Pan Pacific Theatre & Pan Pacific Auditorium

Pan Pacific Theatre

7554 W. Beverly Blvd.
| map |

Los Angeles, CA   90036

Opened: 1940

Architect: William L. Periera

The theatre building that fronted on Beverly Blvd. also housed a cafe, ice rink and bowling alley. It was a structure separate from the 1935 Pan Pacific Auditorium, which was behind the theatre building.

An ad from the collection of Marlaine Hysell announcing
ice skating at the Ice Rink that was part of the "Pan Pacific
Village" adjacent to the auditorium. The Village was advertised
 as "Amusement and recreational center of Los Angeles 
Ice Skating * Theatre * Bowling * Cocktails." 

Note the theatre at the far left of the drawing.
full size view

Movie theatre seating: 850

Status: Closed in 1984 and soon demolished.

More photos and information:  See the Cinema Treasures page on the Pan Pacific Theatre for lots of comments.

Amoeblog has an interesting post on the Fairfax District.  Wikipedia has a list of other buildings designed by architect William Pereira.

    American Classic Images

A 1983 view of the exterior from
American Classic Images.  
full size view
  |  on Vintage Los Angeles

    Cinema Treasures

A lovely 1941 view of the Pan Pacific marquee
appears on the Cinema Treasures page devoted
to the Pan Pacific Theatre.

The view also appears elsewhere:
on Vintage Los Angeles  | on Flickr  |

The photo is from "Shop America - Midcentury Storefront
Design" edited by Jim Heimann and essay by Steven Heller.

    L.A. Public Library Collection

Historic Los Angeles Theaters -- The Pan Pacific Theatre

A Julius Schulman photo of the Pan Pacific
Theatre from the LIbrary's collection.
full size view

A view of the cafe. It's an undated
Dick Whittington studio photo.
full size view

More north building items in the Library's collection:
cafe staff -- alongside Auditorium |   bar in ice rink  |
 |  another concession area shot - ice rink   |
 |  more ice rink concessions -- stairs to cafe upstairs |

|  interior - ice rink - 1939 |

    Mid Century Modern    

... and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

A look at the boxoffice and marquee on opening night.
It was added by Mark London to the album on Alison
Martino's Mid Century Modern Facebook page.
full size view | on the MCM page

    Calisphere - UCLA

The marquee of the Pan Pacific Theatre in 1940.

We're looking east on Beverly Blvd. Check out
the Gilmore gas station beyond the theatre.

full size view on Calisphere  | 
on the Huntington website
|  on Vintage Los Angeles  |

In the view above, the theatre is playing "Flight
Command" which was released in 1940.

These 5 photos are by noted photographer Maynard Parker
(1901-1976) and are from the collection of the Huntington Library.

Note that on Calisphere you can click to enlarge the
photo and then zoom in and move around.

These came to our attention due to the efforts of intrepid
researcher Nile Hight, who has posted them on the
Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.

A look under the entrance canopy in 1940.
We're looking across Beverly Blvd.  
on Calisphere  |
  on Vintage Los Angeles

A look at the lobby in 1940.  
on Calisphere  | 
on Vintage Los Angeles

A 1940 view of the auditorium.
on Calisphere
on Vintage Los Angeles

Here we're looking at the Beverly Blvd. frontage
of the north building. We're looking west and the
Pan Pacific Theatre is off to the left.  
on Calisphere  |  on Vintage Los Angeles

    Vintage Los Angeles

A sad 1984 view of the complex looking
east. It's a photo by Morgan Clarke. 
full size view

Pan Pacific Auditorium

7600 W. Beverly Blvd.
| map |

Los Angeles, CA   90036

Opened: May 18, 1935. The initial attraction was a model home show.

Architects:  Walter C. Wurdeman and Welton David Becket of the firm firm of Plummer, Wurdeman & Becket designed the streamline moderne structure. Construction time was reported to be 56 days.  The west-facing facade was 228 feet long.  It was a food frame building initially intended to be a temporary structure.  The auditorium was about 400' x 250'.

The name derives from a proposed Pan Pacific exposition that was talked about in the 30s. The exposition never came off, but the name stuck. The Auditorium was built by Phillip and Clifford Henderson for their private corporation, Pan-Pacific Corp.

A program for the 1943 Ice Follies at the Pan Pacific.
The program comes from the collection of Marlaine
Hysell, whose grandfather was noted Los Angeles
 theatreman John Quinn.
 full size view

In 1947 Pan-Pacific Corp. sold the auditorium, theatre and bowling alley to E.L. Cord, the former auto manufacturer.  It eventually ended up under the control of the City of Los Angeles.

Everyone with a big show from Elvis to the Ice Capades played the Auditorium. See Gs Jansen's Pan Pacific Flickr set for some programs for Ice Capades and other events at the complex.

Seating: 6,000

Status: Closed in 1972 and was allowed to decay. Many events that formerly played here were siphoned off to the new L.A. Convention center.

The auditorium was demolished after a May 24, 1989 fire. The fire was of suspicious origin and occurred on the eve of a planned restoration. There's currently a new Pan Pacific Recreation Complex building on the site that has echoes of the original structure.  See Floyd Bariscale's photo of the new building on Flickr.

The Pan Pacific In the Movies:  The facade of the Auditorium appears in "Funny Lady" (Columbia, 1975).

The best known role is in "Xanadu" (Universal, 1980) in which the decaying ruin is transformed into a nightclub with roller skating patrons operated by Gene Kelly. Somehow roller skating in night clubs just didn't catch on.  The film used only the building's exterior.

Historic Theatres: The Pan Pacific Auditorium

A night view from the film "Xanadu" 
larger view

A daytime look from the film. 
larger view

We spend lots of time in some back storage rooms of the complex in "Tuff Turf" with James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr. (New World, 1985). But there's nothing exciting to look at except a few signs left over from various events. It just looks like any old warehouse.

More photos and information:  See the Wikipedia article on the Pan Pacific Auditorium. The Scotty Moore website has an an interesting page devoted to the history of the Pan Pacific Auditorium -- and Elvis.

The Bruce Torrance Hollywood Photographs collection has 30 views of the complex dating from the 30s through the 70s.

The 1989 fire is on a 3 1/2 minute clip on YouTubeLarry Gassen has a number of 1980 facade views in his Flickr set. Gaylord Wilshire also has a nice similar vintage view on his Noirish Los Angeles post #2412.

A great history of the building is on LAist.  And see Larry Harnisch's L.A. Times story "Saying Goodbye..." for some nice photos from the Times archives.

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    Library of Congress

A view of the facade from the Library of Congress Collection.
On Vintage Los Angeles, posted by Nicole Padburg:
full size view

Also on Vintage Los Angeles, from the Library of Congress:

facade  |  another facade view  |   facade from side  |
another facade view  | 

The photos are part of the Historic American
Buildings Survey (HABS)  archive.

On the Library of Congress website:
  | Pan Pacific Auditorium  |

    L.A. Public Library Collection

A c.1936 view of the Auditorium from the Library's collection.
full size view

An undated exterior view -- looking north.
 full size view

A view of the interior during an Ice Capades show.
 full size view

More exterior views in the Library's collection:

car park staff  |    exterior - home show - 1935  |  exterior - 40s facade view  |
 |  40s facade view -- with a woody  | another 40s facade view  | exterior - 1948  |
 |  exterior - "Queen For A Day" - 40s  |  exterior - undated night view  |
 |  undated exterior - from across the parking lot  |

More interior views:
auto show - 1935  |  basement exhibit - 1938  |  interior -- ice follies 1939  |
 |  another ice show -- undated  |  interior - basketball game  |
 |  interior - concert set up  |
 | interior -- bike racing track - 1937 | interior - trailer & sports show - 1937  |
 | interior - tennis - 40s  |  fundraiser for Ike - 1952  |

    Mid Century Modern    

... and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

A look at the facade in the 80s. The photo was added
by Gia Costello to the album on Alison Martino's
 Mid Century Modern Facebook page.
 full size view

Also see:
| 80s - fenced exterior  |

    Noirish Los Angeles - Skyscraperpage

Historic Los Angeles Theatres -- The Pan Pacific Auditorium

A  rare color view of the Pan Pacific Auditorium on
  post # 4223 by Gs Jansen on page #212. He did a bit of
enhancement magic on a view that was on eBay.
 full size view

The view also appears on Vintage Los Angeles:
Pan Pacific 40s -  added by Richard Wojcik 

A day view processed by the amazing Mr. Jansen.
It's on his post # 4233.  On Flickr: full size view

The view above also appears on Vintage Los Angeles.

Another night view of the Auditorium on post # 4237
-- again worked over by Mr. Jansen. 
full size view

This one also appears on Vintage Los Angeles.

    UCLA Archives

A 1986 view from the UCLA Archives. 
full size view

This is one of many nice views of the
Auditorium from a variety of sources on the great
Noirish Los Angeles post #2419 by Gs Jansen.

    USC Archives

A 1955 view of the entrance from
 the Dick Whittington Studio.
full size view

Also in the USC Archives:
| from across the parking lot - 1956  | facade close-up on
Noirish Los Angeles post #2407 credited to USC  |
| 1954 aerial view -- PPA is far right, 1/3 of the way down  |
 |  interior - horse show  |

    Vintage Los Angeles

A 1987 side view of the Pan Pacific
Auditorium in its final days.
 full size view

Also on Vintage Los Angeles:

1939 exterior  | 1989 fire  |  1986 video  | 


A 1956 view of the Pan Pacific Auditorium entrance. 
It's an L.A. Times photo in the UCLA archives. 
full size view

The Wikipedia article on the Pan Pacific has lots of information
on the building and various landmark events occurring there.
This view of the 1989 fire that destroyed the complex
 was on the site but then got deleted.
larger view