Our posts about the grand old movie theatres and palaces in Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Opening in September 1925 the theater served as a Vaudeville house and movie palace. It was operated by the Langley Theatre Circuit and named after Alexander Langley, son of the owner.
Located near Walt Disney’s former studio on Hyperion Ave (Gelson’s Market is now on the site) it became Disney’s favorite place to preview his cartoons. Several movies also had preview screenings at the Alex Theatre and it drew some of the biggest stars of the day including Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby, Barbary Stanwyck and Elizabeth Taylor.
The exterior of the theatre was redesigned by theatre architect S Charles Lee who had designed the Tower Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The redesign added the iconic marquee and 100-foot tall Art Deco neon tower.
The history of the Alex Theatre is less varied that most of the grand old movie houses in Los Angeles, most of which underwent multiple changes in the use of the venue over the years. The Alex remained a first-run blockbuster movie house or sixty years, finally closing in 1991 after screening Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
The theatre was purchased by the Glendale Redevelopment Agency in 1992 and restored as part of the Glendale Brand Blvd revitalization project. Currently it’s It is home to resident companies such as the Alex Film Society, Glendale Youth Orchestra, Los Angeles Ballet, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and hosts a variety of music, dance, theatre, comedy, film, and special events each season.
The Alex Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 and is currently managed by Glendale Arts.
216 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale California
More photos after the break…