528 S. Broadway,
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Opened as Clune’s Broadway Theatre October 10, 1910, it was an original nickelodeon theatre and is a rare example to survive today almost unaltered. Its operator William H. (Billy) Clune was an early pioneer film producer and exhibitor. Architect Alfred F. Rosenheim designed a Beaux-Arts interpretation of Italian Renaissance Revival style. Its original roof-top electric sign and ‘digital’ clock were Downtown landmarks for many years. In 1921 it was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ Style 185, Opus 397. On August 1, 1924 it was taken over by Universal Pictures chain and renamed Cameo Theatre opening with Virginia Valli in “The Signal Tower”. It was operated by the Universal Pictures chain until 1926. In the late-1920’s it was operated by H.L. Gumbiner (who soon was to build the Tower Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre further along South Broadway) who replaced the sign and clock with a large 24-sheet billboard.
The interior of the building was specifically designed as a ‘picture playhouse’ and had decorations which featured marble, plaster, leaded glass and a profusion of electric lights.
Minor alterations were carried out by architect Simeon Charles Lee in 1949. In 1987 it was repainted and redecorated by the then owners Metropolitan Theatres. In its later years it was screening Kung-Fu and exploitation films and was closed in 1992. It was the longest continually operating movie theatre in California at that time. The front entrance has been converted into retail use, while the auditorium is used for storage.
The Cameo Theatre is designated a Historic-Cultural Monument
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