Fox Adams Theatre

4413 W. Adams Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90016

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Fox Adams Theatre

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Bard’s West Adams Theatre was opened in 1925. In the early 1930’s it became part of Fox West Coast Theatres chain. Today, the former Fox Adams Theatre is home to a church.

To get an idea of what the Fox Adams Theatre was like in its better days just visit the Vista Theatre in Hollywood. It’s like going into the little sister of the Fox Adams Theatre, as both were built for the Bard Circuit in an Egyptian style.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2007 at 9:29 pm

The Adams was one of four theatres with Egyptian style interiors (none had Egyptian exteriors) designed for the Bard Theatre Circuit by architect Lewis Smith in the 1920s. The Vista Theatre in East Hollywood was the smallest, and the only one of the four still largely intact.

The Garfield Theatre in Alhambra was about the same size as the Adams, having a large auditorium with no balcony. A successful suburban theatre operated for many years by the Edwards circuit, and remodeled more than once, it’s Egyptian decor was gone by the late 1950’s. The Garfield’s auditorium was demolished only a few years ago, but the commercial and apartment block in front of it remains standing.

The largest of the four was Bard’s Pasadena, still in operation but virtually unrecognizable as the Academy Theatre, a six-screen art house opened in the mid ‘80s. The Academy had retained its Egyptian style until the mid 1950s when it underwent an extensive remodeling inside and out which gave it an Art Moderne look. It continued to operate as a single-screen theatre until about 1984, by which time it was getting pretty run down.

The Bard circuit had a fifth Egyptian style theatre, Bard’s Glendale, later operated by Fox-West Coast as the Glen Theatre, but that one was designed by Pasadena architect Kenneth A. Gordon rather than Smith. The Glen closed in the 1950s and was converted into a bowling alley. The building still stands, but none of the original interior decoration remains.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 10, 2007 at 9:20 pm

The front of the church is just plain stucco. They’ve gotten rid of any ornamentation that may have been there previously. The marquee gives the address as 4409 W. Adams.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 12, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Here is a January 1945 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/2l8gup

unihikid
unihikid on January 26, 2008 at 6:09 pm

from what i can gather aretha franklin once owned the theatre,it was managed by her brother and she mentions it in her book.as for the remodel change,it wasnt a “plane jane” up until maybe 8 to 10 yrs ago.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 25, 2008 at 9:14 am

The Kabuki Theatre was advertised in the LA Times in April 1964:
http://tinyurl.com/23zzge

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 31, 2009 at 6:31 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine, August 1962:

LOS ANGELES-Allied Theaters, operated by Bob Helm, Phillip Hoffman and Sam Decker, has taken a 20 year lease on the Bard Theater, 1,200-seat neighborhood house, which they have renamed the Adams West and switched to a first-run policy. The Bard had been closed for the past five years.

Art1956
Art1956 on May 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm

The Adams West switched from showing movies to live shows in late 1963. Around spring of 1964, it was renamed the Kabuki and started showing Japanese movies until 1973. It went back to showing American movies for a short time and closed for good.I grew up in that neighborhood.I was last in the theatre to see a couple of exploitation movies, before it closed. The theatre was in desperate need of remodeling.

jwpope
jwpope on September 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm

My father was manger of the Bards from around 1951 till the early 60’s. We moved there when I was 7 and lived over the house in apts.It was fun living there as I rode my bike up and down the aisles.Seating around 1100 it took a while to get up and down. There was a pit at one time and also chandeleirs which needed to be removed to show more modern films. Dressing rooms were below but always cold and damp. The house was huge and beautiful and sometimes scary when I was young. We had many live shows, including Ice Capades, Roy Rogers, and the Three Stooges. Saturdays were always full of serials and horror movies were a lot of fun. In latter years memories were mixed as I had my first experiences with race issues. As the area was in a white flight. But it gave me a better understanding of feelings on both sides. I never had any problems and the kids on Saturdays never seemed to mind what color they were. They just came to have fun. Movies seemed so much bigger then and so were the trips to Hollywood for opening night. We cooked our own popcorn in those days and I worked there for many years.

docchapel
docchapel on July 26, 2015 at 12:08 am

Bards was a favorite when we would venture to the “Westside” when I was a teenager. Coming west up Adams Blvd, as you came over and down the hill toward crenshaw Blvd., there was huge metal side that proclaimed “Bards” in flashing lights.

Opened in 1925 by Lou Bard as Bard’s West Adams. In the 1929 city directory it was called Bard’s Adams Street. The location is just west of Crenshaw Blvd. Bard operated a number of other theaters including the Olympic downtown on 8th off Broadway, and two Hill Street theaters nearby, the Town Theatre and the College Theatre. Bard’s also built the Vista Theatre on Sunset Dr. in the Los Feliz area, and Bard’s Egyptian Theatre in Pasadena.

In the early 30s after the theatre became part of the Fox West Coast circuit it was called the Fox Adams. Evidently Fox didn’t keep the theatre long — it was called Bard’s Theatre by 1936 if not earlier. In 1945 it was an independent advertising as Bards Theatre once again.

An August 1962 item in Boxoffice noted that “Allied Theaters, operated by Bob Helm, Phillip Hoffman and Sam Decker, has taken a 20 year lease on the Bard Theater, 1,200-seat neighborhood house, which they have renamed the Adams West and switched to a first-run policy. The Bard had been closed for the past five years.”

They did a few live shows in 1963, and Adams West became a music house where I saw Les McCann Ltd perform here and recorded an album of the show. By 1964 it was a Japanese language house, the Kabuki Theatre.

1973 brought Hollywood films back to the theatre but it soon closed for good as a film house. As a later black cabaret venue in the early 80s it was the Apollo West.

Now a church, the current group, Restauracion, has had the building since 2000.

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