Whittier Village Cinemas

7038 Greenleaf Avenue,
Whittier, CA 90602

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dallasmovietheaters on October 23, 2020 at 6:46 am

The project began as the proposed United Artists Theatre. But upon its launch, it opened as Bushnell’s Wardman Theatre on March 15, 1932 with “All Quiet on the Western Front” supported by a newsreel, a travelogue called “Cross Road” and five acts of vaudeville. Stars at the opening included “Western Front’s” Edmund Breese, Yola D'Avril and Rita Cavalier.

The theatre was tri-plexed becoming an adult theatre. It closed after the Whittier Narrows earthquake of October 1, 1987. However, the theatre was refurbished and relaunched in 1990.

SteveCarras on July 13, 2018 at 11:32 pm

MikeCoke on restrooms: You’re right, they were on high level.

SteveCarras on July 13, 2018 at 11:29 pm

I live in the area, and I go there all the time!

DavidZornig on March 30, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Photo added credit Louis Rico. Apparently this replica of the Whittier marquee is located in the Verizon store on Beverly and Norwalk, Southwest corner. Photo credit Louis Rico.

bellbob1 on August 20, 2014 at 1:30 am

I remember seeing “Rhapsody In Blue” at the old Wardman Theater when it first came out in 1945. My stepfather, who worked for the railroad, had a part-time job of cleaning the Roxy, Wardman and Whittier theaters after closing. I remember many times going to the movies, falling asleep, he would wake me up, I would help him sweep up and then we would go home.

jazzfi on January 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm

even when it showed adult films it still retained it’s marquee and architectural beauty as a single auditorium theater, with the warrior design and the flashing colors in front.. turning it into a six-plex totally ruined it as well as the historical beauty of the entire block..

JimMitchell on August 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm

In the 1950’s, the Wardman was part of the Bruen’s Whittier Theatres company. Hugh W. Bruen also operated the Whittier and the Roxy, where he kept his office. In about 1953, he built the Sundown Drive-In.

TLSLOEWS on February 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Nice looking marquee.

kencmcintyre on October 31, 2009 at 11:30 am

Here is part of a July 1977 article in the LA Times:

WHITTIER-Community leaders hope to appeal to the business sense of X-rated movie theater chain owner Vincent Miranda. If all goes well, they say, Miranda will be convinced that conversion of the Wardman Theater into a multi-theater complex showing general run films would be profitable and a valuable asset to a nearby redevelopment project.

Miranda’s recent acquisition of the Wardman Theater from Pacific Theaters has touched off controversy here. The S. Greenleaf Avenue cinema is showing two sexually explicit films. Although just outside the Greenleaf Ave./Uptown Redevelopment Project, businessmen are fearful that the presence of an X-rated theater may have a detrimental effect on potential developers. There is also apprehension that other adult-only businesses may be attracted to the area.

A coalition of business, church and parents groups has formed to voice objections to the showing of adult-oriented films at the Wardman. Recently, coalition spokesmen visited Miranda at his Hollywood offices. “We tried to suggest to him that a four-theater complex would make it”, said City Councilwoman Delta Murphy. “We told him that it would be an economic plus for him and an economic plus for the city. We said that if he is not interested in that, we wanted a lease price and a lease option price.”

Miranda said he is considering the coalition’s proposals. But he expressed doubt that a multi-theater complex at the Greenleaf site would be feasible. At this point, Miranda said he would be more interested in sale of the Wardman rather than a lease agreement. Miranda has promised to forward a sale price to the coalition leaders. “We do buy and sell theaters”, he said.

Stargazer on September 14, 2009 at 8:03 am

One of my fond memories of the Wardman Theater was standing in line waiting to see the August 1964 release of A Hard Day’s Night. We Beatlemanics were in line for hours to see the movie. Everyone talked about John Lennon’s book, 16 magazine, and our Beatle bubble gum cards. Then you could mail $25 to get Hollywood Bowl tickets to see the Beatles. Now I go to the Whittier Village Cinemas to watch sci-fi and Harry Potter films. Yes, I remember the old drapes and decor…but it’s the price of popcorn that creeps me out! However, you can’t beat the admission and location…it’s small town-like.

kencmcintyre on August 19, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Here is a January 2007 ad from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

MikeCoke on February 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I also grewup in Whittier & remember seeing many Monster movies there 13 Ghost, The Giant Claw & Rodan! The Flying Monster to name a few.
I also remember that between the Lobby & the theater there were no doors only heavy velvet drapes.
I seem to remember that the Restrooms were upo the curved stairs behind the Snack Bar.

