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Laurie & Droog: Thanks for the confirmation of the Vogue’s location. Now I can have it added to the Cinema Treasures database. An opening date of 1940s also confirms my suspicion that the Vogue was in a converted store building rather than a purpose-built theatre building. The assessor’s office says the building itself was erected in 1929.
The name Olander is familiar to me. An acquaintance named Don Olander some thirty years ago told me that his family ran either the bowling alley or the coffee shop in the bowling alley (the memory is dim) that was in the northern part of Montebello, southwest of Garfield and Pomona Boulevard. The subject of the Vogue never came up in our conversation, but the name Olander is not common so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same family.
But as one mystery is solved, another opens up. Or, now, two more. The building which is probably at 520 Whittier and which may have been a theater is still a mystery, now that we know it wasn’t the Vogue; and in addition we now have the Cameo on the opposite side of Whittier somewhere in that same area. I’m quite sure that only two theaters (the Garmar and the Vogue) were operating in Montebello by the late 1950s, so the odds of anyone showing up who remembers either the Cameo or the possible theater at 520 Whittier are slim, so this is probably another research mystery.
L.A. County Assessor’s office says the building currently on this site (southwest corner of Florence and Walnut) was built in 1981. The Florencita Theatre is gone.
The L.A. County Assessor’s office gives the date of construction for the 7403 sq.ft. building at this address as 1925.
The whole block is a strip mall now, built in 1990.
The L.A. County Assessor’s office gives the effective year built for this building as 1940. The “Year Built” space on its page has “0000” in it. Grrrr, missing data!
The county assessor’s office lists three structures on two lots at this address: A 6000 sq.ft. building erected in 1912; a 3600 sq.ft. building erected in 1914; and a 4320 sq.ft. building erected in 1957. TerraServer’s satellite view shows that the building just west of the one abutting the alley (see ken mc’s photos linked above) has a section behind it with a different style of roof than the street-front section.
The alley-side brick wall in Ken’s photo looks too old for 1957 so is probably from the 1910s. That building also looks a bit narrow for a theatre. The City’s ZIMAS site gives the addresses of the two lots as 1896 and 1898 W. Adams, so it seems likely that the theatre was in the building farther from the alley.
The question is, which section of the building next to the alley-side building is of 1910s vintage. From above, the back section of the western building looks more like it would have held an auditorium, but it also looks more like it might be newer construction. I wonder if the theatre’s auditorium was there, and replaced in 1957, or if the former front section of the theatre building was replaced then?
If the front of the theatre had originally been divided into lobby, foyer, and a couple of storefronts, with load-bearing walls separating them, then it would have made sense for someone converting the property for another use to demo and replace that part of the building, and keep the auditorium section with its clear span. In any case, it seems likely that at least part of the Adams Theatre has been demolished.
The 1939 L.A. City Directory has the Allena Theatre listed at 120 E. Santa Barbara Avenue. The 1942 directory has it at 126 E. Santa Barbara. In the 1956 directory, Kapp’s market is listed at 120 E. Santa Barbara, and the Allena Theatre is not listed at all. According to the L.A. County assessor’s office, the building currently on that lot, now numbered 120 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, was built in 1982.
Thanks, Laurie. I’ve checked Google Maps street view and the parcel viewer at the L.A. County Assessor’s website, and I see a building at 712 Whittier Boulevard that looks vaguely familiar to me. Could you take a look at this photo at Flickr and tell me if the building now housing Salon Maxx, and having an angled projection punctured by three round holes, is the building which housed the Vogue? As I said in my earlier comment, I only saw the place a few times, and that was ages ago, so my memory is pretty dim. But I do now have a vague recollection of that architectural feature with the three holes in it, and another vague memory that there was a parking lot just a little way east of the Vogue (and there is one just a bit east of this building), but I’m not at all positive about any of this.
Patsy and William: I don’t think the reference in Karol’s book could be to the El Capitan on Vine. From the early 1940s until 1949, the El Capitan on Vine Street was the venue of Ken Murray’s Blackouts, an extraordinarily popular stage review which ran for 3,844 performances, so I doubt the theatre would have been available for any other purpose.
Desi Arnaz was the bandleader on Bob Hope’s weekly (Tuesday night) radio show in 1946 and 1947, but I’m pretty sure the show originated from the NBC studios at Sunset and Vine, and the band would probably have been in the studio, as a rule.
