Vista Theatre

4473 Sunset Drive,
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Vintage Cinemas (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Vintage Cinemas

Previously operated by: Far West Theatres Inc., Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Lewis Arthur Smith

Styles: Egyptian, Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: Lou Bard's Hollywood Theatre, Art Vista Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 323.660.6639

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News About This Theater

Vista Theatre

Lou Bard’s Hollywood Theatre opened on October 16, 1923 with Baby Peggy in “Tips” (attended by Baby Peggy ‘in person’) plus vaudeville acts on the 7ft deep stage. The seating capacity at opening was for 838. It was built for and operated by the L. Lou Bard theatre chain named Far West Theatres Inc. The main façade of the building is in a pretty Spanish Revival style, which was to have been the overall architectural theme of the entire building which was designed by noted theatre architect Lewis Arthur Smith. However, during its 1922 construction, King Tutankhamen’s Tomb was discovered in Egypt, setting a trend for Egyptian style architecture and from the entrance lobby through the auditorium that style dominates.

It was re-named Vista Theatre in the late-1920’s and it was later operated by independent operator Whitson-Lewis Theatres in the 1940’s, remaining in operation as a popular neighborhood movie house. By 1949 it became an important revival theatre and then an art house cinema screening foreign movies, renamed Art Vista Theatre. By 1975 until 1980 it operated a gay male porno cinema.

In 1980 it was taken over by Mike Thomas and became a revival house. It was refurbished by Landmark Theatres in the early-1980’s, and it was at this time that the Egyptian style paybox was installed on the sidewalk entrance and the theatre began playing mainly off-circuit movies. But this closed in June 1985 when Landmark didn’t renew their lease.

It remained closed for several years until in the early-1990’s it was beautifully restored and reopened for mainstream movies in around 1998.

Alongside its elegant Spanish style façade, the interior is the true stunner in an Egyptian style at this old single screen palace in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles.

It was closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and unlike many other theatres it failed to reopen when restrictions were lifted in Summer of 2021. It was announced in early July 2021 that the theatre had been purchased by film director Quentin Tarantino, who already owns the New Beverly Theatre. It is planned that the Vista Theatre will predominantly screen new and vintage 35mm films and will reopen by Christmas 2021.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 142 comments)

DavidZornig on July 5, 2021 at 3:38 pm

1990 Suicidal Tendencies album “Light Camera Revolution” cover utilizing the Vista Theatre marquee.

silver on July 6, 2021 at 12:30 am

Here’s the Los Angeles Times article about The Vista on Monday.
“Quentin Tarantino buys L.A.’s beloved Vista Theatre”

some quotes: “Tarantino said on the podcast that he was planning to open the theater by around Christmas.”

“While many local theaters have reopened, the Vista has not. Lance Alspaugh, who owned the theater since 1997, said in a recent interview with The Times he had been waiting on long-delayed government grants before reopening. "It’s bad that we’re all having to wait, that it’s as slow as it’s been,” he said. “It’s the difference between if you reopen or do you not reopen.” Alspaugh also said: “I constantly caught myself wondering during the pandemic, ‘Is it time to get offstage?’ I’m looking forward to getting back, and we’re going to, methodically and slowly.”"

GeorgeC on April 18, 2022 at 4:59 pm

Not sure why the marquee has been stripped but still looks like the Vista will be reopening:

“Tarantino filed a permit application to operate a cafe and arcade at the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz that will also offer wine and beer” March 14 2022

curmudgeon on April 19, 2022 at 8:52 am

Showmanship at the Vista was always first class with operating screen tabs and was always a must-visit when in LA. Does Tarantino’s New Beverley cinema practice perfection like this, or will the Vista become just another screening room?

br91975 on July 5, 2022 at 7:10 pm

The plans afoot at the site of the Vista continue to grow - considerably:

m00se1111 on August 3, 2022 at 9:41 am

There is archival footage with the DVD for “Cruisin 57”, which has that movie opening on October 15, 1975 at the Vista. That would make the ‘gay porn’ era of this venue taking place at least in 1975, not 1977 as noted above.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 3, 2022 at 11:27 am

Interesting link (7/5/22) to the proposed “wraparound“ apartment building but in the three photos in the article, I couldn’t see where the Vista fit into the design.

curmudgeon on October 10, 2022 at 5:00 am

Am I the only one concerned about the time it’s taking for these renovations to be finalised and re-open?

Rolando on October 10, 2022 at 7:48 am

I’ve seen apartment buildings go up faster. I am also waiting for the re-opening of the Cinerama Dome.

CTCrouch on October 11, 2022 at 1:35 pm

I drove by the Vista this morning (10/11). It appears that there is some work underway, as there are standard construction elements in place (porta potty, fencing, signage, etc.). However, I would imagine permitting and misc redtape will hold things up for quite some time. Beyond the large new build apartment complex approval slowing things down, renovating the one-hundred year old theatre will open up a lot of issues with ADA, seismic retrofitting, and various modern facility requirements (i.e. formerly “grandfather in” items will have to be addressed with any new work).

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