Academy Theatre


3141 W. Manchester Blvd.   


Inglewood, CA 90305       | map

Opened:  November 7, 1939. On November 9 it hosted the premiere of "Another Thin Man" with William Powell and Myrna Loy in attendance.

Seating: 1,156

Architect: S. Charles Lee. The UCLA S. Charles Lee Archive notes that the inspiration for the tower was that of a spool of film unwinding.

There was talk of building this theatre so it would be suitable for holding the Oscar presentations but it was never used for that purpose. The theatre did host a few premieres and was a major suburban venue for its operator, Fox West Coast Theatres.

The Academy in the Movies:  We see lots of the Academy's marquee and tower in "Dope" (Open Road Films, 2015). The three other major landmarks of Inglewood are also featured: Randy's Donuts, the Thurgood Marshall Justice Center and The Forum.

The Academy on Video: The LAFTF YouTube channel has a nice 24 second clip of the Academy Exterior -- including a nice scan up the tower. And then view Don Solosan's Insider's Peek #2 -- a 2 1/2 minute tour of the building in 2010 featuring LAHTF's Hillsman Wright.

Status: It stopped showing movies in 1976 and became a church, the Academy Cathedral.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Academy for a nice discussion of this theatre as well as other historic theatres in Inglewood.

Don't miss Sandi Hemmerlein's 2014 photo Avoiding Regret photo essay "The Art Deco Theatre Inside Academy Cathedral, Inglewood." 



A facade view of the Academy at dusk.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

Note that the tower has been slimmed
 down from the original design.

[ click on any of these images to enlarge ]




A wide angle view of the theatre's entrance.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014


The event was the Los Angeles Historic Theatre
Foundation's "all-about" tour. See Hunter's full 25 photo
set on the LAHTF Facebook page.  Thanks, Hunter!

Keep up with Hunter's explorations:
| on Facebook | hunterkerhart.com | on Flickr |
| the photography blog: South On Spring |



The ceiling of the lobby at the Academy.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014

See Sandi Hemmerlein's May 2014 photo Avoiding Regret photo
essay "The Art Deco Theatre Inside Academy Cathedral, Inglewood"

 about her adventures at the LAHTF "all-about" tour of the theatre.

Also visit Sandi's Avoiding Regret page on Facebook.
Thanks, Sandi!



The wide angle lobby panorama.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014



The terrazzo in the area in front of the snackbar.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation - 2014

Michelle's photos originally appeared as a set of ten
on the LAHTF group Facebook page. Also in the set:

Thanks, Michelle!



The etched class panel by Millard Sheets
at the auditorium entrance
.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014


The church usually has it concealed by draperies.



An HVAC grille.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014



https://sites.google.com/site/historylosangeles/pix/Academy-Hemmerlein-4.jpg

Looking toward what had been the screen area.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014




The ceiling toward the front. All the fun is hiding
behind those draperies the church put up.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014



It's quite a view across at the front, most
of it now hidden from the auditorium.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014


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    Wendell Benedetti   

www.flickr.com/photos/newswatch


A great view of the Academy exterior by
Wendell Benedetti. It's part of his wonderful
 Historic Los Angeles Theatres set.
full size view



A 2010 view looking toward the
screen by Mr. Benedetti.
full size view



     Old Sign Art    

www.facebook.com/OldSignArt


A look up the Academy's tower added to the Old Sign
Art Theatre Signs album by Escott O. Norton in 2012.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres



A detail of the top of the tower. It's a 2011 addition
to the Sign Details album by Escott O. Norton.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres

Also see another page Escott curates:
 "Friends of the Rialto." It's about the preservation
battles to save that South Pasadena landmark.


    Photos of Los Angeles   

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863


Presumably this 1940 shot of the glorious curves
of the Academy's tower is by Julius Schulman.
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres

Note facing us you can see the neon letters "iew" --
the side of the tower could be lit up to say "preview."

See another take of this angle
in the S. Charles Lee Archive.



A recent look at the Academy by Ken McIntyre. 
full size view



A 2012 photo from Mr. McIntyre.
full size view



    UCLA S. Charles Lee Archive   

http://digital.library.ucla.edu/sclee/  



Exterior view in 1939 by Julius Schulman
.
 full size view



A dizzying 1940 look skyward along the
Academy Theatre's tower. It's a photo
 by Julius Schulman.
full size view



A 1939 boxoffice photo by Julius Schulman.



