Warner Bros. Beverly Hills

9404  Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90212  
| map

Opened: May 19, 1931.  The opening feature was "The Millionaire" with George Arliss.

Architect: B. Marcus Priteca. Decoration was by the Robert E. Power Studio.

Priteca also designed the Warner theatres in San Pedro and Huntington Park.  He was also the architect of the downtown Pantages (1920) and the Hollywood Pantages (1930). The Warner Beverly Hills had a glorious career over many decades as a deluxe venue for prestige films.

Seating: 1,500

Jack Warner, Jr. at the groundbreaking ceremony. It's
from nine minutes of film from the Beverly Hills Historical
Society on the groundbreaking, the development of
Beverly Hills, and the finished theatre.

On YouTube:
Warner Theatre 1931

The film is narrated by Marc Wanamaker and is
footage shot by Warner Bros. of both the ceremony and
the completed theatre. It was screened at the opening.

Talking about the theatre, the opening night program
noted that "It is not for us to tell you whether it is
beautiful, but for you to tell yourselves."  That message
was also repeated in film on the screen, as seen above.

More of the filmed opening message.

Historic Theatres and Movie Palaces along Wilshire Blvd. -- The Warner Beverly Hills

The front cover of the opening night program.
from the Mark Tipton collection. He found the program
Cincinnati in 1985. Note that the front cover is actually silk

screened on gold foil, which he notes does not photograph well.
larger view

A detail of the lower right corner.
larger view

Another front cover detail.
larger view

The inside of the front cover
of the opening night program.

Note here on the left that you get a look
at the gold foil of the front cover.

 A welcome from Jack!
larger view

The program on opening night.
larger view

A message from the growing City of Beverly Hills.

Thanks to Mark Tipton for sharing his
  rare copy of the opening night program!

A ticket for the 1935 premiere of Max Reinhardt's
 "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Mickey Rooney.
It's on the Beverly Hills Heritage Facebook page .
 full size view

Status: Demolished in 1988 for a parking lot -- a sad day for Beverly Hills. One of the stated reasons for the demolition was that the owners didn't want to do seismic retrofit work on the building and offered a possibly bogus $12 million estimate as their justification.

VistaVision at the Warner: For a short period in the 50s, the Warner had one of two horizontal VistaVision installations in the Los Angeles area -- the El Capitan (then known as the Paramount) in Hollywood also got a set. The equipment at the Warner was removed in 1957 or 1958.

The "Lazy-8" projector, an illustration from
"The Horizontal VistaVision Projector" article on
the site American Widescreen Museum. Also
see their great main VistaVision section.

larger view

In Paramount's VistaVision process, the film "runs up" -- the feed reel is on the bottom. With 8 perforations per frame, the film speed is twice normal 35mm -- 180 feet per minute.

Other theatres getting the specially built Century projectors were the Radio City Music Hall (for "White Christmas") and the Paramount in Times Square.  While Paramount photographed many films (perhaps 80!) in the process, only "White Christmas" (1954),  "Strategic Air Command" (1955), "To Catch A Thief" (1955) and "The Battle of The River Plate" (1956) were exhibited using horizontal projection -- and these with only a few prints struck.

All the others were printed down to conventional 35mm "flat" prints designed to be shown at aspect ratios between 1.66 to 1 and 2.0 to 1. Special framing marks appeared at the beginning of each reel. At least one film also had prints done in 'scope format.

A 1955 ad for "Strategic Air Command" at the Stanley Warner
Beverly Hills. It's from American Widescreen Museum.
full size view

In the full horizontal projection format, VistaVision was ideally as wide as a theatre's Cinemascoe picture but twice as tall -- a screen size that could be as big as was being used for TODD-AO or Cinerama.

An ad touting the virtues of VistaVision from a
now-vanished Robert Harris article "Motion Picture
 High Fidelity"
on the site The Digital Bits
larger view

The 8 perf VistaVision frame, from
the Wikipedia article "VistaVision."
larger view

Paramount wasn't big on stereo sound at this point so the system employed Perspecta Sound, a system using inaudible control tones on the optical single track so it could be directed to any of the three stage speakers or the surrounds.

A frame from the 8 perf VistaVision film "Vertigo."
See a larger view, and lots more, on Widescreen
Museum's VistaVision section page 5.

The VistaVision process was later used for special effects work in many films, such as "Star Wars" due to its use of a large image area on standard film stock. And it morphed into a wder aspect ratio version, Technirama. See our Movie Links page on the Hollywood Theatres site for more about VistaVision and other projection processes.

