Beverly Theatre

206 N. Beverly Dr.   

Beverly Hills, CA 90210        | map |

Opened: May 18, 1925 with "I Want My Man" with Milton Sills and Doris Kenyon.

Architect: Lewis A. Smith designed an elaborate Chinese style temple with a unique almost-circular proscenium. It got a moderne makeover in 1936.

There was retail on the ground floor and two studios on the 2nd floor. The south storefront was occupied by Daniel Quinlan's real estate office.  The Quinlan family owned the building until 1936 when it got traded for property behind the Beverly Hills hotel.

The theatre was initially operated by West Coast Theatres as the West Coast Beverly. When the chain became Fox West Coast in 1929 the theatre was called the Fox Beverly.

It stayed in the circuit until the late 50s and had a whole series of other operators: Amusement Corp. of America, Statewide, Loew's (as Loew's Beverly) and General Cinema. It was equipped for 70mm and was running roadshows in the 60's.

The opening was covered in the August 22, 1925 issue of Moving Picture World. It's available on Internet Archive.

Fred Niblo and Screen Stars At Beverly Theatre Opening

"Rising majestically at the intersection of two of Southern California's most traveled boulevards, and in the center of the Movie Colony, the Beverly, owned and operated by the Hollywood Theatres, Inc, associated with the West Coast Theatres, Inc., opened in gala display on the evening of May 18."

A rear auditorium photo
from the MPW article.
larger view

"A tremendous throng attended the big opening, and among those present were scores of Filmdom's most notable stars and screen celebrities. Director Fred Niblo was Master of Ceremonies, and was introduced by Executive Director J. L. Swope of the Hollywood Theatres, Inc. Mr. Niblo called upon all the stars who were present to appear before the spotlight, and applause greeted each one. In fact, it was acclaimed one of the premier theatrical events of Southern California during the current year."

The proscenium as seen

 in the MPW article.

"The officials of the West Coast Theatres, Inc. including Messrs. M. Gore, President; A.L. Gore, Vice-President; Sol Lesser, Secretary., and Adolph Ramish, Treasures, were also introduced amid applause.

The big theatre is of strict East-Indian design, with the same motif followed out in the auditorium. Architecturally speaking, it is without question one of the most magnificent show palaces in the entire country, and in decorative scheme is wonderful.

Part of the equipment consists of a huge Wurlitzer Orchestral pipe organ. An eight-piece orchestra will be part of the house staff.

The house is under the resident managership of E. S. Kukyendall, under the supervision of J. Leslie Swope, Executive Director of the Hollywood Theatres, Inc. The policy of the theatre programs will be high class motion picture entertainment, coupled with magnificent stage presentations and high calibre vaudeville.

Situated, as it is, in the heart of Beverly Hills, which is motion picture folks' own community, this theatre takes an added significance because of the fact that anywhere from a dozen to two score celebrities can always be found among the audience. It is anticipated that the Beverly Theatre will be one of the most popular of the entire chain."

Thanks to Beverly Hills historian Kimberly Vinokur Reiss for posting the article on the LAHTF Facebook page.

Seating: 1,270

Status: Closed in 1977 by General Cinema. Much of the decor was still visible when it was converted to retail. A later banking tenant gutted it. The Beverly was demolished in 2005.

The Beverly in the Movies: The Beverly makes an appearance in the 1980 Universal Studios classic "Xanadu" with Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton-John. Mr. Kelly gets taken shopping to buy some "jazzy" new clothes. A clip of the number is on YouTube.

Here's Gene Kelly on stage at the Beverly.
larger view

Take a look behind Mr. Kelly and you can see the original
proscenium arch with the curved sides (painted white).

Sometime prior to 1940 (see the Los Angeles Library's
1940 view), curtains had been installed within the outer arch

(painted cream & gold) to make the stage look wider

See our Theatres In Movies post on "Xanadu" for two more
shots from the sequence at the Beverly plus a couple of exterior
views of the Pan Pacific Auditorium, also visited in the film.

More information: Check out lots of information about the Beverly on the Cinema Treasures page.

Note that the Warner Bros. Beverly Hills Theatre was also known as "The Beverly" in its final years as a concert venue.

And don't confuse this theatre with the New Beverly Cinema on Beverly Blvd. For that one see our page on the Los Angeles Movie Palaces site.

See Marc Wanamaker's 2005 interview with Elinor Quinlan, daughter of the developer of the Beverly Theatre.  On YouTube:  Part One Part Two

A view from part 2 of the interview.

