Center Theatre

4760 Whittier Boulevard,
East Los Angeles, CA 90022

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Nearby Theaters

Opened in 1926, the Center Theatre was remodeled and reopened on May 31, 1939. It had push back seats, and frosted glass running lights which were over six feet tall on the side walls. The upstairs lounge was modeled after a large European drawing room. Painted scenes of gardens could be seen behind tall decorative windows.

By July 1969 it was screening adult male porn movies. It was closed later in 1969, but reopened on November 24, 1971.

Contributed by Jim Lytell, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

jaimemoreno on February 15, 2007 at 5:30 am

The Center Theater was the first movie house I ever went to. The first movie I ever was Godzilla.
What I remembered most about the Center was there was a hotdog stand attached partly to the lobby and part of it outside to the street. This allowed patrons to buy hotdogs or hamburgers from inside or out outside the theater. I never saw anything like it again.

kencmcintyre on June 13, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Advertised at 4762 Whittier Boulevard in the LA Times on 7/16/69. Featured films were “All Male-All Gay-All Color, continuous from 10 a.m.”

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Maybe demolished, maybe not. The back of the building looks old. The front looks like possibly wooden paneling covering the old exterior. Maybe the theater portion in the front was demolished for retail and they left the rest of the building intact. I took some pictures which I will post later.

Irene225 on June 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I used to go to the Center when I was young (9-10 years old) in the late 40s. They used to have contests for kids on the stage on Saturdays before the movies started. The last movie I saw there was East of Eden. I also went to all the other theaters on Whittier Blvd., including the Jewel and Garmar.

kencmcintyre on September 28, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Here is a May 1969 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on August 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm

The last ads in the LA Times for the Center are in early 1971.

MJuggler on June 21, 2010 at 1:28 am

My Dad just told me, that while he was working as an usher at the Golden Gate Theatre in the 1940’s, sometimes the Center Theatre needed ushers and would call up and borrow a few of the young men & women for the day. That was the practice for several of the theatres up and down Whittier Blvd even though they had different owners. I take this Fathers Day tale with a grain of salt but it sounds good. He worked for $.50 per hour back then.

rivest266 on September 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

This opened (or reopened) on May 31st, 1939 as an $85,000 Ultra Modern CENTER Theatre. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on November 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

Closed in 1969 and reopened on November 24th, 1971. Tiny grand opening ad posted.

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