70mm at the Warner: The theatre was equipped with Norelco AAII 35/70 projectors and 6 channel Ampex sound for 70mm presentations. It was a four machine booth -- the other two were Simplex XLs. 70mm roadshow engagements included:

"Lawrence of Arabia" - Columbia, 1962
"Becket" - 1964
"Lord Jim" - 1965
"Flight of the Phoenix - 1966 -- possibly 35mm, not reserved seats
"Taming of the Shrew" - 1967 - possibly 35mm
"Doctor Zhivago" - 1968 - moveover, not reserved seats
"2001" - 1969 - moveover from the Warner Hollywood, reserved seats
"Julius Ceasar" - 1970 - possibly 35mm
"Ryan's Daughter" - 1970
"Doctor Zhivago" - 1970 - moveover, not reserved seats
"Patton" - 1970 - moveover, reserved seats
"Mary, Queen of Scots" - 1971
"Sound of Music" - 1973 - return engagement, not reserved seats
"Gone with the Wind" - 1974 - 70mm blowup, not reserved seats

Operators in the 50s and 60s: After the consent decrees of the 50's, the Warner Beverly Hills was operated by the Stanley Warner Corporation as the Stanley Warner Beverly Hills and, starting in the late 60's, by Pacific Theatres as Pacific's Beverly Hills.  

The final years: After the good bookings migrated to Westwood and more suburban locations, this once glorious theatre finished its movie days in the late 80's as an independent 99 cent house called The Beverly Hills Theatre after Pacific Theatres left. A September 1980 issue of Boxoffice had a three page story on the Warner becoming Beverly Hills' first 99 cent theatre.

Later it was renamed "The Beverly" (not to be confused with the other Beverly Theatre) and used for concerts, to the ire of the city fathers.

The Warner in the Movies: The theatre is featured in "Blood Theatre" (1984).

More Information: See the Warner Beverly Hills page on Cinema Treasures for an interesting history as well as a great photo spread.

See some footage on the Internet Archive for a wonderful drive down Wilshire in 1935. We see the east end of the Warner marquee at the beginning as well as a drive-by later. Playing at the time is the feature "Oil For The Lamps of China."

And don't miss our page on the nearby Beverly Theatre, now also demolished.



A look at the new carpet in the remodeled
lobby of the Warner is featured on page 71 of the
 March 6, 1961 issue of Boxoffice.

    California State Library    


The California State Library has a number of
views circa 1931 from their Mott Studios
collection including
this nice look at the marquee.  
full size view

A lovely view of the Warner Beverly Hills
facade during the run of "City Lights."
  full size view

Another "City Lights" shot --
this time looking a bit west.

The east side of the building.
 full size view

Another corner image. The Warner is running
 "The Finger Points,"
an April 1931 release.
"Sensational - too daring to print"
full size view

A closer look at the theatre's tower in 1931.
 full size view

More from the California State Library:
On the State Library's site you can find the 6 Mott Studios
views shown above plus one additional exterior
 as set #
001387281. Duplicates of two of these are listed
as set #
001387287. They have no interior photos.

  Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation  

www.lahtf.org | Facebook group page | official FB page

A look at B. Marcus Priteca's rendering for the
 exterior of the Warner. Kimberly Vinokur Rice posted
the image, from the Beverly Hills Historical Society,
on the LAHTF Facebook group page.
full size view | on the LAHTF page

An early look across the main floor toward the
 house right organ grille. Thanks to the LAHTF for the
photo, one on display at an "all-about" tour in 2014
 of another Warner, the one in San Pedro.

    more from the L.A. Public Library    


Looking toward the rear of the auditorium.
  full size view

| 1931 proscenium view - shown higher on this page |

A ceiling detail from the Library's collection.
full size view

Historic theatres along Wilshire Blvd. -- The  Warner Beverly Hills

An exterior view from the Library's collection.
It looks like we have bunting up for the 4th of July.
full size view

A 1931 night shot of the tower. Wow! 
full size view

A 1937 street view looking west. 
full size view

A 1938 marquee photo with the theatre
running "Valley of the Giants."
full size view

A 1978 entrance view by Ken Papaleo taken
during the theatre's time as a legit house.
full size view

A 1988 photo by Chris Gulker showing the
building as the concert venue "The Beverly." 
full size view

More exteriors in the Library collection:

| facade and west side  - note the signage:
Pride of Beverly Hills" |
| looking south toward facade - c. 1936 |

| later tower view - no signage - Javier Mendoza |  

    Movie Palaces    

Ave Pildas (photos)  and Lucinda Smith (text)
Foreword by King Vidor
Clarkston N. Potter, New York, 1980
Hennessey + Ingalls, Santa Monica, 2000
ISBN: 0940512254

buy the book:
 | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

A nice interior view of the Warner Beverly Hills
 from the Pildas & Smith book. The photo is from
 the Terry Helgesen Collection.

