Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces | Theatres In Movies
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Navigating Your L.A. Theatre Tour

Welcome to the tour!  In addition to this Los Angeles Theatres site, I have three other websites devoted to historic theatres in the L.A. area. All the material on those sites is (slowly) moving over here. The version of the program they're hosted on is being discontinued. But the pages should be up and functional at least into the middle of 2018.

I'm currently working on the Westside theatres -- the 100+ theatres that were once downtown will be up next. The Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page will let you know what new items have been added either here or to the doomed web pages. My Theatres In Movies site might also warrant a look -- it's an ongoing project tracking which Los Angeles area theatres have showed up in films.

If you can't find what you're looking for, leave me a comment on this post or do an e-mail to counterb@gmail.com. See you at the movies!    -- Bill Counter

This site on a Mobile Device: If you find what you're looking for here on this post, terrific. But also note that you can go to the bottom of any page or post and click on "View Web Version" to get the navigation links at the top of the page and the long list down the right side.


Historic Hollywood Theatres

Hollywood wasn't just about the movies. Starting in the mid 20s it was also a center for legitimate theatre and musical revues at four newly built playhouses. You'll find a an alphabetical list of the theatres in the district on the Hollywood Theatres overview page that includes a bit of data on each and links to pages for more details. Down below this list there's also an alternate name directory.

Also of possible interest is a separate section with a list of theatres by street address.


 Westside Theatres

The Westside started booming with retail and housing in the mid 20s and the theatres followed. Many theatres along Wilshire Blvd., in Beverly Hills, Westwood, and other neighborhoods became prime venues for everything from small foreign films to major roadshows. The Westside Theatres overview page gives both a list by neighborhood as well as a survey arranged alphabetically.

There are also separate sections broken out for Westwood / Brentwood and theatres in Santa Monica. Also see the list of Westside Theatres: by street address and the Westside Theatres: alphabetical list page which includes alternate names.


Historic Los Angeles Theatres -- Downtown

The home page gives a rundown on the 20 major surviving theatre buildings with links to their pages. You might also want to consult alphabetical rundowns on theatres west of Broadway, the Broadway theatres, Spring St. theatres and Main St. and farther east.

In addition, the site has a downtown theatre directory with both a list by address and an alternate name list.


[more] L.A. Movie Palaces

This site tries to fill in all the other areas of Los Angeles County. You'll find separate sections on theatres north of Downtown, San Fernando Valley Theatres, Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, theatres along the coast, and lots more. The home page has links to all these theatres organized by area.

And if you are still having trouble finding what you're looking for, these pages might help:
- the main alphabetical theatre list -- a list that also includes alternate names for each venue
- the main Los Angeles County theatres by address list
- San Fernando Valley theatres by address list
- San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier theatres by address list
- film and theatre technology resources
- theatre history resources
- theatre list by architect
- theatre tours and events

Happy touring! Please let me know if you spot errors, links that don't work, etc. 

Fox Wilshire/Saban Theatre: lobby areas

8440 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211 | map |



The south side of the lobby. At the bottom we're looking into an inner lobby area created by Richard McCann in 1981. The seating originally came to a wall right below the "Temple of the Arts" sign. Thanks to John Hough for his 2017 photo, one of many fine views on the Saban Theatre page of OrnateTheatres.com, the website he does with Mark Mulhall.

Vintage lobby photos: Scroll down to the bottom of the page for 25 of them.



A ceiling view. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017 



The ornament above the entrance doors. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017



The house right (west) stairs. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017



A balcony level view of the lobby. Wilshire Blvd. is out to the left. Photo: Zale Richard Rubins - LAHTF Facebook page - 2014

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the L.A. area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of various historic theatres. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



Across the lobby from the balcony level. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



A detail of the lobby chandelier. It's original but had been gussied up with the "Skouras treatment" in the late 40s. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2013. Thanks, Stephen! 



The balcony level of the lobby looking toward the doors to the auditorium. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017. Thanks for all your great photos, John! 
 
