Holiday Theatre

16711 Bellflower Boulevard,
Bellflower, CA 90706

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dallasmovietheaters on June 3, 2021 at 8:57 am

Technically, the theatre opened as the New Bellflower Theatre replacing the silent Bellflower Theatre less than a block away. The New Bellflower opened with Western Electric talkies and was designed by architect David S. Bushnell. Frank E. Woodruff of the local bank opened the venue on March 29, 1930 with L. E. Funk of the original Bellflower taking on the manager’s role. The Wheatland Construction Company built the venue.

The “New” was later dropped and Funk’s son, Jack, would run the Bellflower. As the close of a 20-year leasing agreement approached, the theatre would be redesigned as the Nubel Theatre getting a balcony with expanded seating at its relaunch in 1949.

CJ1949 on November 12, 2019 at 1:42 am

The remodeling caused the theatre to be closed between June 5, 1949 and Oct. 13, 1949. When it was reopened, the grosses dropped. The Hansons provided this correspondence to the U.S. Senate subcommittee on small business in 1953: “Before renovation the Nubel Theater was doing an average gross of $3,200 per week. We then spent $180,000 on remodeling and added 92 seats, and then opened to a gross of $2,800 per week. Since that time the average gross has steadily decreased until at the end of the first quarter of 1953 our average gross was $2,043 per week. Certainly an extra 92 seats does not justify an increase in film rental in view of a 36-percent decrease in the average weekly gross.”

CJ1949 on November 11, 2019 at 10:38 pm

The Nubel Theatre and the theatre operations of Al Hanson and son Wayne Hanson are documented in the U.S. Senate hearings of 1953. Libraries that have government documents might have the book, which is the record of the Select Committee on Small Business, 83rd Congress. Many exhibitors testified at these hearings about motion picture distribution trade practices. Wayne Hanson testified that the remodeling in 1948 cost $180,000 and 92 seats were added. The Hansons had recently acquired the theatre then. He said the grosses started dropping after the remodeling. It was a later run house and most of the exhibitors testifying at these hearings operated late run theatres or small town theatres, and were complaining that the US Justice Dept was not enforcing the decrees. They said distributors had found ways to get around the decrees by making product scarce, selling nearly all film on percentage, and favoring large circuits. They also complained about bidding, which many of them said was only a ruse to get higher rental fees. Hanson said that for late runs he still had to pay rental fees that compared to theatres in the area that had much earlier runs. There were also complaints about distributors grouping theatres into zones that were not competitive with each other, yet doing this to force artificial bidding wars.

rivest266 on October 27, 2019 at 1:44 pm

This reopened as the Holiday theatre by Statewide Theatres on July 21st, 1966 with stars in person, bands and a parade. Grand opening ad posted.

RichardTheBeloved on February 15, 2018 at 6:10 am

I watch many a matinee there ase a boy. Ate at Hungry Tummy around the corner too.

Just one more loss in my life. Nothing to show my son.

Laurieavocado on February 9, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Is there any explanation for the letter “A” in terrazzo?

victorsmoyneur on September 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

It was around 1973 and I was going to school down the street at St. John Bosco. I was about 16 years old driving down Bellflower and notice that the Holiday had re-opened. The new owner was there and let me in. I told him that I run the projectors at school (DeVry’s 35mm)and could I see the booth. Well he then explained to me that the power had not yet been turned on. He could tell I was disappointed and grabbed a flashlight and took me up there. Couldn’t see much but the pictures I have seen look right on. It was a great day for me.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2010 at 4:31 am

A boxoffice item of May 8, 1948, reveals the time when the Bellflower Theatre became the Nubel (yes, only one “l” on the end— see the vintage photos linked in comments above) and got its modern look. It says in part: “South-Lyn Theatres… has earmarked $150,000 for extensive modernization and enlarging of its Bellflower Theatre, which will be renamed the Nubel.” The item said that the seating capacity was to be increased by the addition of a balcony, the width of the entrance was to be doubled, and a new marquee and 60-foot sign tower would be installed.

Boxoffice of October 22, 1949, announced the recent reopening of the remodeled house. The expanded seating capacity was 1,150, according to this item. South-Lyn Theatres was run by Al Hanson, and operated two houses in South Gate, two in Lynwood, as well as a second theater in Bellflower.

Prior to its purchase by Hanson, some time after January, 1947, the Bellflower Theatre was operated by its original owner, Lester Funk, according to a brief biography of him in Boxoffice of April 14, 1945. The item said he had opened his first theater in Bellflower in 1926, then opened the Bellflower Theatre in 1929. Funk also opened the Circle Theatre there in 1941.

kencmcintyre on April 6, 2008 at 10:55 pm

No, I got off the freeway on the spur of the moment. I saw the Circle listing when I was posting the photos. Maybe another time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 6, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Ken: Did you also get photos of the Circle Theatre while you were in Bellflower?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 6, 2008 at 6:11 pm

I can’t find any references to an architect named F.E. Woodruff in the California Index. Frank Woodruff certainly had this theatre built, but I’ve found no evidence that he designed it. One of the very few references to Woodruff in the Index cites an article in Architect & Engineer of May, 1927, which says that architects Gable & Wyant were designing a house for him. If Woodruff had been an architect, one would expect him to have designed his own house.

The County Assessor’s office gives a construction date of 1929 and an effective construction date of 1970 for this building. As the current streamline modern facade can be seen in photos from as early as the 1950s, at least, then I have no idea what was done to the building in 1970 that “reset” its effective construction date.

kencmcintyre on April 6, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Taken as such. Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 12, 2006 at 6:12 am

Not demolished, but functioning as a church.

GaryParks on May 5, 2005 at 4:41 pm

The Moderne tower shown in the postcard view accessible via “Magic Lantern”’s posting still stood as of my one visit to Bellflower in 1991. The neon was gone from it, and there was the name HOSANNA in applied letters in place of the NUBELL name. There were some low windows cut into the auditorium walls, through which I could see a nice streamlined interior, albeit painted over in quietly neutral tones (at least that’s better than the stark white so often favored by theatre-to-church conversions).
The outside of the fly tower has an earlier classic deco look, and a postcard I bought a few years later showing the entrance and facade when it was the BELLFLOWER confirmed the existence of an earlier ziggurat-like deco spire where the current tower structure now stands. There was no name on the tower, but there was a neon-bedecked marquee with the name spelled out horozontally. The cast concrete detailing of the earlier tower matched exactly the detailing which still exists on the stage fly.

William on May 5, 2005 at 3:09 pm

The architect of the Nubell Theatre was F.E. Woodruff.

MagicLantern on January 25, 2005 at 11:43 pm

There’s a really nice photograph of this theatre here: View link

vegasite on March 30, 2004 at 6:32 pm

There was not a weekend in the ‘60s I wasn’t found at the Nubell Theater.

Here was all the “Double Horror Matinees”, the Roger Corman movies and an odd thing called “Crazy Races” which was a filmed race and if the number of the winning – horse, boat or box racer matched the number on the bottom of your popcorn box – you’d win ANOTHER box of popcorn (Yay!)!

At one time you could vote for which movie you wanted to see next on a big board in the lobby.

A great family theater.

kd6dkc on March 5, 2004 at 12:44 am

Movie listings in a 1960 copy of the Los Angeles Herald-American newspaper show the Nubell address as 16711 S. Bellflower.