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


    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.




    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



  A 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



    UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers   

calisphere.org | digital2.library.ucla.edu

www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf3000050c




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

On the side of the tower facing us there are
neon letters that could be lit to say "preview."




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. It's a Julius Schulman photo
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 collection: 
 | ceiling plan and tower drawing | lobby door detail drawing |
| floorplan | drawing of alternate exterior |





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:
| tower view | auditorium ceiling | auditorium rear |


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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




    Cezar Del Valle - Theatre Talks    

theatretalks.blogspot.com | 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




     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   

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




A 2012 photo from Mr. McIntyre.
full size view



    Roadside Architecture   

www.roadarch.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 |



   Julius Schulman - Getty Research Institute    

 | getty.edu/research/institute | Schulman photos |

| getty.edu/research/tools/guides_bibliographies/shulman |



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


The photo above also appears on the Garden of Allah
and
Vintage Los Angeles Facebook pages as well as on
 Michael Ryerson's Noirish Los Angeles post #8858.



The building from the west side.

The photo above appears (with many other Schulman views) in
Maggie Valentine's "The Show Starts on the Sidewalk"
(Yale University
Press)
. It's a nice history of the movie palace with a fine tribute to S.
Charles Lee and lots of references to various
L.A. theatres.
Google Books preview this photo on page 79




A boxoffice shot.
full size view


A detail of the light fixture in the ladies lounge.
The original proscenium. Things changed when
the theatre was converted to Cinemascope.
full size view



The view from the rear of the house.

Note in this early shot that's there's no chandelier
 yet.
See our UCLA photos for a slightly later one.



The auditorium sidewall and ceiling.
The vista to the rear of the house.


 In the booth. We've got Magnarcs, Simplex sound and
Simplex E-7 heads. Note the lower magazine -- it's a
preview attachment so they coul
d run previews with
picture and sound on separate 1,000 foot reels.


The Getty Research Institute's set has 18 photos
of the Academy taken in 1940 by Mr. Schulman
in their collection. It was his job #5905.