The red period: 


A lobby view by Larry Underhill taken during a Los Angeles Conservancy 2012 "Last Remaining Seats" screening of "The Wizard of Oz." We're looking in from the entrance doors. At this point the lobby was still in its Richard McCann red period. The photo appears in the Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats 2012 album on Facebook.



The view toward Wilshire from the balcony level. Thanks to Ken Roe for this 2002 photo on Flickr. Don't miss his huge Movie Theatres - USA set of over 700 photos.



Above the entrance doors. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010 



An inner lobby view. This used to be part of the seating area prior to the 1981 Richard McCann renovation. Thanks to the theatre for the photo which appeared on the Saban Facebook page in 2012.



Another look at the inner lobby/bar area. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010  



The lobby at balcony level. At the right it's the east stairs to the main floor. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF- 2010



Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for this 2008 photo on Flickr. Also see an auditorium view -- and from there you can page through some other photos as well. For a real treat, browse Eric's Los Angeles Theatres set on Flickr consisting of nearly five hundred photos.

Vintage views: 


A pencil sketch of the lobby. It's on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection.



A rendering of the Fox Wilshire lobby "showing unusual adaptation of modern note" from the December 29, 1929 issue of Motion Picture News. It's on Internet Archive.

Section Two of the issue is the "Theatre Building and Equipment Buyers Guide" featuring photos and drawings of many different theatres. Included is an article by S. Charles Lee about the Tower and Fox Wilshire: "Stretching The Building Fund and the Plot Area." A black and white photo of a somewhat different drawing is on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection.



An entrance vestibule view. These doors were later removed.  Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



In the entrance vestibule about to take a step into the main lobby. It's a 1930 photo by Keystone Photo Service in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



The main exit doors out to the entrance vestibule. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930

The California State Library photos: In addition to what's shown on these pages, there are many more 1930 Mott Studios photos in the collection. They are cataloged rather haphazardly in six sets -- each with a mix of shots from different areas of the theatre: #001443784 - 8 views | #001443782 - 2 views | #001443449 - 11 views | #001386544 - 17 views | #001386542 - 18 views | #001386306 - 17 views



The house right side of the lobby. The auditorium is off to the left. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



A better view looking up the house right stairs. Check out that painted ceiling pattern up on the balcony level.  Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



A detail of the house right stairs. The book at the left is the "guest register." The photo by Keystone Photo Service was featured in the October 25, 1930 issue of Exhibitors Herald-World with an article by Tom Hacker titled "The Modern Motif in Fantastic Mood." It's on Internet Archive.



The mirror seen straight ahead when you entered the main lobby. The reflections give us a view of the house right stairs. The guest register is gone and there's an organ console parked in its place. It's an undated Los Angeles Public Library photo.



Another look at the house right side of the lobby. The arch at left leads to the entrance for the side aisle. The undated photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



The main lobby chandelier. All the painted detail is now gone from the dome and lobby walls. The chandelier got a 40s Skouras retrofit.  Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



An early view looking over toward the house left (east) side of the lobby. The arch at the left of that chair gets you to the house left side aisle. We're all decked out to celebrate "Fall Flower Week." Thanks to Kate Mercier for the photo on Facebook. Her grandfather managed the theatre.



The house left side of the lobby. The door we see gets you into a ladies room. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



The alcove leading to the house left side aisle. Photo: Exhibitors Herald-World - 1930



Another look at the house left alcove. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



Another alcove sofa view -- and the coat check room. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



A ladies lounge view. That door at the center gets you into the cosmetics room. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library -1930



The ladies cosmetics room. Photo: Keystone Photo Service - Exhibitors Herald-World - 1930



Another look at the ladies room mirrors. It's a 1930 Mott Studios photo on Calisphere from the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection.



