Located on Sunset Drive where Sunset Boulevard becomes Hollywood Boulevard, the Vista Theatre was originally known as the Lou Bard Playhouse or Bard's Hollywood.
Designed by noted theatre architect Lewis A. Smith, the theatre is a unique combination of decorative styles. Originally intended to reflect the Spanish architecture prevalent in the area, the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt prompted a proliferation of Egyptian inspired themes, especially in theatre design. Evidently, the theatre’s exterior was too far along in the design phase but the interior plans were still on the drawing board. The result: a Spanish exterior and an Egyptian interior.
The theatre originally seated 838 and featured vaudeville acts and silent movies. In 1942, a gold-colored, Egyptian-themed box office was added. Eventually, seating capacity was reduced to 400 seats. The Vista also features a variety of hand and foot prints in cement that commemorate some of the cast and crew members of films screened at the theatre.
The Vista Theatre remains in operation as a single-screen venue and is a historical and vital part of the Los Feliz area, although it is not currently officially designated as a landmark.