Sunnytiff on October 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I grew up in Whittier attending the Wardman Theater for matinees of such movies as “It Came From Beneath The Sea” and “The Blob” (I loved Sci-fi flicks!.) It was a wonderful little theater, and since I moved back to Uptown Whittier 10 years ago, I can walk two blocks to see most first-run movies whenever I want. But about a month ago, the last vestiges of the original interior finally disappeared——the original concession stand (with its popcorn maker). Now, when you enter the lobby, you are faced with more of those obscene video games where the old concession stand (and staircase to the balcony)used to be. And they call this “progress”.

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 8:55 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

ImpressivelyOrdinary on March 5, 2006 at 5:14 pm

Two old restrooms, the projection room, an egyptian style room is up the stairs behind the snack bar.

jmarellano on November 6, 2005 at 6:00 pm

I would like to know what lurks upstairs beyond the door next to the concession stand. The original staircase to teh upper lobby is still there, along with what I beleive to be the two doorways into the old lobby. The back of the theatre there is used today as a game room. The old theatre was cut into two and two theatres built into it. Six additional screens were built in the back of the old one. This theatre has stadium seating in all 8 screens, and the two large houses have really good sound.

The hall to the theatres im thinking could have been most likely part of the original auditorium.

AnnieFlanagan on October 2, 2005 at 5:22 pm

If it is of any use to anyone, my mom was an usherette at the Wardman in the ‘40’s and she used to park me in the projection booth with Mr. Wardman until her shift was finished, then we’d watch the next show. The lounge area upstairs was really beautiful, at that time. I grew up in the Roxy, around the corner from the Wardman, with its Saturday matinees, complete with yo-yo contests, etc., the Wardman, and the beautiful Spanish Revival Whittier Theatre, on Whittier Boulevard. After the War, my mom and I would chase the searchlights all over the L.A. basin on the weekends, attending shows at every movie house operating from Santa Monica to Long Beach to La Habra, Fullerton and Santa Ana. I’m currently restoring and operating the 1928 Patricia Theatre in Powell River, B.C., and draw heavily on my recollections of what REAL movie palaces looked like in their prime, in L.A.!
Annie F.

tbdavid on January 12, 2005 at 11:32 am

Hello from Colorado!

Vincent Miranda was my God Father and owner of the Pussycat chain. I have been putting together a collection of ANYTHING Pussycat. Even a old matchbook would make my day! If you have any information, pis or even storys ..please let me know.


Tim David


sueb1017 on November 21, 2004 at 12:18 pm

I have visited the Historical Society and spoke to a few people in Uptown businesses including Derek the current manager for the Village Cinemas. I have acquired plenty of information but I would really like to get some testimonials from anyone who might have visited the Pussycat Theater when it was still in operation. This cinematic case-study is one of my last papers before i graduate from college (December 17!!!). I would appreciate any help whatsoever. I can omit names if desired or use pseudonyms if there are people out there who do not want their name on a research paper.

If you have any information or know of anyone who might please contant me:
Susie Balpuesta
(562) 686-5990

Thank you very much for your time and consideration

William on November 2, 2004 at 6:44 am

The Wardman Theatre was operated by the Pussycat Theatre chain after Pacific Theatres dropped the house from their chain. The Pussycat Theatre chain operated many former neighborhood theatres like the Lyric Theatre in Huntington Park (former Fox House), Monica Theatre in West Hollywood (Tomkat Theatre now), State Theatre in Pasadena (former Mann / Fox House), Town in Downtown LA (former Bard’s), New View Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., California Theatre on Main Street in Downtown LA, Guild Theatre in North Hollywood (former Mann/Fox House), Sunset Theatre in Hollywood (one of the last Pussycats to be operating). They operated other theatres in Inglewood, Santa Monica, Reseda, Buena Park, just to name a few.

sueb1017 on November 1, 2004 at 9:52 pm

Does anyone have any more or know where I can got more information on the history of the Village Cinemas? I was told that it once operated as a porno theater is this statement true? I am interested in doing a case study on this particular theater and need any guidance.

thank you

jmarellano on July 16, 2004 at 5:17 pm

I beleive they added Stadium in all theatres now. I saw Passion here and it was not bad at all.

JakeM on July 16, 2004 at 1:55 pm

This theatre displays large poster-sized photos of other Whittier theatres that did not escape the wrecking ball. The pics are located along the theatre building south on Greenleaf.