Not the Beverly: The postcard below has appeared numerous places and, because of the dome, it's been asserted that this is an early version of the Beverly. First of all, it says Hollywood on the card, not Beverly Hills. Some have speculated that this was an early design for the Warner Hollywood. Again not so.

A promotional postcard of the never-built
, the New Hollywood Theatre. The card is
from the collection of Brian Michael McCray,
appearing as a post on Vintage Los Angeles.
full size view
| on Vintage LA

It turns out that this was by a different architect than the Beverly (or the Warner). It's been noted that the project, to be located on Hollywood Blvd. near Cahuenga, was initially proposed c.1917 or 1918. The drawing from A.B. Rosenthal appears (in a small size) on page 72 in the October 1920 issue of Architect and Engineer with an article entitled "The Planning of Theatres and Auditoriums." The caption indicated that the Gore Brothers were to be the operators.

The card also appears as a post of on Photos of Los Angeles and as part of Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #8380. The card popped up again on Photos of Los Angeles in September 2015.

In a listing for the card in the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection at Loyola Marrymount University on the Online Archive of California site it's noted:

 "...The New Hollywood Theater was designed around 1920 by architect A. B. Rosenthal as a theater for both motion pictures and live performances. It was to be located on Hollywood Blvd., east of Cahuenga Ave. The design featured luxurious interiors in walnut, mahogany, and marble, and state of the art lighting equipment for unusual stage effects. The overall style is based on Indian, Persian and Islamic influences, including gilded domes. The projected cost of the building was $375,000, and the complete cost of the building and all its furnishings, including an organ and lighting equipment, was estimated at around $1,000,000. Contracts for the excavation work and foundations were awarded in 1920, but the building appears never to have been completed."

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     Beverly Hills Historical Society     

A 1977 view down Beverly Drive toward the
 dome of the Beverly Theatre. The photo was
added to the Beverly Hills Historical Society
collection by Nick Faitos. 
 full size view

     Card Cow

A postcard view looking east on Wilshire in
Beverly Hills. The strange luminescent white
dome is the Beverly Theatre.
full size view

   Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation   

www.lahtf.og | LAHTF on Facebook

A rare view of the Beverly's rooftop signage (over on
the far left) saying "Fox Beverly." The c.1930 photo
was a contribution to the LAHTF Facebook page by
Beverly Hills historian Kimberly Vinokur Reiss.  
full size view | on the LAHTF Facebook page

A superb early 1954 look at the Beverly from Beverly
Hills Heritage. The photo was added to the LAHTF
Facebook page by Kimberly Vinokur Reiss.
 full size view | on the LAHTF Facebook page

The Beverly is running "His Majesty O'Keefe" with
 Burt Lancaster. The SHANE sign is advertising a return
 engagement coming February 24.
Thanks, Kimberly!

     L.A. Public Library Collection 

An early view from the Library's collection.
full size view

The photo above also appears
on the
 Beverly Hills Heritage Facebook page.

A 1927 photo.
On the marquee
 is "The Road To Romance."

full size view

 The view above is also on a Preserve LA post about

the Beverly Hills Demolitions. The Beverly theatre and
the Beverly Canon Theatre went down at the same time.

The photo is also on Beverly Hills Heritage.

A rare view of the Beverly Theatre's interior in 1940.
The proscenium has been squared off a bit.
  full size view

An exterior from 1940's. 
full size view

An aerial view from 1978. "Temporarily Closed."
full size view

The view above also appears on the
 Facebook page Beverly Hills Heritage.

More from the Library's Collection:
| 1926 exterior -- "The Road To Romance" |
| 1929 view down Wilshire by F. M. Huddleston
-- note the Beverly's dome on the left |
 | panorama toward the hills - minaret and roof sign far right |

     Life Magazine

A 1937 Life Magazine/ Alfred Eisenstadt photo.
A look up Beverly Dr. toward the theatre.The marquee
is peeking up above the awning at the right.

Thanks to Tourmaline for Noirish Los Angeles post #35806
which featured both of these views along with
other Life shots of Beverly Hills.

  Alison Martino had earlier posted the upper photo on the
Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page plus a later re-post.

     Motion Picture News

On the Internet Archive is the Motion Picture News
issue of December 28, 1929. Section Two is the
"Theatre Building and Equipment Buyers Guide"
with the Beverly on a page featuring photos of
 Fox West Coast theatres that had been
decorated by Robert E. Powers Studios.
the page | on FB/LAtheatres

Note the unusual inward curve of the bottom of the
inner proscenium arch in the theatre's early days.

