Los Angeles Theatre

615 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 176 - 200 of 289 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 21, 2006 at 12:34 pm

Portions of the interior should be visible during tonight’s NBC telecast of “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” a one-hour variety special that was taped at the Los Angeles Theatre with Rob Marshall as director. The program airs at 8:00 PM (EST). I don’t know what the schedule is for other time zones.

Bway
Bway on September 24, 2006 at 9:19 pm

This theater is a real beauty. I remember driving by it a couple years back when I was in LA. I had no idea it was so beautiful inside though!!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 18, 2006 at 10:41 pm

This whole street strikes me as a museum of sorts. All these great movie palaces continue to survive, possibly the greatest concentration left in the United States, and yet most of them don’t seem to have a concrete function. It almost looks to be a salute to L.A’s movie heritage.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 4, 2006 at 2:55 pm

It’s behind the float.

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 2, 2006 at 5:02 am

That last photo appeared to be something about a “Freedom Float.” Did I miss the theatre somehow?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 1, 2006 at 10:28 pm

Here is a 1951 photo showing the marquee from the USC Archive:
http://snipurl.com/vsw2

GWaterman
GWaterman on July 23, 2006 at 10:58 pm

We had tickets to the “Rebel Without a Cause” show, but missed it due to another committment. Yesterday, though, we took the Conservancy walking tour, and were lucky enough to get inside the Los Angeles. We happened to be there when the door was open, and our docent quickly spirited us inside! She says that it is difficult to get access to this theatre, so we felt very very lucky.

Because we were “sneaking” in, we didn’t get to explore it at our leisure like Mike did above, but, boy, what we saw was fantastic. The lobby takes your breath away! It’s like Versaillles! We could see the bare brick stage wall through passageways beneath the grand stairway with the fountain, and it was lit, so we went in there. The cleaning crew was vacuuming, and let us look around undisturbed. The decor was magnificent. I only wish my photos of it came out! The front of the stage has little footlight shades along the front that look like shells. I was so busy looking that I didn’t sit in the seats, but my fellow tourists said they were comfortable – I believe they are the original seats. The ceiling has a beautiful dome painted with murals.

We went down to the basement, where there is an incredible oval space, wood-floored, like a ballroom. Then off that was the ladies' room, which is incredible. There is a mirrored ladies' lounge, very opulent, The stalls lead off that; they are completely enclosed, floor-to-ceiling walls, not booths; each with its own detailed door. The room with the sink was tiled – I got a photo I will try to post. The most amazing thing was the downstairs nursery, with painted walls and ceiling designed to evoke a circus tent; the walls were decorated with murals of circus dancers and carousels and animals like monkeys, parrots, and peacocks.

We had to hustle out — there was a general sense of urgency to avoid being locked in by the roll gates. But it felt like a real stroke of luck to get inside.

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 Million Dollar, the Warner and the Orpheum. We came tantalizingly close to sneaking into the Palace, too! Will update those theatre pages.

GWaterman
GWaterman on July 23, 2006 at 10:58 pm

We had tickets to the “Rebel Without a Cause” show, but missed it due to another committment. Yesterday, though, we took the Conservancy walking tour, and were lucky enough to get inside the Los Angeles. We happened to be there when the door was open, and our docent quickly spirited us inside! She says that it is difficult to get access to this theatre, so we felt very very lucky.

Because we were “sneaking” in, we didn’t get to explore it at our leisure like Mike did above, but, boy, what we saw was fantastic. The lobby takes your breath away! It’s like Versaillles! We could see the bare brick stage wall through passageways beneath the grand stairway with the fountain, and it was lit, so we went in there. The cleaning crew was vacuuming, and let us look around undisturbed. The decor was magnificent. I only wish my photos of it came out! The front of the stage has little footlight shades along the front that look like shells. I was so busy looking that I didn’t sit in the seats, but my fellow tourists said they were comfortable – I believe they are the original seats. The ceiling has a beautiful dome painted with murals.

We went down to the basement, where there is an incredible oval space, wood-floored, like a ballroom. Then off that was the ladies' room, which is incredible. There is a mirrored ladies' lounge, very opulent, The stalls lead off that; they are completely enclosed, floor-to-ceiling walls, not booths; each with its own detailed door. The room with the sink was tiled – I got a photo I will try to post. The most amazing thing was the downstairs nursery, with painted walls and ceiling designed to evoke a circus tent; the walls were decorated with murals of circus dancers and carousels and animals like monkeys, parrots, and peacocks.

We had to hustle out — there was a general sense of urgency to avoid being locked in by the roll gates. But it felt like a real stroke of luck to get inside.

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 Million Dollar, the Warner and the Orpheum. We came tantalizingly close to sneaking into the Palace, too! Will update those theatre pages.

fliknpins
fliknpins on June 6, 2006 at 3:50 am

I attended the opening night of this years Last Remaining Seats on May 31st. I have never been to a movie theatre with so much beauty and awe. I was absolutly stunned at the great decor this theatre has. You walk in and feel like your entering another time. The fountain located half way up the grand staircase was just amazing and was working. I walked all over the place and chose to see the film “The Mark Of Zorro” from the top balcony. I almost sat in one of the side opera style balconies but felt i had to go higher. The painted curtain, deco ceiling, cherubs on the walls, lobby, bathrooms, and really the whole theatre are just breathtaking. When you see this theatre from the outside you have no idea what is waiting for you inside. I have been to hundreds of movie theatres and none have come close to being as awesome. Some repairs still need to be made but you just don’t care when your there. I would love to see these Broadway Theatres all repaired and used for daily showings of hollywoods latest blockbuster features. Sadly though the area is very depressing, and not safe feeling at night. Not everyone is going to visit an area of town where your harrassed and hit up for your change every 10 feet. Other than that anyone who has not seen a movie there should get tickets to the next showings of The Last Remainging Seats by The Los Angeles Conservancy at The Los Angeles Theatre. I believe the showing of “Rebel Without A Cause” is sold out but there are tickets still available to “Dos tipos de cuidado” for $18 dollars online ($15 for members) or $20.00 at the box office. That movie is showing on June 28th and Rebel on July 5th. You can see the schedule at laconservancy.org for this theatre and for the Orpheum and Palace Theatres. These Broadway theatres are a must for movie theatre fans…

Ziggy
Ziggy on May 2, 2006 at 5:35 pm

Hi Joe,

I was able to get a seat in the third row. The seats were sold by section rather than by aisle and number. Being close to the stage, the acoustics were great. I tried moving further back after the intermission (just so I could have a better view of the auditorium), but had a hard time understanding the spoken dialogue (the dialogue in this opera was simply spoken rather than being sung as recitative), so I moved up to the 5th row. There were plenty of people sitting further back, so the problem may have been mine more than the acoustics. The second balcony was not open, and the staircases were too closely watched for me to sneak up during the performance. I also noticed the stumps of what must have at one time been drinking fountains near the bases of each staircase up to the 1st balcony.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 2, 2006 at 12:49 pm

ziggy: I was hoping that somebody would make it to one of the Lyric Opera’s performances and post about it here. What sort of seat were you able to get at the last minute? Did you notice if they opened the second balcony or not? How are the acoustics for a live performance? I’ve only ever been there for movies, and I’ve always wondered if the theatre sounds as good as it looks.

Ziggy
Ziggy on May 2, 2006 at 12:32 pm

I was fortunate enough to be in Los Angeles last weekend (for a family wedding). I got to L.A. on the morning train and walked around Broadway before going to the hotel and I saw that the opera “Manon Lescaut” was going to be playing at the Los Angeles Theatre that night. While the rest of my friends and relatives went out to drink I walked over to the theatre to see if I could get in at the last minute.

The opera was a budget production, but the singing and music were beautiful. The theatre was slam-dunk gorgeous! As usual, photographs do not do it justice. The theatre was very dusty, and had the dank feel of a building that is not used often, but it is still in very good shape. The famous crystal fountain was lit up, and I noticed that the base of the fountain was actually plumbed for water (no water was flowing that night, of course).

I met one of the stagehands after the performance, and he gave me a tour of the theatre before I left.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2006 at 12:33 pm

Jim’s mention of stock photos reminded me that for several decades in Los Angeles, the commercial photographer Dick Whittington documented a great many of the city’s businesses. The collection consists primarily of negatives, and is one of several collections currently held by the University of Southern California Archival Research Center. I’m not sure how large the collection is, or how it is indexed, but it’s one more option to consider.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 14, 2006 at 11:57 am

It would also be good to let your search for photos be known among the city officials at the managerial level; they often have experience locating things in places the public might not know of. For example, here in Milwaukee a lot of exterior photos of theatres were found accidentally when we were told that the city’s bureau of roads and bridges had been photographing intersections and city repair projects and buildings appeared incidentally in the background. The snap shots were not of publishing quality, but any such might serve your purpose, especially if you make it known that you are not interested in publishing rights, and maybe that you will offer a small reward for finding anything (managers and clerks have other duties, so you want to create an incentive for them!) Maybe if you know some people in city and county governments, a little gift (box of chocolates?) might ‘grease’ the way. Another way is if you know a wealthy contractor or businessman who contributes large sums to campaigns who might pose your request to his contacts in government; he might get access to people of power that you might not beven know of.

Insuance companies are another possible source if they had a policy there, and your state insurance commissioner may have a listing of policies registered for that property (be sure to have the Legal Description of the land available as well as the city address!) The Register of Deeds will have your Legal Description and possibly deeds and other documents that might describe the changes made; it would give you some idea.

