Southern California Cameos

posted by William on November 25, 2003 at 9:03 am

The following Southern California theaters have made cameos in motion pictures and television over the years….

Arcade Theatre (Los Angeles)*
Opening Night

Belasco Theatre (Los Angeles)
Fast Lane (Fox TV)

Mayan Theatre (Los Angeles)*
Save the Tiger

Beverly Theatre (Beverly Hills)*

California (Los Angeles)*

El Rey (Los Angeles)*
Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back
License to Drive
Night of the Comet

Los Angeles (Los Angeles)*
New York, New York

Magnolia (Burbank)*
Big Wednesday

Orpheum (Los Angeles)*
The Doors
Last Action Hero
Replacement Killers
Staying Alive
What’s Love Got to Do With It

Pickwick Drive-In (Burbank)*
Blue Thunder

State (Los Angeles)*
What’s Love Got to Do With It

Studio Drive-In (Culver City)*
Little Nikita
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Tower (Los Angeles)*
Coyote Ugly
Replacement Killers

Warner Downtown (Los Angeles)*
Funny Girl

Warner San Pedro (San Pedro)*
Brain Donors
Pearl Harbor
What’s Love Got to Do With It

Wiltern (Los Angeles)*
American Hot Wax
The Rose
Streets of Fire

NuArt (West Los Angeles)*
Foul Play

Chinese (Hollywood)*
Blazing Saddles

Shrine Auditorium (Los Angeles)*
Star is Born (1954)

Warner Hollywood (Hollywood)*
Kid Stays in the Picture
(Also in “Kid Stays in the Picture” you can see some of the theaters that once lit up the Times Square area in New York.)

Times Square Theatre (42nd Street)*
Times Square

National Theatre (Times Square)*
Last Action Hero

New Amsterdam Theatre (42nd Street)*

42nd Street area circa 1970s

Comments (13)

DennisPierce on November 25, 2003 at 4:17 pm

William, that’s a good and interesting list.

fmbeall on November 25, 2003 at 11:52 pm

Orpheum Los Angeles stood in for the New York Town Hall in “A Mighty Wind”.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 26, 2003 at 10:52 am

Hey, guys — can you add those cameos using our Add News page?

Sightlines on November 28, 2003 at 3:59 am

Pantages Theatre (Hollywood) Martin Scorcese’s THE AVAITOR

ChrisB on December 17, 2003 at 8:30 pm

Edwards Drive-In (Monrovia) “There Goes My Baby” outside only, marquee renamed “Paradise Drive-In” showing “Cat Ballou”

carolyn on March 23, 2004 at 7:10 pm

William — You seem to know a lot about theatres — what do you know about the Reid Brothers?? You responded to our site on the Loew’s State Theatre in Eureka, CA. Do you have any info or photos that would help us in our renovation/restoration??? thanks, Carolyn

Logan5 on March 17, 2006 at 9:34 am

Great job to all compiling this info!

“Blade Runner” (1982) featured the Million Dollar Theatre (307 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA)

Also note that according to Director Randall Kleiser, the Drive-In sequence in “Grease” (1978) was filmed at the Pickwick Drive-In (1100 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA). The drive-in was closed in 1989 and torn down shortly afterward. A shopping center (including a Pavilions grocery store where the outdoor movie screen had stood) now stands on the site.

This quote from Kleiser came from a 1998 Los Angeles Times article on the making of Grease: “At the Drive-In, when Olivia’s character leaves Travolta alone, there was a song in the play called “Alone at a Drive-In Movie”. None of us felt this would work effectively in the screen version and our musical director, Louis St. Louis, wrote the song “Sandy” to replace it. Now the challenge was how to stage it so it was interesting. We didn’t want him to just sit in his car and sing. When I was in high school I used to go to the Main Line Drive-In (which is now a housing development). Just below the screen there was a small playground for kids to amuse themselves at dusk waiting for the movie to start. I loved the idea of Travolta sitting on the kid’s swing, pining away for his girlfriend. The popcorn trailers that ran between drive-in features encouraged viewers to visit the refreshment stand with animated countdowns of when the next movie would start. We sent away to a Chicago distributor for about twenty vintage 50’s popcorn trailers, but they didn’t arrive until the night we were shooting at Burbank’s Pickwick Drive-in (now a shopping mall). Bill Hansard, the industry’s top process projectionist, ran the trailers one by one on the drive-in screen as the crew sat around waiting. My eye was caught by one that had a hot dog jumping into a bun at the end. I asked Bill if he could synch that action up to the end of the song. The end result looked like it had been carefully planned instead of improvised on the spot. Thinking back, I guess I should have played more of the ending on Travolta; this was his solo. But, I was so excited by the animated hot dog falling into synch that I was swept along and didn’t shoot a closeup. One of my regrets.”


jimgreenwalt on August 2, 2006 at 11:27 am

William, please contact me about the Skyway Drive-in in Chattanooga, Tennessee. thanks jg

DonSolosan on January 31, 2008 at 2:28 am

A few more:

Omega Man — Charlton Heston drives up to the Olympic Theater downtown, with the Tower Theater in the background. He is shown inside a theater watching “Woodstock” — I assume this is also at the Olympic.

Daredevil — used the exteriors of the Olympic in flashbacks as the location of Matt’s father’s fight.

Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle — both filmed at the Los Angeles. In the first movie, the disco where Cameron Diaz has her dream dance sequence was in the lobby. The finale of the second movie took place on the stage.

DonSolosan on July 18, 2009 at 1:11 am

In “The Ice Pirates,” the Los Angeles theater lobby stands in for the lair of a group of Amazons. There’s a scene on the stairs leading up to the crystal fountain on the mezzanine level, and one down in the ballroom.

DonSolosan on July 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

Forgot about “48 Hours,” in which Nick Nolte drives down Broadway at night and you can see the marquee of the Rialto theater all lit up. You might be able to see the Orpheum in the distance in that one.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm

In the Charles Bronson movie “St.Ives” I thought there was an L.A. area drive-in it that movie.

devans326 on September 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Was the New Amsterdam Theater in New York used as a filming location for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936)? Some scenes with Fanny Brice supposedly take place in the auditorium and lobby of that theater, and it’s hard to tell if it’s a set or the real thing! It’s a pretty good recreation, if it’s a Hollywood set!

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