Larwin Theatre

Los Angeles Avenue,
Simi Valley, CA 93065

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The Larwin Theatre opened in 1965 with 850 seats. It was twinned in 1973. It was located in western Simi Valley on Los Angeles Avenue near Madera Road, and roughly a half-mile from The Simi Valley Drive-In.

Contributed by Lavar Burkhart

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 16, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Here is an article from the Simi News about the opening of the Larwin in 1965:
http://tinyurl.com/2zwc2f
http://tinyurl.com/2jshvg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 17, 2007 at 9:37 am

Here is a June 1974 ad from the Valley News. The Larwin had two screens at a minimum:
http://tinyurl.com/3d6y6k

rtm242
rtm242 on November 29, 2007 at 11:57 pm

Some facts from my first-hand knowledge:

  • Larwin theater was located at the Larwin Shopping Center which was an outdoor mall

  • Started with two screens… Everybody called it the “Larwin Twin”. There was a two walking aisles width large screen, and a narrower single walking aisle screen.

  • Had awesome movie collage wallpaper with scenes from all the big 60s/70s blockbusters (Jaws, Star Wars, James Bond, etc)

  • They added a stage at the front below the bigger screen for special events, in particular Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings.

  • I remember getting to see free films there for taking part in marketing survey movies for kids where we had to fill out detailed questionairres. (but hey, free movie and sneak peek at future toys!)

  • In the mid 80s, somebody decided to expand the theatre to four screens… without remodeling! This meant they emptied out two storage rooms (one of them held perhaps twenty people at most!), and installed surplus seats and equipment, but still charged full price. I’ll never forget my first trip to screen #4. You went past screen number 2, and then thorough a very darkly lit twisting hallway to #3 and then through an unfinished hallway to screen #4 and without fail people died laughing once they opened the door and saw how small it was. If you have seen the 80s film Bachelor Party (was filmed at the not-yet-opened Mann 6 theater in Simi Valley), they made some jokes about this remodeling, with one scene of a single person in a broom closet watching a movie on a TV. Classic!

  • Sometime after this they remodeled the interior, and scrapped the vintage wallpaper. I think this was the same time as they decided to put a roof on the Larwin Shopping Center and make it a “mall”.

  • Sometime after that (late 80s?), the theater was gutted and they put in 6 actual screens, but greatly sacrificed the size of the main screen to do it.

Lavarus
Lavarus on January 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Hey, rtm242; got some questions for you.

  1. What year(s) did Rocky Horror play at this theater?

  2. When was this theater closed/torn down?

  3. Can you remember the (exact) address?

rtm242
rtm242 on January 27, 2008 at 9:01 pm

1) For sure either 1979 or 1980, I am unsure the exact years as I was too young to even realize what the movie really was about and only found out later after we moved.

2) Sorry, I moved out of the area around 1988 so it would have been after that.

3) Sorry, not something I’d remember, but definitely on the west side of town, not quite as far as the drive-in. Based on the newspaper ad linked above by “ken mc”, it would be here: View link

I also seem to recall this shopping center held a Montgomery Wards department store if that helps track it down. :–)

montananow
montananow on June 11, 2008 at 10:12 am

The Larwin theatre had only one screen when it opened in the 1960’s. They added a second screen in the mid 1970’s. I worked there as an usher in 1973, but was fired for letting friends sneak in for free through the back door. Thrifty mart was the grocery store, and Thrifty drug had 5 cent ice cream cones. The dept. store was Grants, with a small restaurant called the Bradford room. Builders emporium opened later, and a favorite for the kids was “Ron’s” toy store. This was the second shopping center in simi, the first was on tapo st. with a Von’s grocery store. At the time both Larwin, and the simi drive in were owned by Pacific theaters.

montananow
montananow on June 11, 2008 at 10:14 am

Oh yea, the drive in was a good two miles down the road from the Larwin theater, on Los Angeles ave.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Originally built for Metropolitan Theatres, the Larwin opened as a single screen house in late 1965, two years after the same circuit had opened the Simi Drive-In. The Larwin was the company’s first shopping center theater.

Plans to convert the Larwin into a twin were announced in the April 16, 1973, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. Work was to begin shortly, and Metropolitan’s head, Bruce Corwin, said the project was expected to be completed by mid-June. The conversion would give the Larwin auditoriums with 500 and 300 seats. The house had originally seated 850.

decoteau
decoteau on December 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm

This theatre appears in the movie THE DOBERMAN GANG.

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