Mesa Theatre

5807 Crenshaw Blvd. @ Slauson   | map

Los Angeles, CA   90043

Opened: April 1,1926 in the Hyde Park / Angeles Mesa area as the Mesa Theatre. The opening attraction was "Mike" from MGM.

It was constructed for West Coast Theatres which later morphed into Fox West Coast. It's also been known as the West Coast Mesa and Fox Mesa

The building also had apartments on the second floor facing Crenshaw Blvd as well as retail space. Crenshaw Blvd. was originally called Angeles Mesa Drive. The theatre had a full stage with dressing rooms in the basement.

The house got a remodel in the 50s for Cinemascope.

Architect:  Lewis A. Smith

Seating:  1,442 seats, with no balcony.

The Stage: Cinema Treasures lists a few stage specifications:

    Proscenium width: 41'10"

    Proscenium height: 23'10"

    Stage depth: 29'

    Stage width: 72'9"

    Grid height: 51'

    Rigging: counterweighted, 31 lines

    Stagelights: 3 borders - Modern & Cooper, footlights

    Organ: Robert Morton 2/12

Status: The Fox Mesa closed in September, 1963. It had a fire in April, 1964 and was demolished in 1965.  There's now a gas station and a KFC on the site.  An article on the demolition noted that the design for the Shell station being planned had received some "Beautiful Los Angeles" commendation the previous year.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page which includes some nice research by John Chappell, Ken McIntyre, Joe Vogel and other contributors.  As well, there are a few stories on the page by Mesa moviegoers.

Cinema Tour also has a page on the Mesa. They list the address as 5803-07 Crenshaw.

Boxoffice magazine for December 14, 1929 has a story (which includes an interior photo) about installation of Celotex insulation in the Fox Mesa theatre

    L.A. Public Library Collection

A 1937 view of the West Coast Mesa from
the Library's collection. The theatre's running
"Along Came Jones" and "Captain Eddie."
full size view

The photo above also appears
on Photos of Los Angeles.

A look toward the stage of the Mesa Theatre.
The Library says this is c.1942.
full size view

A truck mounted ad for the Mesa. "Bertha the
Sewing Machine Girl" was a 1926 release with
Madge Bellamy. 
full size view

More 1926 mobile ads:
| "Rubber Tires" with Harrison Ford  |  "Oh Baby"  |
 |  another "Oh Baby" shot  |  "Going Crooked"  |  "The Ice Flood"  |
 |  another "Ice Flood" shot  |

Also in the Library's collection:
| newspaper article about the demolition [pdf format] |

    A Mystery Theatre   

In addition to the interior view from the Los Angeles
 Public Library that is in the right column, they also
 identify these photos as the Mesa:

Mystery Theatre proscenium.
full size view

A rear wall view. 
full size view

Any idea what theatre these
photos were taken in?

Comments, please:

The Mesa Theatre in 1955.

 photo: Sean Ault Archives

Thanks, Sean! The theatre is playing
 "The Country Girl" with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and
William Holden along with Kirk Douglas in "The Racers."

[ click on these images to enlarge ]

An early proscenium view.

photo: Ronald W. Mahan Collection

It's a photo by Dwyer that was once in the Tony Heinsbergen
 collection. That's the asbestos we're looking at. We also get a
view of the elaborate valance that had vanished by the time of
the Los Angeles Public Library's early 40s photo.

The auditorium after the 40s Skouras renovations.

photo: Ronald W. Mahan Collection

Thanks, Ron!  

Ron notes that a lot of the Skouras decoration here looks "flat."
Much of the ornament the circuit was using in those days was just spray
painted on flat panels such as the decoration we see here above where the
organ grilles had been and the long piece in front of the first row of seats.

The photo is by Nate Singer/Western Photo Co. and
was once part of the Grosh Scenic Studios collection.

A look at the Mesa Theatre snack bar in 1952.

photo: Ann Peery collection

Ms. Peery met her late husband at the Mesa Theatre.
She worked for Fox West Coast in the offices carved out
of the Boulevard Theatre stagehouse. Among other duties,
she wrote bonus checks for theatre managers.

Thanks, Ann!

    Theatres in Los Angeles   

A 1942 view of the Mesa Theatre on p.112
of  "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell
Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Most of the rare photos in the book
are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

The book notes that the Mesa was pressed into
service in 1948 as a location where men reported
who were going into the service.

Ken McIntyre also has the photo on his
 Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.

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