Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Missing the navigation bar? Go to the bottom of any post and click on "view web version" to see the right column list of films/theatres.  

"Coffins On Wheels"

We get this shot of a truck turning behind the Fox Westwood Village in the 17 minute short "Coffins On Wheels" (MGM, 1941). It was part of their "A Crime Does Not Pay" series. The truck was doing fine but there were a bunch of kids going a little too fast down the hill on nearby Weyburn Place. And the used car dealer who sold the car knew it had bad brakes. Joseph M. Newman directed.

Another shot of the truck with the theatre in the background. There's an accident when the kids' car overturns when trying to avoid the the truck. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality for posting these screenshots, and others, as Noirish post #59815. He notes that the 16 minute film can be seen on YouTube.

See the pages about the Fox Westwood Village on the Los Angeles Theatres site for the history of this 1931 vintage landmark.

On IMDb: "Coffins On Wheels

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Cisco Pike"

Karen Black drives by the Campus Theatre, 1020 N. Vermont Ave., in "Cisco Pike" (Columbia, 1971). This bit in the upper left is about all we get to see, other than a small section of the readerboard a moment earlier revealing that they were running the 1970 release "Soldier Blue." Karen's not happy about having to pick up her boyfriend, Kris Kristofferson, stranded after he's fled to avoid the cops when a drug deal turned out to be a setup. This was Kristofferson's first movie.

Bill Norton directed the film, which also stars Gene Hackman, Harry Dean Stanton, Viva, Joy Bang and Roscoe Lee Browne. The cinematography by Vilis Lapenieks features lots of time in Venice, nice shots of the ruins of POP, and many scenes in other locations on the west side of L.A.

See the page about the Campus Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. It opened in 1939, a design of S.E. Sonnichsen. It's still around, but rebuilt in a major way as a music venue.

On IMDb: "Cisco Pike"

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

"I, Madman"

Jenny Wright is strolling Hollywood Blvd. in "I, Madman" (Trans World Entertainment, 1989). Over on the right that's Mann's Chinese Twin, 6915 Hollywood Blvd. The original 1927 vintage Grauman's Chinese is beyond. That's part of the Paramount Theatre marquee just above Jenny's head.

The film is about a killer from the 1950s pulp novels Jenny's character has been reading who comes to life. It also features Clayton Rohner, Randall William Cook and Stephanie Hodge. It was directed by Tibor Takács. The cinematography was by Bryan England.

See the pages about the Chinese Twin and Grauman's Chinese on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of these venues. The 1927 vintage Grauman's house is still going strong as a first run Imax venue. The Twin came down in 1999 for construction of the Hollywood and Highland mall, a complex now rebranded as Ovation. You might also want to check out the pages about the Paramount, now back to its original El Capitan name. 

Later, Jenny is en route to the Guaranty Building, just a few doors away from the Vine Theatre at 6321 Hollywood Blvd. Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatres in the film and getting the screenshots.

See the page about the Vine Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. The "Live Nude Show" beyond the Vine is for the Cave Adult Theatre, a venue covered on our Storefront Porno page. 

On IMDB: "I, Madman"


The Tiffany Theatre makes an appearance in "Wavelength" (New World Pictures, 1983). This science fiction adventure stars Robert Carradine, Cherie Currie and Keenan Wynn. Mike Gray directed. The cinematography was by Paul Goldsmith.

Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. He comments: 

"In this sequence the heroes are transporting escaped aliens along Sunset Blvd. This movie has yet to receive a proper video upgrade, hence the poor quality."

This theatre, at 8534 Sunset Blvd., was a prime first run venue when it opened in 1966 and later became a revival house. Following its film days it had a spell as a twin Equity Waiver legit venue before going dark. It's been demolished. Check out the Los Angeles Theatres page about the Tiffany Theatre for more information.
On IMDb: "Wavelength"

Saturday, January 14, 2023

"Hollywood Story"

 We are treated to a view of the Admiral Theatre, 6321 Hollywood Blvd., during the opening credits of "Hollywood Story" (Universal-International, 1951). The theatre was renamed the Vine after a 1969 remodel.

See the page about the Vine Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. Those are the towers of the Warner Hollywood in the distance.

The film, directed by William Castle, stars Richard Conte, Julie Adams, Jim Backus, Fred Clark, Henry Hull and Paul Cavanagh. The cinematography was by Carl E. Guthrie. We get a variety of nice Hollywood locations including breakfast by the pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt. 
Conte plays a producer who rents the Chaplin Studios on La Brea and decides to make a film about a shooting that occurred in a bungalow on the lot occupied by fictitious director Franklin Ferrara. It's loosely based on the still-unsolved 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor. We get cameos by Francis X. Bushman, Betty Blythe, Helen Gibson, William Farnum, Joel McCrea and others. 

