The collection contains material on nearly 5,000 American motion picture theaters and theater organs, including architectural
blueprints and design drawings; theater reference materials, including clippings, programs, and postcards; and interior and
exterior photographs of theaters. Particularly strong is its coverage of major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San
Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. There is some material from every state and from Washington, D.C. Accumulated
by Tom B'hend from the 1940s onward, since 1972 the collection had been expanded and maintained by Kaufmann, who had made
arrangements for its transfer to the library prior to his death in 1998.
Thomas B’hend was born in Hereford, Texas in 1917. When he was a year old, his family moved to Southern California, and by
1920 was living in Pasadena. As a child he would attend screenings at movie palaces in downtown Los Angeles as well as at
the Academy Theater in Pasadena. At the Academy, he observed the preparations for the stage shows put on by Fanchon and Marco
and became fascinated with the live performances that accompanied movie screenings of the era. He attended Woodbury Business
College in Los Angeles and worked as a file clerk for the “Los Angeles Examiner.” During World War II, he served in the United
States Army Air Force where he oversaw a public relations office and base newspaper at the Avon Park Air Force base in Florida.
Following the war, he worked as a salesman for West Coast Banana Distributors in Los Angeles. By this time, B’hend’s interest
in movies theaters had developed into a keen interest in theater organs. From 1962 to 1984 he published “The Console,” a monthly
magazine which reported on theater organ news and events. In 1979 he established Showcase Publications with his partner, Preston
Kaufmann, and published Kaufmann’s book “Fox, the Last Word: ... Story of the World's Finest Theatre” as well as David L.
Junchen’s “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ.” In 1986, the American Theatre Organ Society asked him to write a monthly
newsletter, “ATOS International News” where he continued reporting on theater organ news as he had done in “The Console.”
In 1991 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Theatre Historical Society of America, representing the Los Angeles
Metropolitan Region, and he began his own monthly newsletter, the “Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Newsreel,” for THS
members. B’hend wrote both newsletters until his death in 1994.
315 linear ft. of papers
52 linear ft. of photos
10 item(s) of posters
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are responsible for obtaining all
necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies or individuals before quoting from or publishing
materials obtained from the library.
Available by appointment only.