Liberty 3 Cinemas

4266 Gage Avenue,
Bell, CA 90201

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simbared
simbared on February 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm

A footnote to the stabbing incident: George Escobedo, 15 had moved from San Antonio TX in 1964 to live with his sister in Huntington Park. He was well known to juvenile authorities in Texas, and had been involved in a stabbing there as well, according to news reports of the Alcazar murders. In 2008, a 59 year old George Escobedo was killed by fellow gang members in San Antonio.

rah62
rah62 on October 26, 2015 at 10:39 am

All are very interesting comments, but CHinz1978 comment adds to the “Macabre” feeling I have of the theater, I was fortunate to watch The Excorsist, Rosemary’s Baby, Beyond the Door and other horror and Sci-Fy flicks at The Alcazar like The Omega Man, Andromeda Strain and Soylent Green. Urban Legand states some kids were killed there but that’s all I ever knew. What I am actually commenting on is this, My family and I went to the Alcazar starting about 1965-66, when my brothers and I were about 7-10 years old, mom and dad would drop us off and we’d see movies like Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp and Song of the South. We would sit anywhere we wanted too, then The Sylmar Quake hit in February of 1971, the theater did ok as far as any heavy damgage concerns but after that the huge and beautiful chandelier I was once in awe of I was now terrified of, after looking up at it during the first movie back since the quake I shriked with terror about the thought of that thing coming down on me and never sat under it again. Like I said, “The macabre feeling” about the Alcazar is rooted in me from a youngster, and that’s what I love most about my connection with it.

CHinz1978
CHinz1978 on April 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

The story posted by kencmcintyre “Theater fight Ends In Death Of Two Youths” is totally false. The two boys who were murdered were my Dads friends. My Dad was there with them when the murders took place. Robert Haney and Billie Bogard did not block the doors in the washroom or say “We don’t like surfers around here”. They weren’t even together when they were stabbed. George Escobedo was a guy who you could say who was a little strange. He had a screw lose. My Dad knew him as well and told me he had always been on the weird side. My Dad and Robert Haney were standing next to each other in the lobby of the movie theatre and Escobido stabbed Robert Haney in the back. He stabbed Billie Bogard in the washroom. Haney and Bogard were not together when they were stabbed. They did not fuel the fire to any type of fight. It was done by Escobido because Escobido was in my own opinion, mentally disturbed. I just wanted to set the record straight on this story. The two guys who were murdered were good boys and friends of my Dads. They should not have lost their lives and then lied about.

mp2583
mp2583 on August 14, 2012 at 5:42 am

I too used to go with my friends in the 70s. Things were so simple and fun. Great memories. I used to work across the street at Atlantic Lumber just behind the Dairy store. Does anyone have or know where I can find photos of Atlantic Lumber?

KlairBybee
KlairBybee on April 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I worked at the Alcazar from 1952-1957 changing the marquee and as doorman. I started at .75 an hour as doorman and split $6 three ways for a year changing the marquee. Eventually I endured the departure of my friends and got the whole $6 a week for learning how to spell correctly actors names and titles (correctly). I remember my most difficult title word was “Pharaohs” for the movie “The Land of the Pharaohs.” Most difficult name was Barbara Stanwyck. I was so dedicated to the job that I started changing the California Theatre in Huntington Park also. It paid $10 a week. I got free passes for my friends too. Sometimes I’d charge them a cheaper price than the ticket… Mr. Rankin was the projectionist and I’d have to bring down the out going film in big cans. The theatre manager would have us paint the theatre lobby occasionally and change the posters. The posters had to be sent back after use, but I had to keep my favorite movie posters, “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” I continued changing marquees all over L.A. until 2007. I worked at the Universal CityWalk Cinemas from 1987 to 2007 and was being paid $330 weekly. Among all the other employments I had at the same time, I made more money changing marquees, than acting, directing, teaching, TV cue-cards, chicken truck driving, and modeling… I even have an old Alcazar check that was never cashed for $6.

T_Marcher
T_Marcher on December 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

My buddy and me use to sneak in the Alcazar on Friday nights in the late 60’s there was so much crud on the floor are shoes use to stick to it. Saw the movie Klute
there with Jane Fonda. It was my first nipple! God how we loved that place!

dvdriver
dvdriver on November 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I use to go to the ALCAZAR when I was a kid. From 1956 to 1960 it was a beautiful theater. Halloween was my favorite time with a real coffin and a live person in it:) What great memories. I think admission was thirty five cents at that time. My how times have changed.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm

It was changed, but not correctly, I don’t think. It should be Cinemas instead of Theaters.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 4, 2009 at 9:49 pm

There should be an aka of Liberty 3 Cinemas.

JasonEVega
JasonEVega on August 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm

The Alpha Theater, the last remaining theater in Bell has been sold. New owner plans to convert building into a restaurant.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 10, 2008 at 4:57 pm

From the LA Times on 9/14/44:

Fire Sweeps Bell Theater

An early morning blaze in the Alcazar Theater, 4426 Gage Ave., yesterday caused damage of approximately $50,000. A lighted cigarette left in a loge is believed to have started the blaze.

