AKA: Warner Theater, Los Angeles, CA; Warner Brothers Forum Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Borgmeyer, Edward J., Architect (firm); Edward John Borgmeyer (architect)

Dates: constructed 1923-1924

2 stories

4050 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015-2404

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Pico Boulevard at Norton Avenue;


Architect Edward J. Borgmeyer completed plans in 1922 for the Forum Theater Corporation.

Building History

The Forum Theatre opened 05/14/1924, seating 1,766; when it opened, the Forum had the largest organ in the world, (made by Wurlitzer) with 306 organ stops, which was moved, subsequently, to the Wiltern Theatre by 1931. In the late 1940s, the Forum Theatre staged live productions, including one called, "My LA."

The Cinerama Company purchased the Forum in the 1950s, and used it as its main office and as a testing and shipping facility; Cinerama discontinued its use of the place in the early 1970s.

The Chicago-based Walgreen's Drug Store chain leased the building in the 1970s, but did not maintain its presence here. By the later 1970s, it became the Hebron Presbyterian Church.

Building Notes

The theatre's Neo-Classical facade, with two pediments anchoring each end of the facade joined by a colonnade vaguely resembled that of Soldier Field in Chicago, IL, (designed in 1919 by Holabird and Roche) that also opened in 1924; coincidentally, Edward J. Borgmeyer (1874-1961), the architect of the Forum, was from Illinois. In appearance, the Forum Theatre also recalled a main elevation of the Getty Villa, built 50 years later in Malibu, but patterned on antique Roman villas, most specifically, the Villa dei Papiri, built during the 1st Century B.C.E., near Herculaneum. All of these designs featured two floors, with long colonnades on their first floors anchored by pedimented bays on each end. It is not clear what ancient architectural drawings Borgmeyer based his plan.

Borgmeyer produced at least tthree other theatre designs between 1920 and 1925. One was for a site in Anaheim, done in 1920; he produced another scheme for a slightly smaller theatre for San Fernando, CA, in 1925. The Los Angeles Times wrote of this proposed theatre: "“Preliminary plans have been completed for the erection of a $100,000 two-story brick and stucco theater building on North Maclay avenue between Second and Third streets, San Fernando, by E.J. Borgmeyer. This theater being erected for the San Fernando Theater and Investment Company will have a seating capacity 0f 1200 with balcony. It will be operated by J.T. Rennie & Son of San Fernando.” (See “Plan Valley Theater,” Los Angeles Times, 03/08/1925, p. F3.)


The theatre was slated to have been torn down in mid-1979, although this was averted. The original, Neo-classical interior was gutted, however.

PCAD id: 1562