When we heard the Warner Huntington Park Theatre was sold last year, we knew we had to see it. Whether it was being renovated or demolished, the current interior was a mystery as it’s proved nearly impossible to find any photos after 1930. After a wealth of patience, we finally had a rare opportunity to document the theatre both inside and out.
The theatre opened on November 19, 1930, with the attraction “The Life of the Party.” It was designed by B. Marcus Priteca, the same architect of the Warner Grand San Pedro and our favorite LA movie palace, the Pantages. Priteca’s work never fails to impress with his immense attention to Art Deco details and iconic starburst ceilings.
Warner Bros. divested control to Stanley Warner Corp., who ran the theatre until 1968. It was then operated by Pacific Theatres, but the Warner signage never changed. In its later years, it had a successful run showing Spanish language films. Sometime in the ’80s, the theatre was horizontally twinned (a floor was built at the balcony level, creating two smaller screens). It closed its doors in the early ’90s and has been abandoned ever since.
The KRKD radio towers had been a miserable sight since I first saw them. Forgotten with time, they sat like two burnt, un-ornamented Christmas Trees atop the Spring Arcade building at Fifth and Broadway. Still, I liked them. For over 80 years, they’ve added a bit of character to Historic Core’s sparse skyline.
If ever faced with the impossible task of choosing to revive only one demolished building in Los Angeles, it would have to be the Richfield Oil Building.
Completed in 1929, the headquarters for the Richfield Oil Company stood at the northwest corner of Sixth and Flower Streets in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by architect Stiles O. Clements, of partners Morgan, Walls, & Clements, the 12 story steel-frame structure had an incredibly detailed Art Deco facade made of black terra cotta and gold-dust accent tiles. The distinct color combination, shared only with the American Radiator building, was meant to represent Richfield’s “black gold” industry. I imagine it was one of the best Art Deco buildings on the entire west coast and certainly the most distinct structure in the Los Angeles skyline.