Roxie Theatre

518 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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stevebob
stevebob on February 18, 2008 at 11:52 am

Breaking news for those who wondered what the Roxie’s auditorium looks like! There are two interior shots here:

View link

(I found this gallery through the link in “Photos online of downtown Los Angeles theaters” in today’s Theater News on the Cinema Treasures home page.)

Wow! It’s much as I expected — certainly more restrained than the unrelentingly lavish art deco of the Hollywood Pantages or even the Wiltern, but quite lovely and quite impressive nonetheless. (It reminds me of the Fox Pomona, which I had the good fortune to see in a Last Remaining Seats event almost 30 years ago.)

The gallery has lots of pictures of most of the other downtown theaters, including many photos that I’d never seen before. Check it out!

nickb
nickb on January 29, 2008 at 1:53 am

A tidbit: Metzger seems to have had a brief spell in the news in 1928 as the head of a syndicate which procured the Broadway Palace Theater. He became the Palace’s supervising manager and instituted a policy of double feature attractions: a musical comedy plus a photoplay. (A month later the Times reported the policy a success: ‘every attendance record has been shattered.’)

nickb
nickb on January 29, 2008 at 1:46 am

Why is there so little about the opening of the Roxie in the Los Angeles Times? The owners don’t seem to have had much of a sense of PR. Who were G.A. Metzger and Harry Srere? I have found that they also opened the Fairfax Theater in 1929; and Metzger headed the Independent Theater Owners of Southern California in 1933. But why is there so little coverage of the Roxie?

nickb
nickb on January 29, 2008 at 12:40 am

I’m told the owners are called the Helen family, and own the full row – the Cameo and Arcade too. Not sure if they’re on board this new revitalization scheme announced today, but there’s a slightly odd mockup of the Roxie included in their pictorial.

vokoban
vokoban on August 29, 2007 at 8:19 am

does anyone know who owns the Roxie now?

LAOPERAMAN
LAOPERAMAN on August 29, 2007 at 2:54 am

About 6 or 7 years ago I sweet talked one of the shop owners to let me explore the building. I was able to walk up the left staircase up to a second level lobby area. Their are two staircases on either side of the lobby, and at the second level I saw some fantastic Art Deco neo-classical pillars with a very stylized modern Ionic capitols. I got into the men’s room, but the smell was bad, and the shop owner said it was time to leave. As We made out way back down the stairs, I saw a white double door that I assume lead into the Auditorium. I’ve only seen two photos of the interiors, but they showed a very handsome restrained Deco design.

moviebear1
moviebear1 on August 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm

I also worked at this theatre back in the 1970s a couple of times but don’t recall what the interrior of the theatre looks like. Does anyone have any interior shots?

Matt Spero

GWaterman
GWaterman on July 23, 2006 at 8:20 pm

Great, ken!! there’s a novel in this!

We didn’t go inside the Roxie during our recent Conservancy tour. I am wondering what the auditorium is used for. Is it storage, like the Cameo and the Arcade? Or is it no longer recognizable?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 28, 2006 at 6:48 pm

Denny, your last line sounds like the beginning of a Mickey Spillane novel…“I worked the day shift out of the Roxie. The walls were red. My eyes were redder, probably because of the cheap gin I had for breakfast. One night, this dame walked into my projection booth…”

dennis906
dennis906 on April 21, 2006 at 11:38 am

I worked the Roxie about April or May in 1976 for two weeks when the projectionist took a vacation. There was three movies on the program. During those two weeks I remember running Kingdom of the Spiders, Deranged, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare Honeymoon and several kung fu movies. The booth was small and narrow with three super simplex projectors and two of the simplex arclight lamphouses were converted to xenon. Even with this setup we still made change-overs on two thousand foot reels. I never went into the auditorium but only saw it through the booth ports. The auditorium had a balcony and the screen was kinda small. The decor color was crimson red. I worked the day shift.

vokoban
vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 6:25 pm

I can’t remember if those stores that are in the Roxie only take up the lobby or if they use the whole space. I hope they didn’t level the floor like they did at the Westlake Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 8, 2006 at 5:30 pm

The stories of Mr. Metzger and the anonymous suicide sound like they could have been scenes out of noir movies of the era. But at least nobody ever came crashing through the roof of the Roxie.

The Roxie was one of the Broadway theatres I never got around to attending. It was already a grind house when I began going downtown, and I preferred going to the first or second run theatres farther south, or on Hill Street. All the theatres north of 6th street except the Million Dollar were a bit sad and run down by the 1960’s.

Of course, since the building is still there, there’s always a possibility that it will be renovated and re-opened some day, so I might still get a chance to add it to my list of theatres I’ve attended.

vokoban
vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 12:15 pm

Here’s the rest of that article, my computer froze up or something:

“Track of the Cat,” had been in the darkness since a break on the previous day at 3:30 p.m. The body was taken to the County Morgue. The victim was described as 5 feet 1 inch in height, about 138 pounds, of stocky build, about 40 years of age. She had auburn hair, hazel eyes and false teeth.

vokoban
vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 9:42 am

Another death in this theater, I wonder if it is haunted….

