Gaumont Chronophone Theater

473 S. Spring Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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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 1920’s, there were one or two small structures still standing in the mid-1990’s, one of which may have been the location of this early theater.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 21, 2007 at 3:32 am

I recommend that website – lots of interesting stuff from the turn of the century, or last century now, I guess. Tempus fugit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 9, 2009 at 1:16 am

Now that the L.A. County Assessor’s office has parcel information online, I’ve been able to find out that the building now on this site was built in 1914. The building which housed the Gaumont Chronophone Theatre in 1908 was demolished nearly a century ago.

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