Los Angeles Theatre

615 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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jennilong
jennilong on October 25, 2005 at 1:02 pm

Hello,

I work as researcher for a UK production company called Twofour Productions who produce a series called Dead Famous which is a biographical look into the lives of Hollywood’s most glittering stars we are in our third series and have covered the lives of John Lennon, Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Buddy Holly and Howard Hughes to name a few. Our programme is aired on the Biography and A&E channels over in the US and is made for Living TV here in the UK. We are filming in Los Angeles in our next visit in the next few weeks and we are investigating Rita Hayworth and her performance with her family the Dancing Cansinos at the Downtown Palace Theatre (previously called the Orpheum I believe), it is 630 S Broadway and is opposite the Los Angeles Theatre.

Therefore I am emailing Cinema Treasures to see if anyone knows anymore about the history of the theatre in connection with Rita Hayworth, whether anyone worked there in the past and whether anyone experienced or has heard of any accounts of ghosts being at the theatre as we look at the paranormal side of the theatre as we also will be looking for the spirit of Rita Hayworth too.

If anyone would like to provide any information please contact me at my email .uk I would be happy to hear from you.

All the Best.

William
William on October 25, 2005 at 11:24 am

It was more general seating for the theatre. In the South Central area of Los Angeles, there were theatres that operated or were listed as Negro Theatres. They operated along Central Ave.

Bill Robinson (800 seats)
Florence Mills (700)
Largo (904)
Lincoln (1960)
Rosebud (800)
Savoy (700)

JimRankin
JimRankin on October 25, 2005 at 9:53 am

I wonder what the genesis of two balconies in these two movie palaces is? In most cases of such, it was in the Olde South where there was racial discrimination and the upper balcony therefore was the only place that Black people could sit. These were often referred to as “Jim Crowe” balconies, usually having their own entrances, box offices, and staircases separate from the others. This is in distinction, of course, from the many theatres that had a mezzanine below the balcony, and in distinction from the many legit theatres around the world having galleries as opposed to the model of the lone, vast balcony of the movie palace. Since there was no overt segregation in the Los Angeles area that I am aware of, perhaps the additional upper balcony was merely for more general seating?

William
William on October 24, 2005 at 1:49 pm

The Los Angeles Theatre and the Palace Theatre. The Palace’s has been closed off for years.

Hibi
Hibi on October 24, 2005 at 1:13 pm

I’m curious, what other theaters in downtown L.A. have 2 balconies?

William
William on October 24, 2005 at 10:04 am

Down in the lower lounge where the restrooms are, before the screening room was installed. It was originally a restaurant. The room or doorway to the left in the ladies lounge area near their rest room was used for child care when the theatre opened. The tunnel story about them connecting some of the theatres together might just be one of those urban legends. But there are tunnels that are used for major cables for power & phone systems down there.

ppops70s
ppops70s on October 24, 2005 at 9:13 am

Back in 1987, a friend of mine worked in the concession stand. Just about every week I would go watch a movie there. He showed me the entire movie theatre, including the crying room and both balconies. He told me that there was undergroung tunnels that connected some of the theatres together. I can’t confirm that being true, but I thought I’d share it since it sounds interesting. There use to be a private screening room on the basement level, where the bathrooms are. Last year I attended the LA conservancy “last remaning seats” movie viewing and noticed that the private screening room was empty. The room was just adjacent to the ladies restroom. Now the room is a standing lounge area.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2005 at 6:04 am

The Los Angeles is one of the few downtown theatres which has two balconies. I only saw the second balcony opened once, when the theatre was four-walled for an exploitation movie called “Poor White Trash” in about 1963.

Datalova
Datalova on October 22, 2005 at 9:52 pm

Anyone have any info on the old Matrix theater?
Pam

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on October 17, 2005 at 2:37 pm

It appears the program’s outside segments are pre-taped and the inside program will be live. It will be done here in the afternoon so it can be live in the 9pm-12 midnight time slot in the UK on those 3 days I mentioned above. Err, maybe that should be broadcast dead. You be the judge.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on October 17, 2005 at 2:26 pm

A film crew was at the theater all last week and the marquee reads “Dead Famous…LIVE!”

Hibi
Hibi on October 2, 2005 at 3:08 pm

On what network? On a local L.A. Station?

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on September 30, 2005 at 2:35 pm

The program mentioned above will be broadcast live 11/11-11/13 according to tv.com. The theater is currently sporting the words “HISTORIC THEATER DISTRICT” on it’s marquee.

Hibi
Hibi on September 30, 2005 at 11:48 am

I hope the program will be picked up by some Cable network here. Let us know. I’d love to see the interior of this theater.

UKuser
UKuser on September 30, 2005 at 3:30 am

Dear all,

Further to my previous post, we will be basing our television show “Dead Famous… LIVE!” in the Los Angeles Theatre for 3 days in November.

This is going to be a very exciting programme and a unique look in to arguably one of the most glamourous of the downtown movie palaces. We are going to be investigating the life of Charlie Chaplin, who’s film “City Lights” premiered there and venturing in to many other areas of Hollywood history. As I mentioned before, an element of the show is that investigate reports of spirits living on in places. The Los Angeles will be the first of several places we investigate over the 3 days to find out if it is haunted.

