Best Lost East L.A. Cinema Gems | Features | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Loading...

Best Lost East L.A. Cinema Gems 

Wednesday, Oct 4 2006
Comments

Best Lost East L.A. Cinema Gems

GROWING UP IN EAST L.A., I was lucky enough to live near Whittier Boulevard and the corner of South Record Avenue, where the El Pedorrero (The Farter) muffler shop, now also a museum, continues to backfire. When I wasn’t swimming at Ruben Salazar Park (named after a Mexican-American L.A. Times and KMEX journalist who was killed by sheriff’s deputies at the 1970 Chicano Moratorium held at this site) or playing football at Calvary Cemetery (next to the grave of Lou Costello, of Abbott and Costello), I would spend a lot of my time going to the movies at classic single-screen theaters along Whittier Boulevard.

The Boulevard was located near the famous Whittier Boulevard Arch, where all the ranflas would cruise. My older brother Rigo and I would watch two films for 99 cents, sitting on those old-school leather flip-up seats. With nachos in hand (the old concession stand is still there), we got to see all the early-80s flicks, including my favorite Vietnam-era action films like First Blood (“It’s over, Johnny”) and Uncommon Valor (with Gene Hackman). Originally built in the 1930s, the Boulevard was a moderne theater that later became an East L.A.–style American Bandstand hosted by recently deceased KRLA disc jockey Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg, hence the words “Huggy Boy” running down the front of the theater. The Boulevard, a theater no more, has found God — now it’s a church.

Related Stories

  • Hard Summer's Spot Nixed

    When L.A. State Historic Park underwent renovations earlier this year, the Hard Summer festival was forced to move to a new location. They chose Whittier Narrows Recreation Center in the San Gabriel Valley. Reviews for the new spot were mixed; it's further out, but a much bigger space.  But according...
  • Grading This Summer's L.A. Music Festivals

    It's a great time to live in L.A. As we've said before, our fair city is the best for music, period. But when it comes to festivals, there are perhaps too many. In fact, there were so many this summer that is was hard to keep up. And they're getting ludicrously...
  • Drug Death at Hard 41

    A 19-year-old woman who attended the two-day Hard Summer festival in Whittier Narrows over the weekend died this morning of a suspected drug overdose, Los Angeles County of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said. The death was recorded at 5:40 a.m. at Greater El Monte Community Hospital, he told us. The...
  • Documentary Tackles Mystery of Ruben Salazar

    On Aug. 29, 1970, 42-year-old Los Angeles Times reporter Ruben Salazar was struck in the head with a tear gas canister and killed instantly. He'd stepped into the Silver Dollar Cafe to escape the chaos and confusion of the Chicano Moratorium march, an anti-Vietnam protest that had turned violent. The...
  • DUI Alert

    It's your traditional summer kick-off, and you've purchased eight cases of beer to celebrate. Fine. Just don't get behind the wheel. As it is, it's way too easy for cops to ensnare drunk drivers on holiday weekends. In fact, it's so easy police are even telling you pretty much exactly...

Then there was the Alameda. We didn’t attend this one as much because it played mostly Spanish-language films and I was trying to be more like Jeff Spicoli than Andres Garcia. If you’ve watched the 1979 Eastside cult classic Boulevard Nights, you'll remember Chuco (Danny De La Paz) walks right by muralist Ernesto de La Loza’s artwork La Danza De Las Aguilas, painted on the Alameda’s exterior walls. The Alameda was built in the 1930s and was restored by the L.A. Conservancy. Sadly, the theater has become a low-end retail store.

The granddaddy of them all was the Golden Gate Theatre. Built back in the 1920s on the corner of Whittier and Atlantic boulevards, this Spanish colonial–style theater was one of L.A.’s most significant neighborhood theaters and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Golden Gate was huge. It had more than 1,400 seats and a balcony that was off limits. I remember the local stoners trying to sneak up there as my brother and I watched Cheech and Chong’s The Corsican Brothers. The cool part of the Golden Gate was that after watching a flick we could grub at the nearby Pup ’n’ Taco — remember those? The building that wrapped around the theater was razed a few years after the 1987 Whittier earthquake, although the theater continues to sit vacant.

THE BOULEVARD 4549 Whittier Blvd., East L.A.

THE ALAMEDA 5136 Whittier Blvd., East L.A.

GOLDEN GATE THEATRE 5176 Whittier Blvd., East L.A.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets