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Eagle Theatre / Vidiots

4884 Eagle Rock Blvd. Eagle Rock (Los Angeles), CA 90041 | map |

The news: Construction is underway. Vidiots, a non-profit video store turned film organization, signed a lease in 2019 and is looking toward a late 2022 or early 2023 opening. It will be programmed with independent releases, revivals, and community events with both digital and 35mm capabilities. The adjacent retail space will be a video rental store plus food and beverage service that will be provided in partnership with local restaurants.

Dino-Ray Ramos had the news in "Vidiots Sets L.A. Relaunch With Storefront and Independent Theater," a September 30, 2019 story on Deadline. Thanks to Alex Rojas and Joe Pinney for spotting it. Variety, following up with "Iconic L.A. Video Store Vidiots to Reopen in 2020," noted that the organization's store in Santa Monica had shuttered in 2017. Thanks for Donavan S. Moye for spotting that story.

In "An old Eagle Rock movie house awaits its next role...," a March 2020 story by Barry Lank for The Eastsider, Vidiots head Maggie Mackay noted at the time that they expected a November 2020 opening. Thanks to Jason Vega for spotting the story. Alas, the pandemic resulted in a serious disruption of that projected timeline. 

The L.A. Times gave a construction update with Mark Olsen's July 19, 2021 story "Beloved video store Vidiots is set to reopen. How Rian Johnson and others are helping." It was revealed that they were still $1.5 million short on their fundraising campaign.

Website:  Facebook:

Opened: May 10, 1929 as the Yosemite Theatre with two days of vaudeville shows. One of the acts was the Scottish singer George Vallance, who lived in Eagle Rock. On May 12 the owners of the independent operation, J.T. Young and H.E. Allen, started running talkies. The building is on the east side of the street at Yosemite Dr.

The pre-opening photo is from the Eagle Rock Advertiser. Note no marquee letters up yet. It's from the Occidental College Archives and appears on the site Historypin. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality for finding this photo and several others for his Noirish Los Angeles post #23876

A May 3, 1929 ad from the Eagle Rock Reporter-Sentinel advertising the two-part grand opening. Thanks to Mike Rivest for locating this. Visit his site:

The May 10, 1929 ad in the Eagle Rock Advertiser. It's on Historypin from the collection of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society

Architect: Kenneth A. Gordon (of the firm J.H. Woodworth and Son) designed the Mediterranean style building. The seating area was said to appear as if you were in a patio surrounded by gardens. It had a blue ceiling resembling a sky and murals depicting the California countryside behind grilles along the side walls. In addition to the theatre, the 9,472 s.f. building has 2,900 s.f. of retail space. Most recently 1,500 of that has been used as a ballroom dance studio.

The 2021-2022 remodel for Vidiots was designed by Wick Architecture and LAND Design Studio.

Seating: 900 originally, later down to 800. The seating as a church was only 315. A platform had been added in front of the proscenium. Vidiots is expecting the capacity to be about 250.
In 1930 the operation was acquired by John Sugar's Vox Theatres. In 1937, after a remodeling (and a change of ownership to Venicoff Theatres) it was called the New Eagle Theatre

A June 10, 1937 ad in the Eagle Rock Advertiser for the grand reopening of the renovated theatre. Thanks to Mike Rivest for locating the ad. In one of the congratulatory ads on the page the Eagle Rock Feed and Fuel Co. noted that they had supplied the Sherwin-Williams paint for the renovation.  Chas. C. Winkler noted that his firm had done all the painting and decorating. 

By 1939 it was just called the Eagle Theatre. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this 1939 ad listing the Vinnicof locations. It was a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. The Sierra Theatre, once nearby at 5058 Eagle Rock Blvd., at one point was also called the Eagle. 


A 1939 flyer. Thanks to Gerald DeLuca for locating this for a post on Cinema Treasures.

Don Hughes took over the theatre around 1950 and offered a renewed focus on family shows. From 1976 until 1979 it was run by Walnut Properties, operators of the Pussycat chain. It got a Pussycat style marquee and interior upgrade but, according to Eric Warren of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society, it never ran much porno due to community opposition. 
An article in the October 1991 issue of the Tom B'hend publication Greater L.A. Metro Newsreel noted that the local citizens picketed the house and photographed all the customers who entered. Walnut soon was running it as a neighborhood house with bookings of conventional Hollywood product.

