Theatres Along The Coast




Welcome to the tour of
theatres along the coast
!



Let me know about things I've missed
 or links hat no longer work!

-- Bill Counter



    Coast Cities History Resources    


Cal State Dominguez Hills has an interesting
photo collection with many South Bay items.

Sam Gnerre's Daily Breeze article
"South Bay Movie Theatres of the Past" offers a
survey of some of the historic theatres along the coast.

Check out the Ron Felsing collection on Flickr for lots
 of South Bay items, including many vintage views of
Redondo Beach.

The Manhattan Beach Haunts Facebook group has some
 fine photos. The Manhattan Beach Historical Society
has a website with history and photos.

Penny Postcards From California has oodles of cards to
browse through including sections on Hermosa Beach
and Redondo Beach (including an early Auditorium view).

Redondo Beach Historical Society has a number
of interesting vintage photos of the city.

Steve Bopp's Old South Bay postcard collection
 is another great place to browse.




    Catalina Island   


Avalon Theatre

Strand / Riviera Theatre

More theatres on Catalina? See the
Strand / Riviera listing for a few notes.




    El Segundo    


Old Town Music Hall




    Hermosa Beach   


Hermosa / Cove / Bijou Theatre



    Long Beach    


Art Theatre

Atlantic Theatre

Cabart Theatre

Fox Belmont

Fox Long Beach/Mission

Crest Theatre

Ebell Theatre

Egyptian Theatre

Imperial Theatre

LaShell Theatre

Municipal Auditorium

Palace Theatre

Rialto Theatre

Roxy Theatre

State Theatre

Strand Theatre

Theatorium

Ritz / Tracy Theatre

United Artists Theatre

Victor Theatre

West Coast Theatre

See the
Long Beach Theatres

 page for more listings.


    Manhattan Beach   


La Mar Theatre



    Ocean Park    


Dome Theatre

Rosemary Theatre

See the
Venice & Ocean Park
page
for information on
other Ocean Park theatres.




    Pacific Palisades   


Bay Theatre



    Redondo Beach    


Art Theatre


Auditorium / Pavilion Theatre

Capitol Theatre

Fox Redondo

Strand / Marina 1-2-3



    San Pedro    



 See the
San Pedro & Wilmington
page for more listings.



    Santa Monica    


On this site:

Dome Theatre

Rosemary Theatre

See the Venice & Ocean Park page
 for more listings in Ocean Park.



On the Wilshire site:

Aero Theatre


Nu Wilshire


See the Santa Monica list on the
Wilshire Theatres home page for more
downtown Santa Monica listings
.


    Torrance    


Grand Theatre


Stadium/Pussycat Theatre

Torrance Theatre


    Venice    


California / Venice Theatre

Neptune Theatre

Fox Venice Theatre

Venice Auditorium

See the
Venice & Ocean Park Theatres
page
for more listings



    Wilmington    


On the San Pedro &
 Wilmington page:


  Avalon Theatre

 
Granada Theatre

 
Capitola Theatre





    Alternate Name List    


Can't find what you're looking for? See the
Alphabetical Theatre List for all the alternate names
for the various theatres. Some behaved themselves and
stuck with one, some had many.

Also see the Theatres By Address List if you have a
location (or just the street) to see what was there.









about photos from other
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We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will
direct you to a full size version on the website hosting it.
Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
restrictions. Contact the webmaster of the site in
question concerning reproduction or other use.



Art Theatre

103 W. Diamond St.    | map |

Redondo Beach, CA   90277

Opened:  1912

Architects: The Los Angeles firm of Hunt and Burns designed the Art. It had a 20' deep stage with a 40' wide proscenium. This combination film and vaudeville house was acquired by West Coast Theatres in 1920.

Seating: 600

Status:  Demolished in 1928 for construction of the Fox Redondo (1929).

More information:  See the Cinema Treasures page on the Art Theatre for some good research by Ken Roe.