It’s possible that the book is correct about the venue, though. Maybe Arnaz and the band did play at the Paramount Theatre at least once during 1947. Paramount’s production and exhibition arms were still united in 1947, and Bob Hope’s movies were released through Paramount. Any or all of his 1947 films (he made three that year) are likely to have had runs at the Hollywood Paramount. If so, then a remote broadcast of the radio show from the theatre (with Arnaz leading the orchestra as usual), to promote a Bob Hope movie, would not have been out of the question.
I’m just speculating about this, of course, but such an event at the Paramount seems more likely than an appearance by the Arnaz orchestra at the El Capitan on Vine in that year.
The various thumbnail pages for photos of the New Sequoia/Fox Theatre at the historical photos website usually include the information that the original Sequoia Theatre was located at 2114 Broadway and operated from 1917 to 1929. I can’t find any photos on that site showing a close view of the original Sequoia Theatre. However, in this 1947 aerial view in which you can see the New Sequoia dominating the center of the picture, note that in the next block closer, and on the right side of Broadway, there’s a dark building with a slope-roofed rear section, which I surmise is at, or very near, the old Sequoia’s address.
In satellite views fetched by searches on 2114 Broadway, Redwood City, at Google Maps and TerraServer, it looks as though this building still exists. Could this be the original Sequoia Theatre? The building was already there in this 1925 aerial photo, seen from the west side, just above and to the left of the Courthouse dome. The building could date from 1917, the original Sequoia’s opening year.
Citysearch gives the current address of Anderson’s TV in Redwood City as 901 El Camino Real. Searching on Google Maps with Street View, you get a decent view of the building by using the address 929 El Camino Real (Google Maps will then tell you you’re looking at 928 El Camino, I guess because Google maps is probably confused by Redwood City’s unorthodox practice of putting even numbers on the west sides of streets.) I don’t like using Google Maps Street View feature, because it takes forever for the pages to load. It’s like being back on a dial-up Internet connection. But with lots of patience you can get a look at the building that now squats where the Redwood Theatre once stood.
To get the Fox Skyline’s location to map properly on Google Maps, it will be necessary to change the address to Skyline Blvd. & Sharp Park Rd.. The shopping center had to have been at the southwest corner of the intersection, and Westborough Boulevard runs only east from Skyline. Also, the location given for the theatre on an official inaugural program displayed at Larry Goldsmith’s Fox Skyline Collection is Sharp Park Road and Skyline Boulevard.
Incidentally, this theatre’s location was just about directly on top of the San Andreas Fault. It would have been a great place to see “Earthquake!”
I’ve been picturing the Redwood Theatre being on the northwest corner of the intersection, but if it was on the southwest corner (which it would have to have been if the trees in the background were to the west, across El Camino), then the shops with the addresses of 44 and 46 on them must have been on California Street, too. The theatre would probably have been at 42 California Street, then.
I wonder what was in that building in the background with the fancy cornice? The lower part of that sign on its side looks like an old Pontiac emblem, but it’s too small to tell for sure. There was once a Balestra Pontiac at 1039 South El Camino, which is just below James Avenue. It seems possible that the building behind the Redwood was their location in the 1940s, and they later expanded into the next block, eventually moving their entire operation there. (Not relevant to the theatre, of course, but perhaps interesting to people from Redwood City.)
I’m still trying to track down information about the Vogue, Montebello’s other movie house, which is not yet listed at CT.
The L.A. Public Library has two old photos of Whittier Boulevard looking toward 5th Street, ca.1920 and ca.1935, and in each there is a building with a big arch making up most of the facade. In the 1935 photo, it looks as though this building has display cases form movie posters in its entryway. In the first photo the area is just sort of a muddle. The building might have been converted to a theatre at some date after this photo was taken, or it’s possible it was being remodeled at the time of the photograph.
Montebello was a good-sized town by 1920, and it seems likely that it would have had a move theatre then. The building is a bit narrow,and I’m wondering if maybe this was the elusive Vogue Theatre in an early incarnation. I went there maybe three or four times at most, back in the 1950s, all I remember of it was that it was on the north side of Whittler Boulevard and was very narrow, and the back couple of rows of seats were on risers so you had to go up a step or two from the aisle to reach them (each row had its own steps, so it wasn’t like stadium seating.)
I can’t remember exactly where on Whitter Boulevard the Vogue was, but I’ve always had the impression it was only a few blocks west of Bluff Road, and the block between 5th and 6th Streets would be about right. Does anybody in Montebello have the exact address of the Vogue? I’ve checked the L.A. County Assessor’s parcel viewer on the Internet and the buildings on the west end of that block in the second photo above are apparently still there.
