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In addition to the Esquire photo on display at Canters, there is other evidence of its former life. The marquee out front and, if one climbs the stairs to the second floor, the original projection booth and rest rooms.
Was this theater originally nameless? A booklet I received during a LA Conservancy tour shows a photo of the building fascade with a simple 2-deck marquee flush against the building. It reads “Opening and Dedication Next Friday”. Several stories up are the letters
GRAUMANS. A vertical sign to the south of the building also reads GRAUMANS. The name Million Dollar Theater is no where to be found.
It apparently appeared only in newspaper ads of the era. Some years later when the original marquee was replaced, the words “New Million Dollar” surfaced.
A full color feature on the Kim Sing Theatre appears in the October 1, 2006, issue of the Los Angeles Times' West magazine (“Reel Living”). The exterior has been fully restored with its original neon marquee intact. Inside, however, the spaces were gutted and are now the very sleek home of furniture designer Willard Ford. The article states that the Kim Sing opened in 1926 as a vaudeville house.
A great 1951 photo of the exterior of the Ritz Escondido was printed in the San Diego Union Tribune on Dec. 18, 2005. Flames are soaring through the roof as the marquee displays “Fireball”. An art deco design (long gone) graced the facade of the building. The theater closed for 3 years following the fire. As of this date, the owners have spent $150,000 to clean up the theater, but no opening is on the horizon.
As a child, I lived on Clara Avenue near the Plaza Theatre. It was built originally as a church, and was converted into a movie theater in the 1940’s. I recall when the church windows were covered by brick. With the decline of attendance, the movie house shuttered, and the site reverted to its original use.
The correct address for the Laurel Theater is 8056 Beverly Blvd. near the intersection of Beverly and Laurel Avenue — hence the Laurel name. And the building still stands. Although the facade has been modified, the auditorium has been in use for the better part of four decades as an active synagogue.
The description for the Fairy co-mingles data from the Victory and suggests that both theaters were within doors of each other. They actually were three blocks apart and on opposite sides of the street. The Fairy st 5640 Easton Ave. was a non-descript Komm house which changed double bills three times weekly. At sundown in the summer months, patrons would file next door to the Fairy Airdome where the show would continue. Our family home was nearby, and we patronized the Fairy for 20 years. The Victory (aka Mikado)was at 5955 Easton Ave. in the busy Wellston Loop shopping district. A distinct feature of the theater were twin box offices. As a teenager I had a part-time job across the street at a mens clothing store. I never recalled more than one box office open at a time.