This Beverly photo also shows up in a February 18, 1928
 Motion Picture News story about the Powers Studios. As well, it's in
 the collection of Charmaine Zoe on Flickr where she has over 700
photos culled from various issues of Motion Picture News.

     Photos of Los Angeles

A 1978 look toward the Beverly's dome added by
 Ken McIntyre to the Photos of Los Angeles collection.

    UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers |

A 1936 rendering for a remodel of the Beverly Theatre
facade by S. Charles Lee. It didn't happen.

full size view

    USC Archives

A Dick Whittington view from the USC Archives.
Here we're
looking east on Wilshire c.1938.
full size view

We get the Warner on the right. On the left, just
the Brown Derby sign, you can see the
dome and
stagehouse of the Beverly Theatre.

The view above also appears on
Photos of Los Angeles and Vintage Los Angeles.

   Vintage Los Angeles

A 1925 look at the theatre. Our feature
 is "The Coast of Folly" with Gloria Swanson,
 a September 1925 release.
full size view | on Vintage LA

The photo above also appears on the
Water & Power Associates Museum page
 "Early L.A. Buildings (1900-1925) page 3."

Another great view from this Facebook page
gives us a look toward the dome walking south
toward Wilshire along Beverly Dr. in 1945.
on Vintage LA

A 1949 view on Vintage Los Angeles. The
dome almost gets lost -- white against the white
building beyond. Note the roof sign. 
on Vintage LA

A terrific 1954 view of the Beverly from the collection
of Richard Wojcik added to the Vintage Los Angeles

"Vintage Beverly Hills" album

on Vintage LA

The film on the marquee is "His Majesty O'Keefe" from
January, 1954 with Burt Lancaster. "Shane" was released
in September, 1953 -- they were promoting an
upcoming return engagement.

The Beverly in 1955 with "Love is a Many Splendored
Thing" and "Night of the Hunter." Thanks to Alison Martino
 for the superb photo. It was spotted on eBay.

A 1974 view added by Ms. Martino to her great
Facebook collection. The Beverly is running  "Mash" &
"Harold & Maude."  The photo is by Jeff Yablon.
on Vintage LA

Another terrific shot in the "Wall Photos" album --
this time of the interior as the Fiorucci store. 
  on Vintage LA

Also on Vintage Los Angeles:
| exterior as Fiorucci - 1978 -- Nile Hight collection  |
| another 1978 view -- Nile Hight collection  |

    Joe Zollner

A 2005 view of the Beverly Theatre by Joe Zollner.
full size view


A 1964 postcard view looking
East on Wilshire Blvd.

We're looking at the dome of the Beverly with "Dr. Strangelove" on the
marquee. Note that the original facade has been "modernized."

[ click on either of these to enlarge ]

A late 50s view looking south on
Beverly Blvd. toward Wilshire.

Both of these cards are part of a collection that was
displayed on the now vanished website Yesterday LA.

     American Picture Palaces     

by David Naylor

Van Nostrand Reinhold Company New York, 1981
paperback: 1991   ISBN: 9780130263292

This great book is a lush tour through the country's movie
palaces with many stunning photos that don't appear
elsewhere. Many Los Angeles theatres are represented.

| on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble |

A 1948 exterior view of the Beverly. The photo
is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

An early interior view in Mr. Naylor's wonderful

book. Again, it's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.

Although Mr. Naylor credits the two photos above
to the
LAPL, they don't seem to be in the current
online database. Lost?
The lower photo also
appears in a 1929 issue of Motion Picture News.

A view shot by Mr. Naylor showing the theatre
adapted as a Fiorucci boutique in the early 80s.

    Sean Ault Collection    

Thanks to Sean for sending this postcard our way. We
get both the Beverly Theatre and the Warner, "The Pride of
Beverly Hills." Check out the WB crest on the stagehouse.

     Barry Photo  

The facade being stripped down to the
original look during demolition. 
full size view

A look at the north sidewall. 
full size view

A 2005 demolition view by Barry Weiss. 
full size view 

Barry Weiss has a gallery of 11 photos

of the sad
2005 Demolition of the Beverly.  

