Boulevard Theatre -- East L.A.

4549 Whittier Blvd.   | map |

East Los Angeles, CA   90022

Opened: Possibly 1923, as the Red Mill Theatre. In a 1923 Paramount ad it's listed as the Red Mill, Belvedere Gardens. There's also a record of a pipe organ getting installed at the Red Mill in 1923.

Evidently we had some renumbering going on. It gets a 1925 city directory listing as being at 5215 1/2 Whittier.

Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes that it's listed at 4549 Whittier in the 1926 city directory. In the 1929 directory it's still the Red Mill (at 4551 Whittier). Ken McIntyre found a 1930 ad in the L.A. Times listing the Red Mill (at 4549) as a Fox West Coast operation.

Vogel notes that in the 1932 city directory he found no listing, In 1936 it's under the new name of the Boulevard Theatre. He also determined that the building is listed with the L.A. County Assessor's Office as dating from 1922 with a remodel of some sort in 1928.  Thanks, Joe!

The building got a serious deco remodel around 1936.

It's also been known as the New Boulevard and the Teatro Boulevard.  Now, of course, it's known as the Huggy Boy Church or the Huggy Boy Theatre.

The sign, of course, used to say "Boulevard" on its nine protrusions. By reading Cinema Treasures, one can learn that the "Huggy Boy" refers to Dick Hugg, the host of an American Bandstand-like show that aired from the theatre in the 70s.

Architects:  The original architect is unknown. Balch & Stanberry evidently did the 30s remodel. Clifford A. Balch designed many Los Angeles theatres, including the Golden Gate theatre down the street.

Seating: 916

Status: Now a church.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Boulevard for a lively discussion. And Cinema Treasures also has a listing for the Red Mill at 5215 1/2 Whittier, which they list as a theatre with a capacity of 510. Mysteries remain.

Also check out the Cinema Tour page on the theatre for 5 more exterior photos from Bob Meza and Ken Roe. 

The entrance to the Boulevard.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

A view of the theatre's terrazzo.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

Looking out toward the street from the lobby.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

[ click any of these to enlarge ]

A view of the lobby -- looking toward the auditorium.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

The snack bar. It looks like we're all out of Milk Duds.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

The auditorium as set up for church.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

Many thanks to ace theatre explorer Michelle Gerdes
for permission to use her photos of the Boulevard.

For more of her great work, see her
Theatres sets on Flickr.

    Cinema Treasures

Thanks to Bill Gabel for this shot
of the theatre in its 99 cent days.
full size view | on Cinema Treasures

    L.A. Public Library Photo Collection

The Boulevard in down in the middle of the next block
 on the left in this 1979 L.A. Public Library Photo. 
full size view

    You Are Here

A view of the facade of the Boulevard Theatre by
the amazing photographer Martin.
full size view

A view of the Boulevard Theatre's facade.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

[ click any of these to enlarge ]

Another exterior view.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The entrance of the Boulevard.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The boxoffice.
It must be a free
showing -- no prices are posted.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

The boxoffice safe.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

Another lobby view.

photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

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    American Classics

A 1983 photo of the Boulevard from the American
 Classics collection tracked down by Ken McIntyre. 
full size view

A cropped version of the photo above
 appears on Cinema Treasures and on the
Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

Also from American Classic Images:

| 1984 view |

    Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr

In Mr. Lynxwiler's wonderful Los Angeles Theatres
set of over 400 photos is this 2007 auditorium shot.
full size view

Also see:
boxoffice area - 2007  |

    Roadside Architecture

A nice look at the Boulevard Theatre's boxoffice in Debra
great collection. It's on her LA Theatres page 3
full size view

Also in her collection:
terrazzo detail  |  facade  |  vertical sign  |

    Who Remembers in East L.A.

A 20s view  and a recent look at the Boulevard
Theatre from contributor Elias Perales
. full size view | on Who Remembers