Opened: October 7, 1931 as the Warner Bros. Western Theatre with "Alexander Hamilton" as the inaugural attraction. The city refused to close Wilshire Blvd. for the opening, so Warner Bros. built a temporary bridge across the street as a grand entrance and called it "The Bridge of Stars." Celebrities at the opening included Dolores Costello, Loretta Young, Dorothy Mackaill, Joan Blondell and many more. Dick Powell was the MC and Jack Warner put in an appearance.
More pages about the Wiltern Theatre: lobby areas | auditorium | backstage | house basement areas | booth and attic |
The project had been commissioned in 1929 by real estate man Henry de Roulet and the Pellissier family. Since the 1880s the family had had an 80 acre ranch on the property, later subdivided as residential lots. A covenant on the property specified that there would be no commercial development until 1925. And there were legal battles in an attempt to extend that restriction. But finally the real estate office de Roulet had on the corner came down and the Wiltern, one of L.A.'s great art deco theatres, went up. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007
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Getting ready for the opening night. Note the "bridge of stars" across Wilshire. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
The building was known as the Pellissier Building and clad with a special turquoise shade of Gladding-McBean terracotta that came to be known as Pellissier Green. The new theatre was profiled in a two page article that included four photos in the December 19, 1931 issue of the Motion Picture Herald. The article, "A New Warner Theatre In Uptown Los Angeles," is available on Internet Archive.
Architects: G. Albert Lansburgh did the theatre, Morgan, Walls & Clements did the exterior, retail spaces and office tower, now known again as the Pellissier Building. The decorator for the theatre was Anthony Heinsbergen. His son Tony worked on the 1984-84 restoration.
Lansburgh had done an earlier theatre for Warners, the Warner Hollywood, which opened in 1928. He had also worked previously with Morgan, Walls & Clements -- the two firms had a similar division of responsibilities on the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
A plan of the first floor. The entrance at the lower right is at the corner of Wilshire and Western with Wilshire along the bottom of the image. The office tower rises above the corner and there are two-story retail spaces (not shown) along both Wilshire and Western. Thanks to Mike Hume for including the plan on the Wiltern page of the Historic Theatre Photography section of his website.
Times get tough for Warner Brothers: They had the theatre on a lease from the building's owners but closed it in May 1933 due to poor business. It was reopened about a year later as an independent (managed by Ben Bernstein) and called the Wil Tern or Wil-Tern. Evidently there were several other independent operators and even Fox West Coast had a bit of involvement as well during this period.
The name eventually lost the hyphen and space, becoming the Wiltern Theatre. The redone signage had a hyphen in the name on the front of the marquee but the vertical signs didn't. The 1936 city directory still spelled it Wil-Tern.
"Wait and See Them at the Wiltern" It's a cover from a 1938 program that surfaced on eBay. This was after Warners had left and the theatre was a second run venue. Among other things on the bill were a Bogart film and a Porky pig cartoon. Thanks to both Sean Ault and Michelle Gerdes for finding this one.
Warner Bros. returns: They returned as operators in 1939 and it was advertised as Warner's Wiltern and later the Stanley Warner Wiltern. The Warner theatres after the consent decree settlements of the 50s had ended up with a conglomerate assembled from the remains of several studio-owned circuits that was called RKO-Stanley Warner.
In 1956 the building was sold by the Pellissier family to Franklin Life Insurance Co. and the building became known as the Franklin Life Building. Pacific Theatres acquired the theatre in 1968 from Stanley Warner (along with most of the other southern California RKO-SW holdings) and was the final operator for the building as a movie theatre.
Closing and resurrection: It closed in 1979 and was stripped and slated for demolition. It was saved from the wrecking ball by a 1981 purchase by developer Wayne Ratkovich of (at the time) Ratkovich, Bowers & Perez. It was restored to its original opulence by theatre wiz Ray Shepardson and Los Angeles architect Brenda Levin. In addition to spending $4.8 million on the theatre, the office tower was also renovated as part of the project. The total renovation cost was $9.8 million.
The 1985 project included re-painting, work on decorative plaster and murals, reproducing original light fixtures, repairing a gaping 30' hole in the auditorium ceiling, reopening and then enlarging the orchestra pit, adding a backstage elevator, refurbishing the dressing rooms, enlarging the stage, installing new stage equipment, a new electrical service (with a transformer vault atop the stage left dressing rooms), installing new carpet and seats.