(Dec. 25, 1954)
Only clues to the identity of a woman who slashed her wrists and died early yesterday between a row of seats in a downtown all-night theater were a Canadian dollar bill and a telephone number written on a cafe receipt, homicide detectives reported. The body was found by a patron, Claude R. Williams, 2108 S Maple St., when the house lights went up at 5 a.m. yesterday after the last show in the Roxie Theater, at 518 S Broadway.
Police said both the woman’s wrists were deeply slashed and blood had flowed down the sloping floor of the theater past several rows of seats. Beside the body detectives found a double-edged razor blade which evidently was the intrument of her suicide. The woman wore a brown wool suit and brown suede shoes. Beside her lay a black nylon raincoat. Her brown leather purse held only $2.62 in cash, the Canadian bill and a receipt from a cafe at 10113 W Washington Blvd. Detectives said the telephone number handwritten on the receipt was the number of the cafe. The cafe propietor, Dave Brandt, told police, however, that he could recall no woman answering the description of the suicide. Detectives said the woman apparently slashed her wrists, slumped to the floor and died without attracting any notice in the dark theater. No patrons reported hearing an outcry. The night manager, Clarence Warner, said the house, which was showing “Crossed Swords,” starring Errol Flynn and Gina Lollobrigida, and the psychological adventure, “Track of the Cat,”…
had been in

vokoban
vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 9:27 am

Vintage ESPN?

(Dec. 17, 1932)
Complete pictures of the Trojan-Notre Dame game will be shown for three days, starting tomorrow at the New Roxie Theater. The film is in both slow motion, and ordinary speed, with all of the important plays being shown at the slow pace.

vokoban
vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 9:22 am

Frightening….

(Aug. 5, 1943)
FILM THEATER MANAGER DIES IN BOX OFFICE
A customer stepped up to the box office of the Roxie Theater, 518 S. Broadway. “One ticket, please,” he said. There was no response. The man in the glass enclosure, Harry R. Metzger, 37, mangager, seemed coldly unconcerned. His eyes stared straight ahead. The customer called attendants. Metzger, they found, was dead, apparently of heart disease.

vokoban
vokoban on December 15, 2005 at 9:38 pm

Here’s a little about the Roxie from the LA Times, June 21, 1931:

Constuction work on a theater and store building at 516 South Broadway (maybe the address was changed later) began last week, the playhouse to be known as the Roxie and the building to contain four storerooms. The cost is estimated at $100,000.
Announcement of the project was made by G.A. Metzger and Harry Srere, who, with associates, are the lessees. The contract for construction has been awarded the J.M. Cooper Company. G.Y. Ridenbaugh of the Charles G. Andrews Company, realty broker, and P.L. corrigan represented the lessor and lessees.
The structure will have a frontage on North Broadway of eighty-one feet. The depth of the property is in excess of 165 feet. The theater will have a seating capacity of 1600.

Is it a typo that the article say North Broadway?

teecee
teecee on September 26, 2005 at 12:07 pm

This close up cuts out the huge vertical marquee on the roof:
http://www.gmrnet.com/graphics/theatr1h.jpg

BhillH20
BhillH20 on May 26, 2005 at 9:10 pm

Actually, the photos I’ve seen of the lobby and auditorium, it was a very simple version of deco design using stencils and simple ornament and light fixtures. Most likely due to Depression-era budget…

stevebob
stevebob on November 29, 2004 at 10:01 am

Though I’m familiar with many other Broadway theaters, I never visited the Roxie. Unfortunately, all the photos I’ve ever seen have been of the exterior. Does anyone recall details about the auditorium, such as the design or the decor?

William
William on November 13, 2003 at 8:50 pm

The Roxie’s address is 518 S. Broadway, it opened on Nov. 25, 1931.

William
William on August 21, 2002 at 12:04 pm

The last major theatre built downtown, it is notable for its zigzag & streamline moderne style.

The Roxie was built on the site of an older theatre, Quinn’s Superba.

By 1915, three theatres were doing extremely well just south of 5th & Broadway: Quinn’s Superba, Clune’s Broadway(aka Cameo) and the Pantages(aka Dalton’s, Arcade), than were all still in operation into the early to mid 90’s. Like its predecessor, the new Roxie was equipped for live stage performances, but its long narrow auditorium was best suited for viewing movies. The last chain to operate the Roxie was Metropolitan theatres. In it’s last years of operation it was a Spanish language house. Today the Roxie’s lobby is used as a store.

Roxie’s architect was John M. Cooper.

William
William on February 26, 2002 at 9:27 pm

The architect of the Roxie theatre was J.M. Cooper.