Fred Clark, playing Conte's business partner, makes a call with an image of the Chinese in the background.  What he hasn't yet revealed is that he was the business manager for the dead director they're making the film about. 
A moment later we get shots of the November 1950 Hollywood Christmas Parade as it passes the Chinese. There's some actual footage intercut with backlot stuff of Conte on the south side of the street looking for Ferrara's daughter, played by Julie Adams. 

 Another float at the Chinese.  
That "Churches - Labor - Press - Urge - Maintain Good Government - Vote NO Recall" billboard was up to oppose a recall campaign against reform Mayor Fletcher Bowron that had been on the November 7 ballot. He had been elected in 1949 and survived the recall attempt.

See the pages about Grauman's Chinese Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the 1927 vintage building plus hundreds of photos.

On IMDB: "Hollywood Story"   The full film can be seen on YouTube

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

"The Gymnast"

The Variety Theatre, 5253 W. Adams Blvd., is seen extensively in the film "The Gymnast" (Red Road/Wolfe Releasing, 2006). It's the gym where Dreya Weber and Addie Yungmee learn aerial fabric acrobatics. Ned Farr wrote and directed the film. The cinematography was by Marco Fargnoli.  It's not often that a film gives you the address of the location they're headed to but here Dreya holds out the card for the theatre.
Crossing the street to the building. The club area is in the former bank building on the corner. The theatre building is to the right. 
Coming in the front door. The dressing room, seen later in the film, is off to the right just inside the door, in part of the former lobby. 

In the auditorium, setting up some fabric panels for aerial work. That's Allison Mackie, playing the instructor, on the left. Addie Yungmee is helping with the ladder. Dreya is on the right with the booth ports in the background.

 Getting up in the air. 

"This is Jimmy. He runs the place."

Looking toward the stage. 

Dreya in front of the stage. 

Addie and Dreya cocooned. 

Dreya's husband, played by David De Simone, confronts Addie and tells her to break off the affair she's been having with Dreya. Dreya later leaves him and as the film ends is heading to Vegas where Addie's new job is.

Thanks to Lindsay, of I Am Not a Stalker fame, for spotting the theatre in the film. She has a great selection of shots from the many films and TV shows that have been shot at the Variety and the adjacent Club Fais Do-Do.  

See the page about the Variety Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about the building's history and additional photos.

On IMDb: "The Gymnast"

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

"The Bank Shot"

The Sepulveda Drive-In Theatre in Van Nuys gets a cameo in "The Bank Shot" (United Artists, 1974). Gower Champion directed this caper film based on a novel by Donald Westlake. It stars George C. Scott, Joanna Cassidy, Clifton James and Bob Balaban. The cinematography was by Harry Stradling, Jr.

Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. 

The gang had put wheels under a manufactured home-style temporary bank and hauled it away. But it's green and easily recognized. Here they're bringing it into the drive-in for a project: painting it pink.  

A look back toward the snackbar/booth. 

A view toward the screen. 

See the page about the Sepulveda Drive-In on the Los Angeles Theatres site for information about the venue and more photos. 

On IMDb: "The Bank Shot"

Monday, December 12, 2022


We get some nice footage looking west toward the Pantages Theatre throughout the opening credit sequence of "Exposed" (Republic, 1947). George Blair directed this crime drama starring Adele Mara as a beautiful female detective. The film also features Mark Roberts, Lorna Gray, Robert Armstrong, William Haade and Bob Steele. It was written by Royal K. Cole and Charles Moran. The cinematography was by William Bradford.

Thanks to Paul Ayers for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot for a Facebook post. He notes that the full film can be viewed on YouTube, posted there by Chris T. 

See the pages about the Pantages Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for many photos and a history of the 1930 vintage vaudeville and film house.

On IMDb: "Exposed"

Sunday, December 11, 2022

"Death Becomes Her"

This over-the-top Broadway show number titled "Me" happens at the top of "Death Becomes Her" (Universal, 1992). The signage on the backlot theatre exterior said we were at the Fairbanks Theatre. Meryl Streep plays aging star Madeline Ashton in "Songbird," a musical adaptation of "Sweet Bird of Youth." The number was filmed at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4400 Wilshire Blvd.

