Completed 2015

One of Grand Vision's goals was to upgrade the Warner Grand Theatre's technology.  The theatre had previously housed a small conference room projector which is used to show DVD films at the Theatre.  While this had worked with some success in the past, it didn't have the capabilities to perform well in a large cinema location such as the Warner Grand.  You may have noticed how dark some movies have been at the theatre which is due to the low lumens that the past projector had. The Grand Vision Foundation unveiled the new projector at SPIFFest 2015! In “camera-speak”, with an increase from 5,000 to 40,000 lumens, you will now enjoy a crisp, bright and contemporary viewing experience at the Warner Grand. Seeing this special film at the Warner Grand on the new projector feels like, perhaps we’ve come full circle.  Grand Vision’s stage rigging brought the San Pedro Ballet back to the Warner Grand Stage.  Now, with the many people who have supported Grand Vision for almost two decades, we were able to purchase and install this beautiful new projector- and who knows, maybe the next young person to break through barriers and change the world artistically might be a young filmmaker from San Pedro.

Completed 2010

Grand Vision worked diligently to correct the sagging, damaged section of the mezzanine ceiling.  With a grant from the Office of Supervisor Don Knabe and our match, the section was analyzed, repaired and repainted.  Repair team members included Bob Wolfenden, contractor and owner of the Auto Palace, who donated his time and service; Charles Kibby, principal of Preservation Arts; and Carolyn Lehne, restoration specialist and co-owner of KC Restoration.  The KC Restoration team first analyzed the ceiling paint.  Then, they identified key original colors, especially the original gold leaf surrounding each of the light fixture grilles.  Following the Secretary of the Interior's preservation standards which require the gentlest treatments possible, a water-based, fully removable paint was used.  Carolyn's team restored a decorated area of about 15' x 20'.  Within that area, they recreated about four square feet that was irreparable.  They replaced the gold leaf; and repaired areas of flaking and missing paint, often with a paint consolidation technique which requites reattaching paint flakes into their proper position, then blending all repairs so it is virtually impossible to see where their work ends and the unrestored area begins.  On the restored section of the ceiling, the abstract birds dance and the area around the grilles shines.  This restoration project is now a dazzling example of what could be.

Completed 2008

In Spring 2008, thanks to support from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation and Shultz Steel, we were able to build the Warner  Grand’s  stage out ten feet, making the experience of watching a live  performance more personal and interactive. The original stage was built for vaudeville, so it was quite shallow at 23 feet, and almost prohibitive for  dance performances. The stage was redesigned to incorporate and build  above the existing pit. Steel supports were custom-made to fit inside the pit and hold the new forestage decking at the same level as the stage. The decking is removable in sections to allow musicians to perform from the pit.

Completed 2007

The Warner Grand’s theatre seats were in extreme disrepair, with torn upholstery, four or five different fabrics used, several tones of paint on the end standards, broken springs and more. Audience discomfort was high. The seats had last been upholstered in 1974, in red, green and gold vinyl. To accomplish the restoration, Grand Vision Foundation contracted with Irwin Seating Company and worked through its manufacturer’s representative, The Kleinman Group. The primary goals of the seat restoration project were to increase comfort, aesthetic appeal and accessibility. The seat restoration was made complicated by its many components, including widening some seats, adding an ADA platform, movable seats, and new aisle lights. Before the seat restoration, the Theatre’s seats ranged in size from 18-22 inches wide. All of the 18" seats were removed and approximately 90 24" seats were added. As a result of adding the 24" seats, it was necessary to remove a total of 54 seats, leaving a total of 1,506 seats at the Theatre. Eight seats with swing-out arms were added to accommodate persons with impaired access. In addition, the last rows in the house left section were removed and a handicapped platform was built to accommodate three wheelchairs and four companion seats. Removable rows on stretchers were added to facilitate film shoots and allow technical positions.

