Panorama Theatre

9110 Van Nuys Boulevard,
Panorama City, CA 91402

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holland53
holland53 on March 21, 2014 at 6:22 am

Thanks very much for the nine photos radavis33. Haunting pictures, as I do remember all those different locations in/out of the theater. After Americana Theater opened Panorama Theater lost a lot of business. Strange—I don’t remember at all when it had two theaters. It was one big red-pluched hall with lights on the side walls. There was also a bench outside of the restrooms—if you misbehaved you had to sit there until the usher said you could leave.

radavis33
radavis33 on March 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm

The nine photos I uploaded today were taken by me in July 2004, on a nostalgia drive through the Valley (where I lived from 1953 through 1973). I remember spending many late 50s – early 60s summer days at this theater with my friends watching almost exclusively Sci-Fi. We saw The Time Machine six times, with all but one as 2nd feature. I recall the crying room, as well as the shock of leaving the darkened theater (via the rear exit) after watching two movies, to find that it was still bright outside – with plenty of time left to play.

rivest266
rivest266 on August 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

This opened on December 19th, 1949. It’s grand opening ad has been uploaded here.

holland53
holland53 on November 1, 2011 at 6:25 am

Great comments. Wonderful memories including the “crying room”. Was in those days a “chic” theater. Saturdays were always matinees with at least 2 films (mostly science-fiction) and a series (you had to keep coming back). This is around ‘62-'65. Saw Hard Day’s Night and Help there, as well as countless (musical)films. In those days you could stay and watch a film(s) again without paying extra. Wonder if Bill Robinson or Alfredo remember the usher, Jay Hammond, from late 50’s/early 60’s. Thanks for this wonderful walk down memory lane.

robinto44
robinto44 on August 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

My grandfather, Max Torodor was one of the three original partners. My father, Don Torodor managed the theater for many years. I remember spending so much of my childhood there helping the “candy girls” as we called them and having crushes on the ushers. I also remember my sister and I being allowed to go up to the projection room with Forest, the Projectionist and watch the movies from there. It always had a wonderful musty smell combined with the smell of buttered popcorn. I remember a Beatle movie, maybe “Help”? They sold Beatles memorabilia on the counter and I swear I remember them selling Beatle wigs!?!? I also remember very scary Vincent Price movies. I was too young to see a lot of the movies that were shown. I was born in 1957 so I probably wasn’t hanging out there until at least 1962. Does anyone remember Alfedo Gonzales? He started out taking tickets at the door and was “promoted” to the candy counter. From there to Assistant Manager and then to Manager!! He is a wonderful person. Many years later he approached my dad about opening his first restaurant “La Serenita” which he finally opened next door to the theater, where CHICHI’s Pizza used to be. A friend of mine just sent me this link and it was so great to read all posts. What a trip down memory lane!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 16, 2010 at 12:12 am

Looking at the pictures you got to LOOK to find the Theatre.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I like the name,looked pretty cool from the outside too bad there are no inside shots.

BradE41
BradE41 on February 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I love the look of the theatre.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 1, 2009 at 2:26 am

This was in Boxoffice in June 1949:

Max Torodor broke ground last week for his 1,000-seat Panorama Theatre in Van Nuys. Ceremonies, led by Andy Devine, featured sinking a “time capsule” containing current southland and Hollywood mementos.

joepyne
joepyne on October 3, 2008 at 6:59 am

right! there was a crying room. around 1960 i think there was a pizza place and a hobby shop next to the panarama.
i remember seeing “forbidden planet”, “war of the worlds”, the original “parent trap”, and “the alamo” about 10 times!!!
once invited to sit with the girls. magda was the cutest girl in the school, but i thought she had a tough boyfried, who would knock my head off! yes. i think that is the phone number of the panarama!
also, saw a “l'il abner” movie, which i have never seen anywhere else!? visited the old neighborhood last year (arleta — used to be pacoima). the hebrew school on beachy and osborne is no longer there, but the building is still there. around 1980 noticed spanish movies playing at the panarama. last year noticed the panarama sign was still there — i should take a picture for this website next time in LA.
finally, saw “the time machine” there — going into the future where the morlocks have taken over!

