Hayworth Theatre

2509 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90057

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Vagabond Theatre exterior

The Masque Theatre opened in 1926 as a legitimate theatre. It is located on Wilshire Boulevard, in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles. On May 26, 1950 it went over to movie theatre use reopening as the Vagabond Theatre. This was one of Los Angeles' great revival houses until the late-1980’s, when video almost killed the place. It hung on a few more years into the 1990’s, showing classic 3-D films such as “Kiss Me Kate” and “Dial M for Murder”.

The Vagabond Theatre closed in 1993 and was afterward used for some time as a church. The theatre can be seen in the 1988 film “The Naked Gun”.

Since early-2006, the former Vagabond Theatre has been hosting live theatre, and is now known as the Hayworth Theatre. It had three auditoriums, with seating for 99, 42, and 49. The Hayworth Theatre is home to the Circus Theatricals theatre company. A recording of the show “Naked Bois Singing” was filmed here. By 2017, the two auditoriums in the former balcony had been converted into office space. Seating in the main auditorium is 198. The projection booth is intact, but the projectors, speakers and movie screen have been removed.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 45 comments)

ChasSmith on June 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Oh man, thank you for those 1982/83 photos! I’d been trying to dredge up my own vague memories of the look of the place, and those are a life-saver. Thanks, too, for the reminder about the stills painted on the walls!

The years I most attended the Vagabond were 1975-79, and I wish I’d gone way more than I did. Like others have said, I remember it as “the” premier revival house in terms of print and projection standards. In particular, I remember a “North by Northwest” that blew my friends and me away. I also recall thinking it had the most uncomfortable seats anywhere. Sadly, I never went next door to eat in La Fonda.

I didn’t have a car in those years, so the bus was my usual transportation. I remember coming out of the Vagabond late at night and waiting for it, while enjoying what seemed a dignified old neighborhood. With the obvious exception of MacArthur Park and points east, I felt no sense of danger at all there.

While I’m happy to learn that the place was preserved and is now a live theater, at least, the shocking/sad thing about those photos is what looks like a totally empty block to the west. Hate that.

ChasSmith on June 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

(That last comment refers to a much more recent picture posted above, not the 1982/83 ones.)

PaulRosenthal on December 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

What made theaters great such as the Vagabond and Tiffany was the efforts of their owner/operators to find and program unusual films. Tom Cooper was a master at this. He would pester the studios to let him play old 35mm nitrate prints that he had the projection booths specially converted to so they met the fire codes. When I was at Universal we were able to get him copies of the Howard Hughes RKO films, Scarface and Hell’s Angels. They opened to large crowds for a limited engagement in the 80’s.

milliondollar on January 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

What became of Tom Cooper?

meredithlee on February 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Yes Tinseltoes, it was the same Tom (Tommy) Cooper who owned the Vagabond and the Tiffany in those years and had made that record album you wrote of.

davidcoppock on February 14, 2017 at 6:50 am

“Was it named after Rita Hayworth?”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 15, 2017 at 6:10 am

The introduction to this theater should note that the Masque Theatre opened as a legitimate house in 1926 and was converted to a cinema as the Vagabond in 1950.

DavidZornig on October 24, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Getting a comedy club on the first floor.


CStefanic on October 15, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Screening movies again! On October 20th the Hayworth will be screening a 16mm film festival. Hopefully this breathes new cinematic life to the once grand house.

rivest266 on October 12, 2019 at 10:37 am

This opened on May 26th, 1950 as Vagabond. Grand opening ad posted.

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