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Hugo Ballin's Los Angeles

Caroline Luce, Author

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Wilshire Boulevard Temple - Citations and Additional Resources

Details on the murals and the commission from the pamphlet, The Warner Murals in the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles, California written by Edgar F. Magnin and Hugo Ballin, originally published in 1955. 

Ballin's murals at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple were brilliantly restored by the Aneta Zebala Paintings Conservation company in 2013 as part of the redevelopment of Wilshire Boulevard Temple's historic campus and can be viewed today. To learn more about the murals or to schedule a visit, explore the Wilshire Boulevard Temple's website at

Special thanks to Mackenzie Stevens, whose lecture, “Visualizing Jewish History for a Modern Audience" presented to the Los Angeles Metro Studies Group in May, 2013, provided crucial insights for this path. Ms. Stevens is a graduate student at the University of Southern California.

Author Tom Teicholz has recently completed a history of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, entitled Wilshire Boulevard Temple: Our History as Part of the Fabric of Los Angeles (Oro Editions, 2014), with photographs by Tom Bonner.

If you have any more information about an item you’ve seen on our website or if you are the copyright owner and believe our website has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please email the Center for Jewish Studies at with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

1. The definition of “nickelodeon” varies considerably, I have borrowed my understanding from Bowser, Eileen, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915 (Berkeley, UC Press, 1990), p. 4-6. 

2. Gabler, Neal, An Empire of their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (New York: Crown Publishers, 1988), pp. 1-7.

3. Gabler, An Empire of Their Own, on Laemmle, pp. 56-57, 63. On Zukor and Paramount, p. 42. 

4. Ovnick, Merry, “The Mark of Zorro: Silent Film’s Impact on 1920s Architecture in Los Angeles,” California History vol. 86, no 1 (2008): 28-59, esp. 29, 35-36, 40.

5. “The Picture a Medium for Art - Hugo Ballin, Goldwyn Art Director, Has Taken the Photoplay Seriously as Field for Creation,” The Moving Picture World, July 12th, 1919. Article clipping appears in the Hugo Ballin Papers, Charles Young Library, Department of Special Collections, UCLA, Box 21, Folder 3.

6. “Motion is Over-Emphasized: Ballin – Producer Declares That he has Sought a More Subtle Appeal in His Picturization of ‘East Lynne’” Exhibitor’s Herald Fen. 26th, 1921, clipping in Ballin Papers, UCLA Special Collections, Box 21, Folder 3; and “Hollywood Artist Famous” by Harriet Clay Penman, clipping (no publication or date given) appears in a scrapbook in the Ballin Papers, UCLA Special Collections, Box 29, Folder 2. 

7. Clippings including details and reviews of films appear without authors or dates in a scrapbook in the Ballin Papers, UCLA Special Collections, Box 29, Folder 2. 

8. "Synagogue To Be Dedicated Tonight," Los Angeles Evening Herald, June 7, 1929; Arthur Millier, "Jewish History Depicted in Murals," Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1929; William M. Kramer and Reva Clar, "Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin and the Modernization of Los Angeles Jewry, Part II," Western States Jewish History, July, 1987, XXIX, No. 4, 350.

9. For more on "The Fifth Avenue of the West," see Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod, “’Keep the ‘L’ Out of Los Angeles’: Race, Discourse, and Modernity in 1920s Southern California,” Journal of Urban History vol. 30 no. 3 (2007): 3-34.

10. Neal Gabler, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (New York: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1988), 283; Special Collections, University of California Los Angeles, Western States Jewish History Collection, Box 66, Folder 6, B'nai B'rith Messenger, Souvenir Number in Honor Dedication B'nai B'rith Temple, June 7, 1929.

11. "Warner Brothers Donate Art Work," The Jewish Transcript, Seattle, Washington, November 16, 1928; Edgar Fogel Magnin and Hugo Ballin, The Warner Murals in the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Los Angeles: Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 1976), unnumbered p. 10.

12. Art historian Mackenzie Stevens presented this argument in her presentation to the LA Metro Studies Group, May, 2013, “Visualizing Jewish History for a Modern Audience.” The same themes were highlighted in Arthur Millier’s review of the murals, “Jewish History Depicted in Murals,” Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1929.

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