Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections: Downtown | North of Downtown + East L.A. | San Fernando Valley | Glendale | Pasadena | San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier | South, South Central and Southeast | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | Long Beach | [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.

Fox Figueroa

4011 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 | map |

Opened: November 13, 1925 as the Figueroa Theatre. Note the two entrances. The theatre is decorated for its grand opening featuring the world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "The Road To Yesterday" starring Joseph Schildkraut. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. 

It was built for Fred Miller's firm Far West Theatres, Inc. He had earlier operated the Alhambra on Hill St. and Miller's and the California, both on Main St. When the Carthay Circle opened in 1926, he was the first operator of that theatre as well. He was the initial lessee of the Elmiro Theatre in Santa Monica when it opened in 1934.

An illustration in the November 13 Times with images of Cecil B. DeMille and Fred Miller.

An opening day ad. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating these items in the Times for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 

The building was on the southwest corner of S. Figueroa St. and Santa Barbara Ave. Santa Barbara later got designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The address for the office building portion of the structure was originally 508 W. Santa Barbara Ave.

Architect: William Sterling Hebbard. Joe Vogel notes that the project was mentioned in the January 2, February 7 and December 11, 1925 issues of Southwest Builder & Contractor. He adds: "William Sterling Hebbard (1868-1930) was a San Diego architect, who sometimes worked in partnership with Irving Gill."

Seating: 1,470 in later years. The March 20, 1926 issue of Exhibitors Herald gave a capacity of 1,800.

Pipe organ: It was a Wurlitzer style 235, opus 1162, according to Bill Gabel. 

A Times article in 1928 listing upcoming attractions. "Tenderloin" was a March release. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting this for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.

At some point the Figueroa operation was taken over by West Coast Theatres. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding this September 1928 West Coast ad. When the circuit became known as Fox West Coast in 1929 the theatre was then known as the Fox Figueroa.

The Fox Figueroa was one of three theatres featured in this ad for Spencer organ blowers and house vacuum systems that appeared in the December 28, 1929 Motion Picture News. Interestingly, the ad mistakenly credits the the theatre to architect A.B. Rosenthal. The issue's section two, the Buyer's Guide, is a wealth of interesting ads and includes many theatre photos, including some color renderings.

Closing: Sometime in the early 60s. 

Status: It was demolished in 1968. Ken McIntyre located an article in the March 4 issue of the L.A. Times:

"For years a huge sign overlooking Exposition Park stood out as a familiar Los Angeles landmark. It towered above the Figueroa Theater at Santa Barbara Avenue. 'Figueroa Theater' was emblazoned on a massive steel frame, luring moviegoers to such films as 'Stanley and Livingston' and 'Boom Town' in the years just before World War II. Now the theater, built in the mid 1920s but dark for many years, is being torn down and a gas station will go up on the site."

The site now has a branch bank on the corner.

Interior views:

A lobby view that was included with a full page photo spread in the March 20, 1926 issue of Exhibitors Herald. Thanks to Mike Hume for finding the article on Internet Archive. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for data on the many theatres he's explored along with thousands of his fine photos.

The lobby in 1945, after a Skouras modernization. Note the waves on the ceiling beams. Much of the original decor had been painted over or simplified. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

The balcony level lobby after the redecoration. Note the column capitols and bases of the lamps surviving from the original decorative scheme. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

An early proscenium view. Photo: Exhibitors Herald - March 20, 1926 

An organ grille detail. Photo: Exhibitors Herald - March 20, 1926

The rear house right. Photo: Exhibitors Herald - March 20, 1926. Thanks again to Mike Hume. 

The look of the auditorium after the 1945 renovations. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

More exterior views:

1927 - The theatre playing "The Loves of Carmen," a September release with Delores Del Rio, Don Alvarado and Victor McLaglen. The photo is the one that appears in the December 28, 1929 Motion Picture News ad reproduced higher on the page.  

c.1927 - A view south on Figueroa toward Santa Barbara Ave. A bit of the theatre and its roof sign can be seen on the right. On the left it's the Coliseum Hotel and, across the street, the National Automotive School. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

1936 - A view of the Fox Figueroa with the Hotel Coliseum diagonally opposite. Note how the stage end of the theatre building backs into a corner of the lot. That's Figueroa St. running up to the upper left. It's a photo from the collection of the Automobile Club of Southern California that appears on the USC Digital Library website. Also see another view from the southwest

1936 - A detail from another Automobile Club photo on the USC Digital Library site. In addition to the full photo this came from see another view from the northwest.

1945 - A Figueroa side boxoffice view from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The poster is for "You Came Along," a July release with Robert Cummings and Lizabeth Scott.

1955 - This photo of the 5 line trolley turning west onto Santa Barbara Ave. comes from Uncanny, Tom Wetzel's now-vanished website about L.A. transit history. Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality also has it on his Noirish post #5302.  

c.1955 - Looking west on Santa Barbara Ave. toward Figueroa St. Note the back of the theatre's roof sign in the upper right. Thanks to Sean Ault for sharing the photo from his collection.

1961 - Thanks to Teri Skultety for sharing this photo from her collection. She comments: "The gentlemen crossing the street are my (late) great uncle and a family friend, en route to the Coliseum for a Dodger game. In the background, the Figueroa marquee is visible and reads 'Jeff Chandler - Return to Peyton Place' and 'All Hands On Deck.' The photograph was taken by my late grandfather. I hope others enjoy it."
1961 - A view outside the Sports Arena looking south toward the theatre. The photo once appeared on the blog InsideSoCal. The woman was picketing an "anti-communism school" featuring Roy Rogers, Ronald Reagan and Pat Boone. The Banc of California Stadium is now on the Sports Arena site.

c.1963 - A photo Eric Lynxwiler came across. Thanks to Eric E. Dunn for identifying it as the Figueroa. We're looking south with that "L.A. International Airport" sign directing us to head west on Santa Barbara Blvd., now renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.  

2020 - The site with a branch bank on it. On the left we're looking south on Figueroa. On the right it's a view west on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Photo: Google Maps

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for a bit more data. The Pacific Coast Architecture Database has a page on the Fox Figueroa.

| back to top | South, South Central and Southeast theatres | Downtown theatres | Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | [more] Los Angeles movie palaces | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | Los Angeles theatres - list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | contact info | welcome and site navigation guide |

No comments:

Post a Comment