West Coast Theatre

333 E. Ocean Blvd.    | map |

Long Beach, CA   90802

Opened: July 7, 1925 for the West Coast Theatres circuit. The new theatre was profiled in a July 25, 1925 Moving Picture World Article "Two Splendid Houses Added by Chain..." The other was the California Theatre in San Bernardino.  They give a June 6 opening date. The article notes that the theatre had a fourteen piece orchestra.  The initial policy was split-weeks. Half with the "big pictures" and Fanchon and Marco stage shows, the second half with other films and Orpheum vaudeville.

In 1928 the theatre got the Fox banner after acquisition of the circuit by William Fox and was frequently advertised as the Fox West Coast.

The West Coast had a full stage and offered vaudeville along with the films until the depression. It survived the earthquake of 1933 with no damage and was, for a time after the quake, the only theatre operating in Long Beach.

In the late 50s, the theatre was experimenting with an import policy featuring such fare as "Room at the Top" and "Look Back in Anger."

It was later operated by Mann Theatres and finally dropped by the chain in 1974 as it was no longer a viable operation in declining downtown Long Beach. It had spells as a rock venue, church and Mexican film house before closing for good in 1985.

The West Coast was just east of the Imperial Theatre, also operated by Fox West Coast.  Just around the corner on Long Beach Blvd. was another Fox house, the Fox Long Beach, formerly the Mission Theatre.

Architects: Meyer and Holler.

They were better known for their work in Hollywood for Sid Grauman at the Egyptian and the Chinese. They also did the Granada, later the Oriental Theatre, on Sunset Blvd.

The West Coast got a streamline makeover in the 40s so, for most of its life, it had a much simpler looking auditorium than the early interior views on this page show.

Seating: Later it held 2,038 -- the largest in Long Beach. Original capacity listed in a 1925 Moving Picture World article was 2,300.

Status: Demolished in 1987. There's now a hotel on the site. The last film to play was "Footlight Parade" at a closing party.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the West Coast for many interesting tales. Bill Gabel has contributed lots of research to the page.

The Pacific Coast Architecture Database has pages on Phillip Holler, his partner Gabriel Meyer and the West Coast Theatre.

    Sean Ault Archives   

A c.1956 look east on Ocean Blvd. toward
the Imperial and West Coast Theatres.
full size view

Thanks to L.A. transit historian Sean Ault
for the photo from his collection.

    Cinema Treasures   


Theatre designer (and at one time West Coast
Theatre manager) Joe Musil in the balcony. Behind
 him note the moderne re-do of the proscenium area.
The photo is from the Bill Gabel collection.
 full size view

    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.

A detail from the photo above, giving a better
look at the West Coast and the Imperial.
Source of the photo is unknown.
larger view

Another view that's gone missing on Flickr -- looking
west. Note that the LAPL has a similar view but this
one is slightly different, as well as sharper. 
Origin of the photo is unknown.
full size view

    Long Beach Public Library   


A 1968 Jeffrey Nisbet photo looking west on Ocean
 Blvd. from the Long Beach Public Library collection.
 That's the West Coast on the right behind the bus. 
full size view

Also in the collection:
 | 1929 roof sign view -- looking east on Ocean  |

    Photos of Los Angeles   


A close look at the West Coast's marquee during
the run of "Love Letters" (1945) with Jennifer Jones.  
full size view

Thanks to Bill Gabel for this 80s look at the facade.

Thanks to Augie Castagnola for this 1987 demolition
view. That's Ocean Blvd. over on the right.
Another shot from Augie. Note the
entrance portion of the facade still standing.
full size view | on Photos of LA

Also on the block were once the Imperial Theatre (just to the
left of the West Coast) and the Fox Long Beach / Mission Theatre
sited around to the far left on Long Beach Blvd. in the photo above.

    UCLA - S. Charles Lee Papers   

calisphere.org | digital2.library.ucla.edu


A 1925 exterior view of the West Coast
Theatre. It's a photo by George D. Haight.
full size view

UCLA attributes the building to S. Charles Lee
 but his involvement was only with a later
 moderne style remodeling.

A version of the photo above also appears on
 the CSULB page about the West Coast.