    USC Archives   

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm


A wonderful USC Archives photo of the Art Theatre
from the collection of the California Historical Society.
full size view

USC dates this as c.1910 but 1920 may be more
accurate. Two of the films advertised, "Heliotrope"
and "Nature's Contrasts," were both 1920 releases.

Avalon Theatre

1 Casino Way   | map

Avalon, Catalina Island CA   90704

Opened:  May 29, 1929 with the Douglas Fairbanks film "The Iron Mask."

This underwater deco confection is on the ground floor of William Wrigley's monumental Casino Building -- with the ballroom above it.  The postcard here is from the Cezar Del Valle Theatre Posts collection. Click on it for a full view on Flickr.

Architects:  Sumner Spaulding, Walter Weber. John Gabriel Beckman did the murals.

Seating: 1,184

Status: Still running first run films.

More information:  See our page on the Avalon Theatre.

Bay Theatre

15140 W. Sunset Blvd.    | map |

Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles), CA   90272

Opened:  1949 with Bob Hope in "The Paleface."  It got twinned in 1972.

Architect:  S. Charles Lee     Seating: 1,100 originally, 800 as a twin.

Status: It closed in 1978 and the building is now a hardware store.

More information: See our page on the Bay Theatre.

    UCLA - S. Charles Lee Papers   

calisphere.org | digital2.library.ucla.edu



The exterior on opening night.
full size view

Capitol Theatre

127 S. El Paseo   | map | - approximate

Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Opened:  1912 in a building constructed in 1907 as the Casino, part of a project of Henry Huntington to provide a destination for his Red Cars.

Seating: 710

Status: Closing date as a theatre is unknown but it's been demolished. The area where the Capitol Theatre and other amusement buildings were located is the site of a new harbor area created in 1961.

More information: See our page on the Capitol Theatre & Pavilion Building.

    Projectkevp on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/kevp


A 1922 postcard with the Capitol Theatre and the
Bathhouse beyond. The feature playing is "Turn To
The Right," directed by Rex Ingram.

Fox Redondo

103 W. Diamond St.    | map |

Redondo Beach, CA   90277

Opened: February 22, 1929 at Diamond and Pacific -- next to the beach!  The opening attraction was "The Ghost Talks" (a talkie) with Helen Twelvetrees. On the great stage were five vaudeville acts accompanied by a 10 piece pit orchestra led by Lynn Cowan.

Architect:  John Paxton Perrine

Seating: 1,324

Status: The theatre closed in December 1972 with the land earmarked for a new hotel. It was demolished in 1973.  The hotel never materialized and the property is a parking lot. 

More information:  See our page on the Fox Redondo.

    L.A. Public Library Collection   

www.lapl.org


The house right organ grille - undated.
full size view 

Grand Theatre

1522 Cravens Ave.  | map

Torrance, CA   90501

Opened: 1939. It closed as a movie theatre in the 60s and then was a venue for teenage dances. In its last years it was the Torrance Community Theatre.

Seating: 654     

Status: It's been demolished and replaced with a huge condo complex.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Grand.

    American Classic Images   

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1983 shot of the Grand in its Torrance
 Community Theatre days.
full size view | another 1983 view

Hermosa Theatre

1229 Hermosa Ave.  | map

Hermosa Beach, CA   90254

Opened: In 1923 as the Metropolitan Theatre with "Circus Days" starring Jackie Coogan.  The building was a project of Ralph Matteson of the First Bank of Hermosa Beach. The $200,000 building also contained the bank, retail stores and upstairs offices. It kept the original name at least into 1929.

It was renamed the Hermosa Theatre in 1930 or 1931. It's listed as the Hermosa Theatre at 1231 Hermosa Ave. in the 1931 and 1936 city directories. The address was 1229 in the 1947 and 1952 directories. For years it was under Fox West Coast management and advertised as the Fox Hermosa. It closed as an independent operation in 1973.

