The Wilshire Theatre Tour!

Wilshire Boulevard was carved out in Los Angeles' amazing rush to suburbanize westward in the 1920's.  Prior to that time, Los Angeles was all about downtown. By the time the twenties arrived, L.A. was the fastest growing city in the world.  From a population of about 300,000 in 1910, Los Angeles mushroomed to 576,000 in 1920 and 1,250,000 by 1930.

As fashionable suburbs blossomed on the westside, Wilshire Boulevard was the way to get there. From downtown to the beach in Santa Monica, the 16 mile drive along Wilshire is an architectural wonderland. Great department stores, churches, retail establishments, apartments and, of course, theatres. 

Wilshire Boulevard was named for newspaper publisher, socialist and land developer Henry Gaylord Wilshire (1861-1927) from Cincinati who started the boulevard by clearing a roadway through his barley fields.  Mr. Wilshire subdivided his land around what later became MacArthur (originally Westlake) Park in 1895.

 The Fox Wilshire Theatre >>

By 1920 elegant residences and apartment houses were appearing. They first clustered around Layayette and MacArthur Parks but then started spreading up and down the boulevard.

The linear city that Wilshire would become gathered momentum in the late 20s with Bullocks Wilshire and other upscale merchants opening branches of their downtown stores for the affluent clientele in the area.

By the 50s and 60s it was no longer just branches of downtown stores but merchants who were leaving downtown and recognized the new suburban shopping patterns that were developing. As downtown deteriorated, Wilshire eventually became a magnet for new office towers as well.




   wilshire corridor theatres by location    


   santa monica   


Aero Theatre

Elmiro / Broadway 4 Theatres

Criterion Theatre

Hitching Post

La Petite / Dreamland


Mayfair Theatre

Monica 4


North Beach Auditorium

Nu Wilshire

Orpheum Theatre



Santa Monica 7

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

Steere's Santa Monica Opera House


See the
Venice and Ocean Park Theatres
page on our More L.A. Movie Palaces
site for theatres in those areas.


On our [more] L.A. Movie Palaces site:


   brentwood   


Brentwood Theatre

Brentwood Twin

Brentwood Theatre - VA Campus

Wadsworth Theatre


   westwood   


iPic / Avco Cinemas

Bruin Theatre

Crest Theatre

Festival Theatre

Geffen Playhouse

National Theatre

Plaza Theatre

Regent Theatre

Royce Hall


Village Theatre / Fox Westwood Village

Mann Westwood 4 Theatres

UA Westwood Theatres

Billy Wilder Theatre



   beverly hills   


Beverly Theatre

Beverly Canon Theatre

Carthay Circle

Fine Arts

Samuel Goldwyn Theatre

Music Hall

Saban / Fox Wilshire Theatre

Warner Beverly Hills

Writers Guild Theater


   miracle mile   


Leo S. Bing Theatre

El Rey Theatre

Fox La Brea Theatre

Fox Ritz Theatre


   mid-wilshire   


Ambassador Theatre

CGV Cinemas

Embassy Theatre

Four Star / Oasis

Fox Belmont

Fox Parisian

Fox Uptown

MPark 4

Wilshire Theatre - 1915

Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Wiltern Theatre



   macarthur park   


Alvarado / Park Theatre

Beaux Arts Theatre

Georgia Theatre

Hayworth / Vagabond

Lake Theatre

Playhouse Theatre

Theatre De Luxe

Westlake Theatre



   wilshire corridor listings a-v    


[ for alternate names, some
photos and more info see
the
 
Alphabetical Listing page ]


Aero Theatre

Alvarado Theatre

Ambassador Theatre

Avco Cinemas

Beaux Arts Theatre

Beverly Theatre

Beverly Canon Theatre

Leo S. Bing Theatre

Brentwood Theatre

Brentwood Twin

Brentwood Theatre - VA Campus

Broadway 4 Theatres

Bruin Theatre

Carthay Circle

Crest Theatre

Criterion Theatre

CGV Cinemas

El Rey Theatre

Embassy Theatre

Festival Theatre

Fine Arts

Four Star / Oasis

Fox Belmont

Fox La Brea Theatre

Fox Parisian

Fox Ritz Theatre

Fox Uptown


Geffen Playhouse

Georgia Theatre

Samuel Goldwyn Theatre

Hayworth / Vagabond


Hitching Post

La Petite / Dreamland

Lake Theatre

Mayfair Theatre

Monica 4

MPark 4

Music Hall


National Theatre


Nu Wilshire

Orpheum Theatre

Playhouse Theatre

Plaza Theatre

Pussycat Theatre Santa Monica

Regent Theatre

Royce Hall


Saban / Fox Wilshire Theatre

Santa Monica 7

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

Steere's Santa Monica Opera House

Theatre De Luxe

Westwood Village Theatre

Warner Beverly Hills

Wadsworth Theatre

Westlake Theatre

Mann Westwood 4 Theatres

UA Westwood Theatres

Billy Wilder Theatre

Wilshire Theatre - 1915

Wilshire Theatre / Embassy

Wilshire Theatre, Fox

Wilshire Theatre, Santa Monica

Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Wiltern Theatre

Writers Guild Theater









"I used to like this town. A long time ago,
there were trees
along Wilshire Boulevard.
Beverly Hills was a country town.

Westwood
was bare hills and lots offered
at eleven hundred dollars and no takers."

--- Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe,
looking back from 1949


Miracle Mile, between La Brea and Fairfax, was promoted in the 1930s as the toniest shopping district anywhere. Developer A.W. Ross saw the future of the area as an upscale shopping district with stores that would rival the best of those downtown. The difference was that the shoppers here would be attracted by the ease of car access and abundant parking rather than coming on foot. 

Along with the stores, Miracle Mile eventually offered professional offices, theatres and restaurants to feed the hungry shoppers. Ross was a pioneer in adapting building design, signage and traffic control for the new age of the automobile. Everything had to look wonderful and inviting at 40 mph.


Westwood Village was the third significant theatre district to evolve in Los Angeles. The theatre business started downtown of course. Hollywood became the second area with a major concentration of first-run theatres.

The Fox Westwood Village Theatre >>

 With the construction of the UCLA campus in the mid 1920's, there was a chance to develop a unique shopping and entertainment district for faculty and students.

By the 1970's, Westwood had the largest concentration of first run screens in the Los Angeles area. With the decline of the traditional theatre districts downtown and in Hollywood, having a premiere and exclusive run at a Westwood Village theatre gave a film a touch of class that couldn't be duplicated elsewhere in the city.

Westwood has lost many screens in recent years. With the advent of multiplexes, the demise of exclusive runs and the rise of other westside locations things aren't what they once were in Westwood.


More Along Wilshire Along the Wilshire corridor we also get lots of little neighborhood theatres and also three of the most wonderful Los Angeles art deco theatres, the Fox Wilshire (now known as the Saban Theatre) , the Wiltern and the Warner Bros. Beverly Hills.

Wilshire Boulevard is a 16 mile long theatre district and we'll explore all the historic theatres along the way.

See you at the movies!

-- Bill Counter




   art deco treasures on wilshire   


Saban / Fox Wilshire Theatre

Wiltern Theatre


runner up:
El Rey Theatre
[ nice facade, nothing of
interest left inside ]



   tragic losses along wilshire   


Beverly Theatre

Carthay Circle Theatre


Warner Beverly Hills


   hopes for future restoration   


Westlake Theatre


   historic theatres running movies   


Aero Theatre

Bruin Theatre

Crest Theatre

Fine Arts
[ dormant at the moment ]

Music Hall

Westwood Village Theatre


   newer theatres running movies   


iPic Theatres
[ soon ]

Broadway 4 Theatres

CGV Cinemas

MPark 4

Monica 4

Regent Theatre

Santa Monica 7


   screenings and special events   


Aero Theatre

Leo S. Bing Theatre

Samuel Goldwyn Theatre

Billy Wilder Theatre

Writers Guild Theater


   concerts and music programming   


El Rey Theatre

Royce Hall

Saban / Fox Wilshire Theatre

Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Wiltern Theatre


   open as legit venues   


Brentwood Theatre

Geffen Playhouse

Hayworth / Vagabond

Saban / Fox Wilshire Theatre

Wilshire Ebell Theatre




    on this site...    


wilshire theatre map


The  Wilshire Theatre Map gives a sense of
how the historic Wilshire Blvd. theatres are arrayed from
downtown Los Angeles all the way to Santa Monica.

We point you to theatres of interest along the side streets as well.


alphabetical listings


The
Alphabetical Theatre Listings section gives you
a list of the current and vanished Wilshire theatres
along with a brief description.

There are photos of the theatres still existing and
links to the page for each theatre.  The list includes alternate
names the theatres have used.


historic resources


The Historic Resources section offers links to
various photo sources and databases having items
of interest concerning Wilshire Boulevard history.

more stuff


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Classic Views Along Wilshire Boulevard

Classic Views of Westwood Village



    on our other sites...    



downtown L.A. theatres


Our
Downtown L.A. Theatres
section gives you a rundown of the surving
Los Angeles movie Palaces on Broadway
and Hill Streets.


the Los Angeles theatre >>


Other pages deal with the existing and vanished
theatres on Broadway, Main Street, Hill Street
and elsewhere.  We also have a section of links
to sites with interesting information about the
history of downtown Los Angeles.



hollywood theatres


Visit our Hollywood Theatres site for
information about historic legit theatres
and movie palaces along Hollywood Blvd.
and the surrounding area.

 
Grauman's Chinese Theatre >> 


We've got a map, an alphabetical listings page and
 lots of information sources for the various theatres.

 

more L.A. movie palaces


The Los Angeles Movie Palaces site is our
catch-all location for information on historic
Los Angeles theatres outside the downtown,
Hollywood and Wilshire corridor areas.


the Warner Huntington Park >>


It's a collection of information that's gradually
expanding as we add new listings.




There are separate sections for East Los Angeles, Pasadena,
 Long Beach, Ocean Park / Venice and Glendale theatres.


Also on this site is a directory of
Los Angeles Theatres by Address, a
Los Angeles Theatres Alphabetical List
and a page of Theatre History Resources.



links to other L.A. adventures


Our Links to L.A. Adventures page is a
collection of links to L.A. related historical
websites, blogs, postcard collections,
Los Angeles architecture
and more.

a Westwood Village landmark  >>

We're looking for people whose sites have an
interesting angle on exploring this great city.

movie links & hollywood history resources

 

The Movie Links page on the Hollywood
Theatres site contains links to websites offering interesting information about
film production and presentation.

the Warner Bros. studio >>
 


Want to know about TODD-AO or Cinemascope? 
We have some ideas for your browsing adventures.

There's also a section on Hollywood history resources,
various theatres offering classic films and lots more






See you at the movies!