Vision Theatre

3341 W. 43rd Place,
Los Angeles, CA 90008

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Lands
Lands on June 21, 2017 at 10:12 pm

When I returned after 3 year in 2013, I was surprised that the renovation was moving forward. Now 3 ½ years later I return and can find little on what’s happened since then.

The Vision Theater website isn’t around anymore, and there aren’t any recent updates in the news. I’m saddened but not surprised the way government generally handles things. I hope they ditched the idea of creating 3 levels inside, and just restore it to it’s former glory.

Maybe I’m wrong and they have progressed since “stage 1,” but I doubt it. Please tell me if I’m wrong. :–(

While looking around I did find pictures of the side space that we would walk along when exiting to go to lunch during the Jehovah Witness conventions – the hand rails still there (not sure why I still remember that).

http://photobucket.com/gallery/user/pandisoo/media/cGF0aDoyMDEzL1Zpc2lvblRoZWF0ZXIvUDEwMjA1Mzhsb196cHM4N2E1MGI2OC5qcGc=/?ref=

http://photobucket.com/gallery/user/pandisoo/media/cGF0aDoyMDEzL1Zpc2lvblRoZWF0ZXIvUDEwMjA0NzZsb196cHMxZDJiYTZhYS5qcGc=/?ref=

They are from this wonderful article: http://www.avoidingregret.com/2013/09/photo-essay-vision-theater-rising.html

It’s funny how some places and things still with you. I remember how the seats often squeaked. As discussed previously, I remember how cold the water was from the front “magic” fountain. I remember how glorious the tall side walls were. And the very cool handrails inside the main room that you’d always seem to shock yourself on (maybe the rug was so plush then?).

Hope someday it’s back to it’s old glory.

Lands
Lands on December 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

Thank you Joe and Don for your updates. I must say I’m shocked to see that the renovation has actually moved forward. I checked on and off after my post 3 years ago (wow) and would only find the original announcement.

It’s very nice to see that they seem to be restoring more that they are trying to update. It’s got some wonderful art deco in it.

The water from that fountain was COLD, as was the soft serve ice cream that was sold out of the booth next to it. If you look on Google maps, you’ll see a building across the street from the parking lot behind the theater. Looks like a cultural center now. Back then it was the cafeteria for the church and also had baptism pools.

I hope it all stays on track. Take care.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm

People keep asking about the drinking fountain in the lobby Of the Leimert Theatre, and a couple of members have linked to a photo of the lobby with the drinking fountain at left. Unfortunately they have linked to the copy at the California State Library, which is an unstable site that doesn’t offer anything like a permalink, so the links are dead.

Fortunately, the more reliable web site of the Los Angeles Public Library also has a copy of the photo, so I think that link should stay alive. Unfortunately, the LAPL’s scan is a bit dark and the background detail gets lost, but the fountain is visible, if a bit too contrasty. It’s probably the best we can do for now, though.

People have also been asking if the drinking fountain is still there. Sadly, judging from this photo by Bill Counter, dated 2010, the fountain is gone.

Both of those photos are featured on the Leimert / Vision Theatre page of Bill Counter’s excellent web site More Los Angeles Movie Palaces which, along with his sites for downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Wilshire district theaters (all linked from that page) is the most extensive single online resource for information about historic Southern California movie theaters. The Leimert page has dozens of photos, both vintage and recent, and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in this venerable suburban survivor.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on November 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Recently, the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation toured the Vision/Leimert theatre following the successful completion of stage 1 of its restoration. If you missed it, you can get an Insiders Peek here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gputY94V2yU

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on August 12, 2013 at 6:41 am

Art1956, because Vision is the most recent name of the theatre. Leimert is listed as a previous name.

Art1956
Art1956 on August 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I don’t understand why it’s listed as the Vision Theatre. For the 40 or so years it was a movie theatre it was called the Leimert.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on March 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Thanks for the info. I’ve seen that photo before, but couldn’t tell if that was the fountain or not. We even searched the walls looking for evidence of pipes, etc.

And I agree that it would be nice if they get this place restored. The plans that they presented at our event were very ambitious. For one thing, they talked about building a new floor in the auditorium so they would have stadium seating — but they would preserve the original walls.

Lands
Lands on March 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for the fast reply Don. I found the pictures and they are great. I doubt that awful burgundy of the interior section was the same back when I was there. I remember it as dark browns and ocre gold. Maybe dark blues too? Could be wrong. Glad some of the originality survived though.

I really remember those golden columns at the side of the stage. I remember the drinking fountain as being here as shown in the corner of the picture: View link

As you can imagine,

there was always a line of kids waiting to use it. Back then, there was a soft serve ice cream station. I can’t remember if it was in what looks like a coat check room in the above picture, or if that was an information booth.

I know I have at least one picture backstage from a convention. I’ll try and find it soon. Looking at the current site on Google maps, I’m not sure where the cafeteria actually sat. I remember walking through the parking lot…

Hopefully they’ll improve the theatre to it’s original luster and improve conditions around the place as well. Even back then it was bad, but I hear it’s gotten much worse.

