History of Brentwood Theatre

11611 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025   

This 1938 photo from the MGM art department is now in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

Brentwood Theatre is a historic landmark that has stood strong since its opening in 1935. Today, the theater is still standing and remains one of the oldest movie theaters in Los Angeles County.

This blog post provides information about the history of the Brentwood Theatre and details some interesting facts about the theater.

The Brentwood Theatre Was Built in 1934

The Brentwood Theatre was built in 1934 and originally named the “Hollywood Theater.” The first film shown at the theater was “It Happened One Night.” The theater was renamed the “Brentwood Theatre” after the neighborhood in which it was located.

The Original Owner Was Not Identified

The original owner of the Brentwood Theatre was not identified. However, it appears that he sold the property around 1940 to George Halligan.

Halligan operated the theater until 1941 when it closed due to poor attendance. He later died in 1943. His widow inherited his estate and eventually sold the property to Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios in 1946.

The Studio Operated the Theater Until 1962

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios continued operating the theater until 1962. During this time, the theater hosted numerous films including “Gone With the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” “My Fair Lady,” “A Place in the Sun,” “An American in Paris,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The Building Has Been Converted Into Several Businesses

After Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios ceased operations at the theater, it became home to various businesses including an antique store and a restaurant.

Today, the building houses a variety of businesses including a clothing boutique, a furniture store, a coffee bar, and a hair salon.

The Theater Is Still Standing

The Brentwood Theatre continues to stand strong as one of the oldest movie theatres in Los Angeles County. It is currently owned by the City of West Hollywood.

The theatre got a remodel and a change of ownership in 1947. Thanks to Dallas Movie Theaters for locating this May 2 ad for a post on Cinema Treasures. 

The theatre was offering free babysitting service in 1948. Thanks to the Forgotten Los Angeles Facebook page for locating this news item for their post about the theatre. The post can also be seen on Instagram. Some of their comments: 

“Looking to boost grosses for their Saturday matinees, the Brentwood Theater hired twenty in-house babysitters to take care of people’s kids. Just bring ‘em by, drop ‘em off, and make ‘em wear signs around their necks bearing your rules. Oh, but cowboys and cowgirls are going to need to check their guns at the door…The babysitting service ran at least seven months, from December 1947 through June 1948, possibly later…”

Running Spanish language product in 1950. Thanks to Dallas Movie Theaters for locating this ad for a post on Cinema Treasures. 

Closing: Evidently the theatre closed around 1952. 

Status: The building has been demolished.

Lobby views: 

Inside the front doors. You had to surrender your cap pistols. It’s a photo taken by Allan Grant for Life in January 1948. Thanks to Forgotten Los Angeles for locating 10 of the Life photos for a post on the Forgotten Los Angeles Facebook page. 

“No Candy Please.” As part of the babysitting service some kids got a sign around their neck. Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948

 Some of the available signs. Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948

“Hold Till Called For.” Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948

“Take To Toilet 11 a.m.” Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948.  A cropped version of this one appears on Google/Life Images.

More exterior views:

A closer look at the entrance from the LAPL photo that’s at the top of the page. “Air Devils” was a May 1938 release from Universal. “The Main Event” was out in June 1938 from Columbia.

A 1948 photo taken by Allan Grant for Life that appears on Google/Life Images. For the kiddie matinee it was undoubtedly a different program than the evening show that’s on the marquee. “It Had To Be You” was a December 1947 release with Ginger Rogers and Cornel Wilde. “Desert Fury” with John Hodiak and Lizabeth Scott was out in August 1947. Bruce Kimmel notes that this program opened January 14. Note a poster for “Fantasia” to the right of the entrance.

Another view of the line. Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948. Thanks to Forgotten Los Angeles for locating this photo and the three below for their post on the Forgotten Los Angeles Facebook page. 

A shot taken from just west of the theatre. Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948

In the ticket lobby looking toward Wilshire. One of the features coming next was “Her Husband’s Affairs” with Lucille Ball and Franchot Tone. Photo: Allan Grant / Life – 1948

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