Encino Theatre

16342 Ventura Boulevard,
Encino, CA 91436

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moviewatcher1 on October 16, 2017 at 3:13 am

I remember sneaking in the back exit door with some of the other little rascals from the south end of Enfield Avenue to watch movies for free at the Encino Theater. In 1953, “The Moon is Blue” was featured there, but received a “C” rating (for “condemned”) from the Catholic Legion of Decency. The nuns and priests at nearby Our Lady of Grace school told us that we were forbidden to watch this immoral film. Which, of course, made a lot of the parishioners want to see this film all the more — especially my fellow horn dogs in the 5th grade at Our Lady of Grace school. The priests even tried, without success, to persuade the theater owner to shut down the film. In fact, the theater owner welcomed these objections to “The Moon is Blue” because the greater the protests, the more people thronged to sample this forbidden fruit. I didn’t see the film until it was aired on TV about 30 years later. Unedited, because it was so tame (and lame), with nothing more controversial than a woman being called “a professional virgin.” Very disappointing indeed.

richjr37 on December 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

ken mc,others:Does anyone have a Flickr or Photobucket account that has all these old LA Times movie & showtime ads,‘70’s & '80s especially?

zelzahboy on December 29, 2009 at 9:04 am

UPDATE TO 3RD COMMENT FROM TOP: Below is a link to an Architectural Drawing embellished as Joe C. remembers the “Encino” in the 1950s.


In reply to Joe Vogel – Cinema Treasures (or a one of its links), had originally listed the 1939 date for the Encino Theatre and with a different Architect named S. Charles Lee. Yes, 1949 must be right. The Drawings all show an Oak Tree out front, which I don’t recall being there -but I do remember 2 Palm trees next to the ticket booth.
a P

kencmcintyre on July 20, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Here is a February 1964 ad from the LA Times:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Boxoffice Magazine of December 18, 1948, confirms a 1948 date for the start of construction for the Encino. It said that contracts for construction of Charles Menderson’s new theater at Ventura Boulevard and Neoline Street had been awarded to Struction of Los Angeles. The December 4 issue of Boxoffice had published the architect’s rendering of the new house to which I linked in my comment above.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 17, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I don’t know what the references to 1939 are about in the comments by Joe on Nov. 28, 2003, and by L. Thomas on Sep. 17, 2004, but their skepticism about the date was apparently justified. The L.A. library’s info page for this architect’s rendering of the Encino gives the drawing’s date as 1948. Thus (if the library has it right) the building was probably completed in 1949. The page also names the architect as William L. Pereira.

Actually, knowing that the place was designed by Pereira, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had in fact been built in 1939. His very modern design for the Pan Pacific Theatre and bowling alley on Melrose (depicted here) dated from the pre-war era. Even earlier, associated with his brother Hal in the firm of Pereira & Pereira, W.L. had designed such forward-looking theatres as Chicago’s Esquire in 1938, and the Vogue opened that same year in Manistee, Michigan. Pereira was one of the pioneers of what came to be known as the midcentury modern style.

Jimbo on November 16, 2007 at 3:25 am

I remember going to see a “Sneek Preview” of “Mr. Roberts” starring JACK LEMON in 1955 – … I actually thought we were going to “Sneek” into the theater! DOH!

Afterwards, we would go to Oscar’s or Bob’s on VNBL ….

The building looked more like a drug store to me … that was the theme of most stores around the Valley at that time … like Town and Country Ford .. A&W Root Beer .. Bob’s Toluca Lake … Foster’s Freeze, etc.

Jim Rowe

kencmcintyre on July 31, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Here is a June 1950 ad from the Van Nuys News:

kencmcintyre on February 9, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Here is a blurb in the Van Nuys News dated 3/16/50. There was also an ad for the Cracker Barrel supermarket on the corner of Van Nuys and Burbank. I drive past that intersection quite often, but I don’t think there’s a market on that corner now.


A theater party to raise money for the building fund of the Encino Our Lady of Grace School will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Encino Theatre, 16342 Ventura Blvd. Cowboy Slim, children’s television favorite, will be on hand to start off the program which will include a showing of cartoons and door prizes. The public, as well as school children, and their parents, is invited to attend. Tickets for the event will be on sale at the Encino Theatre. This is the first in a series of events held for the benefit of the school.

kencmcintyre on December 29, 2006 at 9:02 am

Here is a 1950 article from Time magazine:

kencmcintyre on September 24, 2005 at 2:09 pm

Here is an artist’s conception of the Encino Theater, courtesy of the LA Library. Does it look like the real thing?


thomasl on September 17, 2004 at 11:02 am

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, when I was growing up in the area, the Encino Theatre was the premiere movie theatre of the San Fernando Valley. It was a large, spacious theatre, with the most comfortable theatre seats I ever recall sitting (with the possible exception of the magnificent Fox Wilshire). The rear section of the theatre contained “loge” seating, which was designed to be a premium seating area, although I don’t remember it ever having been used this way. I also have trouble believing the Encino was built in 1939—it was a very 1950’s style building, with an overhang you drove through to enter. Sadly, like most of beautiful old Encino, the theatre was torn down to build a high rise office building in the late 1970’s. But it’s memory lives on in the minds of us “Baby Boomers” that grew up in the area.

gazpacho on November 28, 2003 at 6:13 pm

I can’t believe this theatre was built in 1939. It was decorated all in lush redwood inside and the lobby was enclosed with huge panes of glass with a cantilevered trellis that covered the entrance for both cars and pedestrian traffic. I’d say the style was strictly from the 1950’s. The seats, when damaged, were re-covered by “George’s” upholstry at “Vic’s” auto repair shop, located between the Ram’s Horn and “Oskie’s” 19 cent hamburger stand. “The Body Snatchers” (the original), was also a sneak preview there in the ‘50’s. This was a very comfortable and great looking theatre with ample parking in the back, unlike Reseda, La Reina or “The Sherman..?”. The whole “Encino Gang” was allowed in free at “Scrounge-Time” -after 10pm.

William on November 12, 2003 at 7:04 pm

The Encino Theatre was located at 16342 Ventura Blvd..

William on May 9, 2002 at 7:41 am

This theatre had the sneak preview for the 1954 “A Star is Born”.