Paradise Theatre

9100 S. Sepulveda Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90045

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

Rustler on December 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I spent many hours inside this theater. Started going there with my parents in the early 50’s. Like Palm 44, I remember the weekend matinee intermission ticket stub drawings. I once won a box of Boston Baked Beans candy which I immediately traded for a roll of Flicks chocolates. On the wall in the lobby were photographs from every movie that had won an Academy Award for Best Picture. I Stopped going to the Paradise when I got my driver license. From then on it was Friday nights at the Centinela, Studio, or Century drive-in theaters. The Paradise may have closed, but the memories will always be there. Westchester was a wonderful place to grow up.

thomasp48 on November 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

The Paradise had plusher seats than the Loyola, up the street on Sepulveda, and charged higher admission prices. There was a hall on the right, as we went in, with the auditorium entrances on the left. I remember driving past the theater with my father, and seeing Ernest Hemingway’s name on the marquee, above the title of the film, “The Old Man and the Sea.” I asked, “Who’s Ernest Hemingway?” “He wrote the book.” “Is he in the movie?” “No.” “Then why is is name up there?”

chris on September 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Worked there thru high school, from 1956-58. Fond memories of Andy Devine who was the manager and a great character.

Palm44 on August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I grew up with the Paradise. From 1952, I would ride the bus from Loyola Village for 7 cents and watched a double feature for a quarter. At the intermission, the manager would go on stage and hold a drawing —if your ticket stub number was called, you got a box of red hots, popcorn or Milk Duds. It was his way of calming a theater full of kids sailing popcorn boxes and running up and down the aisles. I went almost every weekend until I was 15 (except for a few times at the Loyola or trips to Inglewood. The big kids hung out on the aisle next to the south wall – the 14 and 15 year olds. The rest of us, took over the lobby. It was a great childhood.

redcarpet on July 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

For many years the Paradise Theater was used to premiere “Red Carpet” openings. I remember sitting with Debbie Reynolds for “My Six Loves” and in front of Marlon Brando for “The Ugly American”. I don’t know how many other red carpet openings were held there, but the red carpet was rolled out and the crowds were held back while the Stars entered. Great memories!!!

LawMann on January 18, 2010 at 5:06 am

I had the pleasure of working as a vacation relief projectionist at the Paradise early 1976. What impressed me was the size of the auditorium and screen. Huge! Blackbeards Ghost was the feature movie. A door in the booth led to a part of the flat roof where a couch was set up. Sometimes I would step out to the roof and watch the big airliners land at Los Angeles Intl Airport. The regular projectionist (I never met him) must have been a weight lifter since the booth was full of weights and a bench press.

kencmcintyre on January 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Here is an LA Times ad from September 1958:

TLSLOEWS on December 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Just another day in Paradise!!!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2009 at 1:38 am

The auditorium of the Paradise made the cover of Boxoffice Magazine in September, 1950.

jessied44 on July 24, 2009 at 8:40 am

During my senior year in high school in 1960-1961, I was an usher and later cashier at the Paradise. So many premiers were done that movie goers were somewhat jaded about stars. Still Rock Hudson did create a bit of a stir with the release of “Come September”.

BELLAFARMER on May 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I grew up in Westchester from 1966 to 1991. I had my first date at this theatre in the 6th grade. Before that I use to go with my parents we saw Damnation Alley and many others! When I was older I wnt with my friends and we would sit in the crying room so we could be super silly and not bother anyone! It wasn’t as fancy as the Loyola but it was nice…..lots of great memories growing up in westchester!!! I am in San Diego now.

kencmcintyre on April 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Here is part of a 1958 conspiracy complaint by Paradise:

Paradise Theatre Building Corporation brought action against Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation and Loew’s, Incorporated, and also against Paramount, Warner’s and Universal, against none of which the jury returned a verdict. The complaint was based upon an alleged conspiracy resulting in the uniform refusal of all defendants to license motion pictures to Paradise on Los Angeles first run. The conspiracy among all defendants was alleged to have resulted also in a coordinated refusal to license a seven-day run in Inglewood and Westchester, and that Paradise was injured thereby. A trial was held where there was a voluminous record.

The jury returned a verdict against defendants Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation and Loew’s, Incorporated, in the sum of $ 20,000.00. This appeal is from a final judgment against defendants last named for the treble damages in the amount of $ 60,000.00 and $ 10,000.00, attorney fees, and $ 1,657.69 costs.

The Paradise Theatre was located in the Westchester district. The Loyola Theatre, of Fox, was located less than a half mile away. Loyola exhibited Fox pictures on the Los Angeles first run day and date with Grauman’s Chinese, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, in the downtown area, and Wilshire and Uptown theatres, in the Wilshire district, all of which were Fox theatres. Before Paradise and La Tijera, a theatre which was also located in the Westchester district of Los Angeles, were built, Loew’s did not license a seven-day run to any theatre in the City of Los Angeles except in the faraway sections of San Pedro and Wilmington. Its practice was to offer a twenty-one-day run in the urban area. In Inglewood, a section merging into Westwood, it licensed a single seven-day run. After La Tijera and Paradise were built, Loew’s offered Paradise a twenty-one-day run without bidding. All defendants uniformly refused to license motion pictures to Paradise Los Angeles first run. Paradise demanded the right to license a nonexclusive seven-day run without bidding against other theatres in the general area. All defendants refused this demand.