Around 1980 it got another remodel and re-emerged as an independent film house with another operator. In the 1991 Newsreel article it's noted that Metropolitan Theatres once tried running Spanish language product at the theatre. Bruce Corwin commented "We soon got out of there when we took in only $210 one Sunday."

Closing: The Eagle closed as a film theatre in 2000 or 2001. It had occasional art and live performance events afterward. From around 2003 until early 2019 it was used as a church. The theatre was vacant for most of 2019. 

During its later film years the auditorium was draped. When used as a church much of the interior was painted white and beige. There's still decorative plaster at the proscenium and organ grille areas but other decor has vanished.  

Status: See the news at the top of the page about the film organization Vidiots signing a lease and renovating the building. 

A first floor plan from Westmac Commercial Brokerage. Michael Rojas of Westmac was the broker for the property in 2019. He's at 310-478-7700 or The theatre still has a listing on Loopnet, now shown as inactive.

The lobby: 

Church group members doing a fix up. Photo: Universal Church - 2014

Looking toward the front doors. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

Mike's photos appearing here were taken for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. The organization is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the L.A. area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of various historic theatres. | LAHTF on Facebook

Check out other theatres Mike has explored in the L.A. area and elsewhere on his Historic Theatre Photography site. 

A peek into the boxoffice plus a shortcut into the north retail space. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A look across to house left.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

Looking down the house right aisle.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A look through the de-constructed lobby wall into the auditorium. It's a July 2021 photo by Mel Melcon appearing with the July 19 Times story "Beloved video store Vidiots is set to reopen..."

Looking to house left in December 2021. Thanks to Escott O. Norton for his photo, part of a post on the LAHTF Facebook page. He comments: "The old lobby wall was where the metal columns are. It was tiny! The new concessions stand will be between the exit doors and new bathrooms are being added too! The old scary bathrooms were up a narrow and steep stairway (still visible in the back)."

A wider view of the lobby space, now pushed into what had been the back of the seating area. Photo: Escott O. Norton - December 2021. He comments: "This is the lobby extension, which will include a bar. Now this space is really usable for functions on its own, and also connects to the video store and 2nd screening area!"

A wall at the entrance. It's an August 2022 photo by Escott O. Norton, one of nine in his Facebook post documenting the progress. He comments: "This zig zag wall that I remember having poster cases was rediscovered and will be the donor wall. The lobby space has grown, a big new concessions area and bar have been added, new restrooms are taking shape, the second screening room space and video store are framed, and the projection room is huge (compared to the old one!)."

Framing for the new bar along the south wall. That's one of the entrances to the auditorium on the right. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022  

The new snackbar on the north wall of the lobby. We're looking toward the entrance at the corner of the building. The doors at either end of the snackbar exit onto Yosemite Dr. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022

The auditorium: 

The auditorium as a church. Photo: Universal Church - 2013

A view after removal of the wall. Photo: Westmac Commercial Brokerage - 2019

A look in from the back of the house. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A closer view of the stage. When the house went to CinemaScope, the screen was out in front of the proscenium. Some of the platform we see was added when the house was used for live performances following its closure as a film house. The forward part was added by a church group. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

The organ grille area house right.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

Looking across to stage right. Nope. Not much stage depth. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

The entrance to the stage left organ chamber.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

Offstage right.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

The view across to stage left.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

The curtain and masking motors used when the screen was in front of the proscenium. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A view to the rear of the auditorium.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A back wall detail. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

One of the ceiling grilles. This one with plywood on top for contrast. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019 

The stripped out auditorium in July 2021 as the Vidiots renovation is underway. Left to right are Vidiots co-founder Patty Polinger, executive director Maggie Mackay and co-founder Cathy Tauber. It's a photo by Mel Melcon appearing with the July 19 Times story "Beloved video store Vidiots is set to reopen..."

A December 2021 view. Thanks to Escott O. Norton for his photo, part of a post on the LAHTF Facebook page. He comments: "Looking towards the proscenium with the horrible church alter platform removed. Growing up I never knew there were any interesting details, they were all covered up! While the screen will be permanently installed in front of the proscenium, the original details will be preserved. Permanent theatre seating will all be reinstalled. The main auditorium should seat about 250."

