AKA: Fox Belmont Theater and Commercial Building, Belmont Shore, Long Beach, CA; Mann’s Belmont Theatre and Commercial Building, Belmont Shore, Long Beach, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Gayton, George T., Building Contractor (firm); Inwood, Reginald F., Architect (firm); Reginald F. Inwood (architect); Carl Gerhardt Moeller (architectural designer); Charles Peter Skouras (interior designer); George Skouras (interior designer); Spyros Skouras (interior designer)

Dates: constructed 1928-1929

2 stories

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Long Beach, CA

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Building owners H. A. Woodworth and W. C. Woodworth commissioned architect Reginald F. Inwood and building contractor George T. Gayton to construct this theatre and surrounding group of retail shops. It was an outstanding example of Art Deco design before its remodeling in 1946. At one time, the Fox chain operated the theatre. Mann Theatre Corporation ran the Belmont Theatre in its last years, and was responsible for its closure in 1977.

This one-screen theatre could seat approximately 800. It closed in 09/1977, and the auditorium was remodeled subsequently to suit other uses. It occupied one end of a low-rise commercial building painted blue-green; the theatre anchored one end, with five one-story shops intervening between it and a two-story pavilion on the other end. (The building, which cost approximately $120,000, contained seven retail spaces in total.) On an upper floor, the building contained apartments. This blocky end pavilion had a set-back rooftop pedestal above which rested a stepped form supporting an octagonal cupola. The whole commercial block had prominent geometric ornamentation at the cornice lines, while the corners of the pavilion had fluted columns. Around 1939, Randall's Sandwich Shop occupied the pavilion's first-floor space, with a dental office above it; Morry's Liquors occupied one of the storefronts between the theatre and sandwich shop. This theatre was listed as the "Belmont Shores" Theatre in David Naylor's book, American Picture Palaces Architecture of Fantasy, (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 19810, p. 220.

The Belmont Theatre underwent a remodeling in 1949, obliterating the Art Deco elements. The Skouras Brothers and their lead designer, Carl G. Moeller (1893-1975), redid the theatre to have its characteristic Streamline Moderne, with soaring curves, classical figures, arabesque forms, generous use of aluminum sheeting and terrazzo entry floors. A wider, more brightly-lit marquee with a blade sign on top was built above the main entry. It was later found that the new more elaborate marquee which violated City building codes, The "refreshed" Belmont opened on 05/19/1949. The end pavilion's cupola was removed during or before the 1970s, and bits and pieces of ornamentation has disappeared over the years. The Belmont Theatre was remodeled into racquetball courts in 1978.


PCAD id: 15132