New Beverly Cinema

7165 Beverly Blvd.    | map |

Los Angeles, CA   90036

(323) 938-4038

Website: | on Facebook

Opened: The building was constructed in 1929 and most likely was originally retail space. In 1934 it was a retail outlet for a winery.

As a theatre it's also been known as the Century, the Ben Bard Playhouse, the Hollywood Repertory Theatre, the Dahl Theatre, the New Globe, the Capri/Riviera (a twin), New Yorker Theatre, the Europa, the Eros and the Beverly Cinema.

Architects: Original architect of the building is unknown. John P. Edwards and Warren Frazier Overpeck did a 1959 remodeling that made the space into a 200 seat + 100 seat twin operation.

Seating:  300 as a twin, 401 later as a single screen operation.

Status:  The New Beverly runs a mix of cult favorites, classics and indie releases. It's the last of the commercial repertory style revival houses left in Los Angeles.

The L.A. Weekly had an October 2014 story on Quentin Tarantino and his programming of the New Beverly: "Quentin Tarantino on the New Beverly: "If People Come, Fine. If They Don't, F..."

In September 2014 Tarantino, who had purchased the building in 2007, announced that he was going to, for a period anyway, manage the operation himself. He noted that he wanted to add a 6 channel sound system and a 16mm projector. More of the programming now comes from his own library. L.A. Weekly had a September 2014 interview with him to learn of his plans.  Curbed L.A. also picked up the story.

A June 2014 post on The Wrap discussed the Beverly's purchase of digital equipment not long before Mr. Tarantino issued a diatribe in Cannes favoring the continued use of film.

Tarantino had purchased the building to keep it from becoming a Super Cuts. But even for several years before the purchase, he had been subsidizing the New Beverly's operations to the tune of about $5,000 per month. Michael Torgan, son of the man who first started repertory programming at the theatre in 1978, had continued to operate the business into 2014.

See the Hollywood Reporter 2010 story: "Quentin Tarantino Saves L.A. Theatre."
The blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule had a 2010 post about improvements at the theatre after Mr. Tarantino purchased the building.

History: In the late 30s the building became a nightclub called Slapsy Maxie's and hosted many stars. Maxie's moved to larger quarters at 5665 Wilshire in 1943.

From the mid 40s onward the New Beverly building hosted a series of restaurants and nightclub operations such as the La Lafayette restaurant, the Blackhawk Club, and Jackie Green's Cafe. The contents of the latter got auctioned off in 1949.

The building became a legit playhouse known as the Century in 1950. In 1951 it was the New Globe (Yiddish plays), the Ben Bard Playhouse in 1952, and the Hollywood Repertory Theatre by 1955. In 1957 it was called the Dahl Theatre.

It became twin movie theatres featuring foreign films on October 23, 1958 under the operation of Robbert Lippert as the Riviera and Capri Theatres. The seating was 100 in one theatre, 200 in the other. The low auditorium ceiling meant that a mirror system was used to direct the light from the projectors down to a height where the beam could reach the screen. The operation was later sold to Raymond Rohauer.

In 1963 the wall was removed and the venue reopened as the New Yorker Theatre on September 13. The 401 seat operation, running mostly first run foreign films, was a venture of Shan Sayles, a L.A. exhibitor and partner in the Continental circuit and several partners. The remodel cost was $75,000.  By 1964 it had become the Europa Theatre. Film producer Howard Ziehm took over the property in 1968.

By the late 60s it was a soft core porno venue and in the early 70s live dancers were added, a nod to the building's legit theatre past. It had become the Eros Theatre in 1970 and the Beverly Theatre by 1972.

It closed out that chapter in 1977. In 1978 it was leased to Sherman Torgan and his partners who reopened with an artie double feature policy which survives today.  Their first bill was "Streetcar Named Desire" and Last Tango in Paris."

Mr. Torgan died while bicycling in 2007 and the management was taken over by his son Michael.  See the Hollywood Reporter story:"New Beverly founder Sherman Torgan Dies."

Business had been rocky even under Michael's father and Quentin Tarantino was subsidizing the operation. The landlord had been soliciting offers from other tenants until the 2007 purchase of the building by Mr. Tarantino.  He is reported to have said: "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm."

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the New Beverly. Especially noteworthy is the fine research done by Joe Vogel in 2010 regarding the twinning of the theatre as outlined in an article in the Oct. 19, 1959 issue of Boxoffice. A followup article on September 16, 1963 discusses the conversion back to a single auditorium.

See "A Comprehensive History of the New Beverly Cinema," a fine 2014 article Chris Nichols did for Los Angeles magazine.

Wikipedia has a nice article on the New Beverly which includes a history of the building and its operators.

Don't confuse this venue with the Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills (now demolished) or the Warner Beverly Hills (also demolished) which was known as "The Beverly" in its last years as a rock concert venue.

    L.A. Public Library Collection   

A shot by Herman Schultheis of the building
 c.1937 when it was Slapsy Maxie's.
Thanks to Chuckaluck who included the photo
 above with his research on Slapsy Maxie's in
 his Noirish Los Angeles post #17919.

A 1983 view from the Library's collection.
 full size view

    Mister Freedom   

A postcard view of the New Beverly on the website
 for Mr. Freedom, the clothing store in the red half
 of the building at 7161 Beverly.

Thanks to BifRayRock for including the card
 in his Noirish Los Angeles post #20225
about the Beverly.

A view of the New Beverly Cinema.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

[ click on the photos to enlarge ]

A view of the New Beverly during
some facade repairs.

photo: Gary Graver - undated

Gary Graver was a filmmaker and cinematographer who took
 many photos of theatres. 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.

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    Sergio Leone & the Infield Fly Rule

A look toward the screen from the September
2014 post about the changing of the guard at the
 New Beverly "Dark September, or Bright Reflections.."

Our author muses on the departure of Michael Torgan
 as manager/programmer and the great adventures
he's had seeing films at the theatre.
 full size view

    Los Angeles Magazine

A 1937 photo of the building as Slapsy
Maxie's from the Jim Heimann collection. It's in
"A Comprehensive History of the New Beverly Cinema,"
a 2014 article Chris Nichols did for Los Angeles magazine.

    USC Archives

A 1934 look at the building when it was Colvin's
 Beverly Winery. It's a Dick Whittington Studio
 photo. What is now the Beverly is on the left.
 full size view

On the right side there's a a poster advertising the
shows at the Wiltern. Or rather, Wil-Tern as it was then
 known. Thanks to BifRayRock for including the photo in
 his Noirish Los Angeles post #20225 about the Beverly.

The discussion continues on Tourmaline's
 Noirish Los Angeles post #20253.

Bill Gabel posted a cropped version
of the image on Photos of Los Angeles.