Egyptian Theatre

234 E. 4th Street,
Long Beach, CA 90802

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AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on October 2, 2014 at 12:41 am

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David Junchen, the “Egyptian Theatre” in Long Beach originally had a two manual Smith theatre pipe organ installed in 1924. No other details, such as # of ranks (size of the actual organ), or blower info is given.

Does anybody know what happened to this organ, or its parts? Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Oh, and this house was listed as the Fox Egyptian Theatre, at 234 E. 4th Street, in the 1935 Long Beach city directory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm

The photo of the Egyptian-styled theater that kenmcintyre linked to earlier has gone missing. This is its current location, but the California State Library doesn’t provide permalinks so it will probably vanish again. It turns out to be, as GaryParks surmised, a sort of architectural sampler. It was a model theater produced around 1915 by the Epco Theatre Supply Company (EPCO = Electrical Products Corporation, so it probably displayed something like theater lighting equipment.)

Gary is right about the S. Charles Lee drawing being for the Hollywood Egyptian. The drawing was mislabled by the S. C. Lee Collection as being a house in Long Beach. Lee probably had nothing to do with this theater, so only Baume and Davies should be credited as the architects.

William
William on October 29, 2010 at 1:29 am

To bad Fox West Coast Theatres did not do the proposed remodel of the Egyptian Theatre’s facade in Hollywood.

GaryParks
GaryParks on October 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm

The S. Charles Lee rendering in Joe Vogel’s immediate preceeding post is of a proposed remodel of the entrance of the Egyptian in Hollywood. You can even see the facade and marquee of the Pig & Whistle to the right of it—a facade which still exists today.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 14, 2007 at 5:03 am

According to the June 8, 1923 issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor, the Egyptian Theatre was remodeled from an existing building which had been a garage. The conversion was designed by Long Beach architects Hugh R. Davies and Edward S. Baume, associated.

In 1936, S. Charles Lee prepared this concept rendering for a facade remodeling of the theatre, which appears not to have been carried out.

GaryParks
GaryParks on September 14, 2007 at 4:25 am

Aha! Closer examination reveals another possibility for this photo (ken mc’s post of Sept. 7th). I notice that each bay between the pilasters as you go down the sidewalls is done in a completely different ornamental style. Not only that, but each ceiling section has a different ornamental plaster design. I think what we have here is a photo of a “display” theatre for either a decorative plaster studio, a decorative painting studio, theatre architect, or all of the above. It’s like a “sampler” of theatre design. This sort of thing was done for tradeshows for theatre seat companies, box office designs, and later on, concession stand designs. Certainly designers and decorators themselves would have wanted to do the same.

I counted the seats as best as I could (hard to do in the front rows) and the seating capacity is under 200.

GaryParks
GaryParks on September 14, 2007 at 4:15 am

Wow! The photo in the previous posting by ken mc is something I’ve never seen before! Looks like it might even be a private screening room from some palatial estate. If it’s really a public movie theatre, is has to be a nickelodeon that was given an Egyptian remodeling. You’ll notice that most of the plasterwork is Renaissance in style. The Egyptian detailing is confined to cavetto moldings in the bays closest to the screen, along with a sunburst ceiling ornament like Grauman’s Egyptian has (and was then copied in many Egyptian style theatres from Boise to Ogden to Oakland). Some Egyptian cavetto moldings can also be seen along the top of the walls closest to the viewer. So, either this is a little theatre which went through a remodel, or someone changed the design direction during construction.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 8, 2007 at 1:41 am

I came across this photo in the CA state library, but unfortunately I don’t have an identifying caption. It’s too small to be either Egyptian in So Cal, but the mummies on the screen indicate that it may have been some kind of Egyptian-themed theater. If anyone recognizes this, let me know:
http://tinyurl.com/2d7b94

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 30, 2007 at 5:11 am

This photo of the demolition was in the LB Press-Telegram on 10/13/59:
http://tinyurl.com/2xgdu9

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 4, 2007 at 3:23 am

A.F. Cheroske opened the Egyptian in 1923. LA Times reported sale to West Coast Theaters in November 1925. For the first two years of its life, the theater was known as Cheroske’s Egyptian Theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 3, 2007 at 8:35 pm

I took a walk over to 4th Street today to see what was at 242 and 226, depending on where you place the theater. That entire area has been redeveloped into an outdoor shopping mall. As you would expect, there is no way to surmise that a theater once stood at that location.

On a side note, I noticed an interesting mural painted on the side wall of Acres of Books on Long Beach Blvd. The book store’s adjacent neighbor was recently demolished, revealing an advertisement for Harbor U-Drive. One part of the sign states that the business has relocated to Ocean and American, which gives you an idea how old the signage is. I suppose this will be painted over in due course or obscured by new construction. Check it out if you’re in the LBO area.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 3, 2007 at 6:35 pm

Here is an article on the razing of the Egyptian in October 1959:

Old Egyptian Theater Razed

The demolition man’s jackhammer is finishing what the city’s changing traffic patterns started and television helped alongâ€"putting the Egyptian Theater out of business. The stately old movie house at 226 E.4th St., mecca of three generations of motion-picture-goers, is being razed. Built in the early 1920s, the Egyptian was the rage of the Southland when it opened its doors with a premiere showing of a silent flicker, “Little Old New York.” “They came from miles around, driving Model T’s, riding bikes and a few in buggies to see it,” recalls an oldtimer. “It was plenty plush and the decor and architecture inside and out was in an Egyptian theme.”

The 1,000 seat theater made the transition from silent films to tallies without a hitch and for a number of years was the chief outlet in the city for MGM films. Thousands of World War II servicemen remember the red-white-and-blue bunting outside and the
special ticket rates. After the war it was completely remodeled, but the Egyptian was headed downhill. Television cut into its market and it passed from a first-run to a second-run house. Then the city made 4th St. a one-way street and attendance dwindled further. Lack of parking was another problem. And, ironically, the site is to become an automobile parking lot.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 21, 2005 at 10:58 pm

Can anyone tell me if the Fox Egyptian Theater in San Diego is here under another name? The address was University and Park Avenue. Here is a picture from the San Diego Historical Society:

View link

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 8, 2004 at 6:34 pm

For those who love the Egyptian style, there are a number of theatres that have had that theme, and an entire special issue of “Marquee” magazine was devoted to them in their issue of: Vol. 29, #3; Third Qtr. 1997, and the issue features wonderful color covers of the EGYPTIANS in Milwaukee (in the form of a wonderful color painting by artist Mark Hylton of Columbus, OH) and Ogden Ut. The table of such themed theatres includes 45 examples of those now, or at one time, with us. An introduction and Prologue carry one to those ancient days, and individual articles on the Ogden and Hollywood help detail the existing examples. Many other photos are included.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

William
William on November 13, 2003 at 2:53 am

The Egyptian Theatre was located at 242 E. 4th Street.