Norwalk Theatre

12039 Firestone Boulevard,
Norwalk, CA 90650

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adamlove
adamlove on June 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

ORCon:

What publication did you find that remodeling information in?

Are there any accompanying photos?

Thanks,

Adam

adamlove
adamlove on June 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I just added a picture of a newspaper ad for this theatre from 1957.

Please note that it is being advertised as “The New Norwalk”.

Anyone know what this refers to? At one point the separate outside box office was eliminated and the lobby was expanded. Could this have been when these changes were made?

In the picture taken in 1953, the little box office was still there.

adamlove
adamlove on June 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I am looking for pictures of the Norwalk Theater. I would like to talk to anyone who would be willing to share scans of their phots taken from any and all angles. I would like to build a model of the theater.

I am a veteran of the 50’s kiddie matinees. I saw ALL of the now classic sci-fi movies from front row, center. Those are my happiest childhood memories.

I can be contacted at: adamlove(at)ca(dot)rr (dot) com

I would especially like to hear from Harold Taylor and Randy Henderson.

Anyone there when this theater was torn down? I wish I could have been there to grab a souvenir from the rubble.

SPIKE62
SPIKE62 on June 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I WORKED THERE IN 1985 TILL THEY CLOSED I USED TO RUN MOVIES BACK THEN AND CLOSE AT NIGHT SOMETIMES WHEN I’M ALONE THERE I RUN FILMS THERE AND PIECE THE SCRAPS TOGETHER AND SOME TIMES SCARY IN THE DARK THEATRE

Terrytaylor
Terrytaylor on April 21, 2013 at 11:04 am
I practically lived in the Norwalk theatre from around 1958 through the early 60's. I admit some memories may be foggy, but I fondly recall the William Castle stuff ("House on Haunted Hill" being my favorite), The "Abott and Costello Meets______" series, The Sinbad movies, and "Journey to the Center of the Earth," etc., along with those wonderful all afternoon cartoon marathons. Kids could be fairly rowdy back then during the showings....roughnecking and chasing each other around the theatre and throwing popcorn (and even popcorn boxes) at the screen. The manager would invariably stop whatever was showing, walk out and stand in the front of the auditorium where he would proceed to reprimand us by saying that if we kept up our rude behavior he would shut down the theatre and send us all home. We would be sufficiently shamed for a few minutes after he left and then the rowdier kids would start up again. That wonderful film loving manager never did make good on his promise to close things down. I recall (as someone posted earlier) that he got a kick out of creating a scary ambience whenever a horror film was playing by decorating the lobby with spider webs, coffins, and other assorted props. I do wish I could recall his name. He was a good man and, it goes without saying, a very patient one. 
                I may be wrong about this, but I believe I saw Psycho at this same theatre (no ratings or age restrictions back then) and of course I was absolutely terrified and deeply disturbed. It's a big leap from watching Abbot and Costello being chased by the wolfman to a naked Janet Leigh being stabbed in the shower! 
                All in all, that theatre gave me some of the best memories of my life and it is a joy to hear your recollections as well as to share my own with you. Keep it up because I never tire of it. : )   
                
adamlove
adamlove on March 27, 2011 at 2:43 am

RE-POST

I am looking for pictures of the Norwalk Theater. I would like to talk to anyone who would be willing to share scans of their phots taken from any and all angles. I would like to build a model of the theater.

I have a scan of not-so-great photo of the theater taken in December of 1953 I am willing to share with any who respond. It is a panorama photo and shows the theater and the intersection where it stood.

I am a veteran of the 50’s kiddie matinees. I saw ALL of the now classic sci-fi movies from front row, center. Those are my happiest childhood memories.

I can be contacted at: adamlove(at)ca(dot)rr(dot)com

I would especially like to hear from Harold Taylor and Randy Henderson.

I’d also like to get copies of any pictures of the area across the street on Firestone. (Anyone else old enough to remember Roy’s Toys?)

norwalksown
norwalksown on January 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

wow memories i had there. from 49 cents to 59 cents to 99 cents is what i remember. also recieved my first kiss there. at age of 12. also became very popular with us kids during time hip hop movement started and break dancing was the thing. the theater was known to be the place to go to to see other kids break dancing so away i went with my ghetto blaster … wow to be young. I really enjoyed reading every ones memories

pwhite4652
pwhite4652 on February 19, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Yes,,,,it was a XXX Porn Theatre in 1982….I know, because I worked there part time, selling tickets, and running the concession stand……good times…..even had to put up with relgious zealots supergluing the locks so no one could enter….“Doing the Lord’s Work”, even if it was destruction of property. It must’ve worked ‘cause I saw in 1984 it turned into a family theater, on this site. It was called Norwalk Twin Cinemas….they showed 70’s raunch porn….ah, the good ole daze…..seeing John C. Holmes on a Giant Screen. God Bless that old place. ;)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm

The April 3, 1972, issue of Boxoffice reported that the Norwalk Twin had opened recently. The theater had been remodeled inside and out, and the two auditoriums each seated 300.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 18, 2008 at 10:30 pm

The Google Maps link for the Norwalk Theatre won’t display the correct location unless the address is changed to that which the property has now: 12039 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650.

adamlove
adamlove on December 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm

Hi, Mike: I wish I caouls have had your experience of working at the Norwalk Theatre. I spent many of my most fondly-remembered 1950’s childhood hours sitting in the dark in that old building.