    UCLA - L.A. Times Collection    

calisphere.org/collections/153 | digital2.library.ucla.edu/view

From the UCLA Library's collection of L.A. Times
comes this view of the facade during the
1953 premiere of " Torch Song." 
full size view | on Calisphere

    USC Archives    


A great view looking down the street toward the Warner
Beverly Hills. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo. 
full size view

Another Dick Whittington view. Here we're
looking east on Wilshire c.1938.
full size view

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

Another Dick Whittington view from the same
shoot -- but a bit closer to the Warner. 
full size view

A marquee view of the premiere of "The Private
Lives of Elizabeth and Essex." It's a 1939 Dick
Whittington Studio photo.  
full size view

Also in the USC Archives:
| another view - "Elizabeth & Essex" |
 | Warner in the distance -- looking east |

A 1931 look at the ceiling of the Warner's lobby.

photo: Bill Housos collection

Thanks to Bill for sharing these gems. He purchased the
photos from the Theatre Historical Society decades ago.

[ click on any of these photos for larger views ]

A detail from the photo above.

photo: Bill Housos collection

A chandelier detail.

photo: Bill Housos collection

The Warner lobby -- the auditorium is off to the right.

photo: Bill Housos collection

A snack bar later ended up where the fountain is.

The drinking fountain on the lobby's south wall.

photo: Bill Housos collection

[ click on any of these photos for larger views ]

The auditorium of the Warner Beverly Hills in 1931.

photo: Los Angeles Public Library

There are more photos from the LAPL
collection down lower on this page.

 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 1982 view from the American
Classic Images collection. 
full size view

Also in the collection:
 |  1984 night view  |

    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.

     Beverly Hills Heritage     


Looking west on Wilshire in a 1931 view from
Marc Wanamaker and Beverly Hills Heritage. On the
marquee is "Bobby Jones," who made a whole series
of golfing shorts for Warner Bros./Vitaphone in 1931. 

full size view

Looking south on Canon Dr. toward the Warner in
1931. Playing the week of the photo is Constance
Bennett in "Born To Love."  The photo is from from
Marc Wanamaker and Beverly Hills Heritage.

full size view

A closer view shot the same week in 1931.
The photo is from from Marc Wanamaker
and Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view

A detail of the tower sign from Marc
Wanamaker and Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view

A nice 30s facade view of the exterior.
full size view

A great undated view showing both the Beverly
Theatre and, farther east, the Warner Beverly Hills. 
full size view

A look at the 1935 premiere of "A Midsummer
Night's Dream" with Mickey Rooney. 
full size view

A view looking east on Wilshire with a parade!
It's from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives. 
full size view

A 1938 or 1939 look at the Warner's entrance. It's a
photo from the Beverly Hills Heritage collection.

A c.1939 view looking east toward the Warner --
with a bit of the Beverly's onion dome on the
left. It's a photo
from Marc Wanamaker
 and Beverly Hills Heritage.
full size view

A nice 50s view looking east with a glimpse
of the WB on the stagehouse.
full size view

The Warner Beverly Hills got the West Coast premiere of
"White Christmas," the first VistaVision presentation, October
 27, 1954. In New York it ran at the Radio City Music Hall,
opening there October 14, 1954.

The updated marquee in the 50s during the run
 of "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Note the SW (for
Stanley-Warner) on the corners instead of the WB.

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

A detail from the aerial view. 

Also see:
 | Warner Theatre album |

And don't miss some great 1935 footage that Kimberly
located of a drive down Wilshire. The film playing at the
Warner is "Oil For The Lamps of China," 1935 release.
  | On YouTube |

Thanks, Kimberly!

    Cinema Treasures   


A 1978 view looking west, added by
indefatigable contributor Bill Gabel to the Cinema
Treasures page on the Warner Beverly Hills.
full size view

A rare color view looking back into the auditorium.
This and most of the other images of the theatre were
added to the Warner Beverly Hills
Cinema Treasures
by prolific site contributor Bill Gabel. 
full size view

A rare view of the lobby in later years.
full size view

The demolition in 1988. Thanks
 to Bill Gabel for the photo.
full size view

Looking at a deco column capital during
demolition. It's another Bill Gabel photo.
 full size view

Another demolition photo. Thanks again
to Bill Gabel for the documentation.
full size view

Also see:

    Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr   


In Eric's  Wilshire Blvd. History set is
this wonderful view looking west on Wilshire.
full size view

    George Mann    


A dazzling look at the opening of "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1962.
The photo appears in Brad Smith's great theatre marquees set
composed of shots taken by his father George Mann.

full size view

Mr. Mann was half of the famous comedy dance team

Barto and Mann, who toured the circuits of Loew's, Orpheum,
 Paramount Publix and others. He was in "Hellzapoppin" on
 Broadway for three years and later did lots of club work.  