Before 1949, where were four motion picture theatres in Inglewood and Westchester, including the Loyola. Within twenty months, there were constructed six additional theatres, including Paradise and La Tijera and the Fox in downtown Inglewood.

The jury found a conspiracy between Fox West Coast, Twentieth Century-Fox and Loew’s to refuse to Paradise a right to license a nonexclusive seven-day run without competitive bidding between September 18, 1950, and September 17, 1951.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

It turns out that Ted Rogvoy was the associate architect for the Paradise, and the lead architect was Arthur Froelich. Two articles in Boxoffice Magazine, from July 22, 1950, and from August 26, 1950, both name Froelich as the architect, and the earlier issue even has a photo of Froelich holding his rendering of the theater. Only the later article mentions Rogvoy as the associate architect, but misspells his name.

kencmcintyre on June 16, 2008 at 9:15 am

I took a look at the plaques on Saturday. I guess they buried one every year around Oscar time.

DonSolosan on May 5, 2008 at 2:03 am

Well, the plaques remain in place, so I assume the capsules are as well. There seemed to be about 15 of them. Here’s the text of a typical plaque:

Sealed herein are mementoes of
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Awards for 1954

Best Picture On The Waterfront – Columbia
Best Performance by an Actor Marlon Brando On The Waterfront – Columbia
Best Performance by an Actress Grace Kelly The Country Girl – Paramount

kencmcintyre on May 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Someone mentioned time capsules on 5/11/04.

DonSolosan on May 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I just stopped by today to take some pictures. Anybody know what kind of mementoes are buried in the forecourt?

Aerick on March 23, 2008 at 4:19 am

I lived in Westchester from 1976 to 1982 and remembered going to movies here. I saw Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall, Erorcist II, all first run here. others too that i dont remember.. I have not lived in LA since 1985, but when I drove by it during a visit 10 years ago, you would not recognize it at all from what it used to look like, unlike the Loyola up the street.

kencmcintyre on September 8, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Here is the 8/23/50 article that William was referring to in December 2003:

MichaelHyatt on August 29, 2007 at 12:00 am

Yes! Crying room mentioned above! Never heard what it sounded like with a kid in it though. Since you were there so often can you recall anything else about the theater? Please feel free to describe anything. I seem to remember for example, plaques with Oscar-winners along the winding entrance. Do you recall that entrance and was it indeed as odd and curved yo the right as I remember? Thanks..

ronhale on August 28, 2007 at 8:48 am

I saw “Shane” with Alan Ladd there in the early 1950’s as well as hundreds of others in the 50’s and 60’s. My mother would drop us off for the double feature and we would be there the whole afternoon. Does anyone remember the glassed-in cry room that was located in the back few rows in the 50’s? Mothers with small children would go in there, but you often could still hear the crying — just muffled. Where does time go?

MichaelHyatt on August 10, 2007 at 1:41 am

Thanks Joe! You’re right about the date and I erred about being a “product of the post-50’s” boom – I saw the building date after my post. But the projected image was comfortably wide, and as you noted, was most likely part of Ted Rogvoy’s vision.

I am curious though what that “mysterious entrance corridor” was about – I don’t recall another theater in LA that was designed that way, and it did add to the whole experience. Amazingly odd, too, that someone who only did a handful of theaters understood that movie going is about escapism, dreams and comfort. If only those who designed the Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences understood movies and their viewing nature as well. Pragmatically and ironically, this place one of the most uncomfortable “pro” theaters in the city; seats too close together, insufficiently raked, with seats on the outside facing forward so you have to twist off-center to look at the screen. It’s of course nothing compared to infamous Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood, a place that must have been designed by someone specializing in seeing movies in a concentration camp. Where else can you go in LA to appreciate the rare, classic UCLA Film and TV’s Archive, and sit in pink vinyl seats allowing no arm room whatsoever, whose side seats totally face a blank wall? (at least it is raked) But I digress on what a priviledge it isn’t. (The GREATEST newer theater in LA is still the TV Academy in North Hollywood – a shame it’s not aped enough by the other industry venues).

Anyway, thanks very much for the extra photos showing the Paradise’s early, pre-opening appearance. It’s strangely naked without its notable greenery. As ever, one must rely on memory and imagination to properly embellish the place to what it was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Here’s another photo, smaller, but without the intrusive utility wires.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Here’s a slightly wider version of the photo at the top of this page. The Paradise was built in 1950, a few years before the various wide-screen processes of the era were developed, so its exceptional width was not intended to accommodate them (unless architect Ted Rogvoy was presciently anticipating their development.) The building was a splendid example of Midcentury Modern design, and maybe the best theatre in that style in the Los Angeles area.