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Warner Grand, San Pedro

Warner Grand, San Pedro

First Opened: 20th January 1931 (88 years ago)

Former Names: Warner Bros. Theatre, Warner Bros. San Pedro Theatre, Stanley Warner San Pedro Theatre, Warner Theatre, Stanley Warner Theatre, Teatro Juarez

Website: www.grandvision.org Open website in new window

Telephone: (310) 548-2493 Call (310) 548-2493

Address: 478 West 6th St, San Pedro, CA 90731 Show address in Google Maps (new window)

 Featured Photos

 Overview

The Warner Grand opened in January 1931 as a first-run movie theatre in San Pedro for Warner Brothers. The theatre was planned to cost half a million dollars and to seat 2,000 patrons, leading Jack Warner to proclaim it as “The Castle of Your Dreams!”. The January 1931 opening was a huge event, compared by Frank Fay and featuring an appearance by Jack Warner himself.

Architect B. Marcus Priteca was contracted in 1930 to design three theatres for Warner Bros, to be located in San Pedro, Huntington Park, and Beverly Hills. All three theatres were executed in an Art Deco style. For the San Pedro theatre Priteca partnered with interior designer and muralist Anthony Heinsbergen, a followup to their previous collaboration on the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

All three theatres opened within six months of each other in the early 1930s, however in the fullness of time the Beverly Hills and Huntington Park theatres did not fare as well as the San Pedro theatre. The Beverly Hills Warner was demolished in 1988, and the Warner Theatre in Huntington Park closed in the mid-1990s, reopening in 2018 adaptively reused as a gym.

Although built with a stage, in its early years the Warner Grand served mostly as a movie house. Whereas the proscenium arch is both wide and high, the stage depth is very shallow. Basic hemp-line flying facilities were included when built and were upgraded to a counterweight flying system in 2007. Organ chambers were included in the build however the theatre never received an organ.

In 1937 the theatre was renamed as the San Pedro Theatre. It prospered during the years of WWII, drawing customers from military-based operations at the nearby port and shipyards.

In 1953 the Stanley Warner Corporation took over management of the theatre, heralding the start of a series of different names for the theatre starting with the Stanley Warner San Pedro Theatre. Pacific Theatres took over the property in 1968.

In the 1970s, the theatre was sold to Arnulfo Estrada and was subsequently run as a Spanish-language film house called Teatro Juarez. The theatre changed hands again in 1984 when it was sold to Raymond Howell and Clay Colbert who changed the theatre’s name to the Warner Grand and started a refurbishment program in addition to running classics, organ concerts, and other programming. Successive operators purchased the theatre in 1986 and 1991.

In 1996 the theatre was purchased for $1.2 million by the City of Los Angeles, and the Grand Vision Foundation Link opens in new window was formed with the aim of preserving the building rather than let it be demolished or re-developed. Grand Vision envisioned the theatre as a center for the community, and raised funds for ongoing restoration and upgrades as well as booking and promoting events at the theatre.

HVAC systems were upgraded in 2004, new seating was installed in 2006 along with a major interior renovation, and in 2014 the theatre’s original fire curtain, painted by Armstrong Studios of Los Angeles, was “rediscovered”. In 2018 an appeal was launched called “Love the Lobby”, with the intent of restoring the original painted Art Deco designs of the main lobby ceiling.

In Spring 2019 it was announced that SPF:architects Link opens in new window will be undertaking a $4.5 million renovation starting in Summer 2019, tentatively due to be completed in Summer 2020. Upgrades and improved facilities will hopefully persuade promoters to bring bigger acts to the theatre.

The Warner Grand has featured in many television shows and movies, examples being Melrose Place, Feud: Bette and Joan, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Pearl Harbor, Seabiscuit, and Live by Night.

 Movie, TV & Music Video Appearances

Movies

Television

Documentary

 Listed/Landmark Building Status

 How do I visit the Warner Grand?

The Warner Grand does not offer theatre tours however a wide variety of programs run at the theatre all year round. Check out the Warner Grand’s website Link opens in new window for the full calendar of events.

As of June 2017 the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats program has started using the Warner Grand as a venue for screening classic films several times a year. Pre-screening Backstage tours are often available but very limited in numbers and fill-up quickly. Check out the Last Remaining Seats website Link opens in new window for schedule and more information.

 Further Reading

Online

 Technical Information

Flying System
Flying System Single Purchase counterweight operated Stage Right
Grid Height 65ft
Linesets 16, 15 usable
General Information
Seating Capacity (Balcony) 597
Seating Capacity (Orchestra) 926
Total Seating Capacity 1,523 (originally 1,598)
Lighting
Balcony Rail to last lineset 80ft
Balcony Rail to prosc line 61ft
Control System Strand 520i console
Dimmer System Located DSR, 48 @ 2.4kW and a 24 @ 2.4kW (all CD80)
Followspots 4 @ Strong Super Trooper 1600 Xenon
Projection Booth to prosc line 122ft
Movie Projection
Projection Booth to prosc line 122ft
Projectors 2 matched Norelco AA 35mm projectors with optical and LED stereo sound supported by SR and Dolby noise reduction
Screen Size 50ft x 21ft
Stage Dimensions
Apron Depth 10ft
Center Line to SL wall 35ft
Center Line to SR wall 45ft
Proscenium Height 32ft
Proscenium Width 50ft
Stage Depth 19ft
Historic Photos & Documents

Historic files shown here may be subject to copyright; review our “Fair Use” statement here.

 Photos of the Warner Grand

Auditorium

Backstage

Exterior and Public Areas

Photographs copyright © 2002-2019 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com unless otherwise noted.
Text copyright © 2017-2019 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com.
For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here.



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