Strand Theatre

4232 Whittier Boulevard,
East Los Angeles, CA 90023

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Additional Info

Functions: Storage

Previous Names: Swickard's Strand Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Buck Jones Ranger Band members at the Strand Theatre, East Los Angeles, California

According to old newspaper movie guides, there were at least six Strand theatres in the Los Angeles area and this may be the most unknown and forgotten, and probably the only one remaining. Opened as Swickard’s Strand Theatre in 1929. Although it was listed in the guides from the 1930’s and into the 1950’s, always as an independent theatre, judging from the looks of the building, its history probably goes back much further.

It has a prominent stage protruding from the back of the building, which would lead one to believe that it was an early vaudevillian house that seated no more than 500. The Strand Theatre was closed in 1952.

On the outside of the building, are large faded letters, barely discernible, that read: ‘STRAND ADULTS 30c CHILDREN 10c’. The Strand Theatre is located across the street from a large cemetery and is now a warehouse for a company that sells grave monuments.

The building was re-roofed in November of 2001, so the owner apparently plans on keeping it around.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on May 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm

From “Ask Chris,” a column in Los Angeles magazine, June 2009:

“The Strand Theatre opened as a neighborhood movie house in 1929 and soon became a center of Eastside kid culture. Cowboy star Buck Jones had a Ranger Club of almost 4,000 ‘courteous and obedient’ youngsters headquartered there. One of the Rangers' activities was to invite celebrities like Boris Karloff and Gene Autry to write their names (and Ranger safety slogans) in wet cement in front of the theater. When the Strand closed in 1952, owner Paul Swickland removed the cement blocks and used them to pave his San Marino patio. About a mile west of the former theater I found slabs autographed by Tom Mix and Tonto (their fragile state and my Ranger Club oath forbid me to reveal the location). As for the building, it’s now owned by the L.A. Archdiocese.”

DonS on June 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm

I am Donald R Swickard, and have made many comments above. I now have a YOUTUBE showing before, during, and some of the Movie Stars that appeared there. Hope you enjoy these past memories.

frankie on June 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm


TLSLOEWS on April 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Very interesting slide show.

William on April 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Thanks for sharing those memories here!! I really enjoyed them.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm


MJuggler on June 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Just found out that my Dad was an usher at the Strand in the 1940’s. A great Father’s Day tale but I need to find out more info.

thefilmguy on July 18, 2011 at 1:47 am

Hi Don, thank you for that Youtube video. I have a question. Has there ever been any interest in the building or theater as a cultural landmark? Has the interior been totally gutted of it’s movie theater past?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

The L.A. County Assessor says that the Strand was built in 1928/1929.

Here is an item about the Strand’s owner Paul Swickard from the April 7, 1945 issue of Boxoffice:

“J. Paul Swickard, like most ‘native sons,’ has been a booster not only for California but for that state‚Äôs great industry, motion pictures. In 1917 he operated the University Theatre and 14 years later the Strand, Los Angeles, a 1,000-seat house, his present property. A resident of San Marino, Swickard is a member of the Masons and Rotary Club. Married, he has three sons, all in uniform: J. Paul jr., and Donald R. with the army, Ross H. aboard a submarine.”
This ca. 1938 photo of actress Bonita Granville at the Strand shows a bit of the mural decorating what appears to be the lobby wall.

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