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5th Avenue Theatre

2541 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90305 | map |


Opened: 1939. The 5th Avenue Theatre is on the north side of the street at 5th Ave., two blocks east of Crenshaw Blvd. It's just a few blocks east of the Academy Theatre. The address was listed as 2519 W. Manchester in the 1940 city directory.

The 40s photo looking east on Manchester from the Huntington Library collection was taken by Doug White for Southern California Edison Co. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for finding it in the Huntington collection for Noirish post #38505.

The theatre was built for the Fanchon & Marco Southside Theatres circuit and starting in 1941 was operated by Fox West Coast and, later, its successor companies National General and Mann Theatres. It later took a slip down and became a porno venue before closing.

Architect: Clifford A. Balch. In addition to the theatre, the building included a number of retail spaces.

Seating: 986

Closing: It closed in the 1980s and sat vacant for years. For several years the marquee copy advertised that a roller derby venue would be coming soon. It never happened. Around 2004 there were redevelopment plans by a church group that included housing. That went nowhere.

Status: It got remodeled in 2013 and 2014 and was then called the St. Paul Baptist Church.

Evidently the church business wasn't as lucrative as they had hoped. In 2020 it was put on the market. The Loopnet listing noted an asking price of $4,500,000 and that the building was 14,930 s.f. They also mentioned that the church was only a tenant on a month-to-month lease. Thanks to Chris Nichols for spotting the listing. Marcus and Millichap are the brokers at 310-909-5472


Entrance and lobby areas: 


 The boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013

At the time of the visit by intrepid theatre explorers Michelle and Steve Gerdes the theatre had been vacant for decades and work was beginning to turn it into a church. 



The entrance doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The display case on the west side of the ticket lobby. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking into the lobby. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



In the office area looking out toward the boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



 Inside the boxoffice. Note the safe on the left. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013


 
The east wall of the lobby. The auditorium is behind us. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Stairs up to the lounges and the booth. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A view back out to the entrance doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking toward the lobby's alley exit doors. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013


In the auditorium:


The house right wall. All the auditorium explorations were by flashlight. Note the ceiling air diffusers. They were all painted with different patterns. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A ceiling air diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Yet another ceiling diffuser. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



An exit sign. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Sidewall ornament with a surround speaker cabinet in the middle. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another example of the sidewall ornament, this one with a light fixture. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The house left wall toward the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Above the left front exit. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The ceiling above the screen -- with a bit of painted detail and a set of strip lights farther back at the original screen location. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013 



Another ceiling view near the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Looking off toward house right. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Another view of the remnants of the stage. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The right wall near the screen. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



Piles of seats. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A bit of the 1939 carpet. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The booth ports. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



A bit of ornament on plaster. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013



The rear of the auditorium after the church rehab. Photo: Loopnet - 2020. Thanks to Chris Nichols for spotting the listing. 



In the booth. Photo: Loopnet - 2020


More exterior views: 


1978 - A John Margolies photo that's in the Library of Congress collection. 



1982 - Thanks to American Classic Images for this view. 



2002 - Thanks to Ken Roe for this view west on Manchester. It's a photo he posted on Cinema Treasures.



c.2005 - A view by Martin on his fine site You-Are-Here. He also has a readerboard detail.



c.2005 - A fine facade detail from Debra Jane Seltzer on her delightful site Roadside Architecture. In addition to this photo you'll find five more on page six of her California Theatres section. Thanks, Debra!



2007 - Looking east on Manchester. It's a Ken McIntyre photo. 



2007 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this marquee detail, a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. Also see another 2007 east readerboard photo.



2010 - A look up the tower. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The fan at the center of the 5th Avenue's marquee. Photo: Michelle Gerdes. See more photos of the theatre in Michelle's Theatres - California album on Flickr.



2010 - The theatre's terrazzo. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The terrazzo in front of the boxoffice. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - More terrazzo. Photo: Michelle Gerdes



2010 - The theatre at dusk. Photo: Bill Counter 



2012 - A view east on Manchester toward the abandoned theatre. Photo: Google Maps



2012 - A vista to the sky. Ken McIntyre's photo was a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



c.2012 - A west readerboard view. Photo: Ken McIntyre



c.2012 - A detail of the rusting lettering atop the readerboard. Thanks to Escott O. Norton for his photo.



2013 - A last view up the tower before the paint job in church white. Photo: Michelle Gerdes. Thanks, Michelle!



2019 - The building as a church. Photo: Google Maps



2020 - For sale "in the booming city of Inglewood, California. The surrounding area is a highly attractive location..." Photo: Loopnet



2020 - 5th Ave. on the left. On the right we're looking east on Manchester. Photo: Loopnet



2020 - The screen end of the building. Photo: Loopnet. Thanks to Chris Nichols for spotting the listing. 

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the 5th Avenue. The Cinema Tour page on the 5th has two exterior views by Ken Roe.

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2 comments:

  1. a great resource. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope someone thought to save some of those seats. The letters would make great art pieces. I'm never there at the right time.

    ReplyDelete