Alex Theatre


216 N. Brand Blvd.  | map

Glendale, CA 91203

(818) 243-ALEX

Website: www.alextheatre.org  |  the Alex on Facebook  |                       

The Alex Film Society: www.alexfilmsociety.org


Opened: September 4, 1925 as the Alexander Theatre. This was operated for years by Fox West Coast and (later) Mann Theatres.   It was frequently listed as the Fox Alexander Theatre.

The theatre was built and owned by C.L. Langley. His full name, which he didn't like, was Claude Leroy. He later changed the Leroy part to Leon. The theatre was named for his son Claude Alexander.  C.L. died in 1943. Claude Alexander died in 1963.

Architects: Arthur G. Lindley and Charles R. Selkirk designed the Alexander in a Greek revival style with a large forecourt inspired by the Egyptian in Hollywood. Lindley later did the Masonic Temple and its Temple Theatre.

It got a remodel in 1940 by S. Charles Lee, who added the entrance spire. The theatre was renamed the Alex. The theatre got a bit of the Skouras treatment in the 1948 with new light fixtures and elaborate draperies.

Seating: 2,030 seats in 1925, 1,460 later. The current capacity is 1,381.

Status: Alive and well as a performing arts venue with events about 200 days a year. The facility is operated by the organization Glendale Arts.

A major expansion of dressing room facilities and improving the loading area was completed in 2013.  Visit Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret photo essay "Open House at the Restored Alex Theatre, Magic Hour" for a tour of the theatre following the backstage renovation. The Glendale News-Press had a February 2015 story about brighter prospects for the survival of the theatre after the backstage expansion.

See the Alex Theatre Expansion website for more details of the work that was done.  Crescenta Valley Weekly had the story in April 2013.  Glendale News-Press also ran a June 2013 story on the project.  Total cost was about $6 million and occasioned a 5 month closure of the theatre.

With the dissolution of community redevelopment agencies in 2012, the City of Glendale was exploring options for keeping the theatre afloat. It has transferred ownership from its redevelopment agency to the city itself. A March 2012 story in the L.A. Times outlined the problems.

The venue was receiving a subsidy of $415,000 per year from the redevelopment authority.  The city itself is currently paying the subsidy, set to expire in 2015. The idea is to move the theatre operation toward self-sufficiency.

The Alex was purchased by the Glendale Redevelopment Authority in the early 90s. The theatre was renovated in 1993 under the direction of architect Richard McCann and has been running as a performing arts venue with occasional film events. 

The Alex in the Movies:  We see the back of the Alex with the roof sign on the stagehouse  ("Alex - The Place To Go")  in Andre de Toth's "Crime Wave" (Warner Bros., 1954). The film stars Sterling Hayden and Gene Nelson. We also get shots of the Glendale and Hide Away theatres.



Looking toward the Alex in "Crime Wave." 
larger view

The theatre gets a part in "Lovelace" (Radius-TWC, 2013), 
a biopic about porn star Linda Lovelace. In the film we go to
the Alex for an invitational screening of "Deep Throat."


The "Deep Throat" screening in "Lovelace." The photo
by Dale Robinette accompanied a February 10,  2012
 New York Times article by Dave Itzkoff.
larger view



A marquee detail from "Lovelace."



A crowd scene in the
Alex forecourt in "Lovelace."



Amanda Seyfried (Linda Lovelace) and Hugh
 Hefner (James Franco) watch "Deep Throat" on
the screen in "Lovelace." The way the film tells
 it, Hef is looking for some action.

More information: See the Alex Cinema Treasures page for lots of history.  The Cinema Tour page on the Alex has some photos of the exterior by Scott Neff.

Also see the Wikipedia article on the Alex Theatre.  See many more Alex Theatre shots on Flickr.




Looking back toward the entrance.


photo: Bill Counter - 2007

[ click on any of these photos to enlarge ]



The balcony level lobby.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
 Historic Theatre Foundation


Thanks, Don!  The LAHTF 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.
www.lahtf.org | group Facebook page | official FB page



The windows above the entrance during "Magic Hour."

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret - 2014




A main floor view with the fire curtain in.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
 Historic Theatre Foundation - c.2009



Across the main floor.

photo: Wendell Benedetti -Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation
- 2014



A view from the balcony.

photo: Stephen Russo - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation - 2014


The photo originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.
Also on the page see a 2012 balcony view
he took during a film
program devoted to Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones.
 
Thanks, Stephen!



https://sites.google.com/site/movieslosangeles/pix/Alex-Benedetti-143.jpg

The wide-angle backstage view.

photo: Wendell Benedetti - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation
-2014

Thanks, Wendell!  The Alex was having an open house to celebrate
the completion of their $6 million backstage improvement program.



about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

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.