A 1925 view of the main floor
 lobby of the West Coast. 
full size view

The photo above also appears on the
CSULB page about the West Coast.

A 1925 view of the mezzanine lobby of
 the West Coast, again by Mr. Haight. 
full size view

A rare view by Mr. Haight looking toward
 the rear of the auditorium. Note the unusual
 side wall indirect lighting fixture. 
full size view

A 1925 proscenium view. 
full size view

Also in the collection:

The S. Charles Lee Archive also has a number
 of sketches indexed under "Fox Theatre Long Beach,"
presumably for a proposed 1931 deco remodeling.
 | proposed facade | interior elevation |

The moderne re-do it eventually got
 was much simpler in scope.

about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please 
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that 
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will 
direct you to a full size version on the website hosting it. 
Assume that all the images are subject to copyright 
restrictions.  Contact the webmaster of the site in
question concerning reproduction or other use.

    American Classic Images   


A 1983 view of the Imperial (on the left)
and the
West Coast from the American
Classic Images collection.

 full size view

Also in the collection:
| 1980 marquee detail | 1982 facade  | another 83 view |

    AmeriCar The Beautiful   


A lovely early 1954 view east on Ocean Blvd.
At the Imperial: "Riders to the Stars" and "Glory
At Sea." The West Coast is running the early
Cinemascope feature "Beyond the 12 Mile Reef."
full size view | on the AmeriCar page

Thanks to Edward M. Fiore for posting a link to this one
on the SoCal Historic Architecture Facebook page.

    California State Library   


Looking west on Ocean Avenue in a view
similar to those in several other collections.
The Library dates this one as 1929. 
full size view
| data page

To the right of the hulk that's the West Coast Theatre is
the stagehouse of the Mission/Fox Long Beach.


    Huntington Digital Library   

A 1924 look west along Ocean Blvd. from Pettit's Studio. The huge
West Coast Theatre is in the center. The stagehouse of the
Mission / Empire / Fox Long Beach is just behind the
West Coast stagehouse.
full size view

On the Huntington Library page, you can zoom in and pan around
to look at details. Note the original Municipal Auditorium, the Ritz
(later the Tracy) and the State Theatre at the left side of the photo.

    Island of Long Beach    

A 1925 view looking east along
Ocean Blvd. Note
the scaffolding on the front
of the West Coast, then under construction.
full size view

    L.A. Public Library Collection   


A wonderful 20s view looking west on Ocean Blvd. 
full size view

A 1968 photo of the West Coast.
full size view

An undated view of the boxoffice. 
full size view

More Exterior views from the Library's collection:
| looking east -- 1925 during construction |
 | early facade view | c.1926 facade - same as in USC Archives |
 | West Coast Theatres - parade float | 1927 exterior view |
 | 20s facade view - ladies with a map | c.1928 aerial view -
looking east on Ocean  |  20s aerial view -  from farther north  |
 | 1968 - West Coast and Imperial |

The lobby in 1925.
 full size view

A view from the balcony in 1925. 
full size view

A version of the photo above also appears on
 the CSULB page about the West Coast.

An auditorium view from the 30s.
full size view

    Port of Long Beach   


Historic Long Beach Theatres - The West Coast

The 1955 Miss Universe parade passes in front
of the West Coast Theatre. They're running
"Seven Year Itch" with MM.
full size view

The Port was celebrating it's 100th birthday. Their
website has lots of historic Long Beach photos.

    USC Archives    


A c.1926 exterior of the West Coast.
Note the Imperial Theatre at the left. It's
a California Historical Society photo.
 full size view | similar take

A 1920s interior view from the USC Archives.
full size view

Also in the USC Archives:
In an undated birdseye view the West Coast can
be seen on Ocean Blvd. It's to the right of the
 Municipal Auditorium, which is jutting out into
 the bay on the left of the photo

Ocean Blvd. - looking east in 1925. The new West Coast
Theatre (with its water tower) can be seen under construction
in the distance. The State Theatre is at the far right.

    Jeff Zimmer on Facebook   

A Jeff Zimmer photo of the statue that was on the
 West Coast's facade. It got saved and is now outside
 the hotel complex built on the site.
full size view

Thanks, Jeff!