Los Angeles Theatre

615 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 301 - 325 of 329 comments

RobertR
RobertR on March 4, 2005 at 2:26 pm

Look how incredible this place looks

View link

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on March 2, 2005 at 1:43 pm

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

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 21, 2004 at 6:59 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
chconnol on December 1, 2004 at 1:27 pm

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 5:57 am

CConnoly:

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
chconnol on November 23, 2004 at 4:19 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
Manwithnoname on October 18, 2004 at 8:43 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
RobertR on October 4, 2004 at 10:06 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
Jiffy on October 4, 2004 at 7:55 pm

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

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 22, 2004 at 9:56 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.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
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:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
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)

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on May 20, 2004 at 2:51 pm

Last year or so, there were due to be a series of events put on by UCLA in the Los Angeles, the Orpheum and the Palace. The Orpheum was just fine, Gilmore shut the Palace down, and the Los Angeles was revealed not to have had a fire curtain(!), which led the fire marshals to shut it down indefinitely. Just watching “Charlie’s Angels II: Full Throttle”, it’s very funny at the end to see the characters hop in a sportscar directly outside of Grauman’s Chinese, and in the next scene magically appear just outside the Orpheum, drive past the Tower (heading south, of course), back past the Orpheum repeatedly, and then crash into the main stage of the Los Angeles! At least they made Broadway at night look dishy and cosmopolitan; would’ve been funny to see this scene set in the other Broadway theatre district (nearer South Central, comprising the theatres Aloha, Kiva, etc.).

edward
edward on April 28, 2004 at 1:58 pm

Updated link to the Los Angeles Conservancy – Last Remaining Seats:

http://laconservancy.org/remaining/index.php4

RobertR
RobertR on April 28, 2004 at 1:55 pm

Is all of the renovating completed or is it a work in progress?

ppops70s
ppops70s on April 28, 2004 at 1:22 pm

I am going to see Some Like it Hot there on June 2, sponsered by Turner Classic Movies. The Los Angeles Conservancy is hosting the event.

ppops70s
ppops70s on April 28, 2004 at 1:21 pm

Robert, did you ever go to the private screening room in teh basement?

RobertR
RobertR on April 28, 2004 at 1:19 pm

Paul, I was fortunate to have a projectionist friend who did the same for me. What a theatre it is.

ppops70s
ppops70s on April 28, 2004 at 1:05 pm

I use to go there in the 80s. A friend of mine worked there so I saw every room, including the balconies. Therer is a crying room on the balcony level. The seats are elevated so when kids were seated they could see the show behing an enclosed room with a glass window.

XvXMatthewXvX
XvXMatthewXvX on March 10, 2004 at 3:50 pm

if anyone has a direct contact with the owner/leasee of the theater please contact me at , I’m involved with a business opportunity and I’m looking for space – Thanks ( matt )

William
William on February 17, 2004 at 4:36 pm

You can see some of the lower lounge area in the movie “New York, New York”. And its been used many times in recent years as a music video and commerial location.

RobertR
RobertR on February 17, 2004 at 3:58 pm

I was given a tour of this theatre by a projectionist friend around 1990. Words cant describe theatres like this. One thing I found ammusing is that the size of the main mens room could accomidate ten of todays multi-plex sized theatres. Each stall had its own sink and mirror. To say they dont make them like this anymore is an understatement.

Knatcal
Knatcal on February 8, 2004 at 5:07 pm

I saw “El Jefe” here as part of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats program. I also toured the interior during the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Broadway Behind-the-Scenes program. The relatively small exterior bellies the enormous interior with two balconies. In my opinion this is truly grandest theater on Broadway on Broadway.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 6, 2004 at 8:33 pm

Scratch that address above.
Instead, click the link below.

http://catalog1.lapl.org/a_photo.html

Click on “Search the Database” on the bottom.
Allow it time to redirect.
Type in “Los Angeles Theater” in the space provided for the search.
On the “Keyword” drop-down menu, change it to “Subject Browse” and
click on the “Search” button.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 6, 2004 at 7:46 pm

You can see historic photos of the theatre here.

View link

It is from the Los Angeles Public Library.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 3:30 am

Was a relief projectionist there in the 70s and early 80s. The place will take your breath away… awesome…

PAULB
PAULB on January 23, 2004 at 9:35 am

The last remaining seats site link is truly astonishing..thankyou!