Million Dollar Theatre

307 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Showing 176 - 200 of 223 comments

William
William on October 10, 2006 at 2:27 pm

You’re right along Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles had everything during that time. There was the big three department stores. They were not as big as Macy’s in New York City, but they were big. All the big theatres were running major new films. I also remember mom taking me to the Grand Central Market and Clifton’s. Today it’s just a shell of what it once was. It’s been a long time coming in getting people to come back downtown.

noofy57
noofy57 on October 10, 2006 at 1:05 pm

My older sister was a dancer in the stage show. My mother and I would accompany her to all her rehearsals and shows (I was 2 – 4 years old back then. I’m 49 now!) I can remember the excitement of being in the audience, the mariachis, the dancers dancing the jarabe, or the chacha, etc. I also remember walking over to Grand Central Market with my mother to buy fried shrimp. I’ve never tasted any as good since then. Downtown L.A. was so beautiful in those days. Shopping at the big department stores was an experience, escpecially at Christmastime with the window displays. We used to dress up to go downtown, my mom in high heels, me in my mary janes… riding the street car. Nothing like today where all you see at the local mall are slobs in jeans or sweats. :(

LuisV
LuisV on August 16, 2006 at 6:48 am

So…..was this theater ever turned into a nightclub as per the posting of 10/19/05?

GWaterman
GWaterman on July 23, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Yesterday we took the Conservancy theatre tour. It started at the Million Dollar. The lobby with its 50’s re-do is lack-luster – looks like a high school entry, someone said. But once inside the theatre, you see the magnificent decor. The proscenium arch is very interesting with its angled blockwork; almost reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s concrete blocks. Yet the organ screens were classically wonderful baroque tours-de-force; scrolls and carved figures and wonderful things, very dark in color. The ceiling is also very dark, but you can see how it’s coffered. The position of the projection booth is interesting —– its at the front of the balcony. Someone mentions this above. I was curious whether it was retro-fitted or original, but our docent didn’t know. She mentioned that the theatre walls were once painted with murals, but that the church that had been here painted them over. All the walls and the ceiling under the balcony were painted with a kind of dull chocolate-milk color paint; I wonder how much color had originally been there.

The fly rail was still there, and it appeared that many of the linesets were still there —– I want to say “in operation” but of course one couldn’t responsibly operate them without checking them for integrity. The original switchboard was visible; I took a photo I will try to post. The stage right wall was interesting; I asked our docent whether this was original or if it had been remodeled. The area behind the flyrail was open, which was unusual; then about 10 feet beyond that the wall rose up and you could see 3 stories (or more) of dressing room corridors, but unlike most theatres, they were open and if one stood in those hallways one could view down to the stage. The building abuts the Grand Central Market, and I wasn’t sure whether some of this was support space for that.

There were still curtains on the stage – a main drape and a valance and a gold lame drape at the back. Very nice.

We didn’t see the ladies room. I probably should have asked to!

The docent also directed our attention to the wonderful carving work on the exterior of the building! There are artist figures in niches, and buffalo heads, and even two long-horn cow-skulls decorating the office building entry! Worth a look for anyone, and you don’t even have to pay for the tour.

The tour was definately worth taking; I want to take it again. I advise anyone taking the tour to bring a good flashlight with new batteries, and if you can figure out how to take photos in low light, please do so. We also saw the Arcade, the Cameo, the Los Angeles, the Warner and the Orpheum. We came tantalizingly close to sneaking into the Palace, too! Will update those theatre pages.

starsandsons
starsandsons on November 15, 2005 at 10:18 pm

Hello, I am doing research on Frank Fouce and his three cinemas: The Million Dollar, Mayan, and Mason but have come up nearly empty handed on books and periodicals regarding his role in Los Angeles cinema history, if anyone has any information, leads, or even primary resources (including yourself) please contact me at

Thanks.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 12, 2005 at 8:22 am

From the California State Library:

View link

cnichols
cnichols on November 9, 2005 at 8:27 am

In June, 1999 the Los Angeles Conservancy hosted a screening of Sullivan’s Travels at the Million Dollar. The interior was very intact. However, some of the nudes in the plaster work were covered over with cloth by the church. There were seats, a projector, a stage and it looked pretty good. The church has since relocated to the former Loew’s State down the block. The Conservancy tried to go back in subsequent years and was turned away as there had been some falling plaster and ceiling damage that the owners wanted to fix before renting it out again. I don’t know much about Mr. Voskanian, but I hope this is done with more care than the Stock Exchange (1929) where lights and sound equipment are hung from rods that were smashed through the ornate ceiling. That poor place is in a shambles.

stevebob
stevebob on November 9, 2005 at 1:50 am

This is from the first paragraph of the article about Voskanian in the Downtown News:

“Built in 1918, the 2,345-seat former movie house was gutted in the 1990s and later turned into a church.”

Gutted? If that’s true, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. And how precisely does a movie palace get “turned into” a church?

hondo59
hondo59 on November 2, 2005 at 6:27 pm

The theater’s lighted-up marquee can easily be seen several times in the Charles Bronson film, Murphy’s Law.

UKuser
UKuser on November 2, 2005 at 12:46 am

CALLING ALL THEATRE / MOVIE ENTHUSIASTS!!!

T'he Los Angeles Theatre' on South Broadway, LA is playing host to the UK television show ‘Dead Famous LIVE’. We are currently looking for people who would like to come along as part of the studio audience.

