Los Angeles Theatre

615 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 251 - 275 of 294 comments

JimRankin on September 16, 2005 at 4:20 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 on September 16, 2005 at 3:46 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!


kencmcintyre on August 26, 2005 at 6:01 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 on June 24, 2005 at 6:19 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 on June 9, 2005 at 3:18 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?

RobertR on June 9, 2005 at 2:49 pm

In early 1969 Russ Meyers classic soft core epic “Vixen” opened here at the Los Angeles. The three other locations were Loews Picfair, Loews Century and Loews Cine.

teecee on May 19, 2005 at 5:25 am

Late 1906s(?) photo:
View link

JimRankin on April 13, 2005 at 11:02 am

If you had read the previous comments you would have seen mine of May 2004 wherein I list the source of a large booklet crammed with large photos of the LOS ANGELES.

William on April 13, 2005 at 8:15 am

I think the marquee was charged out in the late 30’s. And you can find photos of interior and exterior of the theatre at the Los Angeles Public Library site.

AshleyParadiso on April 9, 2005 at 8:26 pm


Two questions. 1)Anyone know what year the Marquee was changed, and 2) Anyone know where their might be Historic photo’s, from its earlier years. (both interior and exterior shots?) if so please inform me with any information.

Thank you,
Ashley Paradiso

William on March 8, 2005 at 3:46 pm

Washington Mutual Savings has a commercial that is currently being shown that uses the lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre. On newly released DVD of “NEW YORK, NEW YORK”, you can see the lower lounge area in the theatre.

JimRankin on March 8, 2005 at 3:24 pm

Yes, it was the unmistakeable LOS ANGELES, with the image computer colored to immitate the tints of the M&Ms. The scene following it was also shot in one of the lounges there, it too being tinted and dressed to further the theme of the commercial. It appears that the theatre is largely surviving on commercials these days, but then where else can they go for such a sweeping stairway shot? The FOX in San Francisco is gone, as is the MARBRO in Chicago, and their wonderful UPTOWN is not in any photographic condition. Thank goodness location scouts are aware of the LOS ANGELES and other movie palaces around the nation (and of course, it IS in their ‘back yard’ so moving and location expenses are much lower than going elsewhere)! The Theatre Historical Society once started a file of theatres used as film/commercial/video locations, but I don’t know if it is any longer maintained. Contact them via their web site: www.HistoricTheatres.org

MagicLantern on March 8, 2005 at 2:26 pm

I thought it was, Bryan. Sure looked like it to me.

Manwithnoname on March 8, 2005 at 11:59 am

Today a crew was busy cleaning the marquee.

RobertR on March 4, 2005 at 11:27 am

View link

Here is a night shot

RobertR on March 4, 2005 at 11:26 am

Look how incredible this place looks

View link

Manwithnoname on March 2, 2005 at 10:43 am

Film crew working here today. The marquee read Barbara Stanwyck in “Sorry Wrong Number”.

bruceanthony on December 21, 2004 at 3:59 pm

I think Downtown is another decade away from being a 24 hour destination. Many lofts are being redeveloped as we speek along with new condos and apartments. I think downtown in another ten years will have a large enough population to support more restaurants and theatres. The city of LA needs to continue to put money into cleaning up all the historic facades on Broadway.A lot of investment has gone into Downtown North of Broadway such as the Cathedral,Disney Concert Hall and the Staples Center. Maybe they can turn Broadway into an Old LA Historic District.brucec

chconnol on December 1, 2004 at 10:27 am

Joe Vogel: Absolutely fascinating what you wrote. I’m a New Yorker and if Downtown LA were in NY, whoa boy!!! That sucker would’ve been way regentrified by now. NY-ers love space like that. But the most interesting thing you wrote is that Los Angeles lacks any real urban tradition. New York IS an urban tradition. That’s why I find the area we are speaking of so endlessley fascinating. It’s being used but not regentrified like it would be in New York. In so many ways, you have to be thankful for this. In New York, the land values were and are so high that the beautiful movie palaces like The Capitol, The Rivoli and others were demolished because developers would get more for the land. In downtown LA, they’ve survived, for better or worse, because of the lack of value and/or interest. I’m not trying to put the area down. I think it’s beautiful from what I’ve seen. I love the grittiness. NY-ers do. We hate it when a neighborhood that is alive (like some parts of Manhattan) become “trendy”. Then everything that made it real, vital and interesting slowly gets pushed out and the Pottery Barns, Bed Bath and Beyonds and Starbucks move in and sap the life out of it.

You never know what’s around the corner for certain area. NY is a prime example of this. There are areas and neighborhoods that were unseemly and outright dangerous 10 or 20 years ago that are now some of the most trendy, upscale neighborhoods in town. Let’s hope the LA Preservationists keep up their good work. You may find it will pay off handsomely in the future when the rest of the world rediscovers that area. I just want to see it someday before it goes trendy. And dies…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 1, 2004 at 2:57 am


Downtown Los Angeles has never been forgotten, at least not in the sense that some of the old areas of lower Manhattan were forgotten and then rediscovered. Broadway has been a thriving commercial street for over a hundred years. As late as the 1980s, the sales per square foot in Broadway stores were the second highest of any shopping area in Southern California, exceeded only by pricey Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. They continue to be among the highest today.

