Optic Theater in Downtown Los Angeles Circa 1913
The Optic Theater formerly located on Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles can be seen extensively in the 1913 Mack Sennett comedy “Mabel’s Dramatic Career”. Sennett himself is seen inside and outside the then Nickelodeon known as Woodley’s Optic. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle is also seen inside.
You can see the postercases and the floral design walkway leading from the sidewalk to the entrance doors but the marquee is never shown. Inside, the entire auditorium is seen including the piano being played by an unidentified woman. A large poster outside proclaims the next change to be another Sennett film “At Twelve O'clock” and a large board behind it advertises “Big Amateur Contest every Tues. & Thurs. nights..two shows”.
The seats are folding chairs and 2 scenes show the projection booth with only one projector. This short comedy is contained in the DVD set “Slapstick Encyclopedia” released by Image and the theater is identified in liner notes by film historian Joe Adamson who stated when he wrote the notes in 1998 that the theater had only been recently demolished.
Another film in the set, a Sennett comedy featuring Mack Swain entitled “A Movie Star” (1916) features yet another theater that is sadly unidentified. It is far more ornate inside and out and this time the box office is shown. A poster for a Marie Dressler film can be seen.
Absolutely fascinating stuff.