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Lakewood Center 16

2002 Photo from the Scott Neff collection.
Starlight Cinemas
5200 Faculty Ave
Lakewood CA 90712
(562) 531-9580

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Record #2081  
 Opened: January 17, 1968
Architect(s): George T Nowak; Mel Glatz
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Paul Linfesty.

The 1200 seat Lakewood Center Theatre opened on Wednesday, January 17, 1968, with the movie "To Sir With Love." Although the $1,000,000 theatre was equipped with 70mm and a deep-curved screen ("Cinerama-type," although it appears on no official Cinerama theatre list), it was operated as a standard neighborhood doub;e-feature theatre that didn't get films until they went on the "selected theatres" break following the region's first-run exclusive engagement houses further north (Westwood, Beverly Hills, Hollywood).

According to the Los Angeles Times (January 21, 1968), the theatre featured "specially-contoured theatre chairs with exceptional legroom, zoned heat and air conditioning and a vast public promenade capable of accomodating the entire audience at one time. Imported crystal chandeliers reflected against a toned floor-to-ceiling set of mirrors create illusions of grace and symmetry in the promenade (lobby).

In 1974, a two-phase expansion added to the original 25,600 square feet theatre. In May, two 400 seat theatres opened, followed by an 800 seat auditorium in November.

Somewhere along the line, the large curved screen was removed and replaced with a flatter one. The Lakewood Center finally showed a 70mm presentation in December, 1977. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" opened there as part of the "selected theatre" break, following a four-week exclusive at the Cinerama Dome (just a few years earlier, a blockbuster like this would have stayed exclusive at the Dome for 6 months or more).

The theater again expanded to 16 screens on 3/19/1999. The two early large auditoriums have retained the original sloped-floor design.

After closing on 3/16/2020 for the Covid-19 pandemic, it was announced in April of 2021 parent company Decurion would not be reopening any of its Pacific Theatre or Arclight Cinema locations.

Starlight Cinemas announced in they would reopen this theater with a projected opening of Summer 2023.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

September 2009 photos from the Matt Lutthans collection.

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2002 photos from the Scott Neff collection.

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Last featured 9/12/2009. Last edited 6/26/2023.

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