Forum Theatre


4050 W. Pico Blvd.
  | map

Los Angeles, CA 90019

Opened: May 14, 1924 as an independent operation with D. W. Griffith's "America" featuring Lionel Barrymore.

Dr. H.B. Breckwedel of the Symphony Theatre downtown was behind the project.

The theatre originally featured reserved parking (for an additional 10 cents) in its adjacent 500 space car park.

Soon it became part of the Warner Bros. empire and was advertised as the Warner Bros. Forum Theatre.

The building was sold in 1949 to Sheriff C. Corwin and Sol Lesser who continued operating the theatre. The Forum closed sometime prior to 1955.  In 1955 it was used for a recording session for the Pacific Jazz label.

Architect: Edward J. Borgmeyer. The murals were by Christian von Schneidau.

Seating: 1,766 -- all on one level.

Cinerama at the Forum: It was the offices and a test screening house for Cinerama from March 1961 until 1978.  Cinerama Historian Roland Lataille's Cinerama History website page on the Forum Theatre notes that the louvered Cinerama screen encompassed a 146 degree arc with a size of 34' x 88'.

The theatre was used for testing lenses, evaluating prints and as a shipping depot.  It was initially equipped for 3 strip projection and (later) with 2 Norelco DP70 35/70mm projectors when Cinerama started working with a 70mm format.

The first demonstrtion of 70mm single strip Cinerama at the Forum was June 6, 1963. The theatre still retained its 3 strip projection capability with the last screening in that format on October 17, 1978 -- a private showing of "How The West Was Won."

Status: It's been a Korean church since the late 70's.

The original auditorium ceiling is obscured with a dropped ceiling and murals have either been painted over or covered.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of historical data and links to additional photos. Bill Gabel and Ken Roe have contributed an informative history of the theatre.


    California State Library   

www.library.ca.gov


From the State Archive: a 1979
exterior by William Reagh.
 full size view
 



A view of one of the murals in a 1978
photo by Tom Zimmerman.
full size view


    In 70mm   

www.70mm.com


A photo of the Forum booth with two Norelco
 DP70 35/70mm machines as well as Cinerama 3-strip
 equipment.  It's on Thomas Hauerslev's
 DP70s in California page.



    Roland Lataille - In Cinerama   

www.incinerama.com



Sound equipment being installed at the Forum for
Cinerama. The photo is from the collection of Cinerama
historian Roland Lataille. The photo appears on his
Cinerama History page devoted to the Forum Theatre.
full size view



    Ken McIntyre on Photobucket   

http://s132.photobucket.com/user/kencmcintyre/library


An early look at the Forum
discovered by Ken McIntyre.


    Penny Postcards from California   

usgwarchives.net/ca/ppcs-ca.html


A neat 1927 postcard view from this
 colorful site's
City of Los Angeles page.
full size view



    Photos of Los Angeles   

facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A view of some sort of filming outside the Forum
Theatre in 1925. Ken McIntyre located the photo for his
Photos of Los Angeles page. On the marquee is "The
 Home Maker" with Alice Joyce and Clive Brook.
 full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres



    Theatre Talks - Cezar Del Valle   

flickr.com/photos/theatretalks | theatreposts



A 2002 view of the Forum facade from Cezar Del Valle's
dazzling collection. It's a Betty Sword photo. 
full size view




A view from a 1924 Architectural Record article
that's in the Theatre Talks collection. 
full size view




A view of the Rotunda, again from
the Architectural Record article.
 full size view



A rare inner lobby photo. 
full size view




A luscious auditorium view from the
1924 Architectural Record article. 
full size view

Also see Cezar's post on the Theatre Talks blog:
  | The Forum  |

 Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian. See his Flickr collections
for many more L.A. theatre views. For other interesting material see his
website Theatre Talks and visit him on Facebook.





A view of the Forum Theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click either of these to enlarge ]



Another look from across the street.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



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.



    Cinema Treasures   

www.cinematreasures.org


An undated marquee view from Bill Gabel's collection
 on the page devoted to the Forum Theatre
full size view

The image above also appears
on Photos of Los Angeles.



    L.A. Public Library Collection   

www.lapl.org


A 1926 aerial view of the Forum Theatre. Note
 the gas station to the left of the theatre -- and
the theatre's "acres of free parking" behind it.
full size view



A stunning 1932 nighttime look at the Forum.
full size view


A 1938 view of the Forum marquee.
full size view




A lobby view of the Forum.
full size view



A view of the inner lobby from the LAPL collection. 
 full size view

 



Auditorium of the Forum Theatre.
full size view


More exterior views:

 |  another 1926 aerial view  |
| early undated exterior | facade from the side
| 1979 facade view - Wm. Reagh - same as California State Library  |



    USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu

A 1955 shot by Brunk for the Herald Examiner
from the USC Archives. The theatre was being
used for a transportation workers union meeting.
full size view  |  another angle



    West Adams   

by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Don Lynch, John G. Kurtz
Arcadia Publishing "Images of America" series, 2008

Arcadia Publishing  |  Google Books preview


A facade view of the Forum Theatre.



An auditorium view. 

Both of these views appear on the Skyscraper Page
discussion thread "Noirish Los Angeles" page 223 as part
of Gaylord Wilshire's post #4448, where he has
included full size views.