We are very keen to talk to anyone who may have worked in, visited or has any ties to the theatre. This is both for research purposes and with a view to them coming on the show. If you saw a movie at the Los Angeles when you were a kid or worked as an usher there as a teenager, we’d love to hear from you. And if you’d just love to have to opportunity to come and be part of the studio audience for the show then please get in touch. We’re going to be dealing with some fascinating subjects and interviewing some amazing people.

If you feel you can help in any way then do not hesitate to contact me at:

.uk

Thanks again,

George

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 29, 2005 at 4:59 pm

I think it is a historic district.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on September 26, 2005 at 11:29 am

The Downtown theatres seemed to do well into the mid 1950’s and then started to decline with Metropolitan theatres taking over most of the leases by the 1960’s. Downtown LA had to compete with Hollywood Blvd and many films such as “A Star is Born” would play an exclusive engagements Downtown LA and Hollywood. The theatres thrived during the 1960’s playing more and more to hispanic audiences who became the major patron by the 1960’s.The City of Los Angeles has the largest hispanic population oustide of Mexico City.It is the hispanic population that saved most of the downtown movie palace’s and lack of investment on Broadway and Spring Street. If the old Downtown had been redeveloped like many cities across the US most of the theatres would have been torn down which happened in one downtown after another.The Broadway district of Downtown should be restored as an historic district.brucec

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 24, 2005 at 7:31 pm

I think this sign is still in the alley:
(Courtesy of the LA Library)

http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater2/00015042.jpg

William
William on September 16, 2005 at 7:37 am

UKuser: Two theatres that you might look into in the Hollywood area are the Pacific 1,2,3 (aka: Warner Hollywood Theatre) and the Vogue Theatre. Both have had paranormal activity. The Vogue Theatre was subleased by a group doing paranormal research. They say a former long time projectionist (of the Vogue) and a stage hand from the Chinese and two or three children have been studied there. Over at the Pacific, former long time employees said Sam Warner roams the theatre. I’ve worked both theatres over the years and there is something. The old GCC Sherman Oaks 3-5 Theatre also had a former projectionist roam the theatre after his death.

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 16, 2005 at 7:20 am

To “UKuser”: You don’t give any contact information in your post or on your Profile page, so this will have to do.

The LOS ANGELES is one of the most lavish theatres remaining in the country and is even well documented in one of the ANNUALS of the Theatre Historical Society of America (www.historictheatres.org) and you would find it a very fine location.

However, you mention it in regard to the “paranormal” and if your quest is sincere and not merely a location for Halloween time special effects, then you are starting on a dangerous quest that could sooner or later cause you and yours injury! I have commented at length on this elsewhere here (can’t find the link) and elsewhere, so won’t repeat here, but do contact me via private Email if you want the gory details, by clicking on my name below in blue and noting the Contact data on my Profile Page to which you will be taken. I can likely save you horrors that you have no accurate knowledge of, and will dearly wish you had never encountered.

If you merely seek to do a real magazine piece on American movie palaces, then do contact the L.A. as well as the Society listed above, and they will be willing and able to assist you greatly. Best Wishes. Jim Rankin, member THSA since 1976

UKuser
UKuser on September 16, 2005 at 6:46 am

Hi. We’re thinking of coming to film our UK television show at the LA Theater. This is a programme all about Hollywood history and the paranormal.

I’m looking for any interesting stories to do with the history of the theater and wondered if any of you chaps might be able to help. I’ve read all about the theater’s history on the official website but am interested in anything else you might know.

Was “City Lights” the only film ever to premiere there? Did it decline from then on? Are there any famous stories associated with the theater that you know of?

Would appreciate the help!

Regards.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 26, 2005 at 9:01 pm

I saw “Some Like It Hot” also, back in 2004. I don’t think the Conservancy has shown a film at the Los Angeles in a while. This year’s films were all at the Orpheum. Speaking of Broadway, I often appear at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board on the 9th floor of the original Broadway building on 4th street. I would be interested in any links that would show the interior of the store in its heyday. There are plenty of exterior shots on the LAPL database.

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on June 24, 2005 at 9:19 am

With regard to the last comment: The photo taken by TC was likely taken in 1970(maybe late 1969). Both the Cleopatra and the Romeo and Juliet film(full title: Sex Lives of Romeo and Juliet) were Harry Novak-produced titles that played first at the Pussycat theater chain(Romeo was a 1969 release and Cleopatra came out in 1970). Some of the more popular films would get released outside of the Pussycat chain and play other theaters and even drive-ins as this time period X-rated fare was doing good business. (Trader Hornee and the later Erotic Adventures of Zorro were the two biggest crossover titles.) Also, it was not unusual for downtown theaters, with their declining attendance, to turn to “adults only” fare for a period of time.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on June 9, 2005 at 6:18 pm

The pic TC’s link shows has the Los Angeles sporting The Notorious Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet (probably not the Zefferelli version) on it’s marquee. Were softcore films regularly shown here? Most recently the marquee announced “AFIs 100 Years 100 Quotes” starring Pierce Brosnan. Does anyone know if the special was taped there?