The most likely candidate for the arched building is 520 W. Whittier, Montebello being one of the towns that puts even numbers on the north sides of streets. The building at that address has a construction date of 1915, and an effective construction date (major remodeling) of 1933, which would be about right for the fairly modern style of the Vogue as I remember it. If somebody could dig up the address of the Vogue, we’ll know whether or not this was it’s location.
I can’t find any listing for the Carson Twin (or any theatres at all in Carson) in my February 10, 1971, copy of the L.A. Times. In the August 24, 1986 issue, it’s listed in the Independent Theatres section as the Carson #1, which was showing “Friday the 13th pt.6” and “Reanimators” (perhaps 1985’s “Re-Animator”,unless there was a crappy sequel I’ve never heard of) and Carson #2, showing “Back to School” and “Seeking Susan” (or Desperately Seeking a Shorter Title for Our Diminutive Attraction Board.) A small building I presume is the theatre shows up on the aerial photo of 5/31/1994 at TerraServer.
South Bay Six Drive-in also shows up in the August 1986 listings, but not in February 1971. It, too, most likely opened in the early 1970s.
Gary: If the theatre-like building you saw is at 2114 Broadway, that’s the location of the original Sequoia Theatre from 1917 to 1929, according to the Bits of History website. Unfortunately, with all the photos of the New Sequoia/Fox Theatre, the website apparently doesn’t have a single shot of the original Sequoia.
I did find another photo of the Redwood, though, running movies released in 1944 and 1945. It shows the addresses of two shops on Montgomery/Winklebleck Street. Looking at the configuration of the theatre’s doors I’m now wondering if maybe it, too, didn’t have a Montgomery Street address?
From the San Mateo County Historical Photos website:
On June 22, 1950, the plaster ceiling above the balcony of the Sequoia Theatre collapsed during the show, injuring 30 people.
The theatre was repaired and reopened as the Fox Theatre on September 15, 1950.
Several other photos of the Fox can be seen in the Redwood City Library section of the website.
San Mateo County Library provides this photo of the Redwood Theatre at the time of its opening in 1933. The feature presentation is Eddie Cantor’s “Whoopee” which had been released in 1930. The parked automobiles are definitely later than 1930, though, and I have a suspicion that at least some of the people posing for this picture were cast members of the big stage show advertised in the marquee banner. The library gives the theatre’s years of operation as 1933-1955.
A 1933 opening date for the Redwood makes it very likely that this was indeed the theatre in Redwood City that S. Charles Lee had been hired to design, announced in the January 17th, 1933, issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor.
The Google Map feature won’t work with the address currently posted for this location. As near as I can puzzle it out, the theatre was on the northwest corner of California Street and what is now Winklebleck Street, which would put it at the south end of the 0 block. I can’t determine what the actual address of the theatre was, but Google Maps will point to the correct intersection with a search for 99 California Street, Redwood City. But if Redwood City has even numbers on the west sides of streets, then 98 California Street would be the best compromise address.
First, a CORRECTION: I wrote in my comment just above that Asher Hamburger owned the site of Clune’s Broadway Theatre, but I confused my names. It was Tally’s Broadway Theatre that was on land the Hamburger Trust owned, next door to Hamburger’s store on South Broadway.
Almost all of the Los Angeles area theatres listed thus far at Cinema Treasures were built later than 1913, and many of the listed theatres existing at that time didn’t begin showing movies on a regular basis until later. The best place to look for information about what was showing in late 1913 would be the newspaper ads and theatre listings of the era. I don’t have access to any newspaper archives of the time myself.
By 1913 a lot of movie theatres were operating in L.A.. Among the larger downtown theatres of the time that were built specifically to show movies were the Optic (a few doors down from the Gaiety), Clune’s Broadway (later the Cameo), Tally’s Broadway Theatre, which was actually built later than Tally’s New Broadway Theatre (later the Garnett), and the Hyman Theatre (later renamed the Garrick.)
There were also a few good-sized theatres which had been built for stage productions but converted to full or part-time movie houses by 1913. Among these were the Mozart Theatre on Grand Avenue, which underwent many name changes but was the Mozart in 1913, and the Grand Theatre on Main Street- at that time still one of the city’s largest venues- which had opened as the Grand Opera House and had been the first Los Angeles house to become part of the Orpheum Vaudeville Circuit.
Any of these theatres would have provided a capacious hall for the opening run of a popular movie, though there were certainly others. I don’t think Marcus Loew had opened a theatre in Los Angeles yet in 1913 (Loew’s State opened in 1921), but if the movie was showing in vaudeville houses such as Loew’s in the east, then it might have been shown in a vaudeville house in Los Angeles as well, so such theatres as the Pantages (later the Arcade) and the third Orpheum now the Palace) were also possible venues.
