Opened: December 29, 1925 as the West Coast Uptown with Norma Talmadge's "Graustark" as the initial feature. The stage show featured Charlie Nelson and his Playboys. The Harry Wenger photo from the Los Angeles Public Library shows the theatre running "Hands Up," a Civil War drama released in January 1926.
The theatre was on the east side of the street just south of 10th. When the theatre opened it was advertised as at 10th and Western. West 10th was later renamed Olympic Blvd. to promote the 1932 Olympic Games.
Architect: Lewis A. Smith. The prolific Mr. Smith did a lot of West Coast Theatres projects. Like many other theatres the circuit was building in the 20s, this one had a full stage.
A rendering for the project from L.A. Smith's office. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
An auditorium drawing in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
Seating: Estimates vary from 1,600 to 1,715.
The theatre was initially operated by West Coast Theatres, which soon after became Fox West Coast. In the 1929 city directory it's still listed as the West Coast Uptown. The location, five blocks south of Wilshire, later put the Fox Uptown into competition with the Warner Bros. house at Wilshire and Western, the Wiltern.
The area southeast of Wilshire and Western was once an 80 acre ranch owned by the Pellissier family. When they subdivided the property for housing, they dubbed the area "Uptown." The family, and their realtor Henry de Roulet, later were involved in building the Wiltern.
Status: Last operated by National General Corporation. It was demolished in the mid-60s. The site was redeveloped for a Ralph's market.
A pre-opening ad from the L.A. Times.
The December 29, 1925 L.A. Times ad. Thanks to Noir City Dame for digging out the ads. She featured these and various Uptown photos on her Noirish Los Angeles post #33919.
A 1942 view of the lobby at the Fox Uptown. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
A 1942 view of the proscenium. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
House left -- with a bit of Skouras "updating." Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
A 1942 sidewall view from the front of the main floor. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
Looking toward the rear of the house, again in 1942. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
A c.1926 view looking north on Western Ave. from Pico. The Uptown is in the distance on the east side of Western. The photo from the California Historical Society is in the USC Digital Library collection.
A 1926 facade photo with the theatre set for a premiere of "Across The Pacific" with Monte Blue. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
We're at Christy's Drive-In at Olympic & Western in 1937. In the window we see the reflection of the Uptown vertical. It's a Daily News photo in the UCLA Library collection of Los Angeles Daily News Negatives.
An August 1937 Daily News photo of a carhop at Christy's gives us a view of the Uptown in the background. They're running "New Faces of 1937" and "They Gave Him a Gun." It's in the UCLA Library collection.
Thanks to Noir City Dame for spotting the Daily News photos in the UCLA collection. She has them on her Noirish Los Angeles post #33916.
Looking east on Olympic Blvd (S.R. 173) toward Western in 1940. It's a photo from the Automobile Club of Southern California in the USC Digital Library collection.
A 1942 view of the corner of the Fox Uptown Theatre building from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. They're running "Tortilla Flat" with Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr.
A 1942 view north toward Olympic from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
A 1952 photo of the marquee from the Los Angeles Public Library.
Another "Viva Zapata" photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
A look at the Uptown in 1958 from the collection of Jeff Bridges (aka Vokoban) on Flickr. That's Olympic up at the corner. The photo also appears on Facebook as a post by Stephen Russo on Vintage Los Angeles and one by Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles.
A 1964 view after the closing. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.
More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Fox Uptown Theatre for everything that is known about the building. The architect also did a lot of other designs for West Coast Theatres. See the Cinema Treasures list of other projects by L.A. Smith.
Harry Wenger, several of whose photos are on this page, photographed many Fanchon & Marco productions and other stage sets. The Online Archive of California has a guide to one collection of his work at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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