Toho La Brea Theatre

857 S. La Brea Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Photo courtesy of Kenneth McIntyre.

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The Chotiner’s La Brea Theatre was opened in 1926. By 1934 it had been taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres. Around 1961, this former Fox movie house became the Toho La Brea Theatre which ran films from Japan. (The Toho also opened a theatre off Broadway in Times Square, NY in the 1960’s.) The old marquee was taken off in the mid-1980’s.

If you have the DVD for the film "How the West Was Won" in the short film about "HTWWW", you can see a shot of this old Fox theatre.

Today, the former Fox La Brea Theatre is used as a church.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 44 comments)

LarryDickman on January 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

During the summers of ‘70 and '71 (and maybe before, but not after I’m pretty sure) the Toho La Brea ran a several-week-long series they called the “Monster Film Festival,” consisting of a headliner feature and some revolving second features. In 1970 the main feature was “King Kong vs. Godzilla” and one of the seconds was “Matango.” (I remember calling the theatre and the nice woman referred to the film as “Matango, Fungus of Terror.” Little did I know, it was the actual title of “Attack of the Mushroom People,” parts of which I’d already seen on Channel 9!) I never got to the festival that year, much to my regret. In '71, tho, I begged and pleaded with the folks to take me because the festival’s main feature was none other than “Destroy All Monsters.” Quite upset at having missed “Destroy” during its initial AIP release in '69 (with “The Terrornauts”) and one of its reissues (with “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant”!), to a monster-crazy pre-teen this engagement seemed like a gift from movie heaven. The second feature that day was “Dagora, the Space Monster,” another picture I’d caught parts of on Channel 9’s “Strange Tales.” I learned two things at that memorable double feature: 1.)that creature features played better when they weren’t dubbed, and 2.) you could never have too many of those Carnation ice cream sandwiches with the red and silver foil…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 19, 2011 at 12:22 am

The May 9, 1960, issue of Boxoffice featured a photo on the front of the Modern Theatre section depicting the auditorium of the recently-renovated Art La Brea Theatre.

A fuzzier version of the same photo was one of several that illustrated an article about the opening of the house, which had been closed for some time, in the June 6 issue of Boxoffice.

LouRugani on August 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

In the early 1960s a television documentary (which may have been “Hollywood and the Stars”) had a clip of the closed La Brea Theatre to illustrate the onslaught of television.

anntompkins on October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

My husband and I saw Diabolique there while he was in college (on the GI Bill) in 1955 which had to have been just before it became the Toho.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

The Fox La Brea was closed for a while in the late 1950s before being renovated and reopened as the Art La Brea Theatre in 1960. I’m not sure how long it lasted under that name, as I remember it being called the Toho La Brea by 1963.

JimMitchell on December 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

My girl friend (now wife) and I used to drive 60 miles to Los Angeles to see Kurosawa movies at the Toho La Brea. This would have been the mid-1960s. I especially remember “Yojimbo” and “High and Low,” both starring the great Toshiro Mifune.

An added date night benefit: the Cherry Blossom restaurant occupied the top floor of the theatre, so we could have a Japanese dinner before seeing the movie.

I think it was the Cherry Blossom that ran a small newspaper ad saying, “Sukiyaki,Tempura, served by girls in kimonos, and other delicious Japanese dishes.”

haineshisway on August 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Yeah, I’m not sure why it says the late 1960s for when it became the Toho – I have four years' worth of newspaper movies sections from 1961 to 1964 and as someone points out it had become the Toho by 1963, possibly even earlier.

rivest266 on August 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

December 25th, 1959 grand opening ad as Art La Brea in photo section.

rivest266 on August 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

August 5th, 1960 grand opening ad as Toho La Brea also in photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Throughout the period this house was operated by Toho, I recall it always being advertised as the Toho La Brea, never just the Toho. The La Brea name remained on the marquee as well.

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