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Continental Theatre

5308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038
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A photo of the now-vanished Continental taken in the 80s by filmmaker and cinematographer Gary Graver. More of his theatre photos can be seen on YouTube in "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.

Opened: As the Melvan c.1941. The name came from its location at Melrose and Van Ness. In 1950 it was taken over by KTLA and renamed the KTLA Studio Theatre.

In 1963 it was leased by Louis Federici and became the Encore, running foreign films and revivals. In July 1980 it became part of the Laemmle circuit and was renamed the Continental.

Seating: 824           Architect: Unknown

Status: The theatre closed in January 1985. It's been demolished -- the site is now occupied by a large administration building that's part of Raleigh Studios.

Looking west on Melrose from Van Ness c.1942. On the left is the theatre, here still called the Melvan. On the right it's Western Costume. Both were demolished for expansions of Raleigh and Paramount studio properties.  The photo is from the lovely 2009 Arcadia Publishing book "Hollywood 1940 - 2008" by Marc Wanamaker.  The photos in the book come from his Bison Archives collection. It's available on Amazon. The page with this photo is part of the preview Google Books.

A detail from the c.1942 photo. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for stashing this one in one of his Photobucket albums.

A May 1951 Life magazine photo by Ed Clark of a crowd lining up for a show when the theatre was the KTLA Studio Theatre. It's online via Google/Life Images. Also see another photo of the line by Mr. Clark taken from back a little farther.

A 1951 look at the entrance by Ed Clark for Life. It's on Google/Life Images. Also see another similar entrance view.

Thanks to the wonderful Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection for this 1951 photo of the theatre in its KTLA days.

The Continental Theatre in a 1984 photo from the website American Classic Images. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding it in the collection -- he had it as a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Encore.

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  1. Closing date is no longer unknown! I worked at the Continental until its very last day. It closed in January 1985.

    1. Thanks! Your information is much appreciated. I'll update the text.