Highland Theatre

5604 N. Figueroa Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Unfavorite 16 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on November 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

The main house (#2) is pretty big—definitely in the 300 seat realm—but the other two are very small. All have fixed aspect ratios, so yes, it’s a place for Flat movies only really. The price pretty much reflects what you get.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on November 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I visited this theatre on Nov. 17, and saw “Due Date” in Cinema 1. I was rather disappointed in the presentation. First of all, it was a scope picture, but the screen doesn’t have movable masking and everything is shown in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. So on a scope picture, the edges are cropped off. Second, the right side of the screen was out of focus. Third, the CinemaScope lens was not properly set, resulting in a slanted picture. The green scratches in the picture were not straight up and down, but slanted, as were the end credits. It seems that the projectionist is one of those who just turns the projector on, and doesn’t stick around to fine-tune the focus or make other adjustments.
Are all the cinemas the same size? Cinema 1 seemed pretty small considering the size of the building and that there are three auditoriums in it.

dctrig on September 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I took the Gold Line(via the Red Line from N Hollywood) and on 6/14 saw the Shrek movie. I agree that the area is very historic and gradually improving and relatively safe, even at night. You’re right, what a bargain, especially the senior rate.

Usually, lower economic areas are penalized but you can actually see a first run at the Highland for half the price of the West Side. It would be nice if they occasionally showed some specialty or classic movies like the Art Theater in Long Beach.

Blofeld on July 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm

The Highland Theater’s marquee turns up in the new John C. Reilly movie Cyrus.

TLSLOEWS on March 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Cool photos hollywood90038.

TLSLOEWS on February 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Love the rooftop sigh,nich looking theatre.

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on May 9, 2009 at 12:18 am

Interesting film by a young local director, RD Hall. It was nice to sit in there for a couple of hours. Many of those who attended had never been in the Rialto when it was in operation. The insides have been pretty much well preserved. Interseting to note that the film was actually projected digitally from a DVD projector in the balcony, and it was able to achieve the standard aspect ratio. I’d say about 200 people made the show. Cant wait for the next show. I think they should do the same at the Highland once in a while, that is, show indie films now and then.

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on May 8, 2009 at 7:37 pm

BTW….the show at the Rialto is at 8:30 PM tonight!!!

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on May 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Sorry Howard…I forget that some of our more obsessive members subsrcibe to several dozen theatres….even if they’ve never even attended those said theatres….just kidding… but seriously, if I was truly abusive, I would have posted on several dozen thetres, instead of those in the immediate area of the Rialto.

HowardBHaas on May 8, 2009 at 8:55 am

Darby, it is abusive to post that on every LA theater page.

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on May 8, 2009 at 8:37 am

Thats the Rialto in South Pasadena.

Hockey Dude
Hockey Dude on May 8, 2009 at 8:29 am

Hey everybody, local South Pas kid and amateur filmmaker, R.D.Hall, will be premiering him Noir Horror/Gangster movie at the Rialto on May 8th, 2009. The One-Sheet for the film was created by another South Pas/Highland Park kid, local art legend, Jimi(not the tattoo artist)Martinez. Admission is free, as is the popcorn and refreshments. Whoa! Friday night at the movies!!! Lets all go support indie filmmaking…Rialto rocks!!!

kencmcintyre on December 22, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Here is part of an LA Times article dated 9/7/75:

Ex-Porno Theater Reopens

HIGHLAND PARK-The Highland Theater, picketed by residents last year when X-rated films were offered, has reopened under new management pledged to show only family-type films. Arman Akarakian, the new owner, says picketing in November and December convinced him that “Highland Park meant business” and would support the theater if non-pornographic films were shown. Akarakian, who owns another movie house in Huntington Beach, said the theater will offer Spanish-language films every Tuesday night and childrens' matinees on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Knatcal on May 19, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I just recently ventured to this theater for the first time specifically to see the theater. I found that the rooftop sign, the still visible Moorish architecture on the side of the building and the stairs that were roped off obviously leading to a former balcony, belie the current state of the theater. The auditorium was very dirty and, yes, you could hear the films from the neighboring auditoriums. And not to be forgotten, was the surly ticket seller. However, the price was amazingly cheap compared to the megaplexes. Indeed it is always refreshing to see theaters with history still in operation but the current state of this theater cannot help but make one sad.

kencmcintyre on May 5, 2008 at 7:25 pm

It was close to 98 degrees when I took those pictures in March. Frost Belters take note.

William on August 10, 2007 at 7:54 am

Well when they tri-plexed the house in 1983. They put the three theatres on the ground floor, leaving the balconey alone. So it is a triplex, but to the untrained person it looks like a quad. They have not used the balconey area in years (1983). So it’s a triplex.

kencmcintyre on June 25, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Here is a story about the Highland from the LA Times dated 9/12/91:

The 67-year-old Highland Theatre, the last of a group of 1920s theaters that once formed the heart of Highland Park, has been designated a historic-cultural monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission. Members of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, the historical preservation organization that nominated the Highland as a monument, described it as one of the outstanding examples of Moorish theater architecture in the Los Angeles area.

Designed by theater architect L.A. Smith, the Spanish-style Highland at 5600 N. Figueroa St. features arched openings, decorative tile walls and wrought-iron work on its exterior. The once-elegant interior had an orchestra pit, a working stage for vaudeville acts, large ceiling frescoes, and elaborate moldings in the shape of Spanish arches. If approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the monument designation would mean that any plan to alter or demolish the building could be delayed for up to one year, while preservationists seek a means of saving it.

