319 E. Ocean Blvd. | map |
Long Beach, CA 90802
Opened: 1926. It's listed in the 1926 city directory with an address of 315 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long operated by Fox West Coast, the theatre was also known as the Fox Imperial. Right next door was the West Coast, also operated by Fox.
The stages of both the West Coast and the Imperial backed up against the side of the Mission / Fox Long Beach Theatre around the corner on Long Beach Blvd.
Architects: Lewis A. Smith was the original architect for the theatre. It's not known if he was also the architect for the Imperial Hotel building.
Clifford A. Balch did the repair work after the 1933 earthquake. It evidently got a Skouras-style re-do in the 40s and lost most of the original interior decor. It got another remodel in 1955.
Jennifer Looney-Doner notes that the building surrounding the Imperial lobby got a serious makeover, perhaps in the 60s. The hotel vanished and the building got shorter. The second floor then housed a Ukranian dance hall, the third floor a Gloria Marshall dance studio. Some of the space became artist's lofts/studios. Ms. Looney-Doner also notes that artists took some of the space upstairs in the West Coast Theatre building next door creating an interesting community for about 10 years.
Mann Theatres ceased operating the theatre in 1977 after which time the Imperial ran as an independent. The address in ads was frequently listed as "Ocean near American." American is now Long Beach Blvd.
Demolished. The Westin Long Beach now occupies the site.
Thanks to eBay shopper (and Long Beach
historian) Michelle Gerdes for finding the card.
A detail from the photo above, giving a better
look at the West Coast and the Imperial.
photo: Michelle Gerdes collection
[ click on the image to enlarge ]
See more of Michelle's collection in
her "Theatres-California" set on Flickr.
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A 1955 view of the refurbished Imperial Theatre on the
occasion of its reopening. It's in the Tom B'hend and Preston
Kaufmann Collection, part of the AMPAS Margaret
Herrick Library Digital Collections.
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres
A post 1933 earthquake view from
the Long Heritage Museum.
full size view
A c. 1928 view from above showing the Imperial
dwarfed by the West Coast behind.
full size view
full size view
A 1968 view of the Imperial and its next door
neighbor, the West Coast from the Library's collection.
Also in the collection:
| marquee glimpse -- 1928 |
On the Internet Archive is the Motion Picture News
issue of December 28, 1929. Section Two is the
"Theatre Building and Equipment Buyers Guide"
with the Imperial on a page featuring photos of
Fox West Coast theatres that had been
decorated by Robert E. Powers Studios.
on Internet Archive | on FB/LAtheatres
This lobby photo shows up in a February 18, 1928
Motion Picture News story about the Powers Studios.
The lobby photo is also in the Theatres: Stage and Movie
set of Charmaine Zoe on Flickr where she has over 700
photos culled from various issues of Motion Picture News.