preserved” what others would have consigned to the scrap heap. The box office was gone by the time I got there. There was a gaping hole in the roof and workmen were on site throwing roofing material through the hole to a large pile in the orchestra floor. Who knows what else is out there? It’s hard to understand your use of “pilfer”, when the folks there, that fateful day, were there at the invitation of the owners. Just like you. Bottom line: Steve Needleman did a woderful thing for this city when he used family funds to do a partial Orpheum restoration. The theatre looks great, seems to be very busy and sets an example for what is possible with the rest of the theatres. If that is the legacy of the demolition of the California, it all didn’t come out too badly, after all.

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about Meet the people who run Cinema Treasures! on Nov 4, 2007 at 6:07 pm

I’ll be there. Can’t wait to see you guys again. Hooray for Joe Musil. His place might be a good idea for the next time the Cinema Daddies come to town. As far as what the web site is all about… I remember the effort to save the Cinerama Dome, it was too new, too impractical to re-use, etc. etc. etc. Like it or not, multiplexes are a big part of cinema exhib history, just as saving once-reviled suburban theatres that are now 40-50 years old is happening more and more. Some have even been untwinned. How many exhibitors really care more about the quality of the picture they put on their screens than their profit center – the concession stand. I truly believe Landmark cares. Films are shown in the proper aspect ratio, in focus, reels in the proper sequence – all with a genuine concern for the patron’s film-going experience. On the other hand, it’s fun to go to a funky, older rep house like the Beverly or the old Bleecker Street Cinema. Bottom line- anything that can be done to preserve, promote and enhance the movie-going experience of sitting in the dark with hundreds of strangers all experiencing the wonder and emotional experience of a well-made film, then I’m all for it. See y'all at the NuWilshire tonight!

hillsmanwright
hillsmanwright commented about California Theatre on Nov 2, 2007 at 12:59 am

For the record and to correct gross misrepresentations posted on the loss of the California by garagehero, here we go. The LA Historic Theatre Foundation was formed as an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the protection, preservation, rehabilitation and sustenance of Southern California’s historic theatres. Among the founding members were John E. Miller, David Cameron and Tom Owen – the three grand old men of LA’s theatres and Hillsman Wright, who was responsible for saving the Memphis Orpheum in the late 1970’s. The LA Conservancy’s first Last Remaining Seats series in 1997 was organized and executed by a committee of 8, 6 of whom were founding LAHTF members. At the same time, more theatres closed on Broadway than in any year since the Great Depression. Very simply, these theatre aficionados believed a specialized organization was required to address the crisis, raise awareness and protect the structures. Their position was to oppose the demolition and/or substantial alteration of any of the Broadway District theatres (there were 17 then) until a comprehensive study could be conducted to determine the best approach for saving and using the theatres for the benefit of all. For whatever reason, LA was far out of the mainstream of the major national theatre rehab movement. Maintaining a close relationship with and employing the freely offered advice and expertise of theatre members and professionals of the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT), the LAHTF was chartered to own, operate, program, preserve and raise public awareness. The LAHTF immediately nominated all theatres in the Broadway district not previously designated as LA Cultural Historic Landmarks. Like most toothless and largely un-enforced local landmark ordinances, in the event of a proposed demolition, the best that could be hoped for was a temporary delay to try to convince the owners of the benefits of saving their theatre or to find a buyer who would. The California was given this protection. No court injunctions were ever filed by the LAHTF or anyone else. While DENMARST, run by the Needleman sons, owned the California, the primary player was their father Jack, who at that time was reputed to be the largest private property owner in downtown LA. His historic buildings primarily housed the garment manufacturing business. Along the way, he acquired buildings that just happened to have theatres in them, which were generally operated by Metropolitan Theatres. Money was not a limiting circumstance with this family and the statement that the family lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction delays” is simply false. There was never an either/or choice between the Orpheum and California rehabs. Steve Needleman rehabbed the Orpheum years later – after the death of his father and after Metropolitan no longer operated the Orpheum. The LAHTF never contacted the Needlemans demanding a pay-off. Garagehero must be referring to a large contribution made to the LA Conservancy during this time by Jack Needleman. As far as the stripping of the California is concerned, the LAHTF was contacted by the Needleman family after demolition of the roof had begun. In what was viewed as a conciliatory gesture and with only one day’s notice, the LAHTF was offered any and all objects remaining in the building that could be removed the next day for their own preservation and disposition. Many of the “pieces” removed are still in storage awaiting proper display and re-use. One wonders what public benefit has been or will be derived from the “pieces” removed by garagehero and his crew and we must question who the true “looters” are.
The comments above argue eloquently for the historic importance of the California beyond its beautiful terra-cotta facade. Roxy! In LA! Unfortunately, Graumann’s Million Dollar Theatre on Broadway opened soon after the California and even Roxy could not alter the movement of the theatre district westward to Broadway.
The LAHTF has been largely responsible for saving dozens of historic theatres throughout Southern California. It hosted two national historic theatre conferences – on Broadway – to bring the best practices and national expertise available to bear on the extraordinary opportunities this collection of theatres offers to LA, the nation and the world. LAHTF members were drawn from throughout LA, Southern California, and even internationally (New Zealand and England). Garagehero does himself, the theatre district, this web site and thousands of historic theatre aficionados around the world a grave disservice by disseminating what can only charitably be called misinformation about the struggle to save the California. Rather than impugn the efforts of knowledgeable, public-spirited preservation advocates, such as the volunteers of the LAHTF, garagehero would likely be better served by seeking the facts rather than trusting what is clearly a fading, highly prejudiced and faulty memory of events. Disclaimer: like garagehero, gerew is getting older and 18 years after the events discussed above may have missed a detail or two. However, gerew was there for the hearings, the hassles, the “stripping”, and even the death threats. Full disclosure: gerew was a founding member of the LAHTF Board.