No one I knew ever knew in the 50;s and 60’s ever called it the Norwalk Theatre. It was known by one and all simply as “The Show”.

The Norwalk Theatre (by then doing business as the Norwalk Tin Cinemas) was indeed an X-rated theatre for a brief time.

Here is a link to a picture of picketers in front of the Norwalk:

http://tinyurl.com/2pj3ft

Protesters managed to get it re-converted to a family theatre.

wobcf
wobcf on December 27, 2007 at 7:51 pm

I moved to Norwalk in 1952. Attended many shows at the old Norwalk. Lots of nice memories there. Worked a couple days, for free of course, one summer on the inside. I don’t remember exactly what we did, but I do remember the sticky shreds of fiberglass from the back of the screen sticking into me and my clothes. A friend was aquainted with the manager is why we were there, but his name also slips my memory. I think the Porn place everyone is thinking of was at Pioneer and Firestone near the Sheriff station, next door to the Club 11, a local bar.
Mike Proffitt

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 3, 2007 at 8:04 am

The Norwalk was listed in this 1925 Paramount ad in the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/32a5wd

Here is a November 1981 article after the theater was twinned:
http://tinyurl.com/35e74w
http://tinyurl.com/37l5bz

adamlove
adamlove on June 23, 2007 at 9:48 am

FILM DAILY YEARBOOK for 1935 lists the Norwalk as an operating theatre – confirming its existence in 1934.

FILM DAILY YEARBOOK for 1936 lists the Norwalk as an operating theatre seating 646.

Here is a picture of the theatre taken in December of 1953.

http://tinyurl.com/yuw8zh

edsled
edsled on June 23, 2007 at 9:23 am

I remember the Norwalk Theatre very fondly. I attended movies there in the 50’s when you could see two western shoot’m up’s and 50 cartoons and a couple serials in an afternoon. The early horror movies were very popular as was “Abbott & Costello” I remember seeing “War of the Worlds” with my good buddy and “The Wizard of Oz” with my older sister Trish. If I’m not mistaken they even had a raffle for a bycycle between movies somtimes. I was surprised to see that a fellow high school classmate of mine Harold Taylor managed the theatre in the 70’s. I joined the Navy after school in 1960 and never got a chance to come back. Those were some of my best days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2006 at 1:29 pm

Adam: it’s quite possible that the 1927 version of the Norwalk Theatre was destroyed in the 1933 earthquake, and the building rebuilt in 1935. Damage in the area was severe.

wobcf
wobcf on October 23, 2006 at 5:49 am

I also attended movies at the Norwalk in the early 50’s as did my parents. One summer I worked for a manager helping to clean and such meager duties. I wish I could remember his name. It was a nice neighborhood theater. After 1958 I don’t know much about it except it was sad to see it being demolished.

adamlove
adamlove on October 19, 2006 at 5:22 pm

Great new information. Another source I found stated the theater was built in 1935. From that reference I had assumed that it was constructed during the re-building after the big 1933 earthquake anlong the Long Beach fault. That quake had knocked down some un-reinforced brick builings in the area and damaged facades of several builings along Front Street – One street over from Firestone Blvd.

Now it looks as if the theater may have been built in time to catch the last days of the silent movie era. That’s fun to think about.

Sadly, the theater DID play porno some time in the 1970’s. A picture exists of demonstrators marching in front of the then “Norwalk Twin Cinema”. The protest was successful in reverting the business to a family theater, but may have actually hastened its ultimate demise.

I am still seeking pictures of the Norwalk Theater and the sourounding business area.

My correct e-mail address is:

I have a picture to share.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 19, 2006 at 12:06 pm

The California Index quotes Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of 4/15/1927 announcing plans for the Norwalk Theatre. It was to cost $30,000, to seat about 600, and was to be built for a company called Principal Theaters. The name of the architect is not mentioned.

ejaycat
ejaycat on December 22, 2005 at 9:34 am

Does anyone know, then, where the porno theater was on Firestone Boulevard in Norwalk?

RandyHenderson
RandyHenderson on December 15, 2005 at 5:50 pm

It is so great to hear from someone who actually managed the old Norwalk, though my memories are about 20 years earlier. I’ll always remember the coffin in the lobby for HOUSE OF USHER. Also, in those late 50’s, early 60’s years, they did kiddie matinees in a big way – with printed flyers the week before, made a real production of it at 25 cents a head. Glad to hear it never went porno.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 9, 2005 at 1:42 pm

There was also a Norwalk Blvd Drive In:

View link

Harold
Harold on August 24, 2005 at 12:09 pm

More to add – I forgot to mention that the Norwalk was then operated by Cummings Theatres – They owned the Meralta and Avenue theatres in Downey. Another interesting thing was the fully equipped apartment above the Marquee – that the company would not for some reason rent me. It had not been occupied for many years, so maybe it was not in any shape to rent – but it looked great – had a kitchen and bathroom, everything.