Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beverly Theater, 9404 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA

Capacity 1500

Architect: B. Marcus Priteca. Priteca also designed the Warner theatres in San Pedro and Huntington Park. He was also the architect of the downtown Pantages (1920) and the Hollywood Pantages. Opened: May 19, 1931.  The opening feature was "The Millionaire" with George Arliss.
Film footage shot by Warner Bros. of both the ceremony and the completed theatre were evidently  screened at the opening. the opening night program noted that "It is not for us to tell you whether it is beautiful, but for you to tell yourselves."  That message was also repeated in film on the screen.
 The Warner Beverly Hills had a glorious career as a deluxe venue for prestige films.
A vertical mast sign spelling out the name "Warner" in neon rose from the top of an Art Deco tower.
VistaVision at the Warner: For a short period in the 50s, the Warner had one of two horizontal VistaVision installations in the Los Angeles area -- the El Capitan (then known as the Paramount) in Hollywood also got a set. The equipment at the Warner was removed in 1957 or 1958.
70mm at the Warner: The theatre was equipped with Norelco AAII 35/70 projectors and 6 channel Ampex sound for 70mm presentations. It was a four machine booth -- the other two were Simplex XLs.
Operators in the 50s and 60s: After the consent decrees of the 50's, the Warner Beverly Hills was operated by the Stanley Warner Corporation as the Stanley Warner Beverly Hills and, starting in the late 60's, by Pacific Theatres as Pacific's Beverly Hills. 
The final years: After the good bookings migrated to Westwood and more suburban locations, this once glorious theatre finished its movie days in the late 80's as an independent 99 cent house after Pacific Theatres left.
Later it was renamed "The Beverly" (not to be confused with the other Beverly Theatre) and used for concerts, to the ire of the city fathers.
Demolished in 1988 for a parking lot -- a sad day for Beverly Hills. One of the stated reasons for the demolition was that the owners didn't want to do seismic retrofit work on the building and offered a possibly bogus $12 million estimate as their justification.(1)

Bob Dylan performed here with Carlos Santana on May 23, 1984.
Bob Dylan 5/23/84

Jerry performed here on
3/12/83 Jerry Garcia Band
Jerry plays the guitar Tiger.

10/1/83 Jerry Garcia Band
5/17/84 Jerry Garcia Band
5/31/85 early and late shows John Kahn (acoustic)
Jerry plays a spruce top cutaway (Alvarez I believe) for the early show and a black Yamaha non-cutaway for the late show.(3)

Graham et al. sold this night’s entertainment as two separately-ticketed (i.e., early and late) shows, rather than the two-set single show that Garcia would typically put on. Folks felt ripped off.(2)

According to Ben Kamelich (cited at The Jerry Site), one attendee brought a sign reading "Jerry Sells Out L.A. Deadheads".(2)

Erik VanO recounts that the crowd started up with a “Bullshit! Bullshit!” chant when Jerry announced that the show was over. And why not, after only six songs running a paltry 35 minutes? Apparently Angry Jerry came out for a three-song “second set” just to prevent a riot (or, knowing Deadheads, some hooting, jeering and reproachful looks).(2)

1.)^Movie Palaces Along Wilshire Boulevard,
3.)^Mahoney, Kurt, 2014-01-23, email to author.


  1. You have confused two different theaters, both called the "Beverly":
    1. The Beverly Theater - a domed structure somewhat resembling the Taj Mahal - was located on the east side of Beverly Drive a few yards north of Wilshire Blvd.

    2. The Warners Beverly:

    The Citizens Committee to Preserve Beverly Hills Landmarks unsuccessfully campaigned to prevent demolition of, not the Beverly Theater located on Beverly Drive, but the Warners Beverly Theater located on Wilshire Boulevard. The confusion is due to the news articles which refer to it as the "Beverly Theater."

    Robert Carl Cohen
    Founder and Chairman of the Citizens Committee To Preserve Beverly Hills Landmarks

  2. Replies
    1. I doesn't look like this is corrected. Should be 9404 Wilshire, I think. Your title still reads "Beverly Theater, 206 North Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA". Thanks!