Another lounge area. That's a phone booth in the middle. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library -1930



More lounge furniture. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library -1930



The vista from the balcony level of the lobby back toward Wilshire Blvd. It's a 1930 shot by Keystone Photo Service that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



Looking across from the house right side of the balcony level lobby. Going up the little ramp gets you to the center vomitory. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



A closer view of the sofa seen on the left in the view above. Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



The vista across from the house left alcove at balcony level. Photo: Exhibitors Herald-World - 1930



Heading up to the house left entrance into the balcony.  Photo: Mott Studios - California State Library - 1930



"Balcony Closed." Sorry, but there's a rope across the center balcony entrance in this Los Angeles Public Library photo that they date as being from 1945.

| back to top - lobby areas Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Fox Wilshire/Saban Theatre: recent auditorium views

8440 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211 | map |



A peek into the auditorium from the back of the main floor. Thanks to John Hough for his 2017 photo, one of many fine views on the Saban Theatre page of OrnateTheatres.com, the website he does with Mark Mulhall.



The rear of the main floor. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017  



A proscenium view. The restoration work on the proscenium by Ed Kelsey and Evergreene Architectural Arts was performed in 2008. It had all been a deep dusty burgundy since the 1981 Richard McCann renovation. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017  



An organ grille detail. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017  



The art glass just out beyond the organ grille area. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017



A balcony sidewall view. Photo: John Hough - OrnateTheatres.com - 2017. Thanks for the great photos, John!    



A panoramic look at the front of the Saban auditorium after proscenium restoration work. It's a photo that appeared on the Saban Theatre Facebook page in 2012.



Ready for a movie. Many thanks to Don Solosan of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation for this and his other fine photos of the theatre.



A proscenium view from halfway back on the main floor. Rabbi David Baron is discussing the theatre's restoration work at the 2010 LAHTF theatre tour. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF Facebook page



Another 2010 shot looking across the main floor. On the screen is part of a slide program discussing options to try to save the Fairfax Theatre. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF Facebook page. Thanks, Don!



Restoration work on the proscenium. The 2008 photo by Zale Richard Rubins appears courtesy of Esther Adir of the Saban Theatre. See more of Richard's photos at ZalePhoto.com.



A wonderful shot looking toward the rear of the auditorium. The 2010 Wendell Benedetti photo originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page. It also appears (uncredited) with a November 2013 Huffington Post article. Visit Wendell's Historic Los Angeles Theatres set on Flickr which includes a higher resolution view of the image.



Thanks to Don Solosan for this onstage photo. The event was the 2010 LAHTF "all about" tour of the building.



A luminous look at the Saban's proscenium that appears with Mark DeCarlo's November 2013 Huffington Post article "L.A. Boogie Nights" about the theatre's program of ramping up their concert schedule.



A closer look at the restored proscenium. Photo: Stephen Russo -  LAHTF Facebook page - 2012  



A detail of the plasterwork above the proscenium. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012. Thanks, Stephen!



A look across the auditorium at the restored proscenium area. It's a photo that appeared on the Saban Theatre Facebook page in 2012.



A view down from the top of the balcony. The drapery is to close off the rear of the balcony when the feeling of a more intimate venue is desired. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - 2010



At the top of the balcony house right. Some of the original stenciled design has been revealed under several layers of paint in this 2012 Don Solosan photo. Evergreene Architectural Arts and Ed Kelsey did the archeological work. For more information, see Don's video "Ed Kelsey on the Saban." Another view of the area by Stephen Russo is on the LAHTF Facebook page.



Many thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for this 2008 photo taken before the proscenium was redone. The photo is Flickr. Also see another auditorium view -- and from there you can page through some lobby photos as well. For a real treat, browse Eric's Los Angeles Theatres set on Flickr consisting of nearly five hundred photos.



Here's a nice 2002 shot of the Fox Wilshire proscenium when it was still in its red period. The color dates from the 1981 restoration designed by Richard McCann. Thanks to Ken Roe for the photo on Flickr



A 2002 view of the side wall and organ grille area. Photo: Ken Roe on Flickr.  



A balcony sidewall detail. Photo: Ken Roe on Flickr - 2002



A rear of the auditorium view. Photo: Ken Roe on Flickr - 2002. Also see a photo off to house left from the front of the main floor. Thanks, Ken! Don't miss his huge Movie Theatres - USA set of over 700 photos.



Another view of the auditorium in its pink period. Thanks to the site FromScriptToDVD.com for the photo by William Kallay. It appears on their Fox Wilshire page.

| back to top - recent auditorium views Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |