Torrance Theater

1403 Sartori Avenue,
Torrance, CA 90501

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The Torrance Theater was at the intersection of Marcelina Avenue and Sartori Avenue in Torrance. It was built in the early-1920’s and operated into the 1950’s. It was demolished years ago. A bank is on the site now.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 10, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Several mentions of the Torrance Theater appear in the L.A. library’s California Index. The earliest cites Southwest Builder & Contractor of February 20, 1920, with an announcement that architect Allan E. Sedgwick was preparing working drawings for the theatre. The project included two stores and would cost an estimated $40,000. The theatre was to have 800 seats, was designed for both motion pictures and stage productions. The owner was the Torrance Auditorium Company, Inc.

The magazine’s issue of March 12 announced that Huram E. Reeve of Torrance had secured the contract to build the project. The L.A. Times mentioned the project, and named Sedgwick’s firm as Sedgwick & Alpagh, in its issue of May 2, 1920.

Motion Picture Herald of February 27, 1932 mentioned that a J.F. Higgins had purchased the Torrance Theater from “Pacific National” (perhaps Pacific National Bank?)

Then the theatre must have undergone either a major remodeling or closure in 1937, when the Better Theatres section of Motion Picture Herald’s April 3rd issue announced that the Torrance Theater’s furnishings and equipment had been purchased by Harry Milstein and Albert Mellinkoff.

kencmcintyre on September 10, 2007 at 3:31 pm

I drove by the site yesterday. The bank is on an island at the intersection of Sartori and Marcelina. I have a copy of a rather poor quality photo that I will post here. The theater is at the far end of Sartori:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Ken, I think the 1983 photos must depict the Grand Theatre. A comment by K on October 15, 2005, says that it was the Grand that became the Torrance Community Theatre. The original Torrance Theatre was gone by the 1980s.

Various issues of Boxoffice Magazine from the 1930s and 1940s mention Harry Milstein and Albert Mellinkoff as the operators of the Torrance Theatre. The February 19, 1955, issue of Boxoffice reported that Harry Milstein had sold the Torrance Theatre to California Bank, which intended to convert the building into a branch office. Judging from the Google Street View, the bank put up an entirely new building instead.

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm

OK, I’m going to post them over on that page. Thanks.

billykid on June 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

The theater building is still there, its now a bank you can see the rear exits all bricked up on google maps, it was damaged during an earthquake 60+ years ago but remains standing, as a kid i loved how at the back of the bank you would have to walk uphill to exit..the insides are obviously ex-theater :)

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