Another Survivor

Very high up on my list of magnificent buildings in Los Angeles one can find Bullocks on Wilshire, one of the first Art Deco structures built in the United States. Just by studying some of the details one realizes what a true piece of art this building was and is.

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With changing times and economies, the story of Bullocks became quite varied and in the end the building seemed to be poised for destruction. It had been damaged, looted of most of its fixtures and severely neglected. And then – in came the Southwestern Law School to acquire the property in 1994. The SWLAW needed space. It also had deep respect for the landmark treasures of Los Angeles and restored the building to its former glory, while remodeling it very carefully to suit academic needs.

The final wonderful and amusing irony is this: When Bullocks on Wilshire was built, this plaque was placed in the wall:

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Somehow the motto “To Build A Business That Will Never Know Completion” did really come true – even if not quite in the sense the original builders had intended.

6 Replies to “Another Survivor”

  1. All that turquoise must be copper. And isn’t the fretwork just gorgeous. What a magnificent building. The pharonic or Egyptian theme is interesting. Wasn’t there a whole period of Art Deco that was known as Egyptian Revival, where all things ancient Egyptian were celebrated?

  2. You are right, that is copper. The whole top of the tower is copper clad.

    As to the Egyptian Revival, that was actually celebrated quite excessively here in Los Angeles. Grauman’s Egyptian Theater is a perfect example, another one is one of the last independent cinemas in the city, the “Vista.” The latter one has been renovated just a few years ago and it is magnificent in its somewhat overblown, but delightful Egyptian splendor. As an aside – the Vista Theater has the most comfortable seats in all of L.A.s cinemas. Big, comfortable armchairs with plenty of legroom. So, if you should be here in the area, this is the place to go for the old-time cinema experience.

  3. Well, aren’t you sweet. I grew up with the old time cinema experience! You forget I’m elderly. In San Antonio, where I spent my childhood/youth, we had two magnificent examples of old fashioned cinemas. We had the Majestic and the Aztec theaters. I loved the Majestic. The decor in itself was a treat. It was like a Moorish palace, dark and mysterious. It has been restored and are now used for all kinds of theater. One of the things I loved most about the Majestic was the dark blue ceiling with tiny “stars” and even the appearance of thin clouds passing. virtual tour of Majestic You’ll get an idea of what it was like back in the 50s and 60s.

    The Aztec wasn’t quite as fabulous as the Majestic but intriguing nonetheless. It is currently being restored. Aztec

  4. Well, I grew up in a smallish town. Lots of cinemas, surprisingly, but certainly not magnificent. Just ordinary movie theaters.

    So I discovered those palaces, those places of worship to the cinema gods only later. They certainly were not part of my childhood experiences.

  5. You no doubt grew up as my kids did going to the bland multi-plex prairie dog town cinemas. They are so blah. We have an old theater in our town here that has been restored, and is now used for live theater. It’s nothing like as glamorous as the Majestic. How old are you, anyhow, if I may be permitted to ask?

  6. Oh no – the first multiplex cinema in Germany was built in 1990. I still know the “normal” cinemas, proper sized, but not particularly lavish. Then there was a short period of what we called “shoe-box” cinema, where the regular cinemas were split up into two or three “shoe boxes”, but that was a short lived fad. Then came the multiplexes, these places for maximum profit with minimum enjoyment, huge, modern and cold. At the same time the rebirth of the old movie palaces with all their splendor began – an interesting development.

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