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Crest Theatre Given HCM Status PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Morales   
Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Westwood Crest Theatre in Westwood near UCLA was officially designated as Historic-Cultural Monument number 919 as of May 14, 2008. 



The Westwood Crest Theatre in Westwood near UCLA has been nominated for Historic-Cultural Monument Status.  The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission is expected to vote in favor of the nomination, clearing the way for a vote by the full City Council.

Commissioned in 1940 by Frances Seymour Fonda, Henry Fonda's wife and mother of Jane and Peter, the Crest was designed by Arthur Hawes in a rather austere Moderne style.  It opened in December of 1940 as a venue for live performances and operated as such until conversion to film in 1942.  During World War II, the theater was one of the few in the area devoted exclusively to wartime newsreels.  

Due to its proximity to UCLA, it was first known as the UCLAN theater until passing to new owners upon the death of Frances Fonda in 1955.  Morris Lerhmand and Paul Raful renamed it the Crest in 1956.  Successive owners of the theater kept "Crest" in the name with the exception of Sterling Recreation Organization naming it the "Metro Theater" during a partnership with Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  

In 1987, Disney entered into a partnership with then-owner Pacific Theaters to remake the Crest in a 1930s Art Deco style, covering the original Moderne façade.  The makeover was overseen by theater designer and Art Deco expert Joseph Musil and included a full lobby redesign and a cyclorama mural depicting 1930s Hollywood landmarks such as the Pantages Theater, the Brown Derby and the Hollywood sign.  During the redesign, the Crest was the first theater in the Pacific chain to be certified for THX sound technology.  

By 2002, Disney had lost interest in using the Crest as a venue for their feature films and the Crest was in danger of becoming an indoor swap meet or church when Robert Bucksbaum purchased it in 2003, renaming it the Majestic Crest.  He continues to operate it as one of the few single-screen movie venues in the area.

Source:  Los Angeles Times:  Landmark status sought for Westwood's Crest Theater
By Martha Groves, 6 May 2008

Source:  Historic-Cultural Monument Application for the UCLAN-Crest Theater
By Daniel D. Paul, 4 December 2007

Source:  http://www.westwoodcrest.com 

Source:  Los Angeles Times, A Westwood Village landmark's history is recognized
By Jesus Sanchez, 6 June 2008

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 September 2008 )

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Did you Know?
When it was built in 1929, the art deco Casino Dance Hall on Catalina Island (which contains the Avalon Theater) was the tallest building in Los Angeles County.
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