The Mann National In Westwood Village

I had
to run an errand in Westwood recently and passed by this unfortunate corner. The loss of the Mann National Theatre in 2007 still hurts. I hadn't seen it since it was torn down for a vacant lot. Now I see they’ve built a hideous building in its place. Sigh...

The modernist theatre was built in 1970 and designed by Architect, Harold Levitt who was also known for building contemporary, mid century modern homes in Los Angeles.

Some of you might remember when the Exorcist and Phantom Of the Paradise played at the Mann National. Movie goers waited four hours in drizzling rain on the opening weekend of The Exorcist. It was an unforgettable experience for many. If you look very closely on that huge painted sign on the right side of the building... that little thing sticking out was a recreation of Regan's bedroom window with the curtains blowing out.

Audiences react to seeing The Exorcist at the Mann National

“Phantom Of the Paradise” played at the Mann National. 
Photo courtesy of Richard Wojcik

It was one of my favorite theaters in the Village and I had many great movie going experiences there as a growing up. One very memorable experience was seeing Natalie Wood and her daughters behind us in line for "Superman". She was just a regular mom on an outing with her children that day.  It was very sad that I would see "Brainstorm", (her last film) at this same theatre just a few years later.

As a teenager I saw, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Nude Bomb, Beverly Hills Cop, At Close Range, Top Gun, The Untouchables, The Twilight Zone, License To Kill, Single White Female and Clueless at the Mann National. For some reason I can remember where I saw every movie growing up in Los Angeles. It's probably because Westwood Village was my weekend Friday destination during the 1980s and early 90's.

The Mann National was also captured on celluloid in the 2007 movie, Zodiac. No set designer was necessary because its original retro design was intact until the end. It was depicted as a theatre in San Francisco. Production got in under the wire. The Theatre was torn down that same year. 

Prop "dummies" used as theatre goers for Zodiac

Photo below show the theater's condition the year it was torn down 
in 2007. It was completely intact. I'll never forget that grand staircase that took you up to the theater.

A gorgeous time capsule of mid-century design. It's an irreplaceable loss.  It's so frustrating how builders are incapable of incorporating existing structures, facades, etc into new builds. Disregarding The Mann National was irresponsible and deplorable. 

Today, this new building stands in its place at 10925 Lindbrook
This is not progress. This theatre should still be standing. So should many others such as the Beverly Theatre, Carthay Circle, and the ABC Entertainment Center, for example. It should be against the law to tear down such historic places. I will never understand how they all went away. 

(Photos found on Google & Cinema Treasures)

Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the FACEBOOK PAGE Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to writing for Los Angeles Magazine and VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram


  1. Out with the old and In with the new. Happening in most every city in our Country.

    1. This attitude is why this country, aesthetically, is finished and never coming back. Everywhere you look everything has the same bland, boring, generic sameness to it.

  2. I saw Let it Be there and Romeo and Juliet, so long ago

  3. A good night was going to the Mann to catch a movie, then going to the bar Baxters for a drink....memories!

  4. A great night - a movie at the Mann, the drinks at Baxters....memories!


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