Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Neptune Theatre on Jul 23, 2007 at 3:51 am

The L.A. library’s California Index confirms a 1911 opening for the Neptune Theatre. The opening date was either May 22 or May 23, 1911, according to an ambiguous article in The Santa Monica Outlook of May 12, 1911. The theatre was owned by David Evans, and was upon opening operated under a lease by Los Angeles vaudeville impresario Arthur S. Hyman (whose Hyman Theatre at 8th and Broadway in Los Angeles later became the Garrick Theatre and was finally demolished to make way for the Tower Theatre.) According to the February 3, 1912 issue of of the regional entertainment publication, The Rounder, the Neptune in that year presented previews of a number of movies made by the Bison Company, a local Santa Monica studio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about La Petite Theatre on Jul 23, 2007 at 3:22 am

Either La Petite Theatre was a bit peripatetic, or the area had two theatres by that name.

The earliest reference to Santa Monica’s La Petite Theatre in the L.A. library’s California Index is to a Santa Monica Outlook item of January 1, 1908, announcing the opening of a new play. An Outlook item of January 6 that year gives the theatre’s address as 227 3rd Street. The following day the same paper announced a film titled “College Chums” would appear at the La Petite Theatre.

But on January 25, 1909, The Outlook announced that B.A. Wheelock would finance the construction of the La Petit [sic] Theatre in Ocean Park. The announcement that the contract for construction had been let was published in The Outlook on February 16, 1909. The architect of this building (which may have had a very brief existence) was Alfred Rosenheim. A mere three years later, on February 12, 1912, The Venice Vanguard carried an article announcing that Kramer and Stineman had purchased the La Petite Theatre, Ocean Front and Marine St. from Wheelock & Boland, and planned to build a larger building on the site. I’ve been unable to confirm that the plan to rebuild was carried out.

Whether in a new building or the earlier one, the La Petite may have operated into 1923. A Venice Vanguard article of February 17, 1923, said that the La Petite Theatre building would be converted into a store.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Neptune Theatre on Jul 23, 2007 at 2:41 am

The Venice Timeline claims that the Neptune Theatre opened in 1911, with 750 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Here’s yet another update for the S. Charles Lee link:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Esquire Theatre on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:34 pm

Here’s an interior photo of the State, also dated 1936. Apparently, S. Charles Lee was approached about remodeling the place at that time, but there’s no record in his papers that he did the project. I never saw Stockton until about 1970, by which time the town had been struck by an urban ruinewal project. If the State was still there then, I don’t remember seeing it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Meralta Theatre on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Ken, the Meralta isn’t even in that aerial photo. TerraServer got its little red dot way off in this case. The theatre is at the east (right hand) end of the block, on the north side of First Street. It’s just out of frame in that photo. You have to go to the large version of the photo, and then you can identify the Meralta’s building by the marquee jutting out from it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Century Theatre on Jul 20, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Ken: Odd street numbers are on the west sides of north-south streets. In the TerraServer aerial view, it has to be the odd-numbered Century on the left, and the even-numbered Aloha on the right.

The aerial photo shows the extant triangular marquee of the Aloha, and also the patch of terrazzo sidewalk in front of the Century/Circle directly across the street. Your photo and the aerial are proof that, though the address of 6013 has been changed to 6003, L.A. Smith’s Circle Theatre building from 1921-22 has not been demolished. It is currently the location of Acevedo’s Upholstery Supplies. This page needs to be updated.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Tally's Broadway Theatre on Jul 18, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Period photos show that it was the theatre at 6th Street that was called Tally’s New Broadway. It was also called the Garnett Theatre, but I don’t know during what years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Woods Theatre on Jul 18, 2007 at 4:47 pm

The correct name is Woods Theatre, without an apostrophe. The owner was an A.L. Woods.

FDY may have been a bit late in upping the reported number of seats in this house, unless the theatre was expanded twice, or its original expansion plans had to be put off. The August 27, 1937 issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor announced an impending remodeling and expansion of the Woods which would double the theatre’s capacity.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Warrens Theatre on Jul 17, 2007 at 4:12 pm

The stringy chandelier in the former Warner Downtown auditorium is a post-theatrical addition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Gale Theater on Jul 14, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Southwest Contractor & Maufacturer in its issue of January 22, 1916, said that The Gale Theatrical Company would erect a brick theatre on S. Greenleaf Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about United Artists Theatre on Jul 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm

gencin: This page is not about the UA Marketplace 6 multiplex at Colorado and Delacey in Old Town. It’s about the earlier UA single-screen which was about ¾ of a mile east of there, on Colorado near Madison. This theatre was closed when UA opened the Marketplace 6, which was about 1987, I think. The Marketplace 6 is closed now, too, since 2004, while the AMC 8 screen in Old Pasadena is still open, but no longer operated by AMC. For the last few years it’s been operated as the Laemmle One Colorado Cinemas. Laemmle also has the Playhouse 7 multiplex at Colorado and El Molino.

