Fox Belmont Theatre

4918 E. Second Street,
Long Beach, CA

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ljsspot
ljsspot on March 14, 2009 at 5:29 pm

From L.B. Heritage.com
Reginald F. Inwood’s name first appeared in the Long Beach
Press-Telegram in 1928, as architect of the Art Deco Belmont Shore Theater at 4918 E. 2nd St., corner of St. Joseph Ave. George T. Gayton was the contractor. The theater, completed in 1929, was owned by H. A. and W. C. Woodworth and was built especially for “talkies.” The building included seven stores on the first floor and apartments above. It reputedly cost $120,000.The exterior of the theater was painted blue-green and had geometric ornamentation. A portion of this décor can still be seen on the exterior, but the murals inside that featured Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, a snake charmer, and exotic birds have been removed.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Here is an article from the LB Press-Telegram dated 9/20/77:

The Belmont Theater has ended a nearly 50-year engagement spanning the dawn of talkies to the hits of the 70s. The Belmont, located in the heart of Belmont Shore at 4918 E. Second St., has become the fourth Long Beach movie house this year to sell its last box of popcorn. Earlier this year the roof of the Towne Theater at 4425 Atlantic Ave. fell in and the movie house was put up for sale for $500,000. About a month ago, Mann Theatres Corp. closed the downtown Imperial Theater on Ocean Boulevard just east of Long Beach Boulevard. The Plaza Theatre on Spring Street also closed recently. And on Sept. 6, the final movie, “New York New York,” played at Mann’s Belmont.

“It (the Belmont) didn’t do us any business,” said Gary Goodgame, a property manager for Mann Theatres in Los Angeles. “We’re getting rid of old houses and building new ones,” he said. Mann has no plans to build any theaters in Long Beach, he added. Another reason cited for the closing of older theaters is increased competition from new multiscreen theaters in shopping centers.

Greg Schultz, a leasing agent for Coldwell Banker, which is handling the Belmont, said the theater could not compete with the recently built United Artist’s Movie 6 at the Market Place on Pacific Coast Highway. Schultz said Mann sold its long-term lease on the Belmont to a private investor. He would not reveal the selling price or the name of the buyer. “Theaters don’t usually pay the kind of rent we’re asking,” he said, adding that a theater probably won’t be the new tenant.

He said he has discussed the leasing of the 10,000-square-foot theater with local business groups and city officials. “We’re trying to do something to benefit the community,” he said. Although Schultz would not say specifically what is planned, a spokesman for Mann said he understands a number of small shops will be housed in the building. Goodgame said Mann is looking for a tenant to lease the Imperial Theater for movies or other businesses.

Mann has no plans to sell its other theater in Long Beach, the Crest on Atlantic Avenue. Another downtown theater, the State at 104 E. Ocean Blvd., also closed several weeks ago. Leasing agent Jeanice Allen said the theater was closed for repairs, but no date has been set for reopening. The theater, located in the Jergins Trust Building, is owned in part by John Paganelli of San Francisco.
The closing of the Belmont has led to a flurry of calls to Schultz at Coldwell Banker. He said the now boarded-up theater was built in about 1929. Its rococo marquee apparently will remain empty, for there are no coming attractions.

GaryParks
GaryParks on December 18, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Ken mc: Interesting photo you just posted. I didn’t know there was a “second” marquee on the theatre, that trapezoid being a very typical example of what Fox put on their houses in the late 30s. So that one existed between the original, rather understated rectangular marquee, and the wild neon one from the Skouras remodeling, which is the one I remember vividly from my childhood, which in the late 60s/early 70s, was excellently maintained, and I loved just looking at it and watching the animation of all that neon. I still remember the ways in which some parts moved.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 18, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Here is an expanded view of the photo at the top of the page:
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater1/00014837.jpg

Here is an undated LAPL photo:
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater1/00014836.jpg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 16, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I think if you were around the theater everyday like I am, you would appreciate the photo more. The gym is very drab. I liked the color, which certainly is not part of the building now.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm

The top left photo shows part of the marquee in the mid 70s:
http://tinyurl.com/2qrceu

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 26, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Here is a November 1963 ad from the Press-Telegram:
http://tinyurl.com/yu56tf

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 6, 2007 at 9:06 pm

An article in the LA Times on 8/17/78 discussed the future of the Belmont, which was then in serious disrepair. One potential buyer wanted to fix up the theater and show classic films. Another potential owner wanted to put racquetball courts in the building. Take a guess who won.