The building reopened in 1985 under the management of Bill Graham Presents with a UCLA sponsored engagement of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
The program cover from the 1985 reopening. Thanks to Bill Gabel for posting it on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. The building has been through several new owners since a sale by Ratkovich and his partners.
Seating: 2,344 originally
More renovations: It was fully reseated in 1985 but the main floor seats were removed in a 2002 re-do and the floor leveled into 5 terraces. The main floor now holds 2,300 with no seats, 1,850 when set up in theatre mode. The balcony seats remain intact from the 1985 remodel. In 1985, Bill Graham wanted the house mix position in the balcony so some seats were left out for that installation. That area was filled in when the mix position was relocated to the main floor in 1991. The balcony capacity is currently 1,144.
The $2 million renovation in 2002 was a project of Clear Channel Entertainment, who then operated the theatre. In addition to the main floor terraces, the project included flooring over the orchestra pit (which had been enlarged during the 1985 renovation) to provide a dance floor area. A new deck was installed to bring the stage level up two feet to compensate for the change in sight lines caused by the terraces. The L.A. Times had an August 2001 story about the renovations.
Status: It's a very busy live music venue, now operated by Live Nation. Production Manager Reid Bartlett does a terrific job of keeping the building both functional and looking great.
Pipe Organ: It was a Kimball 4/37, now removed. It was last played in 1979. The organ had come from the Forum Theatre, also a Warner Bros. operation at the time. For information on the Wiltern organ and its 1962 restoration, see Bob Alder's informative website: wilterntheatrepipeorgan.bobalder.com.
1926 - A view of the corner of Wilshire and Western from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The office on the left corner is Henry de Roulet's real estate office. It sits on the site of the Wiltern.
1931 - The excavation beginning in January. The Dick Whittington Studio photo is in the USC Digital Library collection.
1931 - A view of the chaos at Wilshire and Western even before the theatre opened. We're looking east on Wilshire. Notice the "Warner Bros. 1500 seats" signage on the construction barricade at the right -- it ended up bigger! Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting the photo on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.
1931 - Framing going up for the Pellissier building. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo in the USC Digital Library collection.
1931 - "Welcome Warner Bros" says the signage across the bridge. This pre-opening photo was included in "A New Warner Theatre In Uptown Los Angeles," a two page article in the December 19, 1931 issue of the Motion Picture Herald. It's on Internet Archive. The article included three additional photos as well.
1931 - A Mott Studios look at the opening night chaos. Note the bridge across Wilshire for the stars. The photo is in the California State Library collection, part of their set # 001385776 of ten photos.
1931 - Another Mott Studios opening night photo from the California State Library set # 001385776.
1931 - Coming to the big opening across the "Bridge of Stars." It's a shot from the Universal Newsreel coverage of the event that's on YouTube.
1931 - We're up on the "Bridge of Stars" in this opening night view from the amazing Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. The photo has also appeared on the Los Angeles Relics Facebook page. On the Bruce Torrence site you might want to browse 250 more theatre photos and his collection of Wilshire Boulevard photos.
1931 - We get a slightly different version of the scene above thanks to Mary Mallory in "Wiltern Theatre Jazzes Up Theatre Construction," her fine 2014 Daily Mirror/Hollywood Heights history of the theatre.
1931 - A view from the USC Digital Library with "Alexander Hamilton" on the marquee.
1931 - Another view with the theatre's opening attraction on the marquee. Thanks to Ron Whitfield for the find. It appeared as a post on Photos of Los Angeles.
1931 - A look under the marquee during the opening engagement from the USC Digital Library. It's a California Historical Society photo.
1931 - A Mott Studios view in the California State Library set # 001385776. That set of 10 includes 5 more daytime views. There's also one daytime shot indexed set # 001400491.
1932 - The great signage for the premiere of "The Kid in Spain" with Eddie Cantor. It's a photo from the Corbis Archives that's appeared on the Facebook pages Photos of Los Angeles and Vintage Los Angeles.
1932 - A California Historical Society photo in the USC Digital Library collection. The Wiltern is running "Man Wanted" with Kay Francis.
1934 - "25 cents Two Major Features" "Free Parking" A fine look at the theatre during its Wil-Tern days as a second run house after Warner Bros. left. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo. There are also several other takes in the series on the USC Digital Library website. They're running "Emma" with Marie Dressler, a January 1932 release, and "The Most Precious Thing in Life," a June 1934 release with Jean Arthur.
