AKA: Leimert Cinema, Los Angeles, CA; Vision Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Morgan, Walls and Clements, Architects (firm); Stiles Oliver Clements (architect); Octavius Weller Morgan Sr. (architect); John A. Walls (architect)

Dates: constructed 1931

3314 West 43rd Place
Crenshaw District, Los Angeles, CA 90008-5203

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Architects Morgan, Walls and Clements designed some of Los Angeles's best Streamline Moderne buildings, as the Leimert Theatre indicated; this large theatre seated 1,123 when it opened in 1931. (According to historian David Naylor, the Leimert seated 740 originally.) The Jehovah's Witness organization purchased the church in the 1980s; the veteran television actress, Marla Gibbs, purchased the Leimert Theatre in 1990, renaming it the Vision Theatre; she owned it until 1997. In 1994, the theatre housed the local Jehovah's Witness Hall.

tel: 323.291.7321 (2004); This Leimert Theatre opened in 04/1932; when it opened, the lobby featured an extensive mural depicting Samson and Delilah. The exterior had a fanciful exterior done in a Spanish Colonial rendition of the Art Deco Style. The building had a tower sign, like so many theatres in Los Angeles of the 1930s, to beckon motorists from long distances.

In recent years, $11 million in funding has been spent on renovating the Leimert. $7.4 million came from the city of Los Angeles and an additional $2.4 million was given by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE). The Federal Emergency Management Administration was also asked for $3 million for seismic upgrades. Work was scheduled to begin in 2009 and to be finished in 2011. The local African-American community hoped that the Leimert would parallel the community significance of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York, NY.

PCAD id: 3379