Friday, December 1, 2017

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

"The Disaster Artist"

The Crest Theatre, 1262 Westwood Blvd., is featured prominently for a premiere during the last fifteen minutes of "The Disaster Artist" (New Line Cinema / A24 Films, 2017).

The film stars James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie and Seth Rogen in the strange tale of aspiring film director Tommy Wiseau and the making of his film "The Room." James Franco directed. Thanks to Chris Willman for the information about the Crest's appearance in the film. The still of Franco and friends outside the Crest is one being used by the distributors to promote the film.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page for lots more on the Crest. The theatre opened in 1940 as the UCLAN.

On IMDb: "The Disaster Artist"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


The Stadium Theatre in Torrance is seen in George Hickenlooper's "Dogtown" (Stone Canyon Entertainment, 1997). The film, about a Hollywood actor who comes back to his small hometown, stars Trevor St. John, Mary Stuart Masterson, Rory Cochrane, Davis Shackelford and Karen Black.

When the theatre was last in business it was called the Pussycat. For the film, the vertical was changed to make it called the Terra. In the shot above that's Jon Favreau and Mary Stuart Masterson with the "Terra" in the distance.

Another shot from the film with the Stadium in the background.

See our listing for the Stadium Theatre for more information. The theatre opened in 1949 and was demolished in 2002.

On IMDb: "Dogtown"

"Roman J. Israel, Esq."

Denzel Washington is the eponymous layer in Dan Gilroy's "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Columbia/Sony, 2017).  Roman is a brilliant, idealistic guy who hasn't had to do much interacting with the world until his employer of 26 years dies. He makes a radical misstep and pays for it in a big way.

Near the end of the film we end up on Broadway for a scene in the Broadway Bar, next to the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway. In addition to views of the Orpheum marquee we get several shots of the Rialto Theatre/Urban Outfitters, 812 S. Broadway, as well as brief glimpses of the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, and the Warner Downtown, 7th & Hill Sts.

The film also features Colin Farrell as a stylish but greedy lawyer who, influenced by Roman, rediscovers a long-buried better part of himself. Our other lead is Carmen Ejogo playing a civil rights activist influenced both by Roman as well as by his former employer.  

See our pages on the Orpheum, Rialto, Warner Downtown and Los Angeles theatres for many photos along with a history of these vintage movie palaces.

On IMDb: "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Nightmare Cinema"

The horror anthology "Nightmare Cinema" (Cinelou Films, 2017) was, according to Escott O. Norton in a post on the Friends of the Rialto Facebook page, "written for and filmed in the Rialto."

The Hollywood Reporter had a November 2017 story that included the screenshot of Mickey Rourke at the South Pasadena theatre. He's the character that ties the film's five segments together. It's being done by five different directors: Mick Garris, Joe Dante, David Slade, Ryuhei Kitamura and Alejandro Brugues.

The Reporter's article noted that "the movie centers on a group of down-on-their-luck individuals who enter the decrepit Rialto Theatre. Their deepest and darkest fears are brought to life onscreen by The Projectionist (Rourke), a mysterious, ghostly figure who holds the nightmarish futures of all who attend — and cannot escape — his screenings." 

See the Los Angeles Theatres page about the Rialto Theatre for lots of history and many photos. It's a 1925 design by Lewis A. Smith. Since late 2017 it has been used as a church.

On IMDb: "Nightmare Cinema"

Monday, November 20, 2017

"A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master"

We see a lot of the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena in Renny Harlin's "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (New Line Cinema, 1988). Thanks to Escott O. Norton of the advocacy group Friends of the Rialto for all of the screenshots appearing here. They're in a Rialto Theatre in the Movies album on the Friends Facebook page.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page about the Rialto Theatre for lots of history and many photos. It's a 1925 design by Lewis A. Smith. Since late 2017 it has been used as a church.

On IMDb: "A Nightmare on Elm St. 4: The Dream Master"

"Old School"

The Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena is seen in "Old School" (Dreamworks, 2003). The film, directed by Todd Phillips, stars Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Farrell. The guys are trying to recapture the spirit of their college years by opening their own fraternity near their old school.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Rialto Theatre for many photos of the 1925 film/vaudeville house designed by Lewis A. Smith.