As a twin it ran from 1974 to 1982 as the Cove Twin Cinemas, the Cove 1&2 and the New Cove running lots of art and cult films including many midnight shows. From 1983 to 1996 it was the Bijou Twin Theatre.

Architect: Richard D. King

Seating: 864 as a single. 1,200 was the capacity mentioned in the announcement of the construction.

Status: Closed as a theatre in 1996. The floor has been leveled and the theatre portion of the building is now used as retail and an art gallery. At last report, part of it was vacant.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Bijou Theatre for more history. The Cinema Tour page, also listing it as the Bijou, has twelve 2003 exterior photos by Ron Pierce.  Yelp has several recent Gallery C facade views. 

See the History of the Bijou Theatre on the Hermosa Beach Historical Society webpage. Denise Cano has a history of the building on her South Bay Digs article.  There was also an earlier nickelodeon called the Hermosa Theatre.

    American Classic Images   

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1982 look at the theatre in its days as the twin
 Cove Cinema.
The photo is from the American
Classic Images collection.
.full size view

    South Bay Daily Breeze   

blogs.dailybreeze.com/history


A view of the theatre as the Cove Twin. It's a photo
that's supposedly part of Sam Gnerre's nice 2009 survey
 "South Bay Movie Theaters of the Past" yet doesn't
 seem to appear with the article. So here it is:
 full size view 

    Ron Felsing on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/ron_felsing


Ron Felsing has this 1923 photo of the theatre
 as the Metropolitan as well as a nice history of the
 building on his Flickr page.
The theatre was
playing "Rosita" with Mary Pickford.
full size view  |  on FB/LATheatres


A postcard view from Ron's collection.
full size view on FB/LAtheatres


    L.A. Public Library Collection   


A 1923 photo of the theatre as the Metropolitan.
full size view




A 1938 look at the facade at night, after
the name change to the Hermosa.
full size view

La Mar Theatre

228 Manhattan Beach Blvd.    | map |

Manhattan Beach, CA   90266

Opened:  July 30, 1938 with Loretta Young and Joel McCrea in "Three Blind Mice." The second feature was "Go Chase Yourself."  It was just 4 blocks up from the pier.

It's listed as the Lamar at 228 Center in the 1947 city directory and the La Mar (at the same address) in 1952.  The theatre got triplexed in the 70s.

Architect: Clifford A. Balch        Seating: 750

Status: Demolished in 1981

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the La Mar.

    Manhattan Beach Haunts   

A look at the La Mar in 1940. Doyle Griffin added
it to the Manhattan Beach Haunts album.
full size view | on the MBH page | a re-post

The photo above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles
and in the collection of the Denver Public Library.



"Kartoon Karnival - 20 of your Favorites"  The photo was
added to the Facebook page by Jim Jackson Rahn.
full size view | on the MBH page

Ken McIntyre also has this one of the
 "Kartoon Karnival" in one of his Photobucket albums.



A great 1961 look toward the pier
discovered by Jim McGowan.
 full size view | on the MBH page



A seaside mural in the La Mar Theatre.
Tom Ludes added it to the album.  The photo
 was taken during the demolition in 1981.
full size view | on the MBH page | a re-post  |

Also see:
| 1940 view - another version  | demolition view - 1981 |

Ken McIntyre also has the demolition view on Photobucket.
  It's from the Manhattan Beach Historical Society.

Old Town Music Hall

https://sites.google.com/site/lamoviepalaces/coast/OldTownMH-Google-12.jpg
140 Richmond St
.  
| map

El Segundo, CA   90245

(310) 322-2592

Website: oldtownmusichall.org
 | on Facebook  |

Opened: 1921 or so as the State Theatre.  It evidently closed in the mid-30s and when it reopened in 1940 it was called the the El Segundo Theatre, using an address of 142 Richmond.  In 1951 it resumed using the State Theatre name.  Closing date as the State is unknown.

