Vista Theatre (Los Angeles)
Lou Bard Playhouse
|Address||4473 Sunset Drive|
Los Angeles, California
|Opened||October 9, 1923|
|Architect||Lewis A. Smith|
Vista Theatre opened on October 9, 1923, as a single-screen theater. In addition to screening films, the theater also showed vaudeville acts on stage. Originally known as Lou Bard Playhouse on opening day in 1923, the cinema played the film Tips with Baby Peggy. The original seating capacity in the auditorium held space for 838 seats. The owners later removed every other row to allow for increased legroom, reducing the number of seats to 400.
It is one of the remaining historic structures from the 1920s, when Hollywood was first built up and began attracting residents to its new suburban homes from areas near downtown Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, at the time middle and wealthy class sections of Los Angeles.
Until its refurbishment by Thomas Theaters in 1980, the theatre showed soft-core porn, then to hard-core porn and finally gay porn for 20 years. It also showed gay-oriented non-pornographic films, including the local premiere of The Times of Harvey Milk.
The theater is a local landmark. It has been renovated to play new release movies, and retains its historic architecture.
In a manner reminiscent of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the theater's forecourt features cement handprints and footprints of notable film figures. However, the handprints and footprints at the Vista Theatre tend to include more icons of independent and cult films such as Barry Bostwick, Spike Jonze, John C. Reilly and Martin Landau, among many others.
It is used in the 3am portion of Pharrell Williams's song "Happy" as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, and also appears on the album cover of 1990's Lights...Camera...Revolution! by Suicidal Tendencies. The Vista appeared in Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.
It appeared in the film True Romance (1993), as the place where Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette first meet. The Crooked Web (1955) was also filmed here, while the 'Walls of Babylon' scenes from D. W. Griffith's film Intolerance (1916) were filmed on the site before the theater was constructed.
- "Cinemas Around the World - Vista Theatre, Los Angeles CA". CinemaTour. 2003-08-19. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- "Vista Theatre". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- "Bard's Theatre grand opening [graphic]". photos.lapl.org. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Welcome to Vintage Cinemas". Vintagecinemas.com. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- Gordon, Larry (1985-06-15). "Vista Theater May Have Had Its Last Revival". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
- Alleman, Richard (2005). Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide : The Ultimate Insider Tour To Movie Los Angeles. Broadway Books. Page 168. ISBN 9780767916356.
- Bible, Karie and Marc Wanamaker (2010). Location Filming in Los Angeles. Arcadia Publishing. Page 48. ISBN 9780738581323.