Also check with your local Stock Photos dealers in the Yellow Pages; they take and buy street scenes all the time, and act as location sources for film crews. With LA often being a background for the studio shoots, contact the companies which do the film location scouting for the filmmakers; they may very well have something, though they may charge to search their files if they do not smell a sale to come of it. Post card publishers also have dozens of street and building scenes — including many never published that you or your agent may have to wade through. Best Wishes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2006 at 12:04 am

Carey: I’ve never searched for anything in the L.A. Building and Safety Department’s records, so I don’t know how their filing system is set up. Did you search by the theatre’s name, or by address? Sometimes bureaucratic filing systems are inconsistent over the years. There might be records filed under the name of the retail tenants, or the name of the building owner (personal or corporate), or by the address of the retail store rather than the address of the theatre. Many times, an institution’s initial claim that they don’t have a particular bit of information turns out to be wrong, and digging deeper will unearth it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 13, 2006 at 11:47 pm

ken mc: Are the directories in that room on open shelves? It’s possible that they keep the L.A. directories in a closed area, and available only on request, as they’d probably be the most popular, and thus the ones most likely to become damaged or lost if kept on open shelves. Also, a lot of the old reference materials in the library have been put in storage after being made available on microfilm or microfiche. The library’s web site contains a City Directories Index search page, but I haven’t figured out how to use it.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 13, 2006 at 7:45 pm

For some reason, I have found directories for every city except Los Angeles in that area of the LA Library (the bottom floor). I think there was one LA directory from 1986 the last time I was there.

careyupton
careyupton on April 13, 2006 at 7:18 pm

Building and Safety did not have a record of a permit pulled for the change in the North Retail facade. Many of the pre-1960 records are missing for both the Los Angeles and Palace Theatres.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 13, 2006 at 11:49 am

Any remodeling should have come under the authority of a building permit, and an archive of them should be maintained by the city, so one could look there for dates and names of contractors, if any. Some cities also retain the blueprints submitted for the permits, at least on microfilm. Your state historic preservation officer may also know of local sources.

If there is no official record, then you would do best to contact the Ex. Director of the Theatre Historical Society of America through his E-mail address given at the bottom of their front page of their web site at: www.historictheatres.org They have a vast archive of photos and data of theatres across the nation. Best Wishes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 12, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Carey: Though I undoubtedly saw the facade before 1952, I don’t remember what it looked like. My mom tells me that we went to the Los Angeles a couple of times in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, but my only early memories of any downtown theatres are of the Warner Brother’s and the RKO Hillstreet. My first memory of the facade of the Los Angeles is from about 1960.

I don’t remember what retailers were in the north wing storefronts in 1960, but by 1963 I know there was one of those cheap electronics dealers in one of them, because I bought a radio from them. Whatever company had caused the remodeling to be done was probably gone by then. I’ve always suspected that the owners of the building had allowed the remodeling to be done by a tenant- probably some time in the 1940’s, as that plain style of facade was popular with retailers during that decade. An old city directory (many are available at the downtown library) would give the name of the store’s occupant(s) during that time.

I’m glad to hear that you intend to restore the facade. It’s always bothered me that the north and south wings don’t match.

careyupton
careyupton on April 12, 2006 at 8:49 pm

Does anyone know exactly when the Facade was removed from over the right hand storefronts? And Why? I have a 1937 photo with the Facade intact. By 1952, it was definitely gone. We are in the process of restoring that facade.
Carey Upton, Theatre Manager

BhillH20
BhillH20 on April 12, 2006 at 8:00 pm

The storefront section of the Los Angeles would look much more appealing if the ornament was restored to its former appearance!

William
William on April 12, 2006 at 4:33 pm

There are two commercials running in the New York Tri-State area that uses parts of the Los Angeles theatre’s lobby. The current Burger King “French Toast sandwich” spot. They use it as the King’s bedroom. The other is for a diet pill Fahrenheit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 1, 2006 at 8:05 pm

I’ve heard excerpts from the 1884 Manon by Massenet, and the entire 1893 Manon by Puccini, but Auber’s earlier version is so rarely recorded (and almost as rarely performed) that I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much as a single aria from it.

The Lyric Opera company’s ticket prices seem quite reasonable, though. The ten dollar tickets are probably for the second balcony. I’ve only ever been up there once, but I recall the view being fairly decent— in fact, better than the comparable seats in the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre (though the best seats in the Los Angeles are definitely those in the side sections that extend from the first balcony.) I wish I could get to L.A. for this event. Even if Auber was no Puccini, it would be worth sitting through an archaic, Victorian opera just to see the Los Angeles Theatre in operation again.

JimRankin
JimRankin on March 1, 2006 at 7:50 pm

Howard Haas is very right that most cities did indeed have movie palaces suitable to being converted to opera houses, but most of them were as egocentric as they were flush with the “Great Society” dollars of pres. Johnson’s revenue sharing of the 1960s, so their priorities were upon the potential campaign slogan of such as ‘Look what I built for our city during my last term!!’ (as mayor, county Exec., or the like.) Since then, the ethos has changed from Urban Renewal to Historic Preservation, but now the money is not there; all governments are deeply in debt and spending on the arts has all but vanished. Now the retired politicos of the ‘60s and later saunter by the PACs with the plaques with their names on them and smugly say “See what I left for everyone!” Yes, they often left jerry-built eyesores that are sometimes still being paid for, but they couldn’t have left as large a plaque if it had been merely a converted movie palace built by someone else. And how else would they have been able to pay back all their campaign contributors with construction jobs unless they built from scratch? Look at the sad story of the FOX in San Francisco as the case study it is of political machanitions that brought down possibly the best candidate for an opera house that ever existed.