Movie-going culture in 1970s in Los Angeles (Research)


I'm a Ph.D student at UCLA Film and Media Studies Department. I write my dissertation on Blaxploitation cinema and my main focus is on the movie-going culture in Los Angeles in the 1970s. 

My work is interdisciplinary by idea, linking together film theory, ethnography, oral history, audience and exhibition studies. I find the post-soul, blaxploitation era fascinating and turbulent period of the American history (especially within African American community) and therefore worth of preservation and deeper examination.
I wish to conduct an ethnographical study in the form of interviews among spectators that grow up in the 1970s and were active cinema-goers who remember seeing films like "Shaft", "Superfly" or "Coffy" in the movie theatre and could tell me about their memories, habits, behavior, the cultural and social atmosphere of the given period.

Particularly I find very interesting the story of Baldwin Theatre, built in 1949 by 3741 S La Brea Avenue, one of the few nation's first-run black owned movie houses. It was closed in 1981 and there is very little information available about it's owners, history or audience. 

The is a lot of stories to tell and share regarding Black film boom, especially in the multicultural city so closely related to the movie industry. 

If you would like to participate in my study or know someone who might be interested please contact me: 

I'd be extremely grateful for any help!!! 

Thank you,

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Comment by Crystal on July 7, 2014 at 7:05pm

Hello,, not sure what you learned but I found this,, In  1960 Fred Stein took ownership of the Baldwin from Robert L Lippert who owned Eletrovision Corp. Fred Stein

Aubrey Schenck in the production of  independent motion pictures. A member of the board of directors, Stone  previously served as special consult-  ant on acquisitions and corporate development for the company.   Agreements have been made  whereby Stone and other principals  of the corporation will acquire  Zabel's stock interest in the corporation.   Addition of the Electrovision theatres increases to 29 Stein's existing  chain of Southern California theatres, making Stein the largest independent operator in this area, with  key houses in San Diego, San Bernardino, Pasadena and Santa Monica.   Circuit Mostly Drive-ins   Electrovision retains its theatres in  northern and central California and  southern Oregon, most of which are  drive-ins.   Included in deal with Stein are  the Hollywood Paramount, Crest in  Westwood, Beverly in Beverly Hills,  Baldwin, Bay, Corbin, Imperial, Manchester, Rio, Southside and Buena  Park. The Stein takeover is slated for  Nov. 2. 


Comment by enhager on June 18, 2014 at 6:38am
Ewa What have you learned so far?
Comment by Crystal on May 22, 2014 at 12:47pm

I found a listing for the Baldwin Theatre in 1960:   3741 S. La Brea Baldwin Theatre  AX 3-7164

3741 S. La Brea Ave.  ElectroVision Corporation    EVC Theatres Baldwin Theater AX 3-7164   

1960 City Directory

Hope this helps. 


Comment by Crystal on May 22, 2014 at 12:18pm

I was little at the time, but remember going to the drive-in movies with my mother. Going to the movies was an event.  Not like it is now where you can roll out of bed and go.  But I later heard that Black people protested because they weren't being portrayed in the movies and there were no black actors as role models.  So the CIA funded the movie companies to make the movies for black people so they can work.  Not sure of all the accuracy of my source but it seems plausible.  

Comment by DangerMan Urbansuperhero on May 12, 2014 at 3:18pm

This is pretty cool, now we have DangerMan the Urban Superhero... Check out his video.

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