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

Navigating Your Tour of Historic Los Angeles Theatres

This is only half of it: In addition to what's on this site there are hundreds of additional theatres listed on an older site hosted by Google. The [more] L.A. Movie Palaces page now acts as an index page for that older project. At the top of it you'll find links to the 10 major sections. The L.A. Theatres Facebook page and the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies site might also be of interest..

On a Mobile Device: If you're missing the right column navigation bar or links at the top you can go to the bottom of any page and click on "View Web Version." Still can't find what you're looking for? Send me an email at counterb@gmail.com. See you at the movies! -- Bill Counter

Downtown L.A. Historic Theatres

The survey page gives a rundown on the 20 major surviving theatre buildings in the Downtown Theatre District. There are links to pages about each of them for more detail. You might also want to consult alphabetical rundowns on pages for Hill St. and farther west, the Broadway Theatres, Spring St. Theatres and Main St. and farther east. Those pages give you more detail, including discussions about all the theatres that have vanished. In addition, there's a downtown alphabetical theatre list with alternate names and a theatre list by address.

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 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 page 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, and in other neighborhoods became prime venues for everything from small foreign films to major roadshows. It's a huge territory. The Westside Theatres overview page gives you both a list by neighborhood as well as a survey arranged alphabetically. Also see the list of Westside Theatres: by street address and the Westside Theatres: alphabetical list page which includes alternate names.

Westwood and Brentwood

Westwood Village was the third significant theatre district to evolve in Los Angeles, after Downtown and Hollywood. With the construction of the UCLA campus beginning in the late 20s there was a chance to develop a unique shopping and entertainment district for faculty and students. By the 1970's the area had evolved so that Westwood had the largest concentration of first run screens of any neighborhood in Los Angeles. The Westwood and Brentwood Theatres overview page will give you a tour of the area.

Theatres Along the Coast

Santa Monica had a vibrant theatrical life even in the days when it was a small town isolated from the rest of Los Angeles. And that's just the beginning. The Along the Coast section will give you links to discussion of theatres in Ocean Park, Venice, Hermosa Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach and other communities.

[more] L.A. Movie Palaces

This section tries to fill in all the other areas of Los Angeles County. The index page has links to all these theatres organized by area. You'll also find links to separate survey pages on theatres North of Downtown, San Fernando Valley, Glendale, Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley - Pomona - Whittier, East LA, South - South Central - Southeast, Venice - Ocean Park, San Pedro - Wilmington and Long Beach. Some of those listings have been upgraded and appear on this site, many other links will take you to older pages hosted on Google.

Searching by theatre name

If you don't find it in the right hand column, head for the Main Alphabetical List, which also includes the various alternate names each venue has used. This list includes those pages recently updated for this site (in bold face) as well as the write ups on an older website. For a narrower focus you'll also find separate lists for Westside and Downtown. As well, there are lists by name on the 10 survey pages for more limited areas like Pasadena, North of Downtown, Long Beach, etc. that are listed on the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces page.

Searching by address

If you know an address or street head to either the Main Theatre List by Address, the San Fernando Valley List by Address, the San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier List by Address or the Long Beach List. If what you're looking for isn't there, you should find a link to take you to a more localized list by address for Downtown, WestsideHollywood, etc. Also see the survey pages for more limited areas that are listed on the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces page.

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

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5th Avenue Theatre

2541 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90305 | map |


Opened: 1939. The 5th Avenue Theatre is on the north side of the street at 5th Ave., two blocks east of Crenshaw Blvd. It's just a few blocks east of the Academy Theatre. The address was listed as 2519 W. Manchester in the 1940 city directory.

The 40s photo looking east on Manchester from the Huntington Library collection was taken by Doug White for Southern California Edison Co. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for finding it in the Huntington collection for Noirish post #38505.

The theatre was built for the Fanchon & Marco Southside Theatres circuit and starting in 1941 was operated by Fox West Coast and, later, its successor companies National General and Mann Theatres. It later took a slip down and became a porno venue before closing.

Architect: Clifford A. Balch. In addition to the theatre, the building included a number of retail spaces.

Seating: 986

Closing: It closed in the 1980s and sat vacant for years. For several years the marquee copy advertised that a roller derby venue would be coming soon. It never happened. Around 2004 there were redevelopment plans by a church group that included housing. That went nowhere.

Status: It got remodeled in 2013 and 2014 and is now called the St. Paul Baptist Church.


Entrance and lobby areas: 


 The boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013

At the time of the visit by intrepid theatre explorers Michelle and Steve Gerdes the theatre had been vacant for decades and work was beginning to turn it into a church. 



The entrance doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The display case on the west side of the ticket lobby. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking into the lobby. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



In the office area looking out toward the boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



 Inside the boxoffice. Note the safe on the left. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013


 
The east wall of the lobby. The auditorium is behind us. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Stairs up to the lounges and the booth. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A view back out to the entrance doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking toward the lobby's alley exit doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013


In the auditorium:


The house right wall. All the auditorium explorations were by flashlight. Note the ceiling air diffusers. They were all painted with different patterns. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A ceiling air diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Yet another ceiling diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



An exit sign. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Sidewall ornament with a surround speaker cabinet in the middle. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another example of the sidewall ornament, this one with a light fixture. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The house left wall toward the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Above the left front exit. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The ceiling above the screen -- with a bit of painted detail and a set of strip lights farther back at the original screen location. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013 



Another ceiling view near the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking off toward house right. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another view of the remnants of the stage. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The right wall near the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Piles of seats. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A bit of the 1939 carpet. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The booth ports. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A bit of ornament on plaster. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013


More exterior views: 


1978 - A John Margolies photo that's in the Library of Congress collection. 



1982 - Thanks to American Classic Images for this view. 



2002 - Thanks to Ken Roe for this view west on Manchester. It's a photo he posted on Cinema Treasures.



c.2005 - A view by Martin on his fine site You-Are-Here. He also has a readerboard detail.



c.2005 - A fine facade detail from Debra Jane Seltzer on her delightful site Roadside Architecture. In addition to this photo you'll find five more on page six of her California Theatres section. Thanks, Debra!



2007 - Looking east on Manchester. It's a Ken McIntyre photo. 



2007 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this marquee detail, a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. Also see another 2007 east readerboard photo.



2010 - A look up the tower. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The fan at the center of the 5th Avenue's marquee. Photo: Michelle Gerdes. See more photos of the theatre in Michelle's Theatres - California album on Flickr.



2010 - The theatre's terrazzo. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The terrazzo in front of the boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - More terrazzo. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The theatre at dusk. Photo: Bill Counter 



2012 - A view east on Manchester toward the abandoned theatre. Photo: Google Maps



2012 - A vista to the sky. Ken McIntyre's photo was a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



c.2012 - A west readerboard view. Photo: Ken McIntyre



c.2012 - A detail of the rusting lettering atop the readerboard. Thanks to Escott O. Norton for his photo.



2013 - A last view up the tower before the paint job in church white. Photo: Michelle Gerdes. Thanks, Michelle!



2019 - The building as a church. Photo: Google Maps

More information:
See the Cinema Treasures page on the 5th Avenue. The Cinema Tour page on the 5th has two exterior views by Ken Roe.

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