Strand Theatre -- East LA

4232 Whittier Blvd.   | map |

East Los Angeles, CA   90022

Opened: 1928

Also known as Swickard's Strand Theatre, after the owner, J Paul Swickard. For decades, the venue was popular for both vaudeville and films. The Strand was also very active in community affairs with the promotion of parades and local talent shows. The Buck Jones Rangers Band made its home at the theatre through 1935.

The Strand was the place for stars to make personal appearances in East Los Angeles. Mr. Swickard had all the visitors leave handprints and inscriptions in sections of concrete. The visits by the stars were keyed to an ongoing safety program and hey were asked to inscribe a safety-related slogan in the concrete. Many of the blocks were installed in locations near the theatre.

Some of the stars appearing at the theatre include Natalie Wood, Peter Lorre, George O'Brien, Jean Hersholt, Boris Karloff, Kaye Kaiser, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hugh Herbert, Eddie Albert, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell and many more.

J Paul Swickard died in 1959. His son Donald currently lives in Palm Desert.
Our thanks to Mr. Swickard for allowing the use of his photographs.

Architect:  Unknown

Seating: 990 seats

Status: The Strand closed in 1952. The sign on the boxoffice then said: "CLOSED We're home watching television, too."  The building was later used for clothing manufacturing. Now it's used as a warehouse.

The Strand on Video: See the wonderful 9 1/2 minute "Swickard's Strand Theatre" video on YouTube for lots of interior views. It's a project of the owner's son, Donald Swickard.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Strand Theatre for lots of information. The page also has links to a nice set of exterior views by Ken McIntyre from 2007.

The Cinema Tour page on the Strand has 8 exterior photos.

The Strand marquee in the 30s. The gentlemen are
part of the Buck Jones Rangers Band.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

A view of the boxoffice in 1947.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

A view of the auditorium during a re-seating project.
Note that here the ceiling has not yet been draped.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

[ click to enlarge ]

A view of the rear of the auditorium.
We're back in the well padded loge section

photo: Donald Swickard collection

A view of the house left front of the auditorium.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

The rear of the auditorium.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

Another view looking toward the booth.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

Donald Swickard as MC for a Strand talent show.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

    You Are Here   

A view of the exterior of the Strand Theatre by
the amazing photographer Martin.

A 1936 view of the Strand Marquee.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

Another view of the marquee during a parade.
Note the canopy at left leading back to the lobby.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

[ click on these two for a larger view ]

Boris Karloff with J. Paul Swickard. Karloff's inscription
in the concrete advises us to "Beware."

photo: Donald Swickard collection

A look at the lobby of the Strand.

photo: Donald Swickard collection

Another lobby view -- looking toward the exits.

photo: Donald Swickard collection.

The Strand as viewed from Whittier Blvd. in 2012

photo: Bill Counter

The front wall of the stagehouse still says "Warner Bros. Vitaphone."

On the sidewall can be seen:
 "STRAND - all seats  Adults 30 cents  Children 10 cents."

The lobby end of the building.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Just behind the chain link fence, one can see the arched
opening that used to be the main entrance. There was a
 canopy that stretched out to Whittier Blvd.

A look at the south side of the building.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

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    Sean Ault Collection   

A look east on Whittier Blvd. in the early 50s with the
 "Strand Theatre" sign appearing on the theatre's stagehouse.
 Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.

full size view

    L.A. Public Library Collection

An undated view of the Strand
from the Library's collection.
full size view

A 1990 view of the side of the stagehouse. 
full size view