The bright, broad neon sign atop the Westlake Theatre announces the building as well as the neighborhood, harking back to an era when Westlake was synonymous with tourism and fancy living.
Built in the Spanish style with baroque ornamentation in 1926, it was modernized less than ten years later by the renowned theatre designer S. Charles Lee, who added exuberant flourishes to the marquee, box office, and lobby.
The nearly 2,000-seat venue operated as a first-run movie theatre and playhouse for years, then suffered from diminishing audiences and was sold in 1991. It currently serves as a retail swap meet.
While the seats and many of the Art Deco fixtures have been removed, the red and white plasterwork and Renaissance-themed ceiling murals by Anthony Heinsbergen (whose artistry graces the Elks Club and the Wiltern Theatre) remain.