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Del Mar Theatre

5036 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019 | map |

Opened: April, 1939. The location is two blocks west of La Brea. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for her 2009 photo.

Architect: Not known. The building was converted into a theatre from a furniture store.

Seating: 600

Marleen Rubin Capell, the daughter of the owner, Herman Rubin, notes that she was the "Mar" in the theatre's name. Marlene was born in 1932 and was named for Marlene Deitrich, who was famous at the time for "Blue Angel" (1930).

Marleen notes: "They charged about 7 cents for kids. They showed a cartoon, full length movie, a western (because I told my Dad I wanted a western) and a serial and probably a newsreel. There was a drawing at intermission for large cans of popcorn and 6 packs of soda. My cousins also went every Saturday. I remember going up on the stage to draw the winning tickets. When we left everyone received a free Abazaba Bar."

Bruce Kimmel adds: "I worked there for three or four weeks one summer. When I worked there we showed 'The Pink Panther,' 'Viva Las Vegas' and, I think, 'From Russia With Love.' Summer of 1964 - 'Pink Panther' was probably a double bill with 'From Russia.' It was a horrid little place - smelly, ill run by its manager who didn't care when I reported the infestation of bugs that were all over the candy in the room where that was kept."

Closing: It closed as a film theatre in the mid 80s.

After a spell as a church, the building sat vacant for years. The floor then got leveled and it became the home of Puget Sound, Inc. as a studio specializing in post production audio work. Joe Milner, the owner of Puget Sound, restored the marquee and vertical sign's neon which are on view nightly. With help from the city's Pico Revitalization Project from 2003 to 2005 the firm also repainted the facade and did refurbishment on the showcases.

Status: Still being used as a post production sound studio.

The former auditorium space. Photo: Joe Milner, Puget Sound, Inc. - c.2012

Looking back toward the booth. Photo: Joe Milner, Puget Sound, Inc. - c.2012

Looking west on Pico toward the Del Mar as seen in 2007 by the omnipresent photographer, Waltarrrrr. Thanks! See lots of his fine work on Flickr.

Thanks to Mark Peacock for this 2009 photo on Flickr. Visit his Vintage Theatres photo set for lots more great work. Also see his blog: On the Road With Mark Peacock.

Thanks to Corey Miller for this nice view of the Del Mar vertical in 2009. The photo appears in his Theatre Signs set on Flickr.

A marquee detail. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009

The terrazzo at the Del Mar. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2009. Her photos seen here are part of the "Theatres - California" set on Flickr. Also see her "Theatre" page on Flickr for a listing of other sets detailing her explorations. Thanks, Michelle!

A view of the Del Mar Theatre in 2010.  Photo: Bill Counter

The Del Mar neon at dusk. Photo: Joe Milner, Puget Sound, Inc. - 2015

Another look at the vertical. Photo: Joe Milner, Puget Sound, Inc. - 2015

A marquee detail. Photo: Joe Milner, Puget Sound, Inc - 2015. Thanks for the photos, Joe!

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for a few stories about the Del Mar. Cinema Tour has a 2002 Bob Meza photo of the facade prior to restoration work.

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