Brown Paper Tickets sells tickets for some great independent movie houses around the country but one that has continuously caught our eye is the legendary New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, the last repertory revival theater in Los Angeles.
The theater opened in the 20s and started out as a vaudeville theater. After that it was a nightclub called Slapsy Maxie’s after the former boxer and actor Maxie Rosenbloom. While in operation, the nightclub hosted legendary acts like Dean Martin and Jackie Gleason. In the late 50’s the building was converted into a movie theater and went through many incarnations: showing foreign films, pornographic films and grind-house with live nude dancing.
Sherman Torgan signed a long term lease to the building in late 1977 and moved his family into the property. He changed the name to the New Beverly Cinema and transformed it into a 200-seat movie theater. The New Beverly re-opened on May 5, 1978 with a new programming format that focused on classic, independent and foreign films. On their opening night they showed a double feature of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Last Tango In Paris” and this double feature format continues to the present day.
Sherman Torgan died of a heart attack in 2007 and operations of the theater were taken over by his son Michael. In late 2007, legendary film-maker Quentin Tarantino purchased the New Beverly Cinema in a move to keep a real estate investor from purchasing the building from the then-landlord. Tarantino said, “It was going to be turned into a Super Cuts. I’d been coming to the New Beverly ever since I was old enough to drive there from the South Bay since about 1982. So, I couldn’t let that happen.”
Tarantino is going to continue letting the Torgan family operate the cinema but will make occasional programming suggestions, which explains a recent Angelo Mao kung fu night and another recent “all blood” night showing “Blood Splattered Bride” and “Asylum of Blood.” Tarantino says, “As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm.” Thanks Quentin for preserving quality cinema and saving the New Beverly.
For Quentin Tarantino’s birthday month of March he will be programming the whole month’s calendar and here’s what he’s got in store:
Drive In (1976) / Dazed and Confused (1993) on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, 2011.
Charley One-Eye (1973) / Kid Blue (1973) on Sunday, March 20 to Monday, March 21, 2011.
Also don’t forget the late-night New Beverly Midnight shows with movies starting at midnight:
Friday (1995) on Friday, March 25, 2011.
Fighting Fists of Shaolin Joe (1974) on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
Image borrowed from the LAist article “Remembering the New Beverly.”