The earliest references to the College Theatre in the California Index cite mentions in The Rounder, a weekly magazine. The September 17, 1910 issue features the theatre on its cover and on page 16 (my guess would be that this was on the occasion of the theatre’s opening), and the October 15 issue that year announces the appearance at the College Theatre of the Lillian May Lancaster Orchestra. Sounds as though it was not yet a movie house.
The only reference I can find on the Internet to a Lillian May Lancaster is one naming her the composer, lyricist and performer of a song called “Laura” published in 1907, and giving her the aka Maude Leota Byrd. Well, now she’ll have a reference at Cinema Treasures, too. Hey, Lilly May fans!
Apparently, the Edison Theatre seen in the movie “Madigan” is the former Edison Theatre at 2700 Broadway in Manhattan, listed here as the Columbia Cinema. Some of the movie’s scenes were indeed filmed in downtown Los Angeles, but this scene was not among them.
Re-reading the comments from the last few years (especially those by vokoban on Jul 26, 2006), I see that the shows presented at the People’s Theatre in its early years indicate no particularly socialist bent. The Ethel Tucker Stock Company appearing in September, 1906, was a well-known travelling troupe of the era, and the show presented in February, 1908, by the Great Don-Fer appears to have been some sort of minstrelsy.
So, the People’s Theatre appears to have presented pretty much the same sort of popular entertainments as the other theatres in Los Angeles at the time. We’ve got no firm date at which this theatre first showed movies, though. As it was built as a playhouse in 1906, it’s very unlikely that it had a projection booth as part of its original design, and its use as a movie house would have been limited by that until one was installed.
Despite the building having been built by H.J. Woollacott, I wonder if the house was then actually operated under lease by, or for, Asher Hamburger, owner of A. Hamburger’s Department Store, later The May Company Los Angeles and earlier The People’s Store? He apparently had some connection with the earlier People’s Theatre on North Main Street, and he owned the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. He was one of the partners who built the fourth Los Angeles Orpheum. He also owned the land on which Clune’s Broadway Theatre stood, and may have financed its construction, and for a while he actually operated a movie house inside his department store after it moved from the Phillips Block to the big building on 8th, Broadway, and Hill.
In any case, it seems unlikely that the name People’s Theatre was, in this case at least, a reference to socialism. Also, IMDb reveals that “From Dusk to Dawn” was distributed in the U.S. by States Rights Independent Exchanges, which was a highly successful company operating from 1912 to 1962 (though at a considerably slower pace after 1939.) This company distributed such enormously popular early movies as Jame’s O'Neill’s version of “The Count of Monte Cristo”, the early Cecil B. DeMille production, “The Squaw Man”, and numerous others. It seems unlikely that the company would have had any trouble getting regular movie theatres to show Wolfe’s film, despite its socialist theme. That means the movie might have been shown at many theatres around the city.
The Rio in that video wasn’t the Rio on Manchester, which was a large, modern, freestanding building. I did notice many L.A. area neighborhood theatres in the video, though, including the Clinton, Kim Sing, Eagle, Imperial, Beverly, Vagabond, Pasadena’s State, Tosca, Unique, Vista, Ebony Showcase, and a nice shot of the Garfield in Alhambra about three and a half minutes in.
andita: The sign on the building near the subway terminal was for The Peoples National Bank, which occupied the premises at 409 S. Hill from 1924 to 1929. Note, just beyond the subway building, the white skyscraper which was still under construction at the time this photo was taken (you can see that the sidewalk is displaced by a wooden bypass of the sort used during construction.) That skyscraper was to be the new home of the bank, which changed its name to National Bank of Commerce when it moved there in 1929.
The 1907 photo ken mc posted which no longer opens is probably this one (USC digital archive changed all its url’s). It shows Main Street from above, with this building (Gaiety Theatre) at lower right sporting a “People’s Theatre” sign.
If the Socialist Movie Theatre was actually on 5th Street, it might have been a simple storefront conversion. The majority of early movie thetres were storefront conversions, and they came and went like mayflies. Few purpose-built theatres were ever erected on 5th Street. There was one theatre called the Metropolitan (not to be confused with the later Grauman Metropolitan on 6th and Hill), which is not listed at Cinema Treasures because we don’t know if it ever ran movies or not. The Metropolitan was on 5th at the northwest corner of either Wall or San Pedro.
Other than that, there were only Clune’s Theatre on Main at the corner of 5th (also not yet listed here, as nobody’s gotten around to it), and the Auditorium, owned by Temple Baptist Church, and also operated by Billy Clune during its movie house days (ca.1914-1920.)