Continental Theatre

5308 Melrose Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Laemmle Theatres

Previous Names: Melvan Theatre, Hollywood Encore Theatre, Teatro Continental

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Encore Month Schedule

The Melvan Theatre opened on November 22, 1939 with Robert Taylor in “Lady of the Tropics & Anita Louise in "Lady for a Day”. On June 9, 1963 it became the Hollywood Encore Theatre, screening classic movies.

On November 25, 1979 it was renamed Teatro Continental, screening Spanish language movies. From July 11, 1980 it was taken over by Laemmle and was re-named Continental Theatre playing mainly foreign films. It was closed on January 31, 1985 with Robert De Nero in “Once Upon a Time in America” (uncut version). It was demolished and Raleigh Studios have now expanded onto the site.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 46 comments)

WayneS on September 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm

It is true the Encore served Sunday mornings as a meeting place for the fledgling Metropolitan Community Church led by Rev. Troy Perry as a welcoming church for gays of all faiths. The chief projectionist Willie Smith was MCC’s musical director and persuaded Louie Federici to let the church use it before the Sunday matinees.

mujerado on July 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

The Encore theater was a great repertory house for old 30s-60s movies and foreign films. Two friends and I saw “Swing Time” there on a long smoke-filled Hollywood weekend in 1969. The lobby held a bizarre 5-foot image of the owner, and the theater part faced sideways behind the deep-red velour drapes that covered all the walls. A unique theater, like all the other disappeared theaters in L.A. irreplaceable.

WizardofOdds on November 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I remember it as the Continental but never went. Yet, in my archives of Ephemora, which i must dispense of, I found their program as the Encore! ca. 1974?

Sixto Morales
Sixto Morales on September 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

My folks took me to see Dixie Showboat, Ina Ray, Harry Babbit, Perez Prado, and one other Big Band at the Encore Theater. Great memories.
Sixto Morales

rivest266 on August 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm

July 11th, 1980 grand opening ad as Continental in the photo section.

JimFarris on April 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm

I loved this venue. The Encore was the first “art house” I attended. They served Espresso, I was very impressed. I fell in love with Francois Truffaut at the Encore.One night they had the studio vault technicolor prints of “Meet me In St. Louis” and “Singing In the Rain”. How could you not fall in love with the movies with a great theater like this?

adsausage on November 13, 2017 at 9:11 pm

“Hollywood’s Most Distinguished Art Theatre” showed The Pawnbroker, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, plus Way Out in 1966. Good year.

rivest266 on October 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

This opened as Encore on June 13th, 1963. Grand opening ad posted.

dallasmovietheaters on October 31, 2020 at 1:42 am

The Melvan Theatre launched November 22, 1939 with Robert Taylor and Heddy Lamarr in “Lady in the Tropics” and Anita Louise in “Hero for a Day.” Appears to have closed as the Continental January 31, 1985 with the uncut version of Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America.”

rivest266 on March 15, 2021 at 9:28 am

Opened as Teatro Continental on November 25th, 1979 showing Spanish-language movies with “La Ilegal” and “Mecanica Nacional”. Grand opening ad from La Opinion posted.

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