United Artists Theatre - Long Beach

217 E. Ocean Blvd.    | map |

Long Beach, CA   90802

Opened: 1931 or 1932.  It's in the 1932 Polk's city directory.

Architects:  Clifford A. Balch associated with Walker & Eisen (A.R Walker and P.A. Eisen) for the project.

The United Artists in Long Beach was part of an early 30s expansion project by the chain as a result of a war with Fox West Coast. They evidently didn't think UA product was getting the dates or the returns it warranted in the Fox houses. Thus there was a big push to get their own theatres in prime locations.

Exhibitors Herald-World had a November 20, 1930 story about the UA expansion plans as well as a November 29 followup story promising 25 new theatres.

Many if not all of these were quite similar theatres designed by the trio of Balch + Walker and Eisen on a budget of $150,000 to $200,000. This team did a number of other projects for United Artists in the early 30s including similar theatres in Pasadena, East Los Angeles, Inglewood and the Four Star on Wilshire Blvd. 

This Long Beach one has the distinction of being the only one for which vintage interior photos survive.

In 1927 Walker & Eisen had designed the building containing the United Artists Theatre downtown although not the theatre itself. Their partner on that one was Detroit-based theatre architect C. Howard Crane.

This Long Beach UA house was strictly for the movies, with no stage facilities.

Seating: 1,242

And that war with Fox West Coast? Fox ended up running these houses for UA. Until the 50s that is, when consent decree settlements got UA in the business of actually running its own theatres.

The theatre ended its days as a porno venue operated by the Mitchell Bros.

Status: Demolished in the 1980s.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the United Artists Long Beach.

    Missing on Flickr   

A great view looking west on Ocean Blvd. that was
on Flickr but has gone missing. The West Coast
 and Imperial are on the right with the United Artists
 in the distance in the center of the photo.
 full size view

The view also appears in a smaller format on the
Cinema Treasures page for the Imperial Theatre.

    L.A. Public Library Collection   


A 1938 view of the marquee
 from the Library's collection.
full size view

An undated view looking east on Ocean Blvd.
The big thing with the bulging roof in the middle
 is the United Artists. The West Coast is
 farther off to the right. 
full size view

Also in the Library's collection:
 | vertical sign - behind the streetcar  |

    Long Beach Public Library   


A 1931 view from the Long Beach Public Library.
full size view

    Photos of Los Angeles   


A 1960 photo appearing on Ken McIntyre's Photos of
Los Angeles gives us a look at the United Artists vertical
behind the streetcar as we look west on Ocean Blvd..
full size view

The photo is from the collection of the
Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society.

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    California State Library   


A striking 1932 exterior view from the Mott Studio
 collection at the California State Library.
 full size view

The film playing is "Amateur Daddy" with Warner
 Baxter and Marian Nixon. It was released April 10, 1932.
Bing also had a comedy short on the program.

A view of the main lobby.
 full size view

A look at the balcony lobby of the United Artists.
All of these images are from the Mott Studio collection.

 full size view

Another look at the balcony lobby. Note the
down to the main floor through the doorway. 
full size view

Looking toward the screen.
full size view

Right sidewall and ceiling detail.
  full size view

Take a close look at that teaser across the
proscenium arch and those curlicue side legs --
copies of what went into the Fox Wilshire.

More from the California State Library:

They have a total of nine Mott Studio views
 in the collection. They're all cataloged
together as set # 001387339.