Mesa Theatre

5807 Crenshaw Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90043

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Fox Mesa Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Mesa Theatre was a classic neighborhood house in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.

Opened in 1926 with the MGM film “Mike”, it seated 1442 patrons. The theater’s proscenium opening was 41'10 wide and 23'10 high. The stage was 29' deep by 72'9 side to side and 52' to gridiron. The counterbalance was 31 lines and the Mesa had three Modern and Cooper boarder lights, plus a set of three circuit footlights.

Equipped with a Robert-Morton 2/12 organ, the Mesa was originally operated by Fox West Coast Theatres and was remodeled during the early 1950s for CinemaScope and stereo sound. During the renovation, the theater’s organ cables were cut and the organ grilles were covered over with draperies.

Sadly, this beloved neighborhood house was closed in September 1963. A fire damaged the theater in 1964 and it was razed the next year.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 19, 2007 at 11:15 pm

A 1931 LA Times story puts the Mesa at 5803 instead of 5807. Not a big deal.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 20, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Shocking story from the LA Times dated 10/20/32:

Lawrence Dews, assistant manager of the Mesa Theater, 5803 Crenshaw Boulevard, suffered burns yesterday when he came into contact with a high-tension wire while attempting to attach a decoration guywire to the roof of the theater. Fellow workmen were unable to release him from the wire, to which he was forced to cling until the power was shut off. He was rushed to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 5, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Here is a portable ad circa 1920s from the LAPL:
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062874.jpg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

This is from the News-Advertiser, 7/18/65:
http://tinyurl.com/c3uf4k

Mike Tiano
Mike Tiano on September 27, 2009 at 3:26 am

I was a youngster growing up in L.A. (around 1960) and still remember the Mesa well. Local establishments would have free tickets for Saturday matinees of cheapo films like “The Invisible Boy” along with cartoons (to get the kids to buy consessions, I presume). I remember at one of these events the film was stopped midway, the lights came on, and the theatre owner stormed to the front of the theatre, demanding to know who was responsible for throwing something at the screen that resulted in a large gash (naturally no one ‘fessed up—and no, it wasn’t me :–).

pmmorgan
pmmorgan on July 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm

This was a beautiful, huge kick-ass movie house. Check the comment by “miketlano” on 9/27/09—i remember that day too! It was major Saturday fun for local kids, plus way rowdy—lots of popcorn box sailing at the screen and candy throwing. But it was also a major first-run movie outlet for everything that came out. My parents loved movies & we’d often go there as a family at night—no candy throwing then. They showed double features w. a cartoon. There were palatial restrooms with lounge couches on the second floor. Sad that it was demolished.

Mike Tiano
Mike Tiano on July 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Wow, PM, that is amazing you remember that same day! Would like to see if we have more in common about those days…email me at if interested.

wavery
wavery on April 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

In 1959, my brother was the Assistant Manager at the Mesa. I was 12-years-old at the time and he used to have me help him set the marquee. When I turned 15, I was hired to set the marquee and I did that for 4 years (until I was 19) at which time, I got married and bought a house in Van Nuys. I then set the marquee at the Victory Drive-in.

The Mesa Theater had a row of dressing rooms, in the basement under the stage. One of the rooms was set up with all of the ~15" square plastic letters, arranged in alphabetical order, for setting up the movie manes and the name of the star player was in smaller letters (maybe 9" square). We had a ~10' x 4' platform on wheels that was about 10' high and it was on wheels. I rolled it around in front of the Marqueee every Wednesday evening @ 9:PM. I got $24 for 3 hours work. That was a ton of $ at that time. I have lots of fond memories of that place and the people that I worked with.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

An article about Acousti-Celotex, a recently-developed acoustical tile product, appeared in the December 14, 1929, issue of Movie Age, and was illustrated by a photo of the Mesa Theatre’s auditorium.

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