Center Theatre

4760 Whittier Boulevard,
East Los Angeles, CA 90022

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Opened in 1926, the Center had push back seats, and frosted glass running lights which were over six feet tall on the side walls. The upstairs lounge was modeled after a large european drawing room. Painted scenes of gardens could be seen behind tall decorative windows.

It closed in the mid-1970’s after several years of screening adult male porn movies.

Contributed by Jim Lytell, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

gverdin on November 6, 2006 at 7:47 pm

In the 1960’s, on Sunday afternoons, my family would drive up and down Whittier Boulevard to see what movies were playing at the three local cinemas: The Golden Gate, Boulevard, and the Center. And while I have vivid memories of the Golden Gate’s beautiful courtyeard and building, and the Boulevard’s great marquee, the Center seemed less distinguished. I do remember watching “The Omega Man,” “Man in the Wilderness,” and a few Elvis movies. When my uncle would visit from Mexico he would drag me to the Alameda, the Spanish language cinema. It was a nice theater but at the time I just wasn’t into Mexican cinema.

jaimemoreno on February 15, 2007 at 2:30 am

The Center Theater was the first movie house I ever went to. The first movie I ever was Godzilla.
What I remembered most about the Center was there was a hotdog stand attached partly to the lobby and part of it outside to the street. This allowed patrons to buy hotdogs or hamburgers from inside or out outside the theater. I never saw anything like it again.

kencmcintyre on June 13, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Advertised at 4762 Whittier Boulevard in the LA Times on 7/16/69. Featured films were “All Male-All Gay-All Color, continuous from 10 a.m.”

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 9:44 am

Maybe demolished, maybe not. The back of the building looks old. The front looks like possibly wooden paneling covering the old exterior. Maybe the theater portion in the front was demolished for retail and they left the rest of the building intact. I took some pictures which I will post later.

Irene225 on June 10, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I used to go to the Center when I was young (9-10 years old) in the late 40s. They used to have contests for kids on the stage on Saturdays before the movies started. The last movie I saw there was East of Eden. I also went to all the other theaters on Whittier Blvd., including the Jewel and Garmar.

kencmcintyre on September 28, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Here is a May 1969 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on August 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

The last ads in the LA Times for the Center are in early 1971.

MJuggler on June 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm

My Dad just told me, that while he was working as an usher at the Golden Gate Theatre in the 1940’s, sometimes the Center Theatre needed ushers and would call up and borrow a few of the young men & women for the day. That was the practice for several of the theatres up and down Whittier Blvd even though they had different owners. I take this Fathers Day tale with a grain of salt but it sounds good. He worked for $.50 per hour back then.

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