1934 - A detail from the 1934 USC image above.
1935 - A shot of the theatre running "No More Ladies" with Joan Crawford. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library.
mid 1930s - Looking west. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo in the USC Digital Library collection.
1936 - An aerial view that's in the USC Digital Library collection. The stagehouse is over on the right.
1938 - A Dick Whittington Studio photo looking west toward the Wiltern. That's the stagehouse over on the left. The photo is in the USC Digital Library collection.
1939 - An October 11 photo of work being done on the marquee. Goodbye milk glass letters. The photo is from the Automobile Club of Southern California in the USC Digital Library collection.
1939 - Rush hour traffic. It's a detail from a larger Dick Whittington photo in the USC Digital Library collection. At the Wiltern: "Return of the Cisco Kid."
More exterior views from the USC collection: excavation | formwork | construction - from the east - tower scaffolded | construction - west on Wilshire | construction - topping out the tower | nearing completion - marquee framing in place | ready for retail tenants - from the east - marquee getting assembled | ready for retail - from the northwest | late 30s view looking east - down from Manhattan Pl. | looking west - 1939 | 1948 birdseye view - looking east "The Voice of the Turtle" |
1940 - The new modern white readerboard faces and marquee letters get shown off in "The Marquee," a photo spread in the Better Theatres section of the June 1, 1940 issue of Motion Picture Herald. It's on Internet Archive.
1940 - Thanks to Richard Wojcik for this great photo from his collection. It was a post on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
1940s - Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for this terrific postcard from his collection. We're looking west toward Western Ave. A slightly different version of the card can also be seen in the collection of Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr. Browse through Eric's Wilshire Blvd. set for a great stroll along the boulevard. There are photos, postcards, restaurant menus, matchbook covers and lots more.
1945 - Looking east with the Wiltern running "The Horn Blows at Midnight." Thanks to Todd Landis for posting the photo on the Facebook page for the non-public group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.
1948 - The Wiltern running "June Bride" with Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery. The photo is from the Bill Gabel collection, appearing on Photos of Los Angeles.
1954 - A dazzling 1954 view looking east on Wilshire toward the Wiltern from the Neat Stuff Blog. It's from a 2009 post called "Vintage Los Angeles." The photo is credited to "Nice Pictures" on eBay.
1956 - A view of the theatre the night of the invitational preview for "Anything Goes." The photo was a post on Photos of Los Angeles. It can also be seen as part of the terrific Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. You might also want to check out more theatre photos in the Torrence collection.
1958 - A great view of the Wiltern running "No Time For Sergeants" with Andy Griffith and Nick Adams. That's Mr. Adams in the photo. It's from the Bruce Kimmel collection, a post on Vintage Los Angeles.
1965 - A photo from the Bill Gabel collection looking north on Western. At the Wiltern: a Lee Marvin double feature -- "Ship of Fools" and "Cat Ballou." It was a post on Photos of Los Angeles.
1971 - The Wiltern as a 2,300 seat art house? In this 1971 photo of the Wiltern from the Sean Ault collection they're running Ingmar Bergman's "The Touch" with "Blue Water, White Death" opening soon. Thanks, Sean!
1972 - A look south on Western toward what was then called the Franklin Life Building. Mr. Ethereal Reality found it on eBay and has it on his Noirish Los Angeles post #23935.
1977 - Welcome to the Wilmount. The Western Ave. vertical is half dressed for the filming of "American Hot Wax" where it's standing in for the Brooklyn Paramount. Which, of course, looked nothing like the Wiltern. Many thanks to Matt Spero for his great photo.
1977 - A street level view of the theatre dressed for "American Hot Wax," a March 1978 release. Thanks to Matt Spero for his photo. See the Theatres In Movies post for more photos from Matt as well as many other views.
