Crest Theatre

4275 Atlantic Boulevard,
Long Beach, CA 90807

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This theatre was the world’s first pre-fashioned theatre.

This was also the first prototype for Fox Theatres and opened in 1948.

Fox was looking for an easier way to make theaters fast and cheaper after the war.

The Crest Theatre had a main floor of seats, then an early form of stadium seating in the rear (like later Fox houses such as the Fox Loyola Theatre).

The opening manager’s name was Harry Francis, who would go on to manage many other Fox and Mann Theatres till the mid-1990’s.

Harry managed the Crest Theatre for a long time. He also managed the Fox Village Theatre in Westwood, and opened the nearby National Theatre. His last theater was the Bruin Theatre.

He worked for over 50 years in theater management.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 75 comments)

avgraphicpro1946
avgraphicpro1946 on November 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

I grew up in Long beach from 1951-1962 and remember going to all of the movie theaters in town but when I went back for a few days in 1995, I was surprised that all of the theaters were gone, from the:
State; West Coast; Imperial; United Artists; Roxy; The Palace; Rivoli; Crest and Towne theaters. I remember seeing ‘a 3-d movie, 'The House of Wax’ in 1953 at the West Coast and ‘Them’ at the State. i remember staying all day on Saturdays at the Roxy and the Palace watching three features; cartoons, coming attractions and the weekly news, all for 25 cents. Does anyone remember getting Bon-Bons?
I have been living in Palm Beach County, Florida for twenty years but still think of Long Beach before the life got so complicated.

LawMann
LawMann on November 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Not only the theatres but most of the Downtown L.B. buildings that were there in 1962 are also gone.

avgraphicpro1946
avgraphicpro1946 on November 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I remember the Municipal Auditorium, the original Pike with the Plunge and the Public Library in Lincoln Park and of course, the Pacific Electric Red Cars. I also remember when they were shooting the movie, ‘It’s a Mad. Mad. Mad, Mad World.’ Does anyone remember the 5 cents per scoop of ice cream at Sav-On drug stores? (On a side note, the end of the movie, ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’ was shot at the Pike, not Coney Island.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

My late friend, Joseph Musil, who owned the magnificent American Museum of Theatrical Design (aka: Salon of the Theatres) in Santa Ana, managed to rescue some of the wonderful brass floral lighting which traversed the ornate lobby and auditorium.

I also wonder what happened to his incredible collection of photographs and 35mm slide collection of historic southern California theaters, especially of Long Beach?

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

A two-page 1947 trade article about the Crest Theatre can be viewed here: boxofficemagazine

JohnMessick
JohnMessick on June 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

What a beautiful theater….Great marquee.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

Here’s a 1947 trade ad inviting members of the industry to visit the new “Theatre of 303 Wonders”: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

More Crest photos in this 1947 trade ad: boxofficemagazine

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on July 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hello Tinseltoes… Sorry, I cannot download your photos. I’d love to have seen this theater!

sanelson_98
sanelson_98 on December 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I worked for Mr. Francis near the end of his career at the Bruin. Great man.

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