Holly Cinema

6523 Hollywood Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Hollywood Music Hall Theatre exterior around 1948

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Holly Theatre is perhaps best known for premiering and exhibiting “Caligula” exclusively for over a year in 1980-1981, and is located across Hollywood Boulevard from the Fox Theatre.

Converted from a garage by architect S. Charles Lee for operators Harold Frankin and Howard Hughes, it had 300 seats and was originally named the Studio Theatre. Opened on 31st July 1931, it was the first ‘automatic’ theatre in the area, having no ushers, just a cashier, a manager and a projectionist as staff. Patrons passed through a turnstile after purchasing their tickets, which operated automatic doors. Candy, cigarettes and drinks were sold via coin operated slot machines. The Studio Theatre was billed as the ‘World’s Most Unique Theatre’.

In December 1936, it was renamed Colony Theatre, and by 1941, had changed name=s again to Music Hall, Hollywood. By then the seating capacity had been increased to 488 after a remodelling. By the mid-1950’s, it was known as the Academy Theatre.

It remained a first run movie theatre and became the Loew’s Holly Theatre in the mid-1960’s, when its Art deco style interior was curtained over and a false ceiling was installed. Soon it became the Holly Cinema, and the notorious Penthouse production of “Caligua” broke box office records.

The Holly Cinema was a companion theater to the Paramount (now the El Capitan) through its series of owners. The Holly Cinema was taken over by Pacific Theatres and was closed in the Summer of 1986.

It was converted into retail use, at one time becoming a shoe store, and since 2004, has been used as a Scientology Learning Center. All traces of its cinematic past have either been removed or covered over.

Contributed by B Erickson, Ray Martinez, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 69 comments)

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on December 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm

John Oblinger or Steve Gates, what happened to him? Did one of you guys pop him? hehehehe

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 18, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Has anyone noticed that the Scientologists now own at least a half dozen buildings in Hollywood, some of them quite large? They must be doing OK.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Here are some early 1930s views from the UCLA collection:
http://tinyurl.com/98q3hh

richjr37
richjr37 on January 21, 2009 at 5:36 am

As a kid,i saw “Bugsy Malone” and “The Big Bus” as a double feature in 1976 at the Holly.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 25, 2009 at 5:20 pm

It looks like the theater has always occupied the right or east side of the building, with retail or some other enterprise on the west side. This is despite the fact that one building has always encompassed both businesses.

Bway
Bway on April 30, 2009 at 7:26 am

Aside from the theater looking much more run down today, it hasn’t changed all that much.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 27, 2009 at 8:10 am

Here is a January 1939 ad for the Colony from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/ntn524

hollywoodtheatres
hollywoodtheatres on April 6, 2010 at 8:22 am

DOCUMENTARY ON CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD CINEMAS – Lookn for interviewees, photos, videos of old hollywood

Hello,

I’m and independent filmmaker working on a documentary about old movie theatres in hollywood (Iris, Warner, Pacific, Hollywood, Vogue, Grauman’s Chinese, Egyptian etc..) that have had an impact on the hollywood community, both as a symbol of Hollywood as well as the historical and heritage effects it has had on “hollywood” as an industry. We are profiling theatres that are currently functioning as well as the obsolete. If you worked in these theatres back in the day (during their highlights) and have interesting stories to tell, photos to show, video to talk about I would like to hear from you. Many older movie houses are being demolished due to new developments and it is important to help future generation know and understand how these movie palaces have helped shaped the Hollywood we know today. If you have any photos or videos with personal stories you’d like to share, please contact me (323) 876-0975 – – You must owns the materials you are willing to share (taken the picture- recorded the videos, written the letters, etc…)

If you do have materials you’d like to send that may help in accurate information, you are welcome to send it to me.

Jorge Ameer
Classic Hollywood Cinemas
Box 3204
Hollywood, California 90028

View link

Twistr54
Twistr54 on May 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I worked at this theatre in 1981. I started at the end of the Caligula run.

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