Los Angeles Theatre

615 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 101 - 125 of 295 comments

stevebob on March 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm

I continue to ponder the purpose of those metal canisters and how they could possibly relate to men’s grooming and toiletry needs of the era. The more I consider uses like spittoon or ashtray, the more skeptical I am of those guesses. The objects just seem too close to the ground, and their openings too small, for such prosaic functions without making a big mess! Rather, I’m convinced that they represented some kind of engineering marvel in the same way that other features of the Los Angeles Theater were groundbreaking and unique.

I recall that one of the first articles I encountered concerning Broadway’s theater district was in Westways magazine (the publication of the Auto Club of Southern California (AAA)) in the early 1970s. (While my childhood memories had included shopping downtown and eating at Clifton’s Cafeteria with family, we never went to a movie there; a lifelong fascination with movie palaces was thus awakened largely by this single article and its accompanying photographs and vivid descriptions of faded elegance.)

That Westways piece mentioned the exotic and avant garde elements of the Los Angeles Theater, including the individual marble rooms in the ladies' restroom, the human hair wigs on the curtain, the periscope device in the downstairs lounge and the lighted strips in the aisle floors. I remember, too, the description of the shoeshine stand in the men’s room â€"– and I’m quite certain that there was a mention of some other feature regarded as quite unusual back in the day. But wrack my memory as I do, I just cannot seem to recall what it was — yet I am pretty sure that those metal canisters are the evidence of it.

Unfortunately, I lost my copy of this article many years (and many moves) ago, and the online archive of Westways doesn’t go back nearly that far. What, oh what, could be the possible function of those cylinders? They aren’t in the ladies' room, so it could only have been useful to men. I believe they must concern something that was a custom of the times, now vanished and therefore not on our radar at all — but what?

CHICTH74 on March 10, 2008 at 3:08 am

Has any one found out what the metal cylinders are and what thay were used for? Thank you for your time.

William on March 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I don’t think there is a book on the Los Angeles Theatre, out of all the books on the market. The S. Charles Lee book has a small amount of info but no real book. Fox West Coast Theatres programs you could buy that had pictures and alittle history on the house. But that’s it.

trainmaster on March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Does anyone know of a book on the “Los Angeles Theater?”

I am aware that the theater appears in numerous theater books, but would like to see a dedicated book on that theater alone.

I am aware the THS did an annual on the Los Angeles Theater. Unfortunately, it is out of stock. Maybe they will offer it again.


Scott on March 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm

The Spring 2008 issue of “Cottages & Bungalows” has a short article on the Los Angeles Theatre. It also has two vintage black & white photos, one of the auditorium and one of the exterior at the time of opening. The exterior shot, while excellent, is the commonly published view. It also has a very nice recent color photo of the beautiful main lobby. And the rest of the magazine is pretty good, too. The main point of the article is that the Broadway Theatre district in LA is poised for revival, and the LA Theatre is at the center of that.

Manwithnoname on February 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Wow. Mysterious cylinders. Perhaps they were placed there to stimulate evolution and in the future will be found buried on the moon and sending signals to Uranus.

Sorry. I was in the “2001” audience at the Dome. :–)

Hibi on February 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Odd. Wonder if they stored the urinal cakes in there? LOL.

stevebob on February 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm

The mysterious metal cylinders were located in the “hall of urinals,” too:

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2008 at 6:48 am

In regard to the cylindrical objects in the mens room, I don’t recall them being there in the 1960s. I suppose they might have been spittoons, or maybe places to discard cigar or cigarette butts (I believe such devices were called silent butlers), but their tops were pretty close to the floor for either of those functions. It’s an interesting mystery.

CHICTH74 on February 27, 2008 at 3:36 am

Could thay be some kind of ashtray?

That is what thay look like to me.

stevebob on February 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm

This photo (from the California State Library collection) is of the men’s lavatory:

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Does anybody know what those cylindrical objects are on the floor along the wall? Spittoons, perhaps?

kencmcintyre on February 26, 2008 at 6:49 pm

It says I have to log in to see the page.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on February 26, 2008 at 6:43 pm

I’ve finally posted some of the photos I took during last summer’s Los Angeles Conservancy sponsored screening of “Roman Holiday” at the Los Angeles Theatre.