A lobby view by Mr. Schulman.
 full size view




A view of the lobby from this great collection

at UCLA. We're looking at the main
entrance
to the auditorium. 
full size view




A closer look at the etched glass panel in the
 lobby. It's still there but currently covered by
draperies. The photo is by Julius Schulman.
The ladies lounge in a 1939 photo by Kako.
 full size view




A view of the auditorium in 1939 by
 Julius Schulman.  full size view

The auditorium decorations were lit
 with UV light during screenings.

Also in the Archive: 
 | ceiling plan and tower drawing | lobby door drawing |
  drawing of alternate exterior |

 | S. Charles Lee indexed in UCLA Calisphere |




Up in the bucket lift doing restoration
 work on the tower.

photo: Stephen Russo -LAHTF - 2014

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is actively
 involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres
in the Los Angeles area. The group frequently supports
events and offers tours of the buildings.

www.lahtf.org | group Facebook page | official FB page



The Academy neon
at night.

photo: Mark Peacock
- 2009

See Mark's Vintage Theatres photo set for
lots more great work.
Also visit his blog:
 
On the Road With Mark Peacock



The entrance area -- no longer with a boxoffice.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010




The upper front wall inside the lobby.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014



The remains of the Skouras era snackbar.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014



The undulating entrance to the men's room.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret
- 2014




The main entrance into the auditorium.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014

The place got an unneeded Skouras/ Fox West Coast re-do in the
40s, thus the neo-Baroque gold swirls. The purple drapes were
installed by the church that now operates the building.




The glass lady and her Oscar
are ready for their closeup.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014



The view from the last row. It's now a church.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014



A sidewall view.

photo: Hunter Kerhart - 2014


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202597307630269&set=gm.10154216801825724&type=1&theater

The front of the ceiling.

photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF - 2014


The photo was taken during the May 2014 Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation "all-about" tour of the theatre.




Looking toward the rear of the auditorium.

photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF  - 2014


Mr. Russo's photos originally appeared on
 the LAHTF group Facebook page:




    Agility Nut   

www.agilitynut.com/theatres/ca.html


A great look at the Academy marquee in Debra Jane's
collection. It's on her page 6 of her California Theatres set. 
full size view

Also in her collection:
tower  |  terrazzo detail top of tower detail |



    B'hend and Kaufmann Collection   

digitalcollections.oscars.org/cdm


An undated Nate Singer photo of
the snackbar at the Academy.
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres

The Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection
is part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection.



    Cezar Del Valle - Theatre Talks    

www.theatretalks.com | Cezar on Facebook


A 2002 look at the facade of the Academy
by Betty Sword. It's in the collection of Brooklyn
based theatre historian Cezar Del Valle. 
full size view



    more from the LAHTF    

www.lahtf.org | group Facebook page | official FB page

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is actively
 involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres
in the Los Angeles area. The group frequently supports
events and offers tours of the buildings.



A lovely 2014 dusk view by
LAHTF's Stephen Russo.
full size view



  On the LAHTF webpage for the 2010
 All About the Academy and Fox Inglewood
we get this fine
Don Solosan photo of the
Academy
tower's neon.
full size view



In the lobby looking toward the exits.
It's a Donavan Moye photo.
 full size view




A look at the inner lobby ceiling in
2010 by Donavan Moye on the
 LAHTF Facebook page.

full size view



In the lobby looking toward the
entrance to the auditorium. 
It's a Donavan Moye photo.
full size view




A view toward the screen as the crowd gathers
for the LAHTF "all about" presentation in 2010.
It's a Don Solosan photo.
full size view



A sidewall shot by Donavan Moye.
full size view




A view toward the rear of the
auditorium
by Donavan Moye. 
full size view




Looking up an aisle at the 2010 LAHTF
"all about" tour. It's a Donavan Moye photo
on the LAHTF Facebook page. 
full size view

Browse the LAHTF
Facebook photo collection



    The Show Starts on The Sidewalk   

yalepress.yale.edu | google books preview

"The Show Starts on the Sidewalk"
by Maggie Valentine offers a nice history of the movie
palace with a tribute to S. Charles Lee and lots of
references to various historic Los Angeles theatres.


A view of the rear of the building.
This view appears on page 79.
larger view on Google books

Many additional photos from the UCLA S. Charles
 Lee Archive also appear in the book.


    Vintage Los Angeles   

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles



A night view
of the Academy by Julius Schulman.
 full size view


It's a 1940 view from the J. Paul Getty Trust, Julius
Schulman Photography Archive, Research Library
at the Getty Research Institute.

The photo also appears on the Facebook
page Garden of Allah Novels and on Michael
Ryerson's Noirish Los Angeles post #8858.