    Agility Nut   

www.agilitynut.com/theatres/ca.html



A nice look at the Alex Theatre boxoffice in Debra Jane's

collection. It's on her page 6 of her California Theatres set. 
full size view

Also in her collection:
| marquee | tower | top of tower detail | auditorium entrance |
 | boxoffice detail | display cases | terrazzo detail |




    California State Library    



A 1985 look at the spire of the
Alex by William Reagh.
 full size view



    Card Cow   

www.cardcow.com


A nice view of the Alex entrance from this
site's Glendale Postcards page.
full size view



    Glendale: 1940 - 2000   

by Juliet M. Arroyo
Arcadia Publishing, 2006
ISBN: 9780738531076

www.arcadiapublishing.com

| preview & buy on Amazon | preview on Google Books |



 A look from above in 1948. The occasion is the Alex's
grand re-opening after a spruce up to give it a bit of the
Skouras look. It was also the theatre's 23rd Anniversary.

Ms. Arroyo's book has lots of other
rare photos of downtown Glendale.
On Google Books: larger view


The photo also appears on the
 Alex Theatre Facebook page.




    Donna Grayson on Flickr   




A view of the empty Alex stage with the
 lock rail visible stage right. It's one of 17
 views in Donna's nice Alex Theatre set. 
full size view




A 2007 view from Donna's set looking
 toward the rear of the house.
 full size view


    Live Design   



A 2007 view of the Alex proscenium.

These views are in a 2007 article highlighting
 the new L-Acoustics speaker system:
 "Historic Alex Theatre Upgrades with L-Acoustics."



Another view of the Alex
from the 2007 article.

larger view



    L.A. Times   

www.latimes.com    


Los Angeles Times photographer Annie Wells
 went on a Vintage Movie Palaces tour with members
of the League of Historic American Theatres in 2006.

In the Photo Gallery of 24 pictures you'll find this nice
 view from the balcony at #6. Note the view of the
 lower part of the asbestos curtain.


    B T Meacham on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/btmeacham



A sidewall view from B.T. Meacham's set
"Last Remaining Seats: The Alex Theatre"
from 2007.  full size view




A great shot of the illuminated boxoffice. 
full size view

Also see BT's work on the Million Dollar,
 Orpheum, and Los Angeles theatres



    Mid Century Modern   

... and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

www.facebook.com/groups/75888708987


Historic Glendale Theatres - The Alex

A look at the Alex during the run of "Ben Hur" (1959).
It was added by Virgina Farrell Ulrich to the album on
Alison Martino's
Mid Century Modern Facebook page.
 full size view



    Motion Picture News    

archive.org/search.php


On the Internet Archive is the Motion Picture
News issue of December 28, 1929. Section Two is the
 "Theatre Building & Equipment Buyers Guide" with the
Alexander on a page featuring photos of Fox theatres
that had been decorated by Robert E. Powers Studios.
the page | on FB/LAtheatres




The Alex photo in a less cropped version shows up
in a February 18, 1928 Motion Picture News story
about the work of the Powers Studio.

The lower version is also in the fine collection of
Charmaine Zoe on Flickr where she has over 700 photos
culled from various issues of Motion Picture News.




    Photos of Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A 1948 look at the floodlit facade
during the reopening. It's a photo from
the Bill Gabel collection.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres





A 1955 look north on Brand toward the Alex.
full size view




A smoggy look north on Brand from
Broadway
c.1963 that was added to the Photos
of Los Angeles collection by Alex Rojas.The
Alex spire is down there on the right. 

full size view




A detail of the Alex Marquee by Mr. McIntyre on
 his Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

full size view




A look at the Alex neon by Scott Pitzer.
full size view




A most unusual view of the Alex spire and
entrance added to the Photos of Los Angeles
collection in 2012 by Alex Rojas. 
full size view




The view up the spire as seen
 by Alex Rojas in 2013.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres



The ticket windows at the theatre's entrance.
It's a 2013 photo by Alex Rojas. 
full size view




The Greek temple look of the entrance
to the Alex. It's a 2013 Alex Rojas photo.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres


Also on Photos of L.A.:
| auditorium - 2013 - Alex Rojas |
| facade - "Star Trek" - David Mena |



    Variety    

www.variety.com
 

 "Glendale's Alex Theatre Is Ready For Its Closeup," a June
2014 story, discusses the $6 million backstage upgrades.
This view of the forecourt accompanied the article.
One of the new chorus dressing rooms.

    Viewliner Ltd.   

http://viewlinerltd.blogspot.com


A great 50s postcard view looking
north on
 Brand Blvd. with the Alex on the right.  It's on
Viewliner's post "Streets of LA."
full size view


The view also appears on
 Noirish Los Angeles post #19327
and on San Fernando Valley Relics.







The spire of the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007


[ click any of these photos to enlarge ]



A wonderful night view.

 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.


Another street view.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007


The marquee of the Alex. And don't
you love that cute boxoffice?

photo: Bill Counter - 2007


A look down the forecourt
toward the entrance.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007



A view of the ticket lobby.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007



In the lobby looking up toward the balcony level.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret - 2014


Visit Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret photo essay
 "Open House at the Restored Alex Theatre, Magic Hour" for
a tour of the theatre following the backstage renovation.



