Aero Theatre

     
1328 Montana Ave.     
 
Santa Monica, CA 90403
 
(310) 260-1528   | map |
 

 
Website: americancinematheque.com | schedule | on facebook
 
Opened: 1939 by Donald Douglas so that the workers at his Santa Monica aircraft plant could have nearby entertainment. During the war, the Aero stayed open 24 hours a day.  The theatre operated as a second-run neighborhood house for decades while Montana Avenue changed from scruffy and working-class to a trendy shopping street.

Architect: P.M. Woolpert
 
Seating: Originally around 600, now down to 425.

Status: After a $1 million rehab the theatre is now run by American Cinematheque and offers almost daily changes of program including lots of classics.  New projection and sound equipment includes 70mm capability.

The Aero in the Movies:  This theatre is a favorite location for filmmakers looking for a typical neighborhood movie house. It appears in "Donnie Darko" (Newmarket Films, 2001) and other films.



In
Barry Sonnenfeld's "Get Shorty" (MGM, 1995) we see
John Travolta and Rene Russo strolling down the block
from the Aero after seeing a film.  The Vista Theatre
was used for the theatre interior.
larger view


More Information:  More about the Aero is on Cinema Treasures.  The Cinema Tour page on the Aero has some photos by Bob Meza from 2002.


A view of the Aero Theatre entrance.

 photo: Gary Graver - 1990

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a noted filmmaker and cinematographer.
 Over several decades he took many photos of theatres in Los Angeles and
Portland, OR.  More can be seen on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and
"Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.



A view of the marquee in 2010.

 photo: Bill Counter

[ click on any of these to enlarge ]



A view of the auditorium.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010




An art deco end standard on
 the Aero Theatre seats.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010




     In 70MM    

www.in70mm.com



Here we're looking at the installation work on 2 Norelco
 DP70 35/70MM machines at the Aero in 2005. It's a photo on this
site's DP70s in California page. The photo is by Paul Reyton. 
full size view

Thomas Hauerslev's wonderful site is the place to visit
 for information about 70mm projector history, news
 of 70mm festivals and more.



   Photos of Los Angeles    

facebook.com/groups/244565982234863


An entrance view of the Aero added to the
Photos of Los Angeles page by Ken McIntyre.
full size view  |  on LATheatres/Facebook




    So Cal Historic Architecture    

www.facebook.com/groups/socalhistoricarchitecture


A 1942 Aero view from Karl Gerber
 on the So Cal Facebook page.



A view of the Aero Theatre in 2010.

 photo: Bill Counter

[ click on any of these photos to enlarge ]




A closer view of the entrance.

 photo: Bill Counter - 2010


A night view in 2010.

 photo: Bill Counter




A close up of the entry terrazzo.

 photo: Bill Counter - 2010



The lobby of the Aero.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



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     From Script To DVD    

www.fromscripttodvd.com


On this informative site's 70mm in Los Angeles section
is a page on the Aero Theatre  with lots of photos.
Here we
have an auditorium shot. 
slightly larger view

 


     Klaxon on Flickr    

www.flickr.com/photos/ori


A nice 2009 view showing the streetscape from
Klaxon on Flickr. We're lined up for a sold out
showing of
"Aliens" and "Abyss" in 70mm.   
full size view


 

    Santa Monica Public Library    

 

A view of the Aero marquee in 2002 from the
 Library's collection. It's a photo by Cynni Murphy. 
full size view


Also in the collection:
| another entrance view  |  from across the street - 2002  |



     Vintage Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles



A c.1939 look at the theatre running "Anthony Adverse"
 (a 1936 release) along with "Jeepers Creepers," from October
 1939. Thanks to Margot Gerber, American Cinematheque's
 publicist, for posting the photo on Vintage Los Angeles.

full size view | on Vintage LA