Hayworth Theatre

2509 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Unfavorite 15 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 42 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 15, 2017 at 9:10 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.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on February 14, 2017 at 9:50 am

“Was it named after Rita Hayworth?”

meredithlee
meredithlee on February 7, 2014 at 3:56 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.

milliondollar
milliondollar on January 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

What became of Tom Cooper?

PaulRosenthal
PaulRosenthal on December 12, 2011 at 4:17 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.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on June 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm

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

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on June 21, 2009 at 4:52 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.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 23, 2009 at 1:12 am

No fake owls on the marquee in the 1980s photos.

cinemabon
cinemabon on May 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I lived in Hollywood in 1977. My buddy Rick called me one afternoon to say that (can’t remember his first name) Cooper struck a new 35mm print of “Gone With The Wind” and they were showing it at the Vagabond. No one had seen the original print in years. The opening was cut and reprinted as a series of stills for 70mm prints back in the 1960’s. I don’t recall who showed up that night, but I do remember Kleig lights. When the film opened with those sliding credits, the younger members of the audience who had never seen the film gasped. As I recall, this same person was responsible for reviving several films, including “Wizard of Oz” and “Singing in the Rain.”

Scottoro
Scottoro on May 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I went to the Vagabond several times in the late 70s and early to mid 80s. It was the sister theatre at the time to the Tiffany. You could pick up schedules at either theatre for both. Often attending the old movies were elderly people, some of whom I suspect were actually in the films. They wouldn’t have had any other way of seeing them except when they were shown on TV (and even then, cut up and interspliced with Cal Worthington commercials). Some memorable occasions come to mind: Mel Torme showed up for Good News. He talked for about ten minutes about the film before it started, then was interrupted by an old woman who shouted “Sing something for us, Mel!” “Hey, lady, this is FREE,” he growled back. Saul Chaplin was there for a roadshow print of “Star!” He still seemed bruised by the film’s failure. Another time I went to see “Invitation to the Dance”. An old man came out of the previous screening and warned my friend and I in the lobby “It’s two hours of sheer tedium.”

Someone’s odd idea of decorating the Vagabond was to paint stark, high-constrast giant stills from Potemkin on the walls, so right next to the screen was the famous shot of a woman screaming as her baby carriage rolled down the Odessa steps. this was a bit jarring when just to the right was, say, Betty Grable singing a song of love and romance. I also remember the theatre sometimes stunk of garbage because of a dumpster located just behind the building.

Overall, I avoided the Vagabond because at that time I merely had to walk to the Tiffany to see pretty much the same fare. See my post for the Tiffany for more stories.

sventiki
sventiki on December 17, 2008 at 2:43 am

Thanks for that info. So it is confirmed that the theater was named Vagabond because of being next door to the Vagabond’s House restaurant, which was named after the Don Blanding poem. The link I posted above has a 1950 architectural rendering of the theater at the end.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 16, 2008 at 7:26 pm

To expand on my comment just above, the May 20, 1950, issue of Boxoffice says that the architect for the conversion of the Masque into the Vagabond was Dwight Gibbs. In addition, the item says that Herb Rosener also owned five theaters in San Francisco and one in Portland, but it doesn’t name them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 16, 2008 at 4:26 am

An item in the May 27, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine provides some information about this theater. It became a film house, and was renamed the Vagabond, in 1950. Before that, it had been a legitimate house called the Masque Theatre. After being enlarged and completely remodeled, it became the fifth art house in a small, local chain operated by Herb Rosener. The other theaters in the chain were the Laurel, Esquire, Studio, and Sunset Theatres.

sventiki
sventiki on July 15, 2008 at 12:53 pm

So nobody has a photo of the exterior of the Vagabond? I am trying to find out if it was always called THE VAGABOND, or if it was re-christened into that when in 1946 Joe Chastek (previously owner of the Zamboanga nightclub on Slauson) opened his “Vagabond’s House” Polynesian restaurant next door (which later became La Fonda):

View link

He took the name from Don Blanding’s poem “Vagabond’s House”, which was published in 1928, two years after the building which houses the theatre was built. It seems likely to me that the theatre had another name when it opened in 1926, and then was renamed.

xaverian
xaverian on April 15, 2008 at 2:03 am

Just read a interview where Michael Connelly, the great writer, talks about going to the Vagabond during his first week in LA in the 1980’s and catching a double feature of Chinatown and The Long Goodbye.