On IMDb: "Old School"

"The Player"

Tim Robbins finding a seat at South Pasadena's Rialto Theatre in Robert Altman's "The Player" (Fine Line, 1992). He's a Hollywood executive gone to look for a writer he thinks is at the theatre. He's been getting threats after a script rejection. But he doesn't know which writer is responsible.

Robbins leaving the auditorium.

A shot in front of the stairs.

An encounter in the lobby. Evidently not who he thinks he's looking for.

Vincent D'Onofrio coming out of the auditorium.

A look at Tim Robbins and Vincent D'Onofrio in the Rialto lobby. 

Robbins walking in front of the Rialto after the showing of "The Bicycle Thief."  The actual US title of the 1948 Vittorio De Sica film is "Bicycle Thieves."

Robbins at his car south of the theatre as D'Onofrio comes up from a main floor exit.

Robbins in the exit passageway north of the theatre.

Bad things happen in the parking lot north of the Rialto. Don't look in the puddle.

Thanks to Escott O. Norton of the advocacy group Friends of the Rialto for five of the screenshots appearing here. They're in a Rialto Theatre in the Movies album on the Friends Facebook page.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Rialto Theatre for many photos of the 1925 film/vaudeville house designed by Lewis A. Smith.

On IMDb:"The Player"

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Wild Bill"

The State Theatre at 7th and Broadway is briefly seen in Walter Hill's "Wild Bill" (United Artists, 1995). The film stars Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill Hickok, Ellen Barkin as Calamity Jane and Keith Carradine as Buffalo Bill. Also featured are Diane Lane and John Hurt.

Approximately 15 minutes into the movie, telling the epic story of James Butler Hickok (better known as Wild Bill Hickok), we see him drift east from Abilene, KS, to New York, and accept his friend Buffalo Bill Cody’s invitation to join his theatrical production titled "Scouts of the Plains."

The front drop for "Scouts of the Plains," a play by Hiram Robbins. The actual premiere of the show was in Buffalo in October 1873.  We're up in the balcony at the State Theatre. Note that we can see a bit of the auditorium's paint job at the time. The word is that the valance we see was created for the production. It was then left up in the theatre.

A wider shot telling us the production is playing the Bowery Theatre in New York. Evidently the show toured in different versions for about ten years. On the right just outside the proscenium note the speaker cabinet on the wall, quite unusual for the time period.

Carradine and Bridges onstage in the production. Wild Bill was seemingly quite dreadful as an actor, missing cues and fluffing lines, at least from the evidence of this recreated performance. Note the smoking footlights atop the State Theatre's real footlights.

Another shot from the brief sequence at the State.

Thanks to Mike Hume for investigating the film, doing the research, and taking the screenshots. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for photos and data about the many theatres he's explored. He, of course, has a page devoted to the State Theatre

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the State Theatre for a history of the 1921 vintage vaudeville / film house and many, many photos.

On IMDb: "Wild Bill"

More information: The World History Project has a page on the play "Scouts of the Plains."  The show is also discussed on a Buffalo Bill Center for the West page about Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"The Kentucky Fried Movie"

"The Kentucky Fried Movie" (United Film Distribution Co., 1977) is described as "A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits." They are joined together very loosely with a fairly unbelievable and ridiculous narrative. It was directed by John Landis.

Joe Pinney comments: "'See You Next Wednesday' is a running gag in most of John Landis’ films, including the 'Thriller' video."

The premise for the skit filmed at the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena is the guy, our hero of the piece, who is going to see a movie at the Rialto "Feel-O-Rama" Movie Theatre where movies are presented in "Feel-Around."

Our hero approaches the marquee, buys his ticket at the ticket booth, then proceeds into the theatre where the ticket-taker tears his ticket and reminds him that the movie is being presented in "Feel-Around."

After buying a dollar's worth of popcorn at the concession stand he enters the auditorium.