1978 - The Wiltern has "Corvette Summer" and "Avalanche" on the bill. The photo is by Anne Laskey is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Also see two additional photos that same year by Ms. Laskey: vertical sign detail #1 | vertical sign detail #2
More exterior views from the Los Angeles Public Library collection: construction - 1930 | opening week exterior | entrance - 1931 | 1931 opening week - boxoffice and marquee soffit | another opening street view | floodlit exterior - 1931 | c.1933 - as the Warner | 1930s Warner view - Barbara Stanwyck | another Warner exterior | Warner exterior - across the street | aerial view - the Wiltern | Sept. 1935 - Wiltern from across the street | looking east - 1937 - 25 cents | looking east c.38 - Herman Schultheis | another looking east - c. 1938-39 | 1938 Wilshire side - Thrifty Drug | 1938 view - Foster and Kleiser Co. | another aerial view - a bit later - added drive-in on the SW corner | another theatre + drive-in view - c.1939 | west from Serrano - undated | 1951 street view - looking east on Wilshire - Dick Whittington | looking east - 1956 - "Miracle in the Rain" | 1964 view - "Carpetbaggers" | 1980 Western facade - Ken Papaleo | 1983 night view - Anne Knudsen | under the marquee - c. 1985 | 1985 floodlit for reopening - James Ruebsamen | 80's color shot - at night |
1979 - Lillian Gish makes an appearance at the Wiltern for an August 9 AFI screening of her film "The Wind." Thanks to Matt Spero for his photo.
1979 - A closer look at the boxoffice. It's a Matt Spero photo taken at the screening of "The Wind."
1980 - Thanks to Tom Keller for this fine "For Sale" photo on Vintage Los Angeles.
1980 - A view of the desolate building with someone optimistically thinking the stripped and damaged theatre would reopen in 1981. Thanks to Meredith Jacobson Marciano for the photo on Vintage Los Angeles.
early 1980s - A look south on Western during the theatre's closed years. Note the "Warner" signage still above the center readerboard. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo.
early 1980s - Looking east on Wilshire in the early 80s. It's a photo from the Sean Ault collection.
early 1980s - The Wilshire street level facade after the building had been sold to developer Wayne Ratkovich and his partners. After a massive capital infusion, the restored theatre debuted in May 1985. Thanks to Meredith Jacobson Marciano for the photo on Vintage Los Angeles.
1985 - Brenda Levin's Levin and Associates was the architectural firm for the restoration of the Wiltern. On their Wiltern Theatre page is this great view of the marquee.
1986 - A photo by William Reagh in the California State Library collection. It's also in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
1988 - A William Reagh photo from the California State Library collection.
2002 - A marquee shot from Ken McIntyre. The "See You In The Fall" means they were busy ripping out the main floor seats and re-doing the floor with terraces. Ken has the shot in one of his Photobucket albums.
2006 - A wonderful look at the Wiltern by Carol Highsmith from the Library of Congress collection. Thanks to Julie Owens for posting it on Photos of Los Angeles.
2006 - A fine detail of the top of the Pellissier Building by Tejana as part of the Wilshire Beauty set on Flickr.
2006 - A view of the marquee at night by Tejana on Flickr. Also see another night marquee shot and her vertical sign photo.
2007 - Looking west on Wilshire - one of the two vertical signs. Photo: Bill Counter
2007 - A boxoffice view. Don't you love the marquee soffit? Photo: Bill Counter
2007 - An entrance door detail. Photo: Bill Counter
2007 - One of the terrific deco display cases. Photo: Bill Counter
2008 - Floyd Bariscale has yet another great Big Orange Landmarks article with his Pellisier Building post. This exterior view is one of his many fine photos. Also see Mr. Bariscale's Pellisier Bldg.set on Flickr.
2009 - The site Public Art In Los Angeles has many photos of signage and historic buildings. Check out the Wilshire Neon Signs page. Their Wiltern page has this photo by Don Howe.
2012 - A night view of the signage on Wilshire. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012
2012 - Another view looking west along Wilshire on a rainy evening. Photo: Bill Counter
2012 - A neon detail by Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles.
2012 - A lovely detail from Ken McIntyre of the great plasterwork of the marquee soffit. Well, it used to all be plaster. It was deteriorating and some pieces have been replaced with fiberglass replicas. Ken had the shot on Photos of Los Angeles. Also see his vertical sign photo.
2012 - A superb vertical sign detail by Jijo Reed appearing on Photos of Los Angeles.
2013 - A gaze up at one of the Wiltern's vertical signs by Jenny Goodwin. Thanks, Jenny! The photo appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.
2013 - A marquee photo by Jenny Goodwin from the LAHTF Facebook page.
2013 - Thanks to Brian Washington on Photos of Los Angeles for this marquee detail.
