Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
| Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood/Brentwood | Along the Coast | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

California Theatre

6528 Pacific Blvd. Huntington Park, CA 90255 | map |


Opened: 1925 as the California Theatre and was operated for decades by Fox West Coast as the Fox California Theatre. It got a bit of the Skouras decorative treatment in the 40s. The 1972 photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



The logo for "The Showplace of the Southeast." Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for finding an ad using it in a Huntington Park High School yearbook from the late 20s.

The theatre was triplexed around 1975 and known then as the California 3 Theatres. The main floor was left intact with a wall installed from the balcony rail up to the ceiling. The balcony was divided into 2 small theatres.

Architects: Arthur George Lindley and Charles R. Selkirk, who also did the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Seating: 1,500 originally

Organ: It was a Wurlitzer style 216.

Status: Closed in 2006. In 2007 the main floor was converted to retail space. The owner installed new signage advertising the balcony theatres as "California 2 Theatres" but an operator willing to operate the venue has not yet materialized. For leasing information contact Kristin Kim at 818-306-0398.



No pictures have surfaced showing the theatre's original decorative scheme. This proscenium view from the Jim Lytell collection shows the effects of the 1940s Fox West Coast Skouras-style modernization. The photo appears in the 1987 booklet "Skouras-ized for Showmanship: Skouras' West Coast Theatres" by Preston J. Kaufmann, the Theatre Historical Society annual #14. It's available from THS or on Amazon.



A side wall view from "Skouras-ized for Showmanship: Skouras' West Coast Theatres" by Preston J. Kaufmann.



A look at the main floor auditorium as it appeared after the triplexing. Note the later drapery treatment as compared to the earlier version when the house first got the Skouras look. Thanks to Robert Tower for spotting the photo. It's a contribution of Bill Gabel to the Cinema Treasures page about the California.



A bit of proscenium plasterwork -- now in a closet at the back of a retail space. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The balcony lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



A wall frieze in the balcony lobby from the 40s Fox West Coast remodeling. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The auditorium ceiling in 2007. Here we're  looking out in front of the balcony rail to view the retail space getting built out on the main floor. The two smaler theatres in the balcony are behind us. Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for his photo, appearing in his wonderful Los Angeles Theatres album on  Flickr.



One of the two smaller theatres surviving in the balcony. It's a photo by Eric Lynxwiler appearing on Flickr. Other interior views in his great collection include: main ceiling detail | balcony lobby | lobby wall frieze | frieze - orchard detail | looking toward the booth |


More exterior views:


A view north on Pacific from Zoe Ave. before the 1933 earthquake. That's the California's vertical sign popping up on the right. The photo appears on page 61 of the 2007 Arcadia Publishing book "Huntington Park" by James Kinsey. The page with the photo is part of the book's preview available on Google Books. Thanks to Jason Vega for spotting the photo.



A 1933 post-earthquake view of the California showing damage to the hotel south of the theatre. The hotel building has been demolished. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for spotting the photo as a post on the Huntington Park High School Sustainers Facebook page.



A 1937 shot looking north on Pacific Blvd. by Herman Schultheis. The California is advertising an "owl show" of John Ford's "The Hurricane." The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A 1939 look at the California running "Five Came Back" with Chester Morris and Lucille Ball. Thanks to Jason Vega for spotting the photo in the collection of the Downey Historic Conservancy on Flickr.



An undated premiere photo by Ralph Morris in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The set includes the photo below as well as two views with a star of the film, whatever it was.



The other exterior view in the premiere night set by Ralph Morris. 



A 1951 look south on Pacific. The California, over there on the left, is running that great hit "Mark of the Renegade." It's a photo by Julius Shulman, who was was out photographing branch offices for Bank of America. This was his Job #1029. The set of three photos on the site of the Getty Research Institute also has a view looking north on Pacific with the theatre down a block or so.

Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Hoss C for digging through the Getty Archives to find these photos. The set is the subject of his Noirish post #31352. If you have a day or two to spare, you can also browse through more Shulman photos at the Getty.



A 1955 view appearing in the 2007 Arcadia Publishing book "Huntington Park" by James Kinsey. He notes that the California is running "Seven Year Itch" with Marilyn. At the Park, farther down the street, it's Richard Widmark in "Hell and High Water." Thanks to Jason Vega for spotting the photo. The book is available on Amazon. There's a preview on Google Books.



A 50s postcard view looking north toward the California. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for spotting it on a City of Huntington Park social media post.



A 50s look south on Pacific toward the California. That's the theatre's stagehouse in the upper center of the photo with the Park Theatre this side of the California. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for the find.



A late 50s look north. The California's vertical is over on the right. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.



Another photo from the collection of transit historian Sean Ault.



An early 60s view looking north on Pacific Blvd. with the Warner on the right. The California Theatre's vertical can be glimpsed in the next block beyond the tower of the Columbia clothing store building. The photo is from the Huntington Park album of the Downey Historic Conservancy on Flickr.

 

A perhaps 70s view south on Pacific. The first marquee on the left is the original version of the Park Theatre, later rebuilt as a twin. The California's vertical can be seen farther down the block. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for finding the photo in a Huntington Park High School yearbook.



A 1972 photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A Christmas view north with the California on the right edge. The vertical and roofline of the Park Theatre can be seen several doors farther down. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for spotting the photo on a City of Huntington Park social media post.



A 1983 look at the triplexed theatre from the site American Classic Images.



An 80s photo looking south on Pacific. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for spotting it on a social media post from the Greater Huntington Park Area Chamber of Commerce.



A 1986 photo from the Greater Huntington Park Area Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for spotting it. The Chamber used the theatre for the Huntington Park Pageant.



A 2004 photo from the Hugo Ruiz collection. The theatre was still running as a triplex.



An August 2007 photo showing the signage still in place. Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for the photo, one of nearly 500 in his terrific Los Angeles Theatres album on Flickr.  Also in his album from 2007 are: wider facade view | entrance detail | stagehouse |



The theatre, closed and minus its signage, in 2007. Photo: Bill Counter



A closer look at the entrance during remodeling to convert the main floor to retail space. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007  



The building in 2012. Photo: Bill Counter



The dormant "California 2" in 2017. It's a Hugo Ruiz photo.  



A stagehouse view in 2017. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for his photo. 



A look south on Pacific. The Park Theatre, operated by Metropolitan Theatres, was rebuilt in the 1980s as a twin. The California is down the block with the Warner visible in the distance. Thanks to Hugo Ruiz for his 2018 photo.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the California Theatre. The Cinema Tour page on the California has several 2004 exterior views by Ken Roe.

Nearby: A block south is the Warner, now converted into a gym. 

| back to top | Downtown | Westside | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | [more] Los Angeles movie palaces | the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | theatres in movies | LA Theatres on facebook | contact info | welcome and site navigation guide |

No comments:

Post a Comment