Cameo Theatre

528 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Cameo Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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. In 1925 until 1926 it was operated by Universal Pictures chain and renamed Cameo Theatre. 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

Contributed by Ray Martinez, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

Velostigmat
Velostigmat on July 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I just heard today that the Cameo got a pipe organ in 1914. Does anyone know anything about that?

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on July 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm

The profile photo at the top of the page is described as “circa 1970, courtesy of William Gabel.”

This photo also appears in the LA Public Library digital collection. They list the photographer as Anne Knudsen and give the date as 1981.

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DonSolosan
DonSolosan on October 31, 2009 at 3:05 pm

The link above has gone bad. Here’s the image:

http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics18/00028729.jpg

and the info:

View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Another fallen marquee.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on May 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm

And another bad link, Re: the info. That’s why I hate linking to other websites, particularly the library!

The image is still viewable, and the info has been added to the image at the top of the page.

drb
drb on July 28, 2010 at 4:41 am

Have we seen this one? From the H.A.M.B. forum
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drb
drb on June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

The Facebook page for the Tropico Station blog has a recent interior photo of the Cameo in the photo album, misidentified as the Roxie. You might need a Facebook account to see it.

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I’ve uploaded a 1910 photo of Clune’s Broadway Theatre to the photo section. It looks like the theater was not open yet when the photo was taken, though construction had apparently been completed.

ScottyA
ScottyA on October 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I just uploaded a photo I took in 1984! I worked on a low-budget film that eventually ended up on a quadruple feature, at the Cameo. I was scared to go inside, but the jam-packed marquee cracked me up.

JCharles
JCharles on December 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm

In the book Xerox Ferox, writer Jimmy McDonough describes the Cameo as being the “most extreme” theatre he ever set foot in, describing it as “Calcutta with four walls and a movie screen.” (pg. 147)

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