The rear of the house in December 2021. Photo: Escott O. Norton. He comments: "Looking back from the screen. A portion of the rear of the auditorium will now be part of the expanded lobby/bar area. The new projection booth will have both film and digital capabilities." 
Regarding the wall ornament, he adds: "These are the original pilasters with matching capitals on the side walls. These will be maintained. Originally the ceiling was a sky blue and the walls between pilasters were painted with a countryside mural. Maybe someday in the future the murals can come back, making the 1929 Eagle Theatre one of the oldest operating 'atmospheric' theatres in Los Angeles!"

The rear of the house in August 2022. Photo: Escott O. Norton
A look toward the new speaker wall. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022. He comments: "The original pilasters and Juliet balconies in the main auditorium are now visible and will look great, finally some original character coming back to the Eagle Theatre!"

A side wall pilaster detail. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022. He comments: "It is really coming along! Vidiots' Maggie Mackay gave me a great tour, previewed some of the colors and finishes which will be fun." 

A closer look at the speaker wall. Note the openings for the left, center and (behind the scaffolding) right channel speakers. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022


At the top of the stairs with the booth at the left. The cry room is down at the end of the corridor. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A look out the window of the cry room.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

Looking forward in the attic from the access door that's in the cry room. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

The stripped-out booth.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019

A closer look at the electrical gear.  Photo: Mike Hume - 2019
The expanded booth. Photo: Escott O. Norton - August 2022. Thanks, Escott!

The retail spaces:

The dance studio in the south retail space. Photo: Westmac Commercial Brokerage - 2019

More exterior views: 

1930 - An Eagle Rock Sentinel photo in the collection of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society. It appears on Historypin. "Footlights and Fools" was a November 1929 Vitaphone release.

1937 - An item from the Eagle Rock Sentinel that's in the collection of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society. It appears on Historypin.

1940 - A photo from the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society appearing on Historypin.

1953 - An Alan Weeks photo from the Metro Archive and Library on Flickr. They were running the April 1951 release "The Lemon Drop Kid" with Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. Thanks to Claudia Mullins for spotting a post of the photo by Ken McIntyre on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 

c.1955 - A lovely view north on Eagle Rock Blvd. from Yosemite Dr. The theatre? Well, just a bit of the marquee on the far right. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality who found the photo on eBay and included it on his Noirish post #25397. It looks like some sort of adult entertainment advertised on the marquee. Note that the semaphore street lights are gone.

1972 - The Eagle running "The Hot Rock" and "Butch Cassidy." The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

1976 - A photo from the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society appearing on Historypin. Note the lettering above the readerboards redone in the style favored by the Pussycat Theatres chain.

c.1980 - A photo from the Occidental College Archives appearing on Historypin.

1983 - Thanks to the now-vanished American Classic Images website for this November photo.

c.1989 - A shot by filmmaker and cinematographer Gary Graver. More of his theatre shots can be seen on You Tube in "Second Run - part 1"and "Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for the use of the photo.

2002 - A photo of the then-closed theatre by Betty Sword from Cezar Del Valle's collection. Keep up with Cezar's latest theatre explorations via his Theatre Talks website.

2007 - Thanks to Luke Gattuso for this shot. 

c.2010 - A view of the Eagle Theatre taken by Don Solosan, part of a survey of surviving vintage theatre buildings he participated in with the now-dormant Historic Theatre Committee of the L.A. Conservancy.

c.2010 - A marquee detail by Don Solosan. Note the oval on the side panel from the Pussycat era.  Thanks, Don!

2015 - Thanks to James Staub for this photo of the theatre.

2019 - The signage was still up but the church had moved out. Photo: Bill Counter

2019 - The north side of the building. Photo: Bill Counter

2019 - Looking along the screen end of the building. Note the seismic retrofit work. Photo: Bill Counter

2019 - Along the back, looking toward Eagle Rock Blvd. Photo: Mike Hume. Thanks, Mike! See more of his fine work on his Historic Theatre Photography site.  

2021 - A shot by Times photographer Mel Melcon appearing with Mark Olsen's July story "Beloved video store Vidiots is set to reopen..."

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Eagle for lots of fine research by Ken Roe and other contributors. There's a Friends of the Eagle Theatre page on Facebook.

The Eastsider's May 2019 story, "Film fans seek a second act...," discussed possibilities for a rebirth of the theatre. 

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