Rolling Hills Theater

2535 Pacific Coast Highway,
Torrance, CA 90505

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Rolling Hills Theater 1965

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a big, beautiful modern theater built in the 1960’s.

The building was a distictive design, entering the lobby, then making a hard right to enter the auditorium. The roof of the building slanted upwards, higher as it extended to the back of the building.

The theater had a huge screen and is believed to have been run by Pacific Theatres.

The Rolling Hills also has a very sad history:

One morning in the early ‘70’s the projectionist failed to return home and the police were called. Once inside, the bodies of the projectionist, Asst. Manager and two other employees were found in the manager’s office, on the floor, tied and murdered execution style. The safe was open so the killers had already gotten the day’s receipts. A Disney double feature played that evening. The Manager, who was off that night, was so upset he converted the stockroom to an office and never used the other one again. The Daily Breeze ran photos of the bodies being taken out on gurneys. This was the beginning of the end.

Shortly after the theater was twinned, and then closed. The building still stands, now housing a restaurant.

Contributed by Manwithnoname

Recent comments (view all 147 comments)

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on April 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

This theater is now, among other things, a BevMo.

KimF
KimF on June 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We need a good photo taken of the building. It’s still there, but the street view can’t be adjusted to show it. Must be somewhere behind the strip mall shown in the foreground.

RocketShipParkGirl
RocketShipParkGirl on July 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Wow! With what has just happened in Colorado I am again reminded of the terrible murders at Rolling Hills Theater. Agreed, it was the time of the end of innocence for those of us kids who had grown up “on the hill” and on the beaches of Torrance to Manhatan Beach. Vietnam, Manson, and The Rolling Hills Theater Murders.

I have read some, but not all, of the posts here and I am sure that I know Seatard and Danno, sweet boys :).

The second youngest of 1boy (oldest) & 4 girls (Yes catholic – Saint Laurance. lol) we spent many week end days at RHTheater. I remember the intermission games and prizes well! We looked so forward to it!

I have many Great memories of growing up in Hollywood Riviara :~) But end of innocence? In the 1st grade my best friends father tried to murder her and her 2 younger siblings, ( i also had my first boy friend, Eric <3).In 7th grade a class mate was murdered, his body was found in pieces in trash bags strune around a park, the Man at the end of our street was arrested for trieson and our friends on Newtons plain crashed, the entire family was killed.

So was it really the End of our Inocence?

I chose to remember meeting up with the other families at Burn Out to watch my big brother surf and hope that he would take me out for a ride. And his friends coming to our house to play foot ball and ride the Radio Flier Wagons down the hill from Rocket Ship Park. Making out at Torrance Drive inn, and The Roller Skaters at A&W. Rat Theater for $.25!

I’m so glad that I stumbled apon this page, I was brought here by a bad memory and reminded of the good times, wonderful people, and beautiful area that was my childhood.

I left the South Bay right after high school (75) for San Diego and have remained here since. I realize now that I left my heart in the South Bay <3

KimF
KimF on July 25, 2012 at 1:27 am

RocketShipParkGirl, wonderful post; I’m sorry that you experienced so much so young. Wow.

And I think I know “Rat Theater”… Great name for it! You mean The Stadium, right? LOL! I remember the $.25 admission and Atomic Fireballs to go with “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “Robot Monster” and other really bad ones! A vivid memory of the pre-movie Muzac, too… A strange instrumental that was interrupted every few bars by some guy saying “Meet me at the clubhouse.” Very bizarre and that place was a pit, but cheap!

WyndeeLee
WyndeeLee on August 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

Earlier today I was remembering the Rolling Hills Movie theater, of having a few dates there, and then thought of the tragic murders. Went to South, from Rocket Park we watched 4th of July fireworks, school was South High and Calle Mayor Elementary School before that. So did a Google search, and ended up here. RocketShipParkGirl you brought back memories. Smiled when you mentioned your first boyfriend’s name because he was Eric. Our brother Eric went to South High and we lived right under Rocket Ship Park. Our kitchen’s dinning area windows looked up to the top of the hill and the rocket was seen outlined against the sky when we ate our meals at our table. The news of that murder really horrified and saddened me, maybe even more so since the movies there were Disney movies so often and it was a wonderful, and safe place until that moment. Never have gotten over the grief of it when it does come to mind. Enjoyed the street map here, and zooming in found our old street on it. Wish it had photos. The photo above is really nostalgic and spun it around to view the street there in a 360 degree curve. Looks almost the same at that spot on PCH as it did many years ago. A lot has changed along PCH now. Happy to read from fellow Torrance people here.

bbqbob
bbqbob on January 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

Anyone still interested in seeing the old Rolling Hills Theatre may want to checkout the classic short film SKATER DATER. They filmed a pretty good segment in the Rolling Hills Plaza. I worked @ the theatre @ the time of the murders,and also hung around the village and port o call I did not know the little killer hung around there.But I’m glad they got the SOB. no telling how many times he may have repeated his MO. 4 2 theatre & then TG&Y

dimensionsinstereo
dimensionsinstereo on February 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

@filmex2000 Awe (Boo-Hoo-At The Zoo for the scumbag! LOL) He got what he COMPLETELY deserved! And YUP what you said about TPD is EXACTLY true and Torrance at that time was one of the safest city’s, not only in the South Bay but ANYWHERE in Ca!!! AWE THE GOOD OLE DAYS of Law-Enforcement…I can varify what you said cause I worked for TPD and Del Amo Mall Security in the mid 80’s. Great bunch of LawLugs and was still a great city untill the ‘Libs’ DESTROYED TPD AND TORRANCE! Last time I was their in 04 Del Amo was a crime hell hole and by the looks of it Torrance ta boot. What a shame!!! Born and raised in the South Bay 1960, but left the South Bay fer good in 86! Could see that the LIBS were gonna be destroying GOOD OLE TORRANCE and ALL of Southern Ca…Loved that theater and went to see a lotta movies there when we lived in the Rolling Hills…

TheEDGE
TheEDGE on February 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Dimensions in Stereo – from Old Towne Mall??? Been trying to find Mark since they closed one of the best Audiophile stores in Torrance ever.

Kittiecat0000
Kittiecat0000 on March 16, 2013 at 7:37 am

I was with my mom that morning. She was friends with Don Nash, the Torrance Chief of Police. He said that the victims were taken in to the office and their throats were slit from ear to ear. It was a blood bath in there. I think at least two were in high school. This really left a horrible impression on me since I was young and the details were graphic. A few weeks later the T G &Y store had the same thing happen but it was just the manager or whoever closed. I heard about Torrance cops doing that and I believe it. You never saw much on either story. It still makes me sick and sad to think about what happened in that room.

LAMADDOGMADDIN
LAMADDOGMADDIN on September 30, 2013 at 3:51 am

I remember that real well. My older brothers girlfriend was one of the people murdered. She was a nice person. He was and we all were real sad for her and her family. As I remember I think they did not find the murderers.

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