In 1968 the theatre was reopened by Bill Field and Bill Coffman as the Old Town Music Hall featuring the Wurlitzer from the West Coast Theatre in Long Beach. The photo above is a 2012 shot from Google Maps. Click on it to enlarge or head to the interactive view.

Seating: 188 currently. In the 40s it was 350.

Status: Open on the weekends running classic films with a pipe organ concert and sing-a-long before the feature.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Old Town Music Hall for some good research by Joe Vogel and other contributors. The Cinema Tour page has ten photos.

     LAist     

The front of the auditorium
full size view



The rear of the auditorium.
full size view

Thanks to Ken Loc for the November 2016 article on LAist:
 "El Segundo's Vintage Movie Theater..." that featured
 these photos and about 30 more by Tod Seelie.


    Ken McIntyre - Vintage South Bay    



A photo of the State Theatre in 1955 that
was discovered by Ken McIntyre.
full size view | on Photobucket

Also see:
| 1980 view | 2008 view |

The 1980 view is also on Ken's Photos
 of Los Angeles Facebook page.

    Old Town Music Hall    

From the theatre website's Seating Chart page
we get this look at the front of the auditorium.
full size view  | auditorium rear

Redondo Beach Auditorium

On the El Paseo   | map | - approximate

Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Opened: 1907 as part of a project of Henry Huntington to provide a destination for his Red Cars. The Auditorium was also known as the Redondo Pavilion.

There was a theatre of unknown capacity on the ground floor and a 4,000 capacity ballroom on the second floor, known later as the Mandarin Ballroom and the Redondo Barn.

Status: Closing date of the theatre is unknown. The ballroom business was big in the 40s and started tapering off in the 50s. The building was demolished in 1960 and is now the site of a new harbor area.

More information: See our page on the Capitol Theatre & Pavilion Building.

    USC Archives   

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm



The Redondo Pavilion building c.1910. It's a
California Historical Society photo. At the far end of
 the building we get a "Casino" sign across the road. The
 theatre's entrance is mi
dway down the main building.
full size view

Riviera Theatre

601 Crescent Ave. at Claressa

Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704  | map

Opened: April 4, 1925 as the New Strand Theatre, operated by United Theatres. It was a replacement for a 1912 vintage house on Sumner Ave. The March 5, 1925 issue of the Catalina Islander talks about the upcoming opening of the "New Strand." The opening was on April 4 with "Sally" as the initial film. The April 8 Catalina Islander had a lengthy article about the event.

Architects:  Unknown. Possibly Webber, Staunton and Spaulding. Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes that he found an article "...in the Southwest Builder and Contractor of December 12th, 1924, saying that architects (Walter I.) Webber, (William F.) Staunton and (Sumner Maurice) Spaulding had prepared plans for a 600 seat theater to be erected in Avalon. Neither name nor location is given."

Seating: 535 at the end as the Riviera.

There's no information about when the theatre was renamed the Riviera --  perhaps in the late 20s. Ken Roe reports that the Riviera was only open during the summer tourist season after the Avalon Theatre opened in 1929. His report, from a book on the history of the Casino Building:

"Tom White, a Hollywood promoter who held the lease on Avalon’s Riviera Theater, leased the new Avalon Theater in 1929 and also signed on as general manager of the Casino operation. His lifestyle proved too flamboyant, and his association with the Casino ended in December 1929. Art LaShelle, who had managed the Riviera and Avalon Theater’s for Tom White, stayed on to manage both theatres and facilities until 1939.

Over the years Avalon had enjoyed the offerings of a number of summer resident theatrical groups on the stage of the Riviera or the Bandbox Theater in El Encanto.

Western Amusement Company, which operated a number of theaters on the mainland, obtained a lease on both the Avalon and Riviera Theaters in 1949. The company closed the Avalon Theater during the winter but kept the Riviera Theater open all year until it was converted into a bowling alley in 1961."

