Majestic Crest opposes landmarking

posted by Michael Zoldessy on January 28, 2008 at 8:00 am

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Majestic Crest Theatre was the subject of a discussion at the Westwood Holmby Homeowners Association meeting last week.

Apparently, the Association sent a letter to the City Cultural Heritage Association inquiring on the landmark status of the building. The owner of the theatre, Robert Bucksbaum, is very opposed to pursuing the landmark route because it would eliminate the possibility of him ever being able to sell it and force him to close it in a matter of the months.

As reported here last year, the owner was looking for a new owner to sell the theatre to under the condition that it would be leased back to him for cinema usage. That never materialized because no prospective buyer was on board 100% in maintaining it as a neighborhood theater with all that goes along with it.

Ever since Bucksbaum purchased the theatre five years ago, he’s poured millions of dollars into it to make it an absolute palace in addition to being one of the last independently owned and operated first run single screen theaters in all of Los Angeles. Take a look at the great page on it on Cinema Sightlines to see what I mean if you haven’t had the pleasure of taking in a film there.

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Comments (10)

HowardBHaas on January 28, 2008 at 8:22 am

The design aspects we perceive as marvelous were, if I understand correctly, modern Disney alternations. So far as I understand, the original design when built wasn’t as magificient as what we see today.

I don’t understand, though, what’s meant by the owner has “poured millions” into the theater in the last five years since the Disney alterations were already complete

William on January 28, 2008 at 9:28 am

Yes, Howard you are correct what we see is all the modern Disney alterations that was done during the Pacific Theatres/Disney partnership on the theatre. The only part of the building that is original is the facade and the shell of the building. The theatre during the Loew’s/GCC/early SRO days was a very low key theatre in design. The Disney alterations was to put it in line as a jr. El Capitan version minus a stage for Disney’s showcase in Westwood.

BradE41 on January 28, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Does this mean if he doesn’t get a buyer he is closing it? Landmarking the theatre will not preserve it as a theatre; it could end up becoming retail (or office space)like old theatres like Fox Venice, La Reina, Loyola and Studio City theatres became.

William on January 28, 2008 at 2:23 pm

It may stay a theatre as long as he has the money to keep it running.

markinthedark on January 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I am curious as well about the “millions”. If anything I would think he’s been operating at a loss for most of his ownership of the theatre. But that is pure speculation on my part.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 29, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Howard and William make mention of “Disney” alterations but, as many theater buffs seem to forget, the awesome DESIGN of the so-called “Disney” alterations were made by the fabulous theater architect JOSEPH MUSIL.

Why wont Disney ever bow and give credit to those forgotten back room boys and girls?

You can see a marvelous full wall display of the Majestic Crest Theatre (models) in Joe’s AMERICAN MUSEUM of THEATRICAL DESIGN, located in Santa Ana. Call him for a special appointment: 714-550-7795….. NOW!!!

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 29, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Correction on the above studio phone number: 714-667-6959… sorry!

JohnMessick on January 30, 2008 at 6:42 am

Joseph Musil is the MAN!!!!!

William on January 30, 2008 at 7:59 am

Mr. Musil did a wonderful job reinventing the Crest Theatre in Westwood. His work and designs make the Crest a true little gem in a sea of drab rooms they call the theatres of today.

TheaterBuff1 on March 1, 2008 at 1:04 am

While I’m all for the “atmospheric” interior theme, I feel that in this case it goes a little too far, crossing the line from tasteful to garish, as if the designer was trying to outshine the movies being exhibited there. John Eberson, who I rank as number one when it comes to atmospheric interiors, never did that. He retained a very good sense of what the ultimate priority should be. But in the case of the Majestic Crest the message seems to be, forget the films, just come to see the theater, and almost as if there’s a twinge of jealousy contained in that message. And maybe that sort of obnoxious assertiveness delights some people these days. But to me it all falls flat. A theater’s interior design should lend itself to the film by being respectfully secondary to it, not detract, or distract, from it. Audiences of the Majestic Crest must wonder what they’re most there for.

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