What’s Xanadu Like Today?

December 14th, 2016 | by Annie
What’s Xanadu Like Today?
On Location

Designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm of Wurdeman and Becket, the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was a former Hollywood landmark in L.A.’s Fairfax District which opened it’s doors on May 18, 1935 at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard. Through the years, Elvis Presley performed, Eisenhower/Nixon campaigned and the Harlem Globetrotters called the venue home for a while.

The Pan Pacific Auditorium was designed as a public venue in L.A. intended for concerts, car shows, conventions and the like.

By 1972, possibly due to an interior which wasn’t keeping up with the trappings of the day, the Pan Pacific Auditorium had fallen out of popularity and was rarely opened to the public, and after some limited use in the spring of that same year, finally shuttered its doors for good.

There was hope in 1978 when the building was listed as one of California’s first National Register of Historic Places, that plans to preserve the structure for generations would become a reality. However, due to the tremendous costs involved with renovation not to mention limited city and state funds, the project was ultimately stalled.

Xanadu one sheet
In 1980 Universal Pictures used the facade of the Pan Pacific Auditorium for the centerpiece of the Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly film entitled Xanadu. While the film wasn’t a box office success, due to some outstanding musical efforts from ELO, Olivia Newton-John’s smile, Gene Kelly’s last musical and very possibly because of the unique look of the Pan Pacific it has garnered a cult following. It’s also worth noting that the CBS Studios is located at the southeast corner of Beverly and Fairfax Avenue.

Then in May 24, 1989 a fire broke out, burning the mostly wooden structure down to it’s foundation.

About a year after the fire it was decided by to build a recreation center with a look inspired by the original Pan Pacific Auditorium. Today where once stood four proud gleaming “modern” spires, now exists just one.

It is said that the Pan Pacific Auditorium was one of the finest examples of Streamline Moderne architecture in the U.S. The green and white facade faced west was originally 228 feet long and had four stylized towers and flagpoles meant to evoke upswept aircraft fins.




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