Status: After being a bowling alley, the building was later a bar and restaurant called the Riviera Room. It was the Riviera Room at least until the end of 2002. It's now a clothing store called Island Threadz.

More Information: What's known is on the Cinema Treasures page for the Riviera Theatre. Thanks to Ken Roe and Joe Vogel for the research.

The 1st Strand Theatre: The initial Strand Theatre opened in 1912. It was located on Sumner Ave. and evidently seated 600.  A short article by Jeannine Pederson in the November 23, 2001 Catalina Islander (on Google Books) mentions this first Strand and its replacement.

Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures found a mention of the Strand "... being re-opened after improvements, in the L.A. Times issue of January 15th, 1922. No address is given." The renovations at the Strand, at the time the only theatre on the island, were also mentioned in the February 2, 1922 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review. It's on Google Books.

The Samoa Theatre: Location in Avalon is unknown but it's mentioned as being active in an item Joe Vogel found in the July 1938 issue of Boxoffice noting that "Visitors… Art LaShell, manager of the Avalon, Riviera, and Samoa in Catalina, accompanied by Ernie Gans, who will produce a stage show at the Samoa shortly...."

Joe speculates that if the New Strand wasn't designed by Webber, Staunton & Spaulding, perhaps the Samoa was. He reports that on that card noting the the 1924-25 project in the Southwest Builder and Contractor there was:

"... a librarian's note on this card says that this is believed to be the building which, after the opening of the Casino and its theater, was converted into the Post Office. ....I wonder if the Samoa could have been the 1924-25 project by Webber, Staunton & Spaulding which was later converted into the post office? Avalon’s post office is currently located on Metropole Avenue, in a newer building, but there’s a building at 409 Crescent Avenue that looks as though it could have been a theater, having what seems to be a former stage tower. The building currently has a courtyard, but the L.A. County Assessor’s office gives it an original construction date of 1926, and an effective construction date of 1941, so the courtyard might date from the rebuilding at that latter date."

    Catalina Islander   

cat.stparchive.com/index.php


A tourist outside the entrance of the 1st Strand Theatre
 on Sumner Ave. The c.1923 photo, from the Catalina Island
 Museum, comes from an article by Jeannine Pederson in the
November 23, 2001 Catalina Islander
about the two Strands.

full size view | on Google Books


    L.A. Public Library Collection   


A c.1938 look at the Riviera Theatre taken
 by Herman Schultheis. It had opened as
the New Strand in 1925.
A detail from the photo above.


Another Schultheis photo with
the Riviera in the background.
A look at the 2nd Strand / Riviera in its
restaurant days. It's a 2002 photo by Ken Roe.

Stadium Theatre

1653 Cravens Ave.  | map

Torrance, CA   90501

Opened: June 2, 1949.  The Stadium was owned by M & M Enterprises (Albert Mellinkoff and Harry Milstein) who also had the Torrance Theatre and the Grand Theatre .

It was later operated by Pacific Theatres. The Stadium become the Pussycat Theatre in 1968. The theatre's most famous employee is Quentin Tarantino, who worked taking tickets and manning the snack bar during the 70s when it was the Pussycat. 

Seating: 900 seats with the upper section being "stadium style," hence the name.

Status: The theatre closed in 1991 and was demolished in 2002.  After closing it was used for a couple of film shoots.  There are now condos on the site.

The Stadium Theatre in the Movies: 


The Stadium is used in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" (Touchstone,
1994) for the premiere of "Bride of the Monster." 
larger view


A look at the interior from "Ed Wood."
larger view

The signage was changed to say Aurora on the
vertical for exterior shots used in "If These
Walls Could Talk 2" (HBO, 2000).

More information: The best history of the theatre, including a nice discussion of the opening night festivities, is Sam Gnerre's Daily Breeze article from 2013. For some interesting comments about the theatre see the Cinema Treasures page about the Stadium. Cinema Tour also has a page. 