BTW – the water from the fountain was always cold, which was nice cause the theatre would get hot.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on March 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Lands, thanks for the great post! My photos from that day are posted on Facebook at the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation’s page. I don’t think you have to become a “fan” to look at them. The mural on the ceiling is still there, looking very good in fact. As for the cafeteria, I don’t know about that. It sounds like it would have been in the retail space on the side, and we didn’t get into that.

Hey, you might be able help us solve a little mystery… Do you know where the water fountain was located?

Lands
Lands on March 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm

***Don S: I’m so bummed I missed the tour last October. If you have an pictures from the event, and more details, that would be awesome.

I thought I’d leave some memories. I attended Jehovah’s Witness conventions at the theatre for 2 or 3 years way back in the 80’s. It obviously left a mark, as I still think of it today. Back then the place seemed very big.

My brother and I would explore. We’d stand out front and look at the mosaic on the sidewalk.

During the talks, I’d gaze up at the amazing mural on the ceiling. I remember the blues and golds, along with sparkles in it: View link (wish I had a color photo)

The Gold rails you see here: View link Would shock you as you touched them from walking on the plush carpets. The seats were comfortable but often squeaked.

There was a long steep downward walkway on the left side of the auditorium. You’d walk there to go to the cafeteria.

Back then I always assumed the place had been built by the church because so much of it fit into it’s art and architecture imagery.

Is the mural still there? Is the cafeteria? Any way to visit it? Boy I hope they don’t change much if they ever manage to renovate it.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on February 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

David, the theater was built by the Leimert family (I believe), and was leased by H. Hughes and his partner. They only ran it for about a year before going out of business.

davidawilson
davidawilson on February 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

This theater was originally developed by Howard Hughes to show his movies in his theaters. The acoustics in the auditorium are fantastic. I worked with Marla Gibbs as her contractor/friend in the clean up renovation as part of “Rebuild LA”. The movie theater was converted into a playhouse for approximately three weeks. There were continuous live performances in the auditorium. One of the performers was a gospel group called Honey on the Rock. My firm installed the sign “Vision Theater”. Marla had a fantastic vision, unfortunately, the timing was extremely bad for her. It is great that the city is taking the incentive to restore this fantastic landmark.

moviebear1
moviebear1 on October 31, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Isn’t this a picture of the lobby that shows a drinking fountain in the corner?

View link

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on October 18, 2009 at 11:31 am

A big question at yesterday’s All About: where exactly was the fountain with the electric eye? No one can seem to find a photograph showing it. We also examined all the nooks and crannies, trying to figure it out, with no luck.

The renovation is planned to take part in 3 stages. The first involves the entrance/lobby, the second covers the auditorium, the last would involve removing everything beyond the proscenium and creating an entirely new structure that would include dressing rooms and support space. The projected completion date is now 2012.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on October 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Word is that Crenshaw Blvd will be closed tomorrow between MLK and Rodeo for a street festival.

www.tasteofsoulla.com

Be prepared with an alternate route!

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on October 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Doors open at 10 a.m. this Saturday. Here’s an idea of what to expect:

10:00 â€" Doors open â€" register guests
PowerPoint onscreen – LA’s Historic Theatres â€" as guests arrive
10:30 â€" Program Begins in Auditorium
Welcome â€" LAHTF, DCA, & guests
Save the Fairfax â€" Friends of the Fairfax
How the tour works
PowerPoint history by Ed Kelsey of the Leimert/Vision and neighborhood
PowerPoint from design team of Vision’s future
Q&A
Review neighborhood dining & shopping options
Theatre Tour â€"
(self guided, with docents in place to point out areas of interest and historic detail)
12:30-1:00 â€" tour ends â€"

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on October 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Anybody up for a tour of this theater and a presentation on its history? The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation will be holding an “All About…” at the Leimert/Vision Theater on October 17th. Keep an eye here for more details, check in at www.lahtf.org, or join us on Facebook.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Mike: On your initial search results page, check the box marked “previous names” and hit “search” again. The current name will come up in new results.

Mike Tiano
Mike Tiano on September 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm

The Leimert Theatre’s original name needs to somehow be added to search…I didn’t know it was most recently called the Vision until I learned about it on another site.

Art1956
Art1956 on June 6, 2008 at 5:49 am

I have some fond memories of the Leimert Theatre.I grew up near there and I remember alternating between there and the Baldwin-depending on what was playing. I remember seeing For A Few Dollars More and I Crossed The Colored Line on a double featureI remember when they showed Cool Hand Luke and Wait Until Dark,together. You were lucky if you found a seat. Bonnie And Clyde drew a large crowd as well. The second feature was Point Blank,which would become a cult film. The last movie I saw there was Grand Prix and Sol Madrid with Anzio being the next attraction in 1968. Unfotunately,that double feature was the last movies screened there.The theatre abruptly closed.

SheilaG
SheilaG on April 5, 2008 at 10:44 am

Great photos ken mc ! I was wondering if anyone else remembers the record store that was on the corner, before the cleaners was there?
This had to be in the late 50’s early 60’s.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 4, 2008 at 11:15 pm

This 1933 photo was taken at the same time as the first LAPL photo posted on 11/28/05, but from a different angle.
http://tinyurl.com/6epqoy