The Academy Theater was originally designed to host the Academy Awards which never happened. S. Charles Lee was the architect; this was the first theater he designed in Inglewood for the Fox West Coast Theater Chain. He would go on to design the Fox Theater. Many of the movie palaces were designed during the Depression. Movies were immensely popular because they were a cheap form of entertainment that allowed people to escape their economic plights for a few hours. For 25 cents patrons were treated like royalty in a plush setting. Charles Lee developed a formula for their design over the course of his 300-odd theater career. Maggie Valentine writes about his design approach in her classic history of the genre, The Show Starts on the Sidewalk: An Architectural History of the Movie Theater 1994, "Initially viewing the design of movie palaces akin to a cathedral to film where patrons were treated like royalty for 25 cents, the Depression caused him to abandon that belief. He came to see cinemas as machines for entertainment and profit, developing a formula in which he combined entertainment and visibility." The Academy is noted for its streamline aesthetic and its use of circular forms and glass block. On the outside, a helical light shelf spirals around the spire which allowed light to be reflected off the letters spelling 'Academy'. The Theatre served as a location for film premieres well into 1976 when the Academy Theatre became a church.

Constructed, 1939