Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wanna see a movie?

Well, you can't...at least not at these theaters.

I love old movie houses. Most fascinating to me are the extravagant palaces built in the 1920s. But some architects and theater owners showed plenty of flair and imagination even up through the late 1930s.

Here are three examples I spotted while on the road the other day. There aren't many like them left, as they are nearly impossible to convert to multiple screens. All three of these Moderne beauties showed their last films many years ago.

Now a medical building, the Loyola Theatre (Westchester, CA, right near LA Airport), is a prime example of flamboyant shapes on the exterior...



The Loyola's box office, in stainless steel and painted metal, remains, though it hasn't sold a ticket in maybe 40 years...



The Academy Theatre (Inglewood, CA), is more restrained, but still looks cool. It has been converted into a church...



A couple blocks away from the Academy, the 5th Avenue Theatre is almost plain by standards of the time, though when all its neon tubing was lit, it must have looked pretty spectacular. I liked some of the details, as much as they could be seen through all the wear and tear. A church group apparently owns this theater, too, but its sign has been up for years and nothing has been done. I suspect it will in time become a vacant lot...



I really enjoy finding such treasures, even if it often saddens me to see what has become of them. I'll admit it's not an interest too many people have shared with me, but there isn't anything to be done about that, except perhaps to quit looking for new examples and devote myself to television....

7 comments:

becomingkate said...

I love those old buildings, too. We have a theatre in my city that closed in October, after being in business for 40 years. I think it's sad, sort of like how the Drive-in is just no more...

deb said...

Do keep the photos coming, Scribs! It would be spectacular to own one of these. Living quarters in the back or whatever and run the front complete with a MW and a photoplayer, of course.
;-D
I guess that's one that'll remain in my dreams.

gillardia said...

Old theatres are very cool! I used to be able to walk to one that was still running (back when I lived in PA). It was like stepping back in time when I went in there. I absolutely loved it!

Gill

Doug said...

Keep looking, Scribbs. I appreciate them, as there is nothing like it here, everything has been mostly converted and/or covered up or just plain torn down.

KIT said...

Old theaters are amazing spaces. I'm not surprised that churches would find them homey.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago, I used to go to some of those theaters - the Loyola, the Aero on Broadway in Santa Monica (I think), the Criterion on the 3rd street mall - there was one on Lincoln Blvd in Mar vista near the Market Basket - the Wiltern at Wilshire and Western (I saw the Ten Commandments there as a first run movie) there were others.. Your pictures are nice to see! Thanks -- Dale in Atlanta

joan said...

I love that at least two of them are in use even if not as theaters. Those first two are grand.