‘Dead Famous LIVE’ is a studio entertainment show all about Hollywood History and the paranormal. We will be welcoming celebrity guests on to the show and investigating famous locations around Hollywood which are rumoured to be haunted including the Los Angeles Theatre itself.

This is an invaluable chance to get access to the Los Angeles Theatre, the place where Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’ premiered in 1931 and to have a thoroughly great day out! (And its free!!)

We’re transmitting ‘Live’ back to the United Kingdom so expect it to be exciting and fun!

We will be filming on three days from 11th – 13th November between 11.30am – 4pm. If you are interested in coming on one or all of these days then email me for tickets!

.uk

I look forward to your responses!

cnichols
cnichols on October 19, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Robert Voskanian is converting the Million Dollar into a nightclub according to the Los Angeles Downtown News

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 8, 2005 at 1:12 pm

From the USC Digital Archive:

View link

teecee
teecee on September 26, 2005 at 9:14 am

Good close up of the marquee and distinctive arch:
http://www.gmrnet.com/graphics/theatr1b.jpg

stevebob
stevebob on September 15, 2005 at 11:49 pm

Thanks!

Though not theater-related, I thought it worth mentioning for anyone who checks out the Million Dollar in person that the Bradbury Building, right across Broadway and built in 1893, is well worth a look if you’re not familiar with it. The interior is stunningly unique. (It’s an office building, so I’m sure it’s only accessible during normal business hours.)

p.s. to KenRoe: I am so jealous that you have Saint closing party tapes!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 15, 2005 at 2:33 am

stevebob;
There is currently no signage on the building that has the name ‘Million Dollar’. There is a small display mounted on a post located on the pavement outside the theatre, that gives details of the theatre (provided by the LA Conservancy I believe?). Hopefully with the planned re-opening of the Million Dollar Theatre, the name will come back to the actual building again.

I believe that the false ceilings and walls in the lobby only ‘cover over’ the original decoration which is still in place underneath.

You are correct to say that the Eastern Columbia Building has been totally gutted internally (the public lobby and the office spaces) and is currently being converted into loft appartments. The exterior remains intact.

The lobby of the Pellissier Office Building that houses the Wiltern Theatre remains intact.

stevebob
stevebob on September 15, 2005 at 1:37 am

One of the posts above mentions the Million Dollar as being nameless. What about the vertical, which was quite high up on the building’s Broadway side. Has it been removed?

I went to the Million Dollar only once, during the 1970s, when it featured live performances by Mexican celebrities. I was disappointed overall, primarily because there was absolutely no trace of what the lobby and other public spaces must have originally looked like.

The dropped ceilings and wall paneling were horrid, especially as measured against the auditorium and wonderful baroque ornamentation on the building’s exterior. I wish I knew what the original decor was like, and whether it was destroyed or just covered over.

During that period, the same vandalization in the name of modernization had occurred to the lobby of the Eastern Columbia Building, also located in the theater corridor at Broadway and Ninth. It’s superb exterior is one of the most iconic art deco landmarks in Los Angeles, but the lobby had been stripped bare.

At least this wasn’t the case with the Pellissier Building that houses the Wiltern Theater. Its lobby — at least at the time I lived in Los Angeles — was completely original and as splendid as the theater itself.

abbottconnie428
abbottconnie428 on September 14, 2005 at 6:52 pm

I just posted the message above and I wanted to add my e-mail address where I can be contacted. It is

abbottconnie428
abbottconnie428 on September 14, 2005 at 6:50 pm

I remember when my grandfather took me to the Million Dollar when I was a little girl. He worked there as a projectionist so we went a lot. I wanted to post this message to see if anyone remembers my grandfather. I am currently trying to gather any information about him. His name is Chris Rangel and he worked with Frank Fouce during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. If anyone knows of anything please respond to my message. Thanks!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 26, 2005 at 6:05 pm

I recall the Million Dollar showing Wild Wild West (the Will Smith flop) about seven years ago. I was too busy to go and have regretted it since. I have been in most of the Broadway theaters but not the $1,000,000.

danz
danz on March 21, 2005 at 10:47 pm

When I was growing up in Los Angeles in the 50’s (I was born in Los Angeles in 1947), I went to the Million Dollar Theater almost every week with my grandmother. We would go to dinner on Saturday night at the Biltmore or Statler Hilton, then walk over to the Million Dollar Theater on Broadway. What do I remember the most? The ENORMOUS rest rooms with Gold (colored) fixtures. Magnificent carpets. Wide stairways. And, LODGE seats. My grandmother loved the HORROR movies that were popular in the 50’s. Also near (downtown): the Bradbury Building, Grand Central Market and so many other GREAT and magnificent theaters RKO, Paramount, etc., etc., etc.

br91975
br91975 on March 1, 2005 at 9:49 am

In one scene in the new flick ‘Be Cool’, John Travolta and Uma Thurman are shown driving away from the Million Dollar Theater, while the follow-up shot is of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (Also, on prominent display on the Grauman’s marquee, via either stock footage or some sort of homage, is title signage from 1987’s ‘The Untouchables’.)

br91975
br91975 on February 22, 2005 at 7:11 am

The exterior of the Million Dollar Theater can be very briefly glimpsed in the new Keanu Reeves flick ‘Constantine’.

rroberts
rroberts on February 9, 2005 at 6:22 pm

Is it worth the money to save it? Historic tax credits could be brought to bear… I wll look into it. Anyone else interested in helping me? Paul