2014 - The view up one of the Wiltern's vertical signs. Photo: Sandi Hemmerlein. Sandi's Avoiding Regret photo essays "Wiltern Theatre, Public Areas" and "Wiltern, Off Limits Areas" have lovely photos of the theatre taken during the LAHTF tour that year. Thanks, Sandi!
2014 - The wide angle view from marquee soffit to the top. Photo: Mike Hume. For more of his fine work see the Wiltern page of the Historic Theatre Photography section of his website.
2014 - The Wilshire side of the Pellissier Building. Photo: Mike Hume
2014 - The Wiltern boxoffice. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. The photo originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page. Thanks, Wendell!
The LAHTF is actively involved in the study and preservation of the many vintage theatres in the Los Angeles area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of the buildings. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook
Also on the LAHTF Facebook page: looking up the facade - Stephen Russo - 2014 | front door panels - Wendell Benedetti - 2014 | 2014 LAHTF tour line - Wendell Benedetti | two facade views - Shawn Dudley - 2016 |
2014 - A shot of the marquee soffit by Beerener that appeared on the Wiltern Instagram feed.
2014 - A soffit detail. Photo: Sandi Hemmerlein - Avoiding Regret. Thanks, Sandi!
2017 - Thanks to Jijo Reed for this view looking west on Wilshire. Look up at the stagehouse and you can see the extension added during the 1984-85 restoration of the building. It was a post on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - The Wilshire side of the tower. It's a Howard Gray photo on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - A Howard Gray marquee detail on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - An entrance detail from Howard Gray on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - A fine look up. It's a Howard Gray photo on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - The busy corner of Wilshire and Western. Thanks to Howard Gray for his photo, a post on Photos of Los Angeles.
2017 - Thanks to Mike Hume for this shot of one of the lanterns near the garage entrance on Oxford Ave. On the backstage page see a view of the lanterns in 1984 taken through a hole in the back wall during the stage expansion. For more great work by Mike see the Wiltern Theatre page on his Historic Theatre Photography site for many fine photos he's taken.
The Wiltern in the Movies: The Wiltern Theatre has been used for many movie and commercial shoots. In "American Hot Wax" (Paramount, 1978) it was the Brooklyn Paramount, complete with change of neon on the marquee and vertical signs.
A shot showing the Wiltern's altered signage in "American Hot Wax." It's a photo from the Internet Movie Cars Database.
A view of the poster for "American Hot Wax" on the site Movie Poster showing the "Paramount" neon on the marquee and verticals. See the Theatres In Movies post for many more shots from the film. The concert scenes were also filmed at the Wiltern.
We're supposedly in New York (of course) in John Carpenter's "Escape From New York" (Avco Embassy, 1981) but the theatre we go to is the Fox St. Louis on the outside. Inside, we're in the Wiltern lobby.
The locals are putting on a show in the Wiltern's auditorium in a shot from "Escape From New York." The film stars Kurt Russell and Lee Van Cleef. Yes, it's pretty murky -- we don't see much.
Morris Day checks his hair in the mirror in front of the Wiltern near the beginning of "Purple Rain" (Warner Bros., 1984). Most of the opening sequence was shot at the First Avenue Club in Minneapolis but we get a couple exterior Wiltern shots cut in.
"Get Crazy" with Malcolm McDowell (Embassy, 1983) featured lots of views of the auditorium and lobby areas.
Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire" with Diane Lane (Universal, 1984) used the theatre for some concert sequences but we don't get to see much of the building. Here we get a murky look from the stage into the auditorium.
Rick Moranis backstage at the dimmerboard in "Streets of Fire."
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover get a Pepsi and a hot dog at Wilshire and Western in Richard Donner's "Lethal Weapon" (Warner Bros., 1987). The film later features lots of mayhem on Hollywood Blvd. with views of the Ritz and Vogue theatres. Also see the site It's Filmed There for additional shots from the film.
We're using the Wiltern as the Brooklyn Paramount again in the Luis Valdez film "La Bamba" (Columbia, 1987). The footage is some that was shot for "American Hot Wax" in 1977. But this time the Wiltern isn't used for the interiors. See the Theatres in Movies post for more shots from this film about young rock and roll star Ritchie Valens.
