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Embassy Theatre

331 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90020
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Opened: October 20, 1921 as the Wilshire Theatre and operated by West Coast Theatres. Jackie Coogan was in charge of the dedication. The building's location is on the west side of the street between 3rd and 4th. That's three and a half blocks north of Wilshire Blvd.

We get glimpse of the facade of the Wilshire on the left in this c.1924 USC Digital Library image looking north on Western Ave. The photo is one of a series of nineteen shots in the USC collection taken at the time on Western between 3rd and Olympic.



A detail from the USC photo.

It's still listed as the Wilshire in the 1929 city directory. Sometime before the new Fox Wilshire Theatre at 8440 Wilshire opened in 1930 this one was renamed the Embassy. It was also known as the Fox Embassy.

It got a remodel in the 60s by Lippert Theatres. Into the 80s it ran 3rd run films, Indian movies and Filipino movies.

Architect: Lewis A. Smith, the architect who did many West Coast Theatres projects.

Seating: 900 toward the end of its life.

Status: The building is still there but it's been rebuilt as as retail space.



A 1927 Dick Whittington Studio photo looking north from 4th. It's in the USC Digital Library collection.



A detail from the 1927 USC photo. The feature is John Barrymore and Delores Costello in "When A Man Loves." Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor HossC for including the photo on his Noirish post # 20896. 



"Available for the showing of elegant films." A 1965 look at the Embassy that appeared on eBay. It's the announcement of Lippert Theatres reopening the house. Thanks to diligent theatre researcher Michelle Gerdes for finding the ad.



The Embassy Theatre and Edy Williams in 1970. Thanks to Larry Darian for sending along the photo from his collection. 



A 1983 photo in the American Classic Images collection. 



An 80s view of the Embassy after closing. It's a photo by filmmaker and cinematographer Gary Graver. Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo. Gary took many photos of historic theatres. A selection can be seen on YouTube in the two compilations:"Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2." 



The Embassy after a rebuild. Thanks to Don Solosan for his 2009 photo taken as part of a Los Angeles Conservancy survey of the condition of surviving theatre buildings. And thanks to Hillsman Wright of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation for sending the photo along 

More Information: Everything known about the Embassy is on the Cinema Treasures page about the theatre. Also see their listing on 28 other theatres designed by L.A. Smith.

There was also an earlier Wilshire Theatre at 143 S. Western.

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