Details of the restoration are as follows:
  • The original upholstery pattern was recreated exclusively for this project.
  • Material selected for reupholstering was Tom Dworkin Custom Chenille ISC #CWCCUS (AA grade) and Neptune stain resistant coating.
  • Solid wood armrests refinished and number, letter and donor tags affixed.
  • Rosewood stain used.
  • The backs, seat pans other metal parts were sanded and powder-coated with #28 Black Duratuff.
  • Old springs were removed and brand new foam cushioning material installed.
  • Art deco end standards were stripped and repainted with copper base coat.
  • 8 swing-away end standards for handicapped transfers.
  • An ADA platform was built at the back row, stage right, orchestra level
  • 28 seats in two rows (all of Row M, center row B, stage right Row N) on moveable bases were installed. In order to install the bases, it was necessary to remove existing raised vents and replace with steel panels, flush with the floor.
  • Existing aisle lights were reconditioned and LED lights installed in aisle armrests. The LED lights were necessary to provide the foot candles required to meet current safety standards.
  • Brass 1" x 4" donor plaques

Completed 2007

In Summer 2007, thanks to Shultz Steel and the Grand Vision members, the lower lobby got some attention. The rest room dividers were cleaned up, rust removed and repainted, and floors were scrubbed clean. The  cracked steps and splintering floor were given new carpeting. There are  more improvements to be made in this area, but it was a much-needed start.
Completed 2009

The old main drape was shredded and only opened up and down. Theatre Manager Lee Sweet made the request to Grand Vision for a new drape and GVF Board President Fred Allen compared bids and worked with LA stage curtain maker Dazian Fabrics to produce what was needed for the best price. Grand Vision purchased the drape and traveller track for $11,000. Then Fred, whose background is in theater tech, and the men of Beacon House removed the old drape and hung the new one. The new drape has a beautiful shimmer, matches the historic swag that decorated the proscenium directly above, and most of all, parts from side to side as well as "flying up and down" or "in and out" in theater speak. "We are once again grateful to Grand Vision for providing the funds as well as the expertise for this project," enthused Lee Sweet.

Completed 2007

The Warner Grand's old hemp rigging system, which did not meet current safety standards, was removed and replaced by a new standard T-guide counterweight and locking rail system. Sixteen line sets were installed, including four electrics and a special line set to carry the projection screen. Prior to the letting of the bid request, Hopper Engineering was engaged, and confirmed the capacity of the theater grid to carry the load of the new stage rigging. Tru-Roll, Inc. was selected for its excellent reputation, familiarity with the Warner Grand Theatre and its nearby location. The project consisted of three phases:

Removal and storage of existing drapery, lighting, sets and projection screen, removal of existing thirteen counterweight sets including the locking rail, blocks, cable, ropes, battens and arbors. Remove the theater's existing stage rigging and replace with a completely new system. Build a loading bridge to greatly improve safety for users of the rigging.

Submittal drawings were reviewed and approved by licensed structural engineer.

Upon receipt of approved design drawings, the selected vendor fabricated,
delivered and installed:
  • Locking rail for up to 25 sets;
  • 16 wire guide line sets;
    Loading bridge (a catwalk above the fly floor that greatly increases the safety of the rigging system).
  • A new Harkness Hall 48.92' x 21.66' Perlux projection screen was also installed.
Completed 2007

The Warner Grand Theatre sound system dated from the 1940s. Audiences complained that it was inaudible. The system was replaced with a custom designed movie sound system that can also be used for live performances. Erich Helzer Company was selected to perform the work. The project consisted of two parts, the cinema sound and the voice reinforcement systems.

Cinema Sound System:
The vendor removed old speakers, processor and amplifiers and replaced with new equipment. Speakers were customized to cover the entire theatre to maximize the listening experience. Speakers with live sound capabilities were incorporated. Some new cables were laid. The cinema sound system was custom-built to the vendor’s specifications by Renkus Heinz.

Voice Reinforcement (PA) System:
The vendor installed a mixer, amplifier and wireless receiver on a stage rack
with the cinema sound system. Speakers were installed on either side of the proscenium with hidden mounts. The PA system includes QSC speakers and amplifier and a TOA mixer.

Lighting Console:
The old console was more than ten years old and would not support the type of productions wanting to use the Warner Grand Theatre.  Grand Vision Foundation's Vice-President, Fred Allen, worked to secure the donation of the console along with its complete refurbishment by the manufacturer.  The new board will allow the Theatre to offer moving lights control and other current features.