He took thousands of evocative photos documenting what
is now a lost theatrical world and, later, many around Los Angeles.
Brad Smith's wife, Dianne Woods, has taken on the task of preserving
and organizing Mr. Mann's photos in the George Mann Archive.

Don't miss a chance to browse the archive
for a wonderful look
 at a lost theatrical world.
And thanks to Michael Hudson-Medina
 for alerting us about the Mann Archive.

    Mid Century Modern    


Rita Hayworth strolls Beverly Hills in 1939 in a photo
by Frank Worth. Behind her we get a view east on Wilshire
toward the Warner Beverly Hills. The photo was added to the
Mid Century Modern Facebook page by Hamit Kundak. 
full size view

And thanks to Stephen Russo for spotting this one.

More on Frank Worth:
| Wikipedia | L.A. Times - 2010 | photos on Google |

    Motion Picture Herald    


A chandelier and top of the proscenium detail from
an otherwise uninteresting article about theatre planning
 in the July 4, 1931 issue of Motion Picture Herald.
full size view | on Internet Archive

Four photos of the theatre were featured in the
August 29, 1931 issue of Motion Picture Herald as part
 of an article titled "Modern Ceiling Designs." They call the
treatment "a modern interpretation of Mexican motifs."

A balcony soffit fixture featured in
 the August 29, 1931 issue.
 full size view | on Internet Archive

A detail of the auditorium ceiling featured
 in the August 29, 1931 issue.
 full size view | on Internet Archive

MPH says "...The general design of the auditorium is
dominated by a series of columns entirely encircling the auditorium
until reaching the ante-proscenium features flanking the proscenium
arch, and the ceiling similarly sweeps downward toward this portion,
making the proscenium continuous with the rest of the auditorium
architecturally. The ceiling is as a whole of the shape of [a] broad
shallow dome, and its relief decoration, executed in composition and
silver and gold leaf, has the appearance of being deeply and intricately
carved. From an ornamental square in the center, bands of floral
and leafy ornamentation, richly colored, radiate toward the walls."

The Los Angeles Public Library has a similar auditorium view -- but
here we get to see the projection ports at the bottom of the photo.

A detail of an entrance to the balcony
featured in the August 29, 1931 issue.
 full size view | on Internet Archive

A photo of the lobby ceiling featured
 in the August 29, 1931 issue.
 full size view | on Internet Archive

MPH notes that the lobby ceiling treatment "...is in association
with a wall treatment of stippled pastel shades, and a decorative
theme featuring a gilded fountain and, above it, a golden plaque set in
 a black marble alcove. Inscribed within this frame is a modernistic
modeling of a golden bird flying in front of a large, leafy branch (serving
 as a background). This feature (rendered in the water-gilding process)
 has the function of drawing the eye toward the elaborate ceiling above.
 The essential theme of the ceiling pattern is based on the sun-burst,
which plays in a continuous design around a series of beams...
Between the beams are panels laid entirely in silver leaf, executing
 a pattern in modern interpretation of Mexican flora growing out
of two large leaves on a coral glazed background..."

There's a similar lobby ceiling view from the
Bill Housos collection at the top of the page.

A look at the balcony lobby in the September 26,
1931 "Better Theatres" section of the Motion Picture
Herald. It was part of an ad for Mohawk Carpet.
full size view | the ad on Internet Archive

"Comfort and quiet for patrons of Warner Brothers'
Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, is assured by the
use of Mohawk Scotia carpeting."

A lounge view appearing in the November
21, 1931 issue of Motion Picture Herald.
full size view | on Internet Archive

   Vintage Los Angeles    


Historic Theatres Along Wilshire Blvd -- The    Warner Beverly Hills

A 1964 view looking west on Wilshire from Beverly Dr.
 toward the tower of the Warner Beverly Hills. It's a
delightful shot posted by Alison Martino.

full size view

    Kurt Wahlner Colllection    


Thanks to movie palace historian Kurt Wahlner
 for this shot of the 1968 west coast premiere
of "The Subject Was Roses" with Patricia
Neal and Jack Albertson. It was on eBay.

Check out the people on top of the marquee. And
note the signage -- Pacific Theatres had taken over
 the theatre from RKO-Stanley Warner earlier in 1968.

Visit Kurt's extensive site about Grauman's Chinese.

Theatres that used to be nearby: