Manchester Theatre

322 W. Manchester Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90003

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Manchester Theatre, South Central Los Angeles, CA - 1930

The Manchester Theatre was built for West Coast Theatres and opened on January 20, 1926 with Ben Lyon in “Bluebeard’s Seven Wives” and on stage a Fanchon & Marco revue “Varieties Ideas”. It was located on W. Manchester Boulevard, next to an off-ramp for the Harbor Freeway, approximately three miles east of the Academy Theatre and Fifth Avenue Theatre.

In the 1960’s the theatre ran exploitation films or films with sensational titles like "Lady In A Cage" (which can be seen on AMC). While I was too young to stupidly drive to this theatre and go inside, I got a good look at the patrons each time we drove by (my parents had friends in the area).

My impression was that, if I had patronized this theatre, I would not have left the auditorium alive. This is the type of theatre that John Waters writes about in his book "Shock Value."

If anyone attended the Manchester Theatre, they most likely knew martial arts and wore body armor into the theatre. Pleased to hear from anyone who had the ganas (nerve) to attend the Manchester Theatre.

Contributed by George Haider

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

kencmcintyre on October 2, 2007 at 7:07 pm

The Mecca is already listed, so AAA would be another name, if I understand you correctly. I thought the AAA and the Mecca were separate theaters.

DrT on October 3, 2007 at 8:21 am

Ken; They were the same theater, just different names as the years went by. The AAA was the last on the totem pole as far as getting first run pictures and if you missed them at other theaters you could eventually see them at the AAA (Mecca or PIX). Spent many a happy hour in the AAA as a young boy.

kencmcintyre on October 3, 2007 at 8:56 am

The building still exists. It’s part of a community outreach center.

kencmcintyre on October 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Here is part of an LA Times story from April 1933:

Police retaliated yesterday with the capture of one bandit after gunmen had gleaned more than $900 cash in four daring daylight holdups, including two theaters, a woman motorist and a Hollywood travel bureau.

Captured shortly after he and a confederate had taken $200 from the Manchester Theater, 330 West Manchester avenue, a man identified as George H. Putnam, 26, was held by police on a charge of suspicion of robbery.

Putnam was taken into custody a short distance from the theater through the alertness of Salvador Cervantes, janitor, who turned in the alarm after the bandits had bound and gagged manager Perry Morgan and another janitor. Putnam was returning to his parked automobile when he was arrested.

Three bandits tied up C.M. Bayers, manager of the Larchmont Theater, 147 N. Larchmont Blvd, to take $500 from the office safe. The bandits used wire in making fast Bayers’ hands and feet.

rickyrecon45 on February 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

I went to the Manchester Theater all the time as a white teenager. We saw Love Me Tender there which was Elvis' first movie. I grew up at 91st and Vermont and took the bus up the the Manchester and the Triple A theater around the corner all the time in the 50’s-60’s. My black neighbors were not violent. Teenagers fought at all the shows during this period. The Triple A had great kid matinees with cartoons and triple features of course. I loved the Laurel and Hardy movies.

lauriebrown on August 19, 2010 at 11:46 am

I grew up on 90th and Main (I was born in 1954, a white kid), and went to the Manchester fairly frequently, in the years between the mid-60s and 1972, when we moved from Los Angeles. I was one of those obnoxious little shits sitting up in the balcony making noise.

Even though I was a kid, I remember the beauty of that theater. What a shame it’s gone. I hate the looks of modern theaters.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on May 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

Click here for an exterior view of the Manchester Theatre in 1930.

Ron Pierce
Ron Pierce on October 23, 2018 at 3:08 am

Grand Opening notice for January 20, 1926, is now in the photo section.

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