The big dog in Pasadena now is the Pacific Theatres multiplex, the Paseo 14 at 336 East Colorado, where the J.C. Penney store used to be when the Paseo was still Plaza Pasadena. It was the Paseo 14, opened in 2001, that led Regal to shut down the Marketplace 6 and AMC to pull out of its Old Town operation.

As of this date, Cinema Treasures doesn’t yet have pages for the UA Marketplace 6, or the AMC/Laemmle One Colorado Cinemas, or for the Pacific Paseo 14. That early triplex that used to be on Rosemead near the Pacific Hastings is missing, too. The Laemmle Playhouse 7 is listed, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lynwood Theatre on Jul 13, 2007 at 11:51 pm

The L.A. Library’s California Index has three cards with headings containing the name Lynwood Theatre, but two are contradictory.

The earliest cites Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of August 1, 1924, which said that the contract had been awarded to build the theatre at the corner of Long Beach Avenue and Elizabeth Street.

The second, citing Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of January 16, 1925, said that bids were being taken for the theatre, but the location is given as the southwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue.

I suspect- but can’t be positive- that the section of Elmwood Avenue which crossed Long Beach Boulevard was absorbed by Imperial Highway, and thus will not be found on modern maps. Today a tad end of Elmwood exists in the east part of town, one block north of Beechwood Avenue. At Long Beach Boulevard, Beechwood is one block south of Imperial.

Unless the library made an error on one or the other of the cards, or Southwest Builder made an error in one or another of its articles, it looks as though the original project fell through and construction was delayed a year and the site changed. This is too bad because there’s also this card in the index which, though it doesn’t specifically name the Lynwood Theatre, is timed perfectly to refer to it, citing Southwest Builder of May 9, 1924 as saying that a theatre in Lynwood had been designed by architect Werner Ernest Noffke. Since the project was apparently moved I suppose we can’t assume that the same architect was used for the theatre that actually got built.

The third card actually naming the Lynwood Theatre cites California Graphic, issue of August 22, 1925, reporting on the gala opening of the theatre on August 14, 1925.

There is also a card which refers to the replacement theatre built after the earthquake. This card cites two issues of Southwest Builder & Contractor; September 28, 1934, and December 14, 1924. Both announce the plans of the Lynwood Theatre Corporation to erect a new theatre designed by Paul Kerr. The address is given as 11600 Long Beach Boulevard. This is a few blocks south of Elmwood Avenue (assuming that Elmwood is now Imperial), so it might be that the two Lynwood Theaters were in different locations and deserve seperate entries.

However, if mistakes were made by either the library or by Southwest Builder, there is another possibility. If the first Lynwood theatre was built not at the corner of Elmwood Avenue but at the corner of Lynwood Avenue, then the two might have been in the same place since, as near as I can figure from the maps available to me, Lynwood Avenue is just about at the 11600 block of Long Beach Avenue. I think it more likely that there wasn’t any mistake, and the corner of Elmwood Avenue was correct location of the first theatre.

To sum up:

First Lynwood Theatre, opened August 14, 1925, destroyed by earthquake on March 10, 1933, probably located at the southwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue (which is possibly now Imperial Highway), possibly designed by Werner Ernest Noffke.

Second Lynwood Theatre, 11600 Long Beach Avenue, designed by Paul Kerr, built 1934-35, probably demolished (it doesn’t appear to be there on Terraserver’s 2004 Urban Areas aerial photo.)

So, there are some puzzles for somebody to work on.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Linda Lea Theatre on Jul 13, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Ken: It undoubtedly was an African-American program. The neighborhood remained predominantly black for some time after the Japanese began to be released from the camps. In any case, it would have taken incredible chutzpah for the few Japanese-Americans dribbling back into the neighborhood early in 1945 to start showing Japanese films.

It occurs to me that the reopening date of October 30, 1947, given at the ArchitectDB site, might be the date the theatre returned to showing Japanese films. Another interesting thing is that the name Linda Lea was apparently given to the theatre by its African-American operators (it would be interesting to know the exact origin of the name) but was then kept by the Japanese-American management when the operation went back to its old policy. Maybe the name Fuji-san was considered too obviously Japanese for the early post-war years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Linda Lea Theatre on Jul 13, 2007 at 4:43 pm

1st and San Pedro was the original location of the Linda Lea. The theatre on that site (324 E. 1st ST.) dated to 1925 and was opened as the Fuji-kan. It closed during the war and reopened as the Linda Lea on February 10, 1945, with a stage show and movies. The reopening story is briefly recounted on this page at the Bronzeville website. The architectDB has this page for the original Linda Lea, but gives the reopening date as 10/30/1947. The Bronzeville page is surely right about the reopening being in 1945, as they display a printed ad from that time. The 1947 date given by the ArchitectDB might actually be the date the operation moved to the Main Street location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Hillstreet Theatre on Jul 12, 2007 at 12:21 am

The 1964 Times article certainly erred in saying that this was the largest theatre downtown. The Paramount was the largest. I’m also skeptical of the article’s claim about the original name of this theatre. The writer of the piece probably gave only a cursory glance to the paper’s old articles from the time of the Theatre’s opening. Even before it was built, as shown in this c1920 photo the sign on the building that was soon to be demolished to make way for it called it the Hill Theatre (though the sign had the Junior Orpheum circuit’s logo on it as well.)