But while the outer walls of the theater are virtually the same as they were when the structure was built in 1924, the interior had already been substantially altered when it was divided into a triplex theater in 1983. The once-outdoor lobby was enclosed and the original walls in the lobby and in the theater were covered with other material. Today, the balcony, where the frescoes and moldings are still exposed, is filthy and closed to the public. The grand chandelier that once hung over the house is lying on the floor there, covered in dust. The seat cushions have been pulled up and stacked in piles.

But Charlie Fisher, a member of the board of directors of Highland Park Heritage Trust, said the building “is restorable.” “The original interior is still there,” he said. “Down the road, if economic conditions merit it, you could convert it back.”

Greg Akarakian, whose father has owned the theater since 1975, said his family has no plans to restore the theater to its original condition. He said that the historical preservationists who want to save the building have come into the picture too late. “Maybe 10 years ago, they would have had a chance,” he said. “If they had shown interest before we remodeled, maybe we could have done something.”

But Fisher said the monument designation will preserve the chance that the building could be refurbished in the future. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in 10 years,” he said. “They may be able to convert it back.”

In documentation submitted with its nomination, the Heritage Trust said the Highland was the largest and most elegant of a cluster of six theaters that formed the cultural heart of Highland Park. Its opening was a grand occasion, with an appearance by the silent film star Norma Shearer. “This technically was probably the finest building for a theater that Highland Park ever had,” said Tom Owen, a local history specialist for the city’s Central Library downtown. “This would have been the major point in town for entertainment.”

Later though, the theater and others in Highland Park fell on hard times as movie attendance dropped. Gradually, the others closed and, by 1963, the Highland was the only one left. In their struggle to keep the Highland open, the operators briefly showed pornographic films and Spanish-language movies, Akarakian said. The triplex now shows first-run feature films.

reluctantpopstar on May 3, 2007 at 7:16 am

This theatre is only a couple blocks from the Gold Line train stop.

Westsiders, why not have an adventure. Take the train to Highland Park and check out this historic theatre. Pretend it’s 1950 and you’re taking the Red Cars to Highland Park. Have fun and explore your city.

hiroyukisakaifan69 on July 24, 2006 at 6:15 am

I still live by this theatre. In the afternoons, the theatre is pretty quiet, and some couples and mostly students out of school will show up (on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s is $3 dollars). Unlike huge megaplexes, the people in the audience are a bit loud, always chattering away, but it’s not bad. It gives you a very lively experince. Usually on a Weekend night ($6), there will be a large line for a movie, especially huge ones like The Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Carribean. My only complaint is that it’s not keep very clean (sometimes the theatre smells like feet) and the walls are paper thin, so you can hear the movie next door at loud scenes. Still, it’s my favorite theatre just because of the great times.

arriano on March 29, 2006 at 12:40 pm

It’s fun to see these photos of how it looks now. I grew up in Montecito Heights and this was our closest theater when I was a kid. Looks pretty much the way I remember it, other than being a triplex now.

KatChong on September 1, 2005 at 7:04 pm

I just drove by today and couln’t believe what a gem this place is. It’s cheap, it’s a historical monument, and it’s beautiful. I used to go to a $2 theater in San Diego, but it didn’t do so well and mysteriously shut down. I really hope that this place stays charming, low priced, and open! Hopefully, if and when it starts getting more business, the prices won’t go up and bum people out. That would suck, so don’t do it! Poor people want to watch movies too. Power to the people! We should all boycott pricey theaters and only go to this one. ke ke ke.

pamelajean on June 29, 2005 at 9:07 am


I went to Monte Vista Elementary from 1963-66.
I grew up in Highland Park from 1960-1966.
I still have fond memories of when I lived in the
area, on Aldama Street above 54th.

commonground on June 20, 2005 at 5:31 am

With the financial assistance of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, the Highland Theatre¹s magnificent rooftop sign will burn brightly once again, after the replacement of more than 750 incandescent light bulbs. Originally restored and lit in the late 1990¹s through a collaboration of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Neon Program and the Targeted Neighborhood Initiative Program, the sign is one of only three incandescent bulb signs still in use in the city. Declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1991, the Highland Theatre was constructed in 1924, from a design by the noted theater architect L.A. Smith (he also designed South Pasadena’s Rialto.) from 2003 press release by Highland Park Heritage Trust

MRY886 on January 27, 2005 at 11:31 am

I grew up on Mt. Washington and now live in Highland Park, just a few yards from the Highland. The Highland, as well as the Rialto in South Pasadena, were built for Clyde M. Church, who was a local banker. They were both then set up on lone term leases with a predicessor to the Mann corporation. I know that Church’s heirs still own the land under the Highland and I believe they also own the land under the Rialto. I wrote the Los Angeles City Monument nomination for the Highland in 1990 and also participated in the nomination for El Portal, in North Hollywood. When I was 10, several friends and I walked down the hill and went to the Highland to see the James Bond thriller, “Thunderball”. That was my first experiance in the original Moorish interior of the theatre. It was very impressive. I was extremely disappointed when the later operators butchered the interior around 1980. At the time of the nomination, the original chandaleir was lying on the upper balcony which is not used at this time. I’ve heard rumors that it has since been sold. Ah, that someone with both money and vision could restore this wonderful venue.

-Charlie Fisher, , 323-255-2849