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 22, 2008 at 5:22 am

I have a vague memory of having read in a magazine or newspaper article forty or so years ago that the two extra aisles in the Los Angeles Theatre were converted for seating during the boom years of WWII, when many downtown theatres remained open 24 hours and still had full houses for may performances. I know that some movie theatres had their orchestra pits covered over to provide more room for seats during that time.

This photo shows that the aisles were about wide enough for two additional seats per row. I would suspect that, to minimize the cost of the change, the existing seats would have been left in place and the new seats would have simply been bolted into the rows (probably after the removal of the decorative end-pieces on the seats adjacent to the aisles), adding only one additional armrest between them, but I don’t know for sure. Of the 150 or so images of the theatre in the 9 folders in the state library collection (search “Los Angeles Theatre”), all are from the period before the change.

As for the prism device in the basement lounge, I know it wasn’t working in the early 1960s, when I went to the theatre frequently. The restaurant was gone by that time, too, but I remember the aisle-side lighting strips still glowing. They were blue.

stevebob on February 21, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Does the Los Angeles presently have 2,200 seats, or was that the number with which it opened?

My question relates to the original seating plan, in which individual blocks of seats were no more than five or six across. There were more aisles then! (I haven’t been inside since the early 1980s, but even at that time one could see where these original aisle doors had been sealed off from the lobby.)

Does anyone know when these “extra” aisles were filled in, and how the overall seating capacity was affected by that change? Were new seats merely added in the former aisle spaces, or were entire rows replaced?

I’ve always wondered about this — and some other chronological details concerning the Los Angeles, too, such as when the downstairs restaurant closed, when the prism device for displaying the movie in the downstairs lounge was removed, and when the neon strips in the aisle floors that once guided patrons to their seats stopped functioning.

CHICTH74 on February 21, 2008 at 5:07 pm

All i have to say is GREAT!!!

It is a wonderful theatre it is hard to grasp that it has only 2200 seats it looks like a 4000 or more seat palace.
Great just great.!!!

William on February 14, 2008 at 10:36 pm

You can see the downstairs lounge with all that wood paneling in the current Kia commercial for President’s Day (Millard Fillmore). It is currently running in the New York market.

bruceanthony on January 30, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I read the article in the LA Times and I think its a step in the right direction. I wouldn’t close the street to cars it would do more harm than good this is not Santa Momica. I like the idea of a street car going up an down Broadway. I do not agree with the professor from UCLA, the street has declined as a destination for Latinos from the 1970’s thru 2008. There is more competition for Latino shoppers in other areas. The population growth of 20,000 in the last 5 years are urban professionals which will double in the next few years which should spur restoration and development along Broadway. If the city was smart Broadway should start catering to Downtown’s growing population as a diverse destination and not just the shrinking shopping destination for Latinos. Downtown LA is coming back in a major way and Broadway should not be left behind.I think the City should concentrate along with the private sector and improve the curb appeal of the street. I think the City should have a plan that improved proper signage along Broadway and steer away form the swapmeet look of Broadway. Make sure you save all the historic signage along Broadway as well as the historic theatre marquees.brucec

KramSacul on January 29, 2008 at 1:42 am

Sounds pretty good. Anything to make that area live again.

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2008 at 12:10 am

There was a story in the LA Times today about an ambitious plan tp renovate the Broadway district, including the remaining film houses. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this, of course, so we will see what happens.

kencmcintyre on January 19, 2008 at 1:59 am

The city that never sleeps (well, not exactly):

vokoban on January 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm

It’s always half-past something at the Los Angeles.

Bway on January 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Wow, this theater is a real gem! I remember passing by it last time I was in the Los Angeles area.

vokoban on November 29, 2007 at 5:41 pm

I already have my tickets in my sweaty little monkey paws. The only thing that bugs me is that this was originally supposed to be at the Palace. I guess there was a problem so now its at the Los Angeles. I wanted to see if they have done anything to the inside of the Palace since the outside looks fabulous now after a cleaning.

cinemala on November 29, 2007 at 5:37 pm

There will be a special screening of MGM’s “Meet Me in St. Louis” at the Los Angeles Theater on Sunday, December 2nd at 2pm. The event is being sponsored by the Los Angeles Conservancy and tickets are only $10. It’s also a freshly struck archival print of the 1944 film!

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