Many photos from the 1920’s show the name Hill Street Theatre on the building. Here’s one from c1924. When the name was changed in 1929, it was from Hill Street Theatre to RKO Theatre. The theatre’s name was changed again, to RKO Hillstreet Theatre, shortly thereafter. There were many theatres on the Junior Orpheum circuit, but I don’t think any of them were ever actually named Junior Orpheum Theatre. Junior Orpheum was more a generic appellation for all the theatres in the circuit, and most of them were probably referred to as the Junior Orpheum in whatever city at one time or another, but I’ve never heard of that name being on a marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Hillstreet Theatre on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Yes, the building with the classical facade fronting on Grand. The parking lot next to it would have been very handy for the well-to-do motorists who drove in from West Adams or Hancock Park or Silver Lake to see the latest movie without having to deal with the smelly crowds of streetcar riders on Broadway or Hill Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Hillstreet Theatre on Jul 11, 2007 at 4:32 pm

#728 is interesting. At the lower right it gives a novel view of the Fox Criterion on Grand Avenue north of 7th Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about RKO Hillstreet Theatre on Jul 11, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Here is a 1930 aerial photo of downtown Los Angeles, looking north, with Pershing square at center. Follow Hill Street (on the right side of of the square) south for two blocks and you can see the Hillstreet Theatre on the left, with its corner dome. The side view shows how deep the building was, extending more than halfway through the block toward Olive Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bill Robinson Theatre on Jul 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm

L.A. library’s index cards use the American dating system, with the month first.

I’ve been unable to determine if the Soboba theatre was on East or West Main Street.

Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mr. Robinson,
We’ll get back to you eventually.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Riviera Theatre on Jul 10, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Knox Heritage has a page about the 500 block of Gay Street, including a few paragraphs about the Riviera Theatre. The Riviera was built in 1920, fitted into an existing building dating to the Victorian era, and featured both movies and live entertainment during its early years. It suffered extensive damage in a fire in 1963, but was restored (this probably accounts for the name change to New Riviera) and continued to run movies regularly until closing with Adios Amigos, as Bob Brown says above. The theatre ran its last movies in the summer of 1976 and was demolished in 1988.

Another page at Knox Heritage is about the new Regal Riviera project, which involves some fairly elaborate planning and financing in order to preserve all or parts of several other historic buildings on the block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Larchmont Theatre on Jul 10, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Western Construction Company had made the plans for and would erect this theatre, according to an item in Southwest Builder & Contractor’s issue of September 16, 1921. The project budget was $30,000. A pipe organ was mentioned in the item, but no details about it were given.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bill Robinson Theatre on Jul 10, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Soboba was the original name of the theatre, probably named after the Soboba band of Luiseno Indians. There is also a Soboba Hot Springs in the area. The name Sabada has no local associations that I can find. It seems most likely that the FDY was in error.

My source for the opening date and closing year, as well as the correct name and the building’s destruction by fire, is the California Index at the L.A. Library website. Here are two cards citing the L.A. Times:

View link

View link

I’m not sure if the Soboba was the same theatre as the San Jacinto, but it seems likely. In the 1950s, San Jacinto was still a very small town and it was rather isolated. I doubt it would have supported two theatres.

The photo to which Lost Memory linked above confirms that the theatre ran movies. The marquee advertises the 1946 film Murder in the Music Hall with Vera Hruba Ralston and William Marshall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Jul 9, 2007 at 11:02 pm

In regard to ken mc’s comment directly above, I believe I’ve seen, in a photo in the L.A. library collection, a rooftop sign for the Broadway Theatre in the 500 block. The photo is a view south on Broadway from north of 5th Street, and the sign is barely visible. You can make out the word “Theatre” but not the theatre’s name. I’ve searched the collection again, but that particular photo hasn’t come up. I’ll keep trying.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Globe Theatre on Jul 9, 2007 at 10:53 pm

This PDF file (a mere 291K) contains part of a 1986 article from a publication of the San Pedro Historical Society, and there’s a small, ca1965, picture of the Globe at the bottom of the page. The article fragment is mostly about the Cabrillo, but mentions that the Globe was built in 1912.

Having seen the photo my memory has been jogged and I now recall having seen the theatre itself, at least once. My dad patronized a tailor who kept a shop on the other side of 6th Street, up the hill a way. I remember sitting in our parked car in front of the tailor shop and seeing that building down the block. This was in the 1950s. Sixth Street was already very shabby, but also quite impressive, being fairly consistently Victorian and Edwardian in style for the first couple of blocks up from the waterfront, and most of the buildings being solid structures of two or three floors. It was the best collection of such buildings I ever saw in Southern California.

Within a few years it was all demolished for an urban renewal project. Had it been preserved, today that neighborhood could be as popular and valuable as Main Street in Ocean Park or Old Town Pasadena.