Thursday, August 11, 2016

"The War of the Worlds"

 Early in the George Pal production "The War of the Worlds" (Paramount, 1953) we get this shot of a guy up on a ladder changing marquee letters as a Martian spaceship plunges through the atmosphere. Nice, but it's something on the Paramount back lot.  The film, directed by Byron Haskin, stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson.

Our real theatre views happen much later in the film as the aliens get closer to Los Angeles and we evacuate the city. Here, in a shot looking south on Hill St. taken from atop the Hill St. tunnel we get a bit of the Mason Theatre stagehouse over on the left. It's the structure with the peaked roof and smoke vents atop.

The theatre's entrance was actually over at 127 S. Broadway. See our Mason Theatre page for many views of the entrance as well as interior shots.  The Mason was demolished in 1956.

As we clear out the city there's this shot looking east on 8th St. At the far right we get some of the signage for the RKO Hillstreet, a building that would be demolished in 1965.

Down between Hill and Broadway is a view of the Olympic Theatre, 313 W. 8th St. Of note here is that this is the first image to surface with the theatre's current vertical sign on the building. Both the style of the sign and its location had been changed.

Previously there had been two verticals, one at either end of the facade.  The marquee we see is a jazzed up version of the one that was on the theatre in 1927. It would get changed out for an angled one sometime before 1970 -- we see the new version in "The Omega Man."

Another shot from near the end of the film showing the Olympic's vertical. Again we're looking west toward Broadway. See the Olympic Theatre pages on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about the theatre. The building is still around but now converted to retail.

On IMDb: "The War of the Worlds"

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