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: www.vidiotsfoundation.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/vidiotsvideo
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.
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: Movie-Theatre.org
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.
A 1939 flyer. Thanks to Gerald DeLuca for locating this for a post on Cinema Treasures.
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.
Looking toward the front doors. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019
Check out other theatres Mike has explored in the L.A. area and elsewhere on his Historic Theatre Photography site.
A look in from the back of the house. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019
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
Looking forward in the attic from the access door that's in the cry room. Photo: Mike Hume - 2019
The retail spaces:
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
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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