The Wiltern is featured as (would you believe?) the Wiltern in the Chuck Norris thriller "Hero and the Terror" (Cannon/Golan-Globus Productions, 1988). The mayor comes to the grand opening of the restored theatre and grouses that he had to spend $14 million of city money to get the job done. He doesn't know yet that Simon Moon, a killer known as "The Terror" is hiding out there.
One of several nice lobby views we get in "Hero and the Terror." But don't go up to the balcony ladies room -- that's where ladies are disappearing from.
It's a treat seeing seats on the main floor. The film spends a LOT of time in the theatre and it's a nice document of the look between the 1985 restoration and 2002 when the seats got pulled out and the floor terraced.
A view toward the back of the house from "Hero and the Terror." We know the killer is in the theatre somewhere and we're on the search.
We get a fine attic tour in "Hero and the Terror" but it's not at the Wiltern. Our killer is finally dispatched by falling through a skylight and then through the theatre's ceiling. Sorry, there are no skylights in the theatre's attic. For 19 more shots (is that too many?) from "Hero and the Terror" see the Theatres in Movies post.
The Wiltern lobby is used as the lobby of the Hotel Earle ("A Day or a Lifetime") in Joel and Ethan Coen's "Barton Fink" (Fox, 1991). Here John Turturro, just arrived in Los Angeles, is checking in. Steve Buscemi plays the desk clerk.
Looking down the lobby at the rear of the main floor toward the rotunda in "Barton Fink."
Looking from the rotunda along the lobby at the rear of the main floor in "Barton Fink." The lighted entrance door at the end of the lobby is a set piece added for the film. The film also used the Orpheum, doubling as a New York City theatre.
We get a shot looking south on Western toward the Wiltern late in Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups" (Broad Green Pictures, 2015). The film stars Christian Bale, Brian Dennehy, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman. In addition to many scenes in and on the roof of the Palace Theatre, the film also has brief views of the Los Angeles, Warner Downtown and State theatres. See the post on Theatres In Movies for more from the film.
The Wiltern on Video: Check out Don Solosan's "Insider's Peek," a 5 minute tour of the building done as promotion for the 2014 Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation tour.
Wilshire and Western in the 20s: Curbed L.A. had a story about a traffic circle (named 'Rosy') at Wilshire and Western in the 20s. Also see the story about the intersection, and its traffic, on Paradise Leased. Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #6470 also has views of the intersection in the 20s. There's a bit more on Hoss C's Noirish Los Angeles post #21722.
More Wiltern information: See the Cinema Treasures Wiltern Theater page for lots of interesting history and discussion. The Cinema Tour page on the theatre has some nice photos from Bob Meza. The Wiltern Theatre page at Emporis has some specs for the building.
Sandi Hemmerlein's 2014 Avoiding Regret photo essays "The Wiltern Theatre, Public Areas" and "The Wiltern Theatre, Off Limits Areas" have lovely photos of the theatre. Sandi's photos were taken during the August 2014 LAHTF tour. Also see Mike Hume's Wiltern Theatre photo set of the event on Flickr. Aaron Blevins covered the event in a story in the Beverly Press.
Mary Mallory has a fine history of the theatre in her 2014 Daily Mirror article "Wiltern Theatre Jazzes Up Theatre Construction." See also the Wikipedia listing for the Wiltern. For more on Wayne Ratkovich see Patt Morrison's L.A. Times March 2015 story "Developer Wayne Ratkovich on revitalizing L.A.'s historic buildings."
Ray Shepardson (1944 - 2014)
Theatre genius Ray Shepardson ("Formerly of almost every theatre in America") had been instrumental in saving more historic theatres in this country than any other individual. Ray directed the 1984-85 Wiltern restoration project, along with architect Brenda Levin, for developer (and local hero) Wayne Ratkovich. It's a 2010 Chicago Tribune photo.
Shepardson projects included Cleveland's Playhouse Square, the St. Louis Fox, the Detroit Fox, the State and Orpheum in Minneapolis, the Chicago Theatre and many, many more. See the website for Ray's Market Value Productions for more information about his work. There's also a nice theatre restoration Flickr album.
A few articles: "Remembering Ray Shapardson.." - Cleveland Plain Dealer's account of Ray's memorial service: "...a helluva show for a great showman" | "Farewell to Ray Shepardson..." - an article by Paul Barrosse | Cleveland Plain Dealer obituary | Cleveland Scene | Cleveland Arts Prize - 1985 |
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