Looking down to the entrance doors.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret - 2014




The empty stage from the rear of the house.

photo: Wendell Benedetti - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation -
2014

Thanks, Wendell!  His photos, originally appearing on the
 Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation Facebook page,
 were taken during an open house at the Alex.




A look down onto the empty stage of the Alex.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
 Historic Theatre Foundation




One of the 1948 vintage lion carvings that used
to flank the stage -- now on display in the lobby.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret - 2014


Visit Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret photo essay
 "Open House at the Restored Alex Theatre, Magic Hour" for
a tour of the theatre following the backstage renovation.


Sandi also has an Avoiding Regret page on Facebook.



The view across toward stage right.

photo: Sandi Hemmerlein -
Avoiding Regret - 2014


Thanks, Sandi!


    Alex Theatre online   

www.alextheatre.org | on Facebook

The theatre's website has a great selection of
both vintage and recent photos on their History
and Photo Gallery pages.

A 1926 photo of patrons in the forecourt of the
Alex, then called the Alexander Theatre.
It's on the Alex's Facebook page.
full size view
| on FB/LATheatres

An early photo of the entrance from the
Alex Theatre website's history page.
full size view




The crowd is lined up in 1950 for the Alex in
this view from the Alex website's history page.
The show is "Summer Stock."
full size view



The outer lobby of the Alex.




The Alex's main floor inner lobby, looking
 out toward the forecourt at left and along the
 rear of the main floor at the right.


A recent balcony lobby photo on the
website's photo gallery page. Note the 50s
Skouras-style light fixtures.
full size view

A 1992 pre-renovation view of the proscenium
on the Alex website's history page.
full size view


A nicely lit view across the auditorium
at balcony level from the Alex website.
full size view



A comparison of the balcony before and after the
1992 renovation. It's on the theatre's Facebook page. 
full size view | on FB/LATheatres



A 1992 pre-renovation look toward the
rear of the auditorium on the Alex website.



A recent look toward the rear of the
auditorium from the Alex website.
full size view



An August 2013 look at the big dig behind the
 Alex expansion of backstage facilities including a
 freight and passenger elevator. The photo
appeared on the Alex's Facebook page.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres



    L.A. Public Library Collection   

www.lapl.org


A 20s view of the Alex Theatre forecourt.
 full size view



A 1939 Herman Schultheis photo looking north
 toward the theatre -- still called the Alexander at
that time. They're running "Naughty But Nice"
with Dick Powell and Ann Sheridan.
full size view  slightly sharper version



    Corey Miller on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire


A 2009 detail of the Alex Theatre neon. Corey
Miller's photo appears in his "Theatre Signs" set. 
full size view



A detail of the "A."
full size view



The neon at the top of the spire.
full size view

Also see:
Alex sepia detail  |  "X" detail  |  another neon detail  |




    Noirish Los Angeles 

www.skyscraperpage.com | Noirish LA forum


A 1973 look at the Alex running
 "Jeremiah Johnson."
full size view

The photo is part of Beaudry's
Noirish Los Angeles post #19325.
Thanks!



    RFM Architects   

www.rfmco.net


A view of the facade from architect Richard McCann's
website.
See his Alex photo gallery for several more views.
The Project List has links to photos of other
theatre
projects by the firm.

larger view


    Rossano on Flickr   

flickr.com/photos/39527581@N07


A fine 2010 look at the curved surround of the
Alex's S. Charles Lee designed boxoffice all lit up.
full size view


Also see:

    Slate / Behold   

www.slate.com/blogs/behold.html


"America's Vanishing Historic Movie Theatres," a July
2014 article by David Rosenberg, profiles various theatres
across the country using photographs by Stephanie Klavens.
The Palace downtown and the Alex are those featured
from the Los Angeles area.
full size view



    Songkick   

www.songkick.com



A nice look at the rear of the house on this site's
Alex Theatre page. The site is devoted to concert venue
information. See the page for several more views.
larger view



A look at the proscenium.
 
larger view



    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 lots of references to various
historic Los Angeles theatres.





A look at the entrance prior to the S. Charles Lee remodel.

 It's 1940 and the Alex is running "The Shop Around The Corner"
 with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.


The photo is on page 88.
larger view on Google books




    UCLA - Calisphere   

www.cdlib.org


Here's a photo of the Alex in 1940
-- before
S. Charles Lee's facade work.
See the
S. Charles Lee archive
for lots more treasures.  
full size image




A look at the entrance after the remodel.

The Alex is running the 1942 feature "Take A
Letter Darling" with Rosalind Russell.

 
full size view



    Vintage Los Angeles   

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles


A 1955 look north on Brand Blvd. featuring two
Red Cars from the Richard Wojcik collection.
That's the Alex's spire on the far right.
 
full size view | on FB/LATheatres




A look at the Alex marquee added to the
Vintage Los Angeles collection. It was taken
in 1980 by Meredith Jacobson Marciano. 
full size view
| on FB/LAtheatres