Bard's West Adams

4409 W. Adams Blvd.  | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90016

Opened:  1925 by Lou Bard as Bard's West Adams. In the 1929 city directory it was called Bard's Adams Street. The location is just west of Crenshaw Blvd., in the West Adams district. The front of the building had apartments and offices on the second floor.

Bard operated a number of other theatres including the Olympic downtown on 8th off Broadway (when he had it it was Bard's 8th St.) and two Hill Street theatres nearby, the Town Theatre and the College Theatre.

Bard's was the circuit that also built the Vista Theatre on Sunset Dr. in the Los Feliz area. Bard's Egyptian Theatre in Pasadena (later called the Colorado) is still running as the Academy 6. Bard also had the Glen Theatre in Glendale, and the Garfield in Alhambra.

History: In the early 30s after the theatre became part of the Fox West Coast circuit it was called the Fox Adams. Evidently Fox didn't keep the theatre long -- it was called Bard's Adams in the 1935 city directory and just listed as Bard's in the 1936 directory. In 1945 it was an independent advertising as Bards Theatre (with no apostrophe). 

An August 1962 item in Boxoffice located by Ken McIntyre noted that "Allied Theaters, operated by Bob Helm, Phillip Hoffman and Sam Decker, has taken a 20 year lease on the Bard Theater, 1,200-seat neighborhood house, which they have renamed the Adams West and switched to a first-run policy. The Bard had been closed for the past five years."

Evidently that first run policy didn't work so well. They did a few live shows in 1963. By 1964 it was a Japanese language house, the Kabuki Theatre. 1973 brought Hollywood films back to the theatre but it soon closed for good as a film house. As a later black cabaret venue in the early 80s it was the Apollo West or Bard's Apollo.

The facade, lobby and restrooms had received a serious modernizing in the 30s or 40s -- it used to be more exotic. A Cinemascope screen was placed out in front of the proscenium in the 50s or 60s, hiding the orchestra pit and slightly reducing seating capacity. Other than sound absorbent material added to the walls, the auditorium evidently was quite intact until the 1990s.

Seating:  Perhaps 1,325 originally, 1,100 later. There was no balcony.

Architect: Lewis A. Smith, who had done several other venues for the circuit. You wouldn't know it from the exterior but inside it was the favorite Bard theme, Egyptian. See our blogspot posts for other projects by the prolific Mr. Smith.

Status: Now a church. The current group, Restauracion, has had the building since 2000.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Fox Adams for many historical tidbits and some nice comments about the Bard circuit by contributors Joe Vogel, Hadabob. Art1956 and Bill Gabel.

Pacific Coast Architecture Database has a listing for the Bard's Adams, however they have it mixed up with the other theatre called the Adams at 1898 W. Adams Blvd. Also included are several items evidently about an earlier project by different architects that was to be on the corner of Crenshaw and Adams. 

The other Adams Theatre: See our listing for the Adams Theatre at 1898 W. Adams.

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    Cinema Treasures   

A rare interior look at the theatre. Sorry, most
 of the original decor is gone. The photo was
added to the site by Dallas Movie Theaters.
full size view

    Gary Graver   

Gary's shot of the closed the theatre in the 80s.

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a noted filmmaker and cinematographer.
 Over several decades he took many photos of theatres in Los Angeles and
Portland, OR.  More can be seen on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and
"Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.

    You Are Here

The West Adams gets its pre-cleanup
portrait by German photographer Martin.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

Bard's West Adams Theatre.

photo: Google Maps - 2014

The theatre's on the north side of the street -- Crenshaw is just to
the right out of the frame beyond the gas station. Click on either
 image to enlarge or head to the interactive version.

The west side of the building.
And acres of free parking

photo: Google Maps - 2014

    American Classic Images

A 1983 look at the then-vacant building.
full size view


An April 30, 1938 ad for Wagner sign
letters featured the Bard's marquee.
full size view
| in the Boxoffice "vault"

Thanks to Tinseltoes for posting a
link to the ad on Cinema Treasures.

    Photos of Los Angeles

A c.2010 look at the side of the building by Ken
McIntyre. We're driving north on Crenshaw.
The theatre's stagehouse.
Photo by Ken McIntyre.
  full size view

The cleaned up facade in 2012.
  full size view