    Mid Century Modern   

facebook.com/groups/Midcenturymodernlosangeles



A look up the theatre's vertical after it had been
changed to say Aurora for a HBO film in 2000.
The photo is by Den S. Surles.
 full size view | fon the MCM page

Also see: end of marquee detail


    San Diego Reader   

www.sandiegoreader.com


A 1983 look at the Stadium in its Pussycat days. You've got
 to admit that's a pretty nice vertical sign. The photo appeared in
Jay Allen Sanford's 2010 essay about the Pussycat Theatre Chain.
Sadly, in the version currently online, all the photos are missing.
The photo above also appears in the
 American Classic Images collection.

    South Bay Daily Breeze   

blogs.dailybreeze.com/history


Sam Gnerre's article "Stadium Theatre in Torrance"
includes this look at the theatre ready for
 its grand opening in 1949.



 A 2002 Bruce Hazelton photo showing the
signage changed to say Aurora for the HBO
movie "If These Walls Could Talk 2."

Also see Sam's 2009 Daily Breeze survey
 "South Bay Movie Theaters of the Past."

The photo above appears uncredited on
 Photos of Los Angeles. PoLA also has a similar view
from the theatre's Aurora period by Paul Wisman.

Strand Theatre

302 S. Catalina Ave. @ Torrance Blvd.   | map

Redondo Beach, CA   90277

Opened: January 6, 1938 as the Strand Theatre. The owners were Mike and Abe Gore and Adolph Ramish. It's still listed as the Stand in the 1952 city directory. In the early 60s as part of the United Artists circuit, the Strand was equipped for 70mm and had runs of "King of Kings" (1962), "El Cid" (1962), "Oklahoma" (1962), "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "Lawrence of Arabia" (1963) and "The Cardinal" (1963).

The venue was later operated by Lippert Theatres and finally as an independent house by John Klee. The theatre was twinned in the 60s by moving the screen forward and adding a second screen behind. The rear theatre was called the Surf Theatre and had a separate entrance and boxoffice on the side of the building.

The remaining auditorium was later chopped in half making the building a triplex with two in front, one in back.  Initially it was the Marina 1&2 in the front and the Surf behind. Later it was called the Marina 1-2-3.

Seating: 844 was the capacity in 1952 according to the Film Daily Yearbook per Ken Roe. Cinema Tour gives a 730 capacity. As a triplex it had capacities of 223, 231 and 176.

Status: The theatre closed September 30, 1987. It has been demolished and replaced by condos.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Strand for lots of stories. Cinema Tour also has a page on the theatre, listed there as the Marina 1-2-3.

    American Classic Images   

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1982 view of the theatre as a twin, the Marina 1&2.
full size view | on Cinema Treasures

    Ron Felsing on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/ron_felsing


A 1938 look at the Strand from Ron Felsing's
extensive South Bay photo collection.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The view above also appears on
Photos of Los Angeles and Cinema Treasures.

Torrance Theatre

1403 Sartori Ave. @ Marcelina   | map

Torrance, CA   90501

Opened: 1920.  It was running into the 50s. Joe Vogel reports on Cinema Treasures that it got sold to a bank in 1955.

Architect:  Allan E. Sedgwick         Seating: 705

Status: Demolished -- there's now a bank on the site.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Torrance Theatre.

    South Bay Daily Breeze   

blogs.dailybreeze.com/history


A look at the Torrance Theatre in 1936. It's
 part of Sam Gnerre's nice 2009 survey
 "South Bay Movie Theaters of the Past."  
The photo also appears in the Ron Felsing collection on
 Flickr (along with many other Torrance photos) and on
 the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.


    Ken McIntyre    

on Photobucket  |  Photos of Los Angeles


A look down Sartori Ave with the Torrance Theatre down
at the end. Ace researcher Ken McIntyre found the photo.
 full size view | on Photobucket