Opened: April 12, 1941 as an operation of Fox West Coast. 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 Inglewood section of the Fox West Coast ad in the Times on April 12, 1941.
The theatre was later operated by National General and Mann Theatres, the successor companies to Fox West Coast. It eventually took a slip down as an independent house and became a porno venue before closing.
Architect: Clifford A. Balch. In addition to the theatre, the building included a number of retail spaces.
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:
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 booth ports. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013
A bit of ornament on plaster. Photo: Michelle Gerdes - 2013
More exterior views:
1978 - A John Margolies photo that's in the Library of Congress collection.
1982 - Thanks to the now-vanished American Classic Images website 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 that once appeared on his now-vanished website You-Are-Here.com.
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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