Palace of Pictures Theatre

642 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Showing 15 comments

MJuggler on November 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

jbreckdsgn- am looking into doing a book on T.L. Tally & his theatres with a friend so please get in touch with me about your collection.

jbreckdsgn on July 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Dr. Breckwedel did own and manage the Symphony theater ,the palace of pictures the palace and he built the Forum theater. I am his granddaughter and I am collecting images to send to the site.

kencmcintyre on October 26, 2007 at 7:15 am

Here is an October 1915 ad from the LA Times:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 29, 2007 at 4:27 pm

The Forrester Block, 638-642 S. Broadway, was built in 1907. The Palace of Pictures appears to have been converted from retail space in the building in 1914.

kencmcintyre on May 18, 2007 at 8:47 am

Here is a 1906 picture from USC. The caption states that Tally’s Theater is pictured on 6th and Broadway. Not sure which building is the theater, though:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 21, 2006 at 5:15 pm

vokoban: I just found these comments. I must have overlooked the e-mail notification. The dictionary at says that “inst.” is simply and abbreviation for “instant”, which does itself come from Latin.

Unfortunately, the Batchelder site to which you linked has gone missing. Fortunately, it has been partly preserved by the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive. Copy the Chocolate Shoppe URL and paste it into the Wayback Machine’s search box to get links to the surviving fragments of the site.

I found a picture at the USC archives a while ago, taken in 1913, which shows a view from Hill Street across rooftops toward Broadway. It shows that the two tall buildings currently to the south of the Palace theatre were already there, but only shows their upper floors, so there’s no indication of a theatre being in either of them. I went looking for the picture again (I saved it, but not the text page that goes with it), but can’t find it on the site now. Their text pages sometimes mention what was in the various buildings at the time the picture was taken.

vokoban on January 6, 2006 at 5:06 am

Try, try, again…now it works.

vokoban on January 6, 2006 at 5:05 am

Well, the link works, but I still didn’t get it right. I wanted it to just say Chocolate Shop 1914.

Chocolate Shop 1914

vokoban on January 6, 2006 at 5:00 am

Thanks Joe, I’ve seen “inst.” before and thought it was a typo until I saw it a few more times. Is it Latin for something? I wonder what the Chocolate Den was. First I thought they meant the Chocolate Shop, but I think that was on sixth and goes through the back into the Arcade building. I went in this place not long ago and the walls, ceiling, and floor are covered with Batchelder tiles. It’s a shame that the place is crammed full of cheap leather goods and jewelry with little vendor booths. Here’s a link to that with some good photos:

Chocolate Shop 1914

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 5, 2006 at 6:42 pm

It seems possible that the Palace of Pictures occupied this location for only two years, between 1914 when Brown’s music company closed, and February of 1916 when the lease on the location was obtained by Innes Shoes. Many early movie houses were located in converted retail space, and they often didn’t last very long.

“inst.” is a now archaic abbreviation common until the early 20th century. It means, essentialy, “this month”.

vokoban on January 2, 2006 at 8:41 am

Dr. Breckwedel seems to have owned or managed the Symphony Theater, the Palace of Pictures, the Palace, and the Forum Theater. There is not much information on him. He died in December of 1958 in Newport Beach at the age of 85.

vokoban on January 2, 2006 at 8:14 am

This article might clear up some of the mystery:

(Feb. 8, 1916)

By Grace Kingsley.

Los Angeles is to have a new film emporium de luxe. It is to be called the Palace Theater. The building formerly known as the Chocolate Den on Seventh street, between Hill and Broadway, is being transformed into a first-class picture house. The new theater will have 700 seats, a mammoth pipe organ, which won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and will be luxuriously fitted out from top to bottom. The Palace Amusement Company, which has owned and operated the Palace of Pictures, will control the new playhouse. Dr. H.B. Breckwedel is secretary and treasurer of the corporation and C.W. Nouls president. The former will act as general manager of the theater. First-run features will be shown. The opening will probably take place the 19th inst.(?) The first film to be shown will in all probability be “The Island of Surprise,” filmed from the Cyrus Townsend Brady story. The present Palace of Pictures will cease to exist at the end of this week.

vokoban on January 2, 2006 at 7:40 am

I wish I could find an address for this theater. Usually, the address isn’t given unless there was a fire or some other mishap involving the police:

(Apr. 25, 1915)
Announcing a complete change of policy, the Palace of Pictures, on Broadway, near Seventh, will tomorrow offer the first of a new series of feature photoplays, dealing with the vital questions of life. It is the “Who Pays?” series, produced by the Balboa Company, staring Ruth Roland, who is supported by Henry King, a Southern California matinee idol. The first of the series is “The Price of Fame.”

vokoban on January 2, 2006 at 7:32 am

Joe, there really is something mysterious about this theater. Could the address for this theater be incorrect? There is not one mention of a theater at this address in the LA Times from 1885-1985. Here’s what was there:

(Aug. 18, 1904)
….He was night hostler at the Nevada Stables, No. 642 South Broadway, and with two other men assaulted a man who called there.

(Oct. 13, 1909)
J.B. Brown Music Co.
642 S. Broadway

(Apr. 26, 1914)
Great Closing Out Sale
J.B. Brown Music Company
642 South Broadway

(Feb. 12, 1916)
The Innes Shoe Company has leased the large store at No. 642 South Broadway, and as soon as possession is secured will begin the work of decorating, installing modern windows, etc.

There are advertisements for Innes Shoe Company up until 1938 and then:

(June 18, 1939)
Leasing of the ground floor, basement, mezzanine and part of the second floor of the Forrester Building, 640 S. Broadway, to Bond Stores, Inc., of New York City, was reported yesterday by Fred W. Forrester, one of the owners of the building…..The premises leased have been occupied for many years by the Innes Shoe Co. which will move Aug. 1 to new quarters at Seventh and Olive Sts.

(Oct. 4, 1939)
With a display of up-to-the-minute merchandise and the most modern equipment, Bond Clothes, one of the largest clothing firms in the United States, will open a new store tommorow morning at 640 S. Broadway.

(June 22, 1975)
The former Bond’s Store Building at 638-640 S. Broadway, which had been occupied by Bond’s for over 30 years, has been sold and subsequently leased for use as the World of Pants Department Store, now operating on the lower flooer of the 9-story structure.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 15, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Bond was a national chain of moderately-priced clothing stores. This store was still operated by the Bond company in the 1960s, and I went in there once or twice. One thing I do recall about it (aside from the fact that their merchandise was amazingly stodgy, and the premises rather worn and outdated) is that the store had an unusually high ceiling for a retail shop. That might be an indication that it was originally a theatre.