Baldwin Theatre

3741 S. La Brea Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90016

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: General Cinema Corp., Loews

Architects: Lewis Eugene Wilson

Functions: Bank, School Auditorium

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Baldwin Theatre auditorium

The Baldwin Theatre was opened on August 10, 1949 with Alan Ladd in “The Great Gatsby”. It was constructed out of laminated wood. It was operated by Fanchon & Marco. It was closed in 1976. It reopened as a twin screen on November 27, 1981. It was later tripled, and was closed in 1994.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

Stephen Russo
Stephen Russo on June 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

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Was my childhood theater in the 60’s.

Stephen Russo
Stephen Russo on June 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

The link from my previous post was today’s related news.
Know that the original Baldwin Theater closed in ‘94.

I remember as a little kid the excitement of sitting in “The Bowl”.

whitecollarcrimeguy on August 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I lived in Baldwin Hills until 1965, and my mother sent my brothers and I to the Baldwin Theater every chance she got, to get rid of us I think. I saw Goldfinger at least 3 times, and vividly remember having the daylights scared out of me by The House on Haunted Hill. The movies were pretty tame then, thanks to the Legion of Decency, so even Pussy Galore was as risque as it got. After we moved away to another part of Los Angeles, I never went back to the theater, but it will always be a cherished memory.

carol5732 on October 17, 2010 at 3:33 am

On January 26, 1950, I had a blind date with a sailor on my graduation night from Dorsey High School. In May of that year, he proposed marriage while we were watching “My Foolish Heart” at the Baldwin. We were married July 16, 1950 and celebrated our 58th anniversary in 2008, shortly before he passed away from Alzheimer’s. Seeing the photos of the theater brought back sweet memories.

TLSLOEWS on November 1, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Thats a great story .G.G.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Nice pictures! Hope to see some interior pics from it’s final days as a 3 screener.

luckybaldwin on March 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

We kids didn’t know what the odd shaped building was going to be. Shortly after the war, it resembled a hangar, but where was the runway? My sister Eleanore Jean (EJ), according to legend (my other sister, Virginia), climbed to the very top of the arched roof during construction (no doubt barefooted).

When it finally opened we were delighted to have a new theater in the neighborhood. From our apartment in court one, it was a 5 minute walk away. Tickets for 12 and under were .09 cents. Adult tickets sold for $.50, as I recall.

The interior was elegant: plush carpeting and photos of movie stars in glass cases: Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in their heyday.

It was a fun place to run at seemingly super speed within it’s dimly lit confines. I remember my eyes adjusting almost instantly when I entered the darkness of the theater. Eyesight like a cat back then.

Sometimes Dad (Kingsley Close aka King or Kink) would send me there with a bag of popcorn. A little embarrassing, but no one said anything about bringing my own.

Standard fare was a double feature with a cartoon in between. On special occasions, there would be a bonanza of cartoons; as I recall a half dozen or more in sequence. Bugs Bunny and Mr. Magoo were particular favorites of mine.

My sister Ginny and I were mutually supportive watching the terrifying The Thing. War Of The Worlds and The Day The Earth Stood Still were another couple Sci Fi humdingers. I sat between my parents, enthralled, during Showboat, filmed in unabashed Technicolor, with the glorious singing of Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel (Why Do I Love You and Make Believe), William Warfield (Ol’ Man River), and sultry Ava Gardner .

After 4-5 hours engrossed in movies and cartoons, I’d sometimes leave disoriented, especially if day had turned to night.

I was thrilled and awed to meet friendly, handsome cowboy Roy Rogers there one day with my sister Virginia (Ginny) and Mom, Valborg (Bobby) Close.

My winter 1961 class of Dorsey High graduation was held there as were numerous St. Paul’s church Easter Sunday services. During graduation rehearsals, I still remember Mr. Horst asking me aloud why I was “stretching my visage all over the auditorium”, during a moment of horseplay. Someone sneezed loudly during the solemn graduation ceremony. I was sure it was my Dad and that everyone knew it. After graduation my boss at the 76 station, Ben Sutton, shook my hand and passed me a $5 bill.

Good times.

DavidZornig on March 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm

1949 photo added courtesy of the Americas Past In Photo’s Facebook page.

rivest266 on August 6, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Aug 10, 1949 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on November 23, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Closed in 1976 and reopened as a twin cinema on November 27th, 1981. No grand opening ad posted.

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