Vista Theatre

4473 Sunset Drive,
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Vintage Cinemas (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Vintage Cinemas

Previously operated by: Far West Theatres Inc., Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Lewis Arthur Smith

Styles: Egyptian, Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: Lou Bard's Hollywood Theatre, Art Vista Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 323.660.6639

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News About This Theater

Vista Theatre

Lou Bard’s Hollywood Theatre opened on October 16, 1923 with Baby Peggy in “Tips” (attended by Baby Peggy ‘in person’) plus vaudeville acts on the 7ft deep stage. The seating capacity at opening was for 838. It was built for and operated by the L. Lou Bard theatre chain named Far West Theatres Inc. The main façade of the building is in a pretty Spanish Revival style, which was to have been the overall architectural theme of the entire building which was designed by noted theatre architect Lewis Arthur Smith. However, during its 1922 construction, King Tutankhamen’s Tomb was discovered in Egypt, setting a trend for Egyptian style architecture and from the entrance lobby through the auditorium that style dominates.

It was re-named Vista Theatre in the late-1920’s and it was later operated by independent operator Whitson-Lewis Theatres in the 1940’s, remaining in operation as a popular neighborhood movie house. By 1949 it became an important revival theatre and then an art house cinema screening foreign movies, renamed Art Vista Theatre. By 1977 until 1980 it operated a gay male porno cinema.

In 1980 it was taken over by Mike Thomas and became a revival house. It was refurbished by Landmark Theatres in the early-1980’s, and it was at this time that the Egyptian style paybox was installed on the sidewalk entrance and the theatre began playing mainly off-circuit movies. But this closed in June 1985 when Landmark didn’t renew their lease.

It remained closed for several years until in the early-1990’s it was beautifully restored and reopened for mainstream movies in around 1998.

Alongside its elegant Spanish style façade, the interior is the true stunner in an Egyptian style at this old single screen palace in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles.

It was closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and unlike many other theatres it failed to reopen when restrictions were lifted in Summer of 2021. It was announced in early July 2021 that the theatre had been purchased by film director Quentin Tarantino, who already owns the New Beverly Theatre. It is planned that the Vista Theatre will predominantly screen new and vintage 35mm films and will reopen by Christmas 2021.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 134 comments)

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on May 24, 2020 at 11:19 pm

This theater was shown during a segment on the impact of Covid-19 on hollywood during the CBS Weekend News.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 8, 2020 at 11:10 pm

Hello-

I first visited L.A. April of 1980. so according to hdtv267’s 5/2/20 post the theater had been a gay porn house for approx. 2 years at that point. how long did it in fact stay a gay porn house?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 9, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Not exactly “just like,” but whatever…

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Hello-

I just asked a simple question no need to get hyper about it. your 5/2/20 post states that “Heavy Equipment” opened here in 3-D in July of 1978. so since I first visited L.A. in April of 1980 the theater would have been a gay porn house
for at least 2 years at the point I visited. so I was wondering how long it stayed a gay porn house. again a simple question.

stevenj
stevenj on September 10, 2020 at 5:47 am

bigjoe55….Don’t know what month in 1980 you were there but this blog post for the Vista Theatre says that Mike Thomas (who ran several SF theatres) “rescued” it in 1980 and turned it into a revival house.

www.losangelestheatres.blogspot.com/2017/02/vista-theatre.html

stevenj
stevenj on September 10, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Normally I would put in a direct link but CT thought it was spam so you’ll have to cut and paste into your browser.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 10, 2020 at 8:14 pm

Hello-

to stevenj many thanks for your replies. I first visited L.A. April of 1980. so if the theater was “rescued” by the end of 1980 than it couldn’t have been a gay porn house for very long.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 5, 2021 at 7:35 pm

“Quentin Tarantino Says He Bought L.A.’s Vista Theatre”

https://variety.com/2021/film/news/quentin-tarantino-buys-vista-theatre-los-angeles-1235011904/?fbclid=IwAR0M0S-qBZo8uEDxyy1jk6k7libgoXxHRYmP8eyMRDHaYnVNxmz3MusBKYA

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 5, 2021 at 11:38 pm

1990 Suicidal Tendencies album “Light Camera Revolution” cover utilizing the Vista Theatre marquee.

https://www.discogs.com/Suicidal-Tendencies-Lights-Camera-Revolution/master/18733

silver
silver on July 6, 2021 at 8:30 am

Here’s the Los Angeles Times article about The Vista on Monday.
“Quentin Tarantino buys L.A.’s beloved Vista Theatre”
www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2021-07-05/quentin-tarantino-buys-vista-theatre-los-feliz

some quotes: “Tarantino said on the podcast that he was planning to open the theater by around Christmas.”

“While many local theaters have reopened, the Vista has not. Lance Alspaugh, who owned the theater since 1997, said in a recent interview with The Times he had been waiting on long-delayed government grants before reopening. "It’s bad that we’re all having to wait, that it’s as slow as it’s been,” he said. “It’s the difference between if you reopen or do you not reopen.” Alspaugh also said: “I constantly caught myself wondering during the pandemic, ‘Is it time to get offstage?’ I’m looking forward to getting back, and we’re going to, methodically and slowly.”"

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