     Beverly Hills Heritage

A 1957 panoramic shot of the interior after the "moderne"
from Marc Wanamaker and Beverly Hills Heritage.  
full size view

A proscenium shot from Marc Wanamaker's
collection. Notice that after the remodel, we lost
the curve at the bottom of the arch.

full size view

A sidewall view from Mr. Wanamaker's
Bison Archives.  It's from 1957.
full size view

Another look at the house left sidewall.
It's from
Marc Wanamaker and Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view

A great view of the mural on the right
side of the proscenium.
full size view

Another image of the interior, looking
at the side wall in the balcony.
full size view

A dazzling early view of the Beverly's facade as the
theatre nears completion. It's from
Marc Wanamaker's
 Bison Archives and Beverly Hills Heritage.
 full size view

From Beverly Hills Heritage: "Designed by prominent
 local architect L.A. Smith, the Beverly Theatre was constructed
in 1924-1925 for realtor Daniel M. Quinlan (1881-1944), and
 leased to West Coast Theaters, Inc. The building as originally
 constructed included four ground level retail stores, one of
which was utilized by Quinlan as his real estate office, and two
studios on the second floor, in addition to the 1500-seat theater."

A detail of the parapet wall -- note the "Quinlan Building"
It's another great one from Marc Wanamaker's
Bison Archives and Beverly Hills Heritage.

full size view

An early view from the Quinlan
collection via Beverly Hills Heritage.
 full size view

A 1925 marquee detail with the theatre running
"The Coast of Folly" with Gloria Swanson." The
photo is from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives
 and Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view | on the BHH page

An early view of the east side of the building from
Marc Wanamaker. That's the Beverly on the left.
full size view

A 1927 view of street sign installation in front
of the Beverly. On the marquee: Buster Keaton in
 "College." The photo is from Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view

A 1934 view of the theatre from Marc
Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

full size view 

Stephen Russo has looked at the marquee and
identified the double bill as "The White Parade"
and "Limehouse Blues," both released in 1934.

A wonderful 1937 aerial view of Beverly Hills
 from Marc Wanamaker and Beverly Hills
Heritage. Note the onion-domed Beverly
Theatre and the Warner Beverly Hills. 
full size view

A detail from the aerial photo above. 
larger detail view

A detail of the dome in 1987.
full size view | on the BHH page

The photo above also appears on the
Water & Power Associates Museum page
 "Early L.A. Buildings (1900-1925) page 3."

A great undated view showing both the Beverly
Theatre and, farther east, the Warner Beverly Hills. 
We're looking east on Wilshire Blvd.
full size view

A classic view east on Wilshire at Beverly Drive.

Looking toward Wilshire on Beverly Dr. --
this one from many blocks farther back.
full size view

A 1945 view from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.
full size view

Mr. Wanamaker's 1945 view also appears in his Arcadia
Publications book "Postcards of America - Beverly Hills 1930-2005."
The Beverly shot and others appear on a My Love of Old Hollywood
blog post titled "A Quick Tour of Early Beverly Hills."

Another 1945 look at the Beverly from Marc
Wanamaker. It's a detail from the larger shot above.
 full size view

A 1947 look north on Beverly. The main
feature is "Magic Town" with James Stewart. The
 bottom of the bill is "The Long Night" with Henry
Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes and Vincent Price.
full size view | on the BHH page

The Beverly in 1948 for the premiere of "Joan of Arc"
starring Ingrid Bergman and Jose Ferrer. 
full size view

A 1950 shot of newsboys at Beverly Dr. and
Wilshire selling the Herald-Express, later to become
the Herald Examiner. It's an Ida Wyman photo.

Thanks to Maurice Ideses for the post.
full size view | on the BHH page

A 1956-57 look at the Beverly Theatre. We're
 running "Invitation to the Dance" with Gene Kelly.
full size view

A closer look at the entrance during the
run of "Invitation to the Dance." It's a photo
from Marc Wanamaker.
full size view

A look at the theatre after the "modern" facade was
installed. Here it's 1958 and we're running "From The
Terrace" with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The photo is from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.
full size view

A great Beverly Hills postcard with the
Beverly Theatre dome on the right. 
full size view

A 1960 look at the Beverly. Check out the swirls on the
The photo is from Marc Wanamaker's Bison
Archives and Beverly Hills Heritage.

full size view | on the BHH page

A c.1985 view by Jeff Yablon. 
full size view | on the BHH page

A 2004 look at the building, after
 it had closed as a bank. 
full size view

Another sad demolition vista. It's a shot from
 the Beverly Hills Heritage collection.
full size view

Also see the Beverly Theatre album on
the Beverly Hills Heritage page.

Thanks, Kimberly!

theatres that used to be nearby: