Friday, February 07, 2020

Vintage Photo Friday - Picwood Theater

Picwood Theater, 1949

From the BibliOdyssey Blog: The Picwood was designed as a neighborhood theater by architect S. Charles Lee, built in 1948. The design epitomized the modern post-war aesthetic, which required simple lines, inexpensive building materials and quick construction to satisfy the post-war boom. The simple curved pylon was a landmark in the flat landscape of one- and two-story buildings. 
When I was a kid, this was a major hangout. The bowling alley and coffee shop next door to the theater was a meeting place for kids from the westside. One of the first movies I saw here was "West Side Story" (1961). One of the last was "The Jazz Singer" (1980) with Neil Diamond. 

This was a one-screen rare in today's movie houses. The seats were big and roomy. From the 60's thru the 80's, the decor was gold, modern and glitzy. You can see, by the photo below, that the curved pylon was shortened and the decorative panels with the dingbat starburst were added for a more modern exterior.
Artist's Rendering, 1948, Picwood Theater, 10872 W. Pico Blvd., WLA, 
corner of Pico and Westwood Blvds.
The "modernized" Picwood Theater. 1981, Photo from Richard Wojcik Archive
This entire complex was demolished in 1985 to make way for the extension to the Westside Pavillion Mall (which has closed and is being remodeled for offices). This extension still houses a theater complex (Landmark Theaters) and a few empty spaces, hopefully to be filled soon. Sigh.  I'll bet if the Picwood Bowling Alley were still there, it would be a huge neighborhood success! 

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At 11:13 PM PST, Anonymous Tally said...

In the 3rd color photo, the store left of the theater was Chess & Games. You can see their sign - a white knight on a black field. They carried the largest selection of chess, chess clocks, and backgammon games that I have ever seen, even to this very day. As I loved both games, Chess & Games was my "candy store."

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