Grampar
Grampar on July 21, 2008 at 12:42 am

I worked as an usher at the Panorama Theater from summer 1957, until I joined the Navy in July, 1958. Lots of great memories.
Bill Robinson

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 25, 2007 at 11:57 pm

The Panorama opened on 12/22/49. The telephone number was EM 2-1167.

DavidPabian
DavidPabian on January 13, 2007 at 11:27 am

I grew up going to the “kids' Saturday Matinees” in the 1950s. 25-cent admission, unless it was a Disney film, then it was 35. On Summer vacations the matinees were every day. I remember the long one-sheet of all the summer movies, all “kid-friendly” items and lots of cheesy horror. Every so often an actor from one of the movies would show up and take a bow. I remember the “crying room” in the back with a separate entrance for parents with babies – about eight 10 or 12-seat rows with a large window looking out at the screen (the historic Vista Theater in Hollywood also has one, upstairs, now hidden behind curtains). The Panorama was indeed a single-screen theater, as there was no other kind when it was built (as stated above, the Americana Theater down the street was an early convert to multiple screens – in its case seven – but it too began as a single-screen). I remember the lines around the Panorama for Oscar Cow “Gigi” in 1958 and for “West Side Story” in 1961. Every Saturday I would call the theater to find out that day’s matinee, and still remember the number – EMpire 2-1167.

dickg
dickg on January 18, 2006 at 3:52 pm

My son, Mark Grossman, (see above) told me about this site; my father, Edward Grossman and 3 associates opened the Panorama on December 20, 1949,and operated it until 1970. We leased the premises to several companies including Metropolitan Theatres who twinned it and booked Spanish language films until the Universal Church assumed the lease in 2002. My father was a recognized pioneer in the industry dating back to 1917.

LarryDuck
LarryDuck on January 31, 2005 at 6:56 pm

“Copped” my first little “feel” in this theater in 1964…

Don’t worry, we’ve been married 35 years come May.

:)

Knatcal
Knatcal on November 17, 2004 at 1:10 am

The theater that Glendale 5 wrote about on August 11, 2004, is not the Panorama Theatre but the Americana down the street on Van Nuys Boulevard in Panorama City which closed much more recently.

mgrossman
mgrossman on October 8, 2004 at 4:36 am

My grandfather, Edward Grossman, built the theater as a single-screen house. When it was new it showed many sneak previews and first-runs, and was frequented by numerous stars. It did indeed have a “crying room” in the back. It had a nice, bright carbon arc projection system. As a kid my brother and I used to watch LOTS of free matinees and visit Forest in the projection room.

thomasl
thomasl on September 17, 2004 at 6:49 pm

As a boy growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I went to dozens of movies at the Panorama Theatre, located at the corner of Nordhoff and Van Nuys Blvd. This spacious theatre was the official theatre of Panorama City, a beautifully planned community in the center of the Valley. Sadly, as the neighborhood decayed, the Panorama Theatre deteoriated with it. The good news is it is still fully intact, unlike so many of the Valley theatres that were torn down in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

seanmckinley
seanmckinley on August 11, 2004 at 7:08 am

The Panorama theatre may have started as a twin , but it had been multi-plexed by the time I visited it several times in the early 1990’s. The theartre appeared to be two separate structures. The main auditorium was on the north side of the complex, and seemed to have been left unaltered, It had a separate entrance and lobby with concession at street level on Van Nuys Blvd. This auditorium I think sat between 340 to 450 patrons. The structure to the south Contained the box office, the main lobby and concession, the south theatre had beenpoorly multi-plexed sometime in it recent past, splitting the theatre in to 4 separate screens with a central hall. There was a small hall that crossed the main hall halfway down the building. This made each auditorium is own separate little box. The doors to theses auditorium used to slam shut rather loudly. The curtain material that llined the walls of these auditoriums were in need of a real good cleaning. I do believe the name of the company to run the theatre was Cinemacal. Later on I think part of the building was a bueaty college

William
William on December 17, 2003 at 1:23 am

The theatre was built in 1949.

William
William on December 17, 2003 at 1:23 am

The architect of the Panorama Theatre was W.L. Pereira.

Knatcal
Knatcal on October 17, 2003 at 8:55 pm

In the early 1970s, as a small child, I visted this theater. My only clear memory is of a small eclosed room with a window in the back of the theater for mothers with babies to view the movie.