Dublinboyo
Dublinboyo on October 17, 2007 at 4:15 pm

Used to go to the Vagabond in the late 70’s and 80’s when there were such a thing as revival theaters in Los Angeles. I recall seeing an uncut version of the 1933 original version of “King Kong” there – complete with the scene where Kong pops a guy into his mouth and them spits out his clothes! Good times. Recently I watched the 1980 film “The Formula” with Marlon Brando and Gecorge C. Scott. Not much to the film (other then Brando’s weird performance), but there is a scene at the beginning that shows Scott leaving the Vagabond after seeing a film there. Check it out.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 26, 2007 at 10:29 am

Here is an April 1972 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/2hqu5h

David DeCoteau
David DeCoteau on June 17, 2007 at 10:36 pm

I saw ALL ABOUT EVE for the first time here at the Vagabond. Changed my life!

reluctantpopstar
reluctantpopstar on May 22, 2007 at 2:42 am

That’s great that we’re getting some megaplexes, but I guess I am very impatient. Those won’t be running for at least 18 more months. And they won’t have the history and character of the places on Broadway.

Oh well, the Linda Lea should be open in about six months. That’s only two four blocks from where I live. At least I can watch some Japanese movies over there. Hope they have subtitles.

William
William on May 7, 2007 at 8:27 am

There are two chains with plans to open in the Downtown Los Angeles area. AMC Downtown (planned at 14) on Grand Ave. (Music Center/Disney) and the Regal Flagship (12 or 14) at the LA Live.

William
William on May 7, 2007 at 8:17 am

There was talk and plans for a new multi-plex tobe built nearby the Stapes center in the Downtown Los Angeles. That plex would put opening any of those Broadway Theatres for first run movies in a turn around. Because the plex would have the most to offer their patrons with a one stop safe place to park/eat/see a movie area. I know Broadway has changed over the last few years.

reluctantpopstar
reluctantpopstar on May 7, 2007 at 8:01 am

In case you weren’t aware, since 1999 the residental population of downtown has skyrocketed, from under 10,000, going up to almost 40,000 by 2010. Right now we have only one four plex theatre in the actual downtown area, the Laemmle Grande 4 plex, a bland boxy multiplex built in the late 1970’s. It’s also completely separated from the “Historic Theater District” on Broadway by 5 blocks.

Many of the new people moving to new lofts downtown since 1999 are “Americans” as you put it, and have an average income of over $90,000 per year. Downtown is no longer the exclusive residence of homeless and ddrug addicts. This demographic is CRYING out for some movie theaters, and the old places are just sitting there boarded up.

I’m only asking for ONE of the shuttered places on Broadway to open up again with first run fare, or even second run would be okay. In English. I’d have no problem with someone showing films in Spanish, as long I had somewhere to patronize. I hear that the Million Dollar Theater might be hosting occasional concerts again soon, but that’s not what I’m asking for. I want movies! And the equivalent of a city of 40,000 people should have more than one cinema.

And apparently you haven’t been downtown for a while. They have installed new streetlights and street furniture. Come down to Main Street and check them out. It’s a lot less scary.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on May 6, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Perhaps the only way for L.A’s Broadway theaters to survive is to jazz up the rent of these scum-bag shops, harras the winos and beggars and up-grade the street lights… then the American element of patrons may think about returning… but the entertainment industry and younger generations has moved on to other districts!