The film also stars Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and Isabella Rossellini. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp. The cinematography was by Dean Cundey. 
Thanks to Mike Hume for spotting the theatre in the film. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for tech details, history, and thousands of great photos of the many theatres he's explored.  
A look over to house left. Yes, the show is so bad that customers are leaving. Mike notes that although they added a city skyline piece in the area under the organ chamber, the four protruding brackets are a giveaway that we're at the Ebell.    
Although looking rather uncertain in this shot, plastic surgeon Bruce Willis is wildly enthusiastic about the performance. His fiancée Goldie Hawn is less so. She's known Madeline Ashton from way back and has had problems with getting her boyfriends stolen.  

"She's sensational." A look to the rear of the house as Bruce gives the show a standing ovation. 

See the page about the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building and many photos. The bottom of the page also has a rundown of the many films that have used the theatre.

On IMDb: "Death Becomes Her"

Monday, December 5, 2022

"No Down Payment"

The opening credit sequence for "No Down Payment" (20th Century Fox, 1957) starts with glorious shots downtown of L.A.'s new freeways. As a couple drives to their new home in the suburbs there's a parade of billboards for new housing developments. The Bay Theatre is seen on the right in this view looking east that we get after they turn off the freeway. It's at 15140 Sunset Blvd. in Pacific Palisades. Some of the houses the film uses were actually in Woodland Hills.   

The film was directed by Martin Ritt and was based on a novel by John McPartland. The CinemaScope cinematography was by Joseph LaShelle. The cast includes Joanne Woodward, Sheree North, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Hunter, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Rush and Pat Hingle. 

Another shot a moment later.

Thanks to Chris Nichols for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. He's an editor at Los Angeles magazine and is also the author of the Taschen book "Walt Disney's Disneyland."

See the page about the Bay Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. It was a 1949 S. Charles Lee design. The building is now a hardware store. The page also has information about the nearby Bay Theatre in Rick Caruso's Palisades Village development. It's a 5 screen venue that opened in 2018. 

The full film is on YouTube.  

On IMDb: "No Down Payment"

Sunday, December 4, 2022

"Only In Theaters"

This 2022 film by Rafael Sbarge explores the history of the Laemmle Theatres circuit. We spend lots of time at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, a venue no longer part of the circuit. Distribution of the film is by Wishing Well Entertainment. 

There's also quite a bit of focus devoted to the Royal Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd., including many shots of the satirical use of film titles on the marquee during the Covid shutdown. 

See the pages about the Fine Arts and the Royal on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of these houses. The film also offers brief glimpses of or discussions about many more theatres that are now, or once were, in the circuit including the Franklin, Playhouse 7, Music Hall, Monica and Los Feliz.  

Website:  On IMDb: "Only In Theaters"

Thursday, December 1, 2022


A production still of Clark Gable on the stage of the Philharmonic Auditorium, 5th and Olive. Thanks to Paul Ayers for sharing this photo from his collection on a Facebook post. Paul notes that Gable was taking a smoke break prior to filming the finale of "Possessed" (MGM, 1931). The Auditorium was being used as the site of a political rally.

Clarence Brown directed, based on a play called "The Mirage" by Edgar Selwyn. Leonore J. Coffee did the screenplay. The film also stars Joan Crawford and Wallace Ford. The cinematography was by Oliver T. Marsh. 

Shots from the scene in the film: 

Gable on the stage. He's running for governor. 

A look into the house.

Let's be symmetrical. A view to house right. 

A view from the top. The guy on the left is a paid agitator.  

A fine look across from house left. Trouble is about to begin. 

A view from house right. 

 Another house right view. 

Can you imagine? A paid protestor trying to disrupt the meeting. 

 More chaos to begin in a moment. 

Time to start throwing leaflets. But we get a nice view of soffit decorative work. 

More leaflets. What do they say?

More floating down from the ceiling dome.  

Gable on stage with lots of shouting and a snowstorm of leaflets. 

Crawford catches one: "Who is Mrs. Moreland?" Well, that's the name she's been using. 

Crawford stands up to address the crowd. "I am Mrs. Moreland."

She's recently broken off her affair with him: "He means nothing to me. And I mean nothing to him."

She makes a hurried run across the lobby after her speech.

And out the Olive St. exit doors. We're supposedly in New York so she heads for the el station. 

The final clinch on the stairs in the rain after Gable runs after her. "If I win I want to be with you. If I lose I want to be with you."

See the page about the Philharmonic Auditorium on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building and many photos. The 2,670 seat theatre opened in 1906 and was demolished in 1985. 

On IMDb: "Possessed

This film has nothing to do with the 1947 film of the same title, also starring Joan Crawford.