The fire destroyed the entire inside of the building. In an all-night fight, the fire departments of Bell, Maywood and Huntington Park confined the blaze within the theater and saved apartments above from damage. Projection and sound equipment was saved, but the theater screen, stage, seats and other equipment were destroyed. No one was injured.

lennco
lennco on August 15, 2008 at 6:40 pm

The Alcazar didn’t triple in 1974! That is incorrect!
I seen Grizzly there in 1976 when it was still the full original theater.
It didn’t triple until about 1977 or 1978. I went and seen The Driver with Ryan O'Neal and I remember how much I hated it! You could hear the sounds from the other two theaters.
I lived near there in the mid 1970s and from 1974 to 1978 I almost lived in that theater.
I loved it and i really miss it :(
It should be a crime to destroy such a place.

EfrainRocha
EfrainRocha on July 18, 2008 at 9:42 am

I was attending Nimitz Jr High in Huntington Park from 1987-1990. In 1987, I was in the 6th grade when a 5.9 earthquake rocked Whittier, CA. Rumor was… Liberty Theater ended up with a lot of damage and was closed down. I was a 6th grader then, I’m not sure where a 12 year old received that info? Liberty was missed!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 14, 2007 at 7:41 pm

It was still around in 1983. Does anyone know when it closed and when it was demolished?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 26, 2007 at 6:41 am

No surfing in Bell, apparently, even on Christmas Eve:

Theater fight Ends In Death Of Two Youths

12/24/64 – BELL, Los Angeles Co.â€"The police reported today a boy fighting with other teenagers in a theater after drinking beer and whisky stabbed two youths to death. The fight in a washroom and lobby of the Alcazar Theater last night also left two other teenagers with knife wounds. George Escobedo, 15, of nearby Huntington Park, was booked on suspicion of murder. The dead youths: Robert Haney, 17, Cudahy, and Billie Bogard, 17, Bell Gardens. The injured: Mike Goodwin, 14, and Patrick Clarkson, 17, both of Bell.

Police Lieutenant George Wagner gave this account of the bloody melee: Escobedo said he and a 15 year old companion got some beer and a half pint of whisky, then went to an alley, where he found a butcher type knife. He then went to the movie with it. As they went into a washroom during an intermission, four other teenagers including Haney and Bogard blocked the door, said “we don’t like surfers around here” and the fight started, Escobedo pulling out the knife. Bogard and Haney were knifed in the washroom, the others in the lobby as Escobedo ran through it. Spectators finally subdued Escobedo, threw him to the floor and held him until the police arrived.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 10, 2005 at 7:18 am

Here is a photo of the interior from the LA Library:

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics35/00037278.jpg

David213
David213 on November 8, 2005 at 10:11 am

Joe Vogel: Thank you very much for the info re: J.T. Zeller. As it truns out it sounds like he might have built our home. It is a the swiss chalet style bungalow built in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 5, 2005 at 1:43 am

David Donley: There are a very few references to Julian T. Zeller in the L.A. Library’s regional history database, and only one of them is to a theatre other than the Alcazar/Liberty. This is from the November 2nd, 1925 issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor, and it says that Zeller had prepared sketches for a proposed $100,000 theatre to be built on A Street in Oxnard. It is not clear that this theatre was actually built, or that, if it was, that Zeller did the final plans.

The only theatre which I’m certain was on A Street in Oxnard was the Oxnard Theatre (later the Fox Oxnard Theatre) at 525 A. This theatre, though planned as early as 1920, was not actually built until 1928, and the final plans were by architect Alfred F. Priest, who had also drawn the original 1920 plans.

I haven’t been able to find much documentation of the theatres in Oxnard (I’ve seen references indicating that as many as six may have been built there by the 1930s), and the Oxnard Theatre itself is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures. Until someone roots around in Oxnard’s records, we probably won’t know if Zeller’s theatre plans of 1925 ever came to fruition.

The only other mentions of Zeller are about his design for a Swedish Lodge (Lyrian Lodge- no location given) in the Los Angeles Examiner of 3/22/1914; his design for an apartment house at 198 E. Jefferson in Los Angeles (mentioned in Southwest Builder and Contractor, 5/7/1920); and his design for four frame bungalows to be built at 118-130 E. 37th Street, Los Angeles (Southwest B&C 7/16/1920.) Builder and Contractor Magazine of 10/17/1912 gave the address of his offices as rooms 215-216, Courrier Building, Los Angeles. He was also mentioned in the February, 1929 issue of California Arts & Architecture Magazine, but I don’t know what that was about.

David213
David213 on October 10, 2005 at 10:36 am

I am interested in the architect J.T. Zeller. Did he do other theaters or homes in the area? Please let me know.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2005 at 3:52 am

The architect of the Alcazar was J.T. Zeller. The first contracts were let in late 1924. The estimated cost of the theater was $105,000, including an Estey pipe organ.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 15, 2005 at 9:46 pm

Here is a night view of the Alcazar from 1946….

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics35/00037280.jpg