Originally named the Fox Wilshire, opened its doors on September 19, 1930. Designed by renowned theater architect S. Charles Lee, the Fox Wilshire building serves as an interesting example of Lee’s early Art Deco style. With its rich plaster work and heavy sculpture, this theatre is reminiscent of Lee’s other early work like the Baroque masterpiece The Los Angeles Theater and the Tower. Lee would later become famous for his clean simple Art Deco lines with theaters like the Bruin and the Academy Theater.
Fox West Coast Theaters built Saban Theatre to house their first run feature films. For the first 50 years of its life, it served as one of the premiere movie palaces in Los Angeles and has hosted numerous premieres and special events. In November 1953, the premiere of “How to Marry A Millionaire” starring Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall.
On Christmas Day of that year Walt Disney exhibited its new “Grand Canyonscope” – the first Donald Duck cartoon in Cinemascope which ran with the studio’s classic feature “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. Other notable events include 1960’s special screening of “GI Blues” starring Elvis and attended by Ronald Reagan and the 1970’s exclusive engagement of the film “Woodstock”.
In 1981 the Wilshire Theatre was renovated and converted to a stage venue. For a number of years, the venue has hosted numerous theater productions and concerts including Billy Idol, Laurie Anderson, Mijares, Richard Pryor, Spandau Ballet, Kavert/Poogy, The National Ballet of Spain and A Mighty Wind, Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays” among others.
Now named Saban Theatre is open for theatrical rentals, concerts, television shoots, parties and more. It has seen many exciting productions including Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” Chris Botti Live in Concert featuring Sting and Paula Cole, The Australian Pink Floyd Show and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam featuring Dave Chappelle.