Gaumont Chronophone Theater
473 S. Spring Street,
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The Gaumont Chronophone was one of many early attempts to create sound movies. It was used primarily to make short movies of musical acts, and several dozen of these films were produced by both the British and French Gaumont studios in the first decade of the twentieth century. Many theaters were opened specifically to present Gaumont Chronophone productions, and for a while, the process enjoyed some success. Sound for the films was recorded on discs, and amplified for the theater audience by a system of pneumatic speakers powered by a 1 horsepower compressor.
The Los Angeles Gaumont Chronophone Theater opened on Monday, April 27, 1908. Under the management of local theatrical impresario E.A. Fischer, it presented continuous performances daily, from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. and from 7:00 to 11:00 P.M.
It is not known how long this theater remained in operation, or whether it ever ran movies other than Gaumont’s sound shorts. Although the 400 block of Spring Street is today occupied mainly by large office buildings dating mostly from the 1920s, there were one or two small structures still standing in the mid 1990s, one of which may have been the location of this early theater.
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