Sunday, August 7, 2016

"The Omega Man"

We get some lovely aerial shots of abandoned downtown Los Angeles in Boris Sagal's "The Omega Man" (Warner Bros., 1971). Here we're looking at the north side of the California Theatre, 810 S. Main St., during the opening credits. At the time it was a Spanish language film house, thus the lettering we see: Teatro California.

The theatre opened in 1918 with 2,000 seats. Sadly, it was demolished in 1989 after a lengthy preservation battle. See our California Theatre page for a history of the building and many photos.

 A commuter's dream: deserted streets of downtown Los Angeles. Here we see Charlton Heston cruising west on 8th St. past the Tower Theatre, 8th and Broadway, in a traffic-free Los Angeles.  He seems to be the only guy around but, as the ads said: "Pray for the last man alive. Because he's not alone."

A great look down on the Tower in "The Omega Man" -- before the top of the clock tower was removed.  Here' we're looking west on 8th with the red vertical of the Olympic Theatre down there in the shadows. Behind the Tower, it's the Hamburger / May Co. department store building. Across the street on the northwest corner it's the Merritt Bldg., here with a Home Savings office still on the first floor.

See the many web pages about the Tower Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for information on this little jewel box of a theatre S. Charles Lee designed in 1927.

Charlton Heston pulling up in front of the Olympic, 313 W. 8th St. It's all self service. The staff is gone so he has to go up to the booth to thread it up himself.  

On the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page Ken McIntyre has a screenshot of the scene above paired with a 2012 exterior view.

As Heston gets out of his car at the Olympic we get another shot featuring the Tower Theatre as we look east on 8th. Thanks to the blog "Dear Old Hollywood" for this one. It comes from their 2009 article "The Omega Man - Film Locations."  The site Omega Planet also has shots of many filming locations.

It's movie time! In the booth striking the arc in a Magnarc. Well, a more experienced projectionist would do it with the door closed. 

In the auditorium watching "Woodstock." Not the first time -- he knows all the lines. It's unknown where this was shot -- the sidewall decor doesn't look like the Olympic's.

Heading out after the show at the Olympic. If you'd like to learn more about the theatre see the pages about the Olympic Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for many photos inside and out. The building is now used for retail.

On IMDb: "The Omega Man"

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