As he walks down the aisle we see each audience member has an usher standing directly behind them - it’s not clear why. Our chap then takes his seat and an usher comes to stand behind him. Without seeing any action on the screen, but hearing the dialogue from it, "Feel-Around" is then revealed in all its glory: the usher enhances the audience member’s movie experience by using props appropriate to the action taking place in the movie.

It starts off fairly benign, with a cigarette being lit when one of the on-screen characters lights a cigarette and some perfume being sprayed for the heroine’s entrance. Then a drink is spilled in the movie, resulting in a glass of water being poured over our hero. Things progress with increasing comic effect until the on-screen action escalates into a threat with a kitchen knife, seeing our hero being held at knifepoint by the usher!

At this point - and as the movie ends, he decides to leave, with the announcer reminding patrons to return for next week’s screening of "Deep Throat."

Thanks to Mike Hume for the text and the screenshots. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for hundreds of great photos he's taken of theatres in the Los Angeles Area and elsewhere. He's also included lots of tech information and many floorplans. The site, of course, has a page he's done on the Rialto.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page about the Rialto Theatre. It's a 1925 design by Lewis A. Smith. Since late 2017 it has been used as a church. 

On IMDb: "Kentucky Fried Movie"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The Exiles"

A look north on Broadway at the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie theatres from Kent MacKenzie's "The Exiles." The film, about 24 hours in the life of a group of Native Americans in downtown Los Angeles, was shot in 1958-59 and released in 1961. At the Arcade it's "Escape to Burma" with Barbary Stanwyck and Robert Ryan.

Thanks to Gerald Sato for posting this screenshot on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. His set included five other views from the film. Ken McIntyre also had a post of this shot on Photos of Los Angeles.

Approaching the boxoffice at the Roxie Theatre, 518 S. Broadway. We actually go inside for a show -- note that we can smoke in the balcony. "The Iron Sheriff"  with Sterling Hayden (1957) is the main feature.

Another look at the front of the Roxie. Thanks to Gerald Sato for the screenshot. 

Another Roxie view as our lead, Mary Donahue, is coming out of the show at the Roxie. We do get an inside view, but it's just of a section of seats.

A grainy look south on Broadway from "The Exiles." In this shot the Roxie is running Douglas Sirk's "Imitation of Life" (1959) with Lana Turner. 

See our pages about the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie theatres for the history of the buildings along with many photos both vintage and recent.

The "The Exiles" can be seen in its entirety on YouTube. Lots of footage from the film appears in Thom Anderson's "Los Angeles Plays Itself" (2003), an epic discussion of how the city has been portrayed in the movies.  

On IMDb: "The Exiles" | "Los Angeles Plays Itself"

Thursday, November 9, 2017


We get an interesting angle on the marquee of the Globe Theatre, 744 S. Broadway, in the Peter Hyams film "Peeper" (20th Century Fox, 1976). In the film the Globe is a burlesque theatre. On the right, a bit of the May Co. at 8th & Broadway.

There's a bit of the facade and marquee of the Tower Theatre in this shot as spoiled heiress Natalie Wood and a kidnapper head north on Broadway to go inside the Globe Theatre.

Natalie and her kidnapper getting tickets at the Globe.

We get more of the Tower's vertical in this shot as private eye Michael Caine is down the block running toward the Globe in "Peeper." He's on the trail of the abducted looking for the abducted heiress and her kidnapper.

A Globe entrance view. 

A rare view of the Globe lobby during this period  as Michael Caine dashes in from Broadway.

Caine runs up to the balcony and looks down on a show.

Looking down on the stage. Sadly, we don't get any good auditorium shots in the film. 

Back downstairs, he heads down the house right side aisle to check out the action from the orchestra pit.

In the orchestra pit (still uncovered in 1976!) with Michael Caine and a burlesque show drummer. 

A performer onstage.

A look toward the stage from the first row at Michael Caine and Natalie Wood. The other gentleman is the manager, who has been chasing Caine around the theatre telling him he needs to buy a ticket.

See our pages on the Tower Theatre for a history of the 1927 vintage film palace along with hundreds of photos. The Globe Theatre pages will give you a detailed tour through all the areas of this 1913 vintage legit house.

On IMDb: "Peeper"