GaryParks
GaryParks on December 21, 2006 at 5:35 pm

I can confirm the immediately previous post. I remember seeing “The Sound of Music” at the Crest. It was one of probably the first three or four movies I ever saw.

Coate
Coate on December 19, 2006 at 6:48 pm

A few posts ago, “letsgotothemovies” claimed seeing “The Sound Of Music” at the FOX BELMONT in 1965. It’s easy to mistakenly assume every theatre ran the film during 1965, but the reality is only large-city roadshow houses played “The Sound Of Music” during the year 1965.

Long Beach was not considered a “roadshow” market, and as such, did not play “The Sound Of Music” until its general release in summer 1967. And even then it was at the CREST. The BELMONT finally booked it in Dec. 1967.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 19, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Here is a blurb about the remodel from a Long Beach paper on 3/09/49:

Asks Building Code Deviation

Appeal of Stanley Brown, district manager of the Fox West Coast Theaters, to the city council for deviations from the building code to permit a terrazzo sidewalk and marquee at the new Belmont Theater Tuesday was referred to City Mgr. Carl B. Wirsching. The same type of terrazzo sidewalk was approved by the city for the West Coast Theater in 1940 and the Crest Theater in 1946, Brown said. After the new marquee was built, it was found in violation of a new ordinance limiting width to four feet, he said. The theater is due to open
May 1.

GaryParks
GaryParks on September 19, 2006 at 8:16 pm

Does anyone know where some interior views from the Belmont’s Skouras remodel years might be seen? I was last in there in 1973, but my memory is quite clear. I would love to check it against actual photos. I remember the big sculpted golden swirls around the screen, and blue-toned murals of an almost Boticellian Venus—but with a long, flowing dress—in circular medallions on the sidewalls. Even as a kid I thought of the famous Boticelli painting, and thought maybe in the days when the Belmont was built (not then knowing it was a redecoration) people were too prudish to accept a “true” (nude) version.

William
William on March 29, 2006 at 12:58 pm

The above post should read that the Fox Belmont Theatre got it’s Skouras remodel in early 1949. And reopened to the public on May 19th. 1949.
The Fox Belmont from the above post is the Fox Belmont Theatre in Los Angeles.

William
William on March 28, 2006 at 1:55 pm

The Fox Belmont Theatre got it’s Skouras remodel in 1946.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 3, 2005 at 6:04 pm

The gym at this location is alive and well. There is some information about the theater on the wall outside of the gym entrance. Other than the shape of the building, it is hard to tell that a theater was there previously.

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 27, 2004 at 3:14 am

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined Rococo.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also shows in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

NeilShattuc
NeilShattuc on April 11, 2004 at 10:46 am

I saw the Sound of Music there in 1965

johnbosley
johnbosley on March 15, 2004 at 5:51 pm

I saw the movie “Survive there I think 79 or 80 loved the cool box office. terrazzo is still there.

dougsarvis
dougsarvis on February 2, 2004 at 11:59 pm

it was a great place…but it was converted to a gym and restaurant called the belmont club around 1984….nothing of the old theater survives

William
William on January 9, 2004 at 8:44 am

The Fox Belmont Theatre dates back to 1929 and it’s architect was Reginald F. Inwood. The original design was Pre-Columbian architecture “improved” through the Art Deco (Zigzag) Moderne. The building is still exotic, though it has suffered the loss of the upper part of its corner tower. The above marquee was added in the 1948 remodel.

William
William on November 12, 2003 at 7:20 pm

The Fox Belmont Theatre is located at 4918 E. 2nd Street.

GaryParks
GaryParks on May 10, 2002 at 2:47 pm

I attended this theatre several times as a child in the 70s. The interior was a wonderful example of the Skouras style. It is an older house than that, having been remodeled in the 40s. Much of the exterior remains, but all signage and the marquee was removed in the conversion to a gym in 1981. The terrazzo sidewalk remains in the entrance.