By 1906, the three major department stores of downtown, (The Broadway, Bullocks, and May Company- then called Hamburger’s) were established at Broadway locations which they would occupy until at least the late 1960s. The Broadway Department Store was the first to go, ironically moving a few blocks west along Seventh Street. Bullocks and the May Company followed in the mid-1980s, moving six blocks west to Figuroa Street. Still, the smaller shops along Broadway have survived, and done quite well, and vacancies are rare.

Broadway has not been a popular destination for the middle class for at least four decades now, but lower income groups still throng to it. The neighborhoods in nearby sections of the city, and many of those those further out with easy access to Downtown by public transit, still attract large numbers of immigrants, and Broadway has long been a street on which you can hear many languages. The place is very cosmopolitan and, by day at least, very busy.

In fact, the theaters are almost the only buildings vacant (at the street level- the offices above have been mostly vacant for years now) along most of the street. Were the large movie palaces to be demolished and replaced with ordinary commercial space, that space would probably fill up quickly. It is a wonder that most of Broadway’s old theater buildings survive at all, so valuable would their space be for retail uses on this busiest of L.A.’s streets.

The area is pretty rough by night, now that the theaters no longer bring crowds, and skid row has long since spilled over and around Broadway, but then Downtown has not been the center of L.A. nightlife since the late 1920s, when the action shifted to Hollywood and, since then, to other parts of the west side. Even the modern business district a few blocks west of Broadway tends to empty out at night. There have been attempts to bring more residents into the area, and many proposals to convert the vacant offices above Broadway’s stores to apartments and lofts, but it’s pretty slow going.

There are a lot of inherent problems in getting a good urban neighborhood established in downtown. For one thing, the blocks are huge, making for poor pedestrian circulation. Also, the area is relentlessly commercial and industrial, with few apartments, and most of those are either in decay or, if built recently, are in projects that are deliberately isolated from surrounding streets. And though public transit has improved somewhat in recent years, it still doesn’t offer the sort of access and reliability that are necessary for urban neighborhoods.

Most importantly, Los Angeles lacks any real urban tradition and thus, those people who are trying to make downtown work like a real city, instead of just the big business district it has long been, come up against a lot of official ignorance, and even hostility. Chances are that Pasadena will develop a good urban core before Los Angeles does, even though Los Angeles has more to work with. But if L.A. does ever get its act together, Downtown could be a great place. It has great potential, but nobody has been able to tap into it yet.

chconnol on November 23, 2004 at 1:19 pm

For some reason, I’m very interested in the area of Los Angeles where this movie theater is located. It seems like a once forgotten area that is being found again. Is this true? What is the area like now? It appears to be one of the few areas in LA that actually looks like NY. I know they’ve used it as a stand in for NY when the want to make NY look seedier (not a nice thing to do…they did this in a bad movie called “Phone Booth”).

Anyway, is the renovation of these theaters helping this district?

Manwithnoname on October 18, 2004 at 5:43 am

Now to Dec. 5 this gorgeous theater is once again open to the public with the stage production of “Alma”. I don’t have statistics on this but it has to be the first time in years one of these classic Broadway houses was open on a regular basis (except for church services). The marquee is now fully lit at night and is absolutely stunning.

RobertR on October 4, 2004 at 7:06 pm

Thank god this theatre is not in New York or it would have been torn down already. This place is as beautiful as a church.

Jiffy on October 4, 2004 at 4:55 pm

This theater is currently presenting the live stage production of “Alma”.

JimRankin on May 22, 2004 at 6:56 am

The LOS ANGELES is notable for many luxurious appointments such as the lavish decor, the neon strips bordering the aisles, the fire curtain sporting fully clothed figures upon it, the viewing device in the lower lounge, and that most unforgettable ornament: the crystal fountain at the head of the Grand staircase. This opulent ornament is one thing that sets this theatre apart from so many others in that it is a feature beyond the ordinary and focuses to the smaller scale as well as the grand scale of the theatre.
Another theatre that employs smaller scale, focus point ornaments is the CORONADO in Rockford, Ill, which features ‘vases’ of stained glass flowers in niches in the sidewalls under the balcony to this day. Using flame shaped bulbs to illuminate them, these decorations also lend the more artistic air so little found in smaller scale in theatres; we all appreciate the large scale effects, but a good planner balances the theme by means of attention to ornaments on both ends of the size scale. One might also recall similar ornaments in the form of the dioramas of Chicago cityscapes that once graced the niches in the walls of Chicago’s long-lost SOUTHTOWN (preserved at the Theatre Historical Soc. www.HistoricTheatres.org ), but people can increase the level of interest by using smaller ‘jewels’ to highlight the lobbies, as was done with antique figural lamps upon an imported mahogany back bar in the PABST in Milwaukee, for example. The wonderful ‘fountain’ of stained glass centered in the rotunda of the lobby of the RIALTO in Joliet, Il, also comes to mind as a wonderful focal point feature that takes that theatre beyond the ordinary.

One can see many vintage photos of the LOS ANGELES in the Annual of the Theatre Historical Soc. by that name for the year 1998 and its 36 pages will leave one a lasting impression of a luxury that has rarely been seen in American theatres, and unlike its reputed model, the San Francisco FOX, it is still with us and used by many commercial photographers as a background, even as it has been used in many videos.
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)