Palace Theatre

630 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on July 15, 2014 at 2:08 am

The Palace Theater is featured in the video for Weird Al’s song Trashy (which is a spoof of Pharrell William’s hit song Happy).

You can see the top floor, a backstage elevator and other areas, a bit of the auditorium, and an emergency exit on the side.

http://www.nerdist.com/vepisode/weird-al-yankovic-gets-tacky-with-pharrells-happy/

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Andrew, this house opened in 1911 as the Orpheum Theatre and kept that name until the new Orpheum opened at 842 Broadway in February, 1926. This house was then called the Broadway Palace Theatre for a few years before becoming simply the Palace Theatre. I suppose it’s possible that an organ was installed in early 1926. As the Orpheum it had been a two-a-day vaudeville house, and would not have needed an organ. I don’t think it showed movies with any regularity until after becoming the Broadway Palace.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Interestingly, “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David L. Junchen notes (on pg. 628) that a two-manual, 15-rank Smith theatre pipe organ was installed in a “Palace Th.” in Los Angeles. The book does not give any more details, or say when the organ was installed.

Smith apparently installed most of their organs between about 1916 and 1926.

Since there were two Palace Theatres in Los Angeles open during this time, and since I am not sure which “Palace Theatre” he meant, so I will put this on both theatres' pages for now.

In my personal opinion, however, the organ was probably installed in the larger of the two “Palace” theatres, since the largest two organs installed by Smith (of which the size is known) were both 16 ranks, and this one is listed as 15 ranks, meaning it would probably be for a fairly large house. Most of the firm’s other organs, of which the size of the organ is known, were under 10 ranks.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

The essence of the news sited above is this excerpt:

For years, the status of four Broadway theaters owned by the Delijani family has been one of the biggest trouble points for the revitalization of Broadway. Although many have envisioned a revived Palace, State, Los Angeles and Tower theaters functioning as mini-epicenters of nightlife, the family has been slow to act, worried about the cost, loading issues and a perceived lack of parking.

Now, all that could change. If the new plan comes to fruition, the family could have a major role in really bringing back Broadway.

Next week, Shahram Delijani expects to file documents with the Department of City Planning for a proposal that would bring the turn-of-the-20th-century theaters back to life by transforming them into concert venues and delivering restaurants and bars. The plan involves securing a series of permits that would, in essence, consolidate all four venues into a single “theater complex,” even though they are on different blocks.

MJuggler
MJuggler on September 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

More good news about the theatre owner: http://tinyurl.com/bpknslp

Homeboy
Homeboy on July 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

The following appeared in the July 15, 2012 issue of the Los Angeles Times:

“With $1-million restoration, the show goes on at Palace Theatre”

The Palace Theatre is indeed a place fit for royalty. Massive murals lord over the auditorium. Cornucopia moldings hang over the exits. And frescos cover the theater’s domed ceiling, a homage to an era when going to a show was truly a glamorous affair.

“It’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?” David Linderman said as he sat in one of its plush seats. “It’s more of a palace than a theater.”

Linderman drove in from Moorpark with his wife for a public tour Saturday by the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, which surveyed every nook of the theater, which had its first performance on June 26, 1911. (It was known as the Orpheum then, a vaudeville stage, where Joseph Hart’s “The Little Stranger” and “Musikal Girls,” were among the acts in the first show.)

The owners of the Palace Theatre, a name it adopted not long after, completed a $1-million renovation last year to restore the luster lost to time and inattention. The Palace is one of four historic theaters on Broadway in downtown purchased by the late real estate magnate and philanthropist Ezat Delijani, whose family continues to maintain and restore them. The family also owns the Los Angeles, State and Tower theaters.

The Palace had faded to a dismal state, said Ed Kelsey, who led the renovation. Leaks in the roof let water trickle in, causing severe damage throughout the building. It had become so humid inside that the paint was peeling. And coats of paint, layers of flooring and new fixtures added over the years, until the theater was closed in 1999, had lacquered over the original craftsmanship.

To reveal what had once been there, the renovation became something like detective work.

Sometimes it required incredible precision: A team had to examine an old photo with a microscope to spot the pattern on the wallpaper so they could re-create it; for the carpet, one person had to scrub off years of wear and dirt until the design was evident. Untangling a skein of electrical wiring from 1911 was certainly a tedious chore.

At other times, they had to be blunt objects, breaking through walls and floors to find the treasure underneath. “Hit it with a hammer and see what’s inside,” Kelsey said. They discovered the original tiled entryway in the lobby and wood panels in the gentlemen’s lounge. A bannister of concrete had a brass handrail inside.

“What a job! What a job! Look at the detail work,” Carole Koenig, 60, said as she examined the molding. “The kind of quality craftsmanship, they don’t make anymore.”

On the tour, the guides showed how the building had evolved in its various iterations: It originally had box seats, but those disappeared with the introduction of talking movies. It had an organ, and then it didn’t. There had once been an orchestra chamber, but now it was gone. And the instrument room didn’t originally have a functioning toilet right by the door.

Other stops included a ladies' lounge with a window overlooking the entrance so that women could spot their dates, outdoor stairs to the upper-level galleries used at a time when the theater was segregated.

“They’re not dead,” Koenig said of the theaters. “They’re living pieces of architecture for people to continue using in new ways.”

Linderman, 54, loves the old theaters. He even sat through a Spanish-language church service once just to see the State Theatre, also on Broadway.

“It gives you a reason to come down, to see things other than closed buildings, wondering what it was,” Linderman said of the renovation of the Palace Theatre, which once hosted entertainers ranging from Fred Astaire to Houdini.

A year after reopening, many hope for more: The former shine has been largely restored, but it hasn’t come back to life. The Palace is still holding out for a revival.

MJuggler
MJuggler on June 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Was in the theater on June 26th, it’s 100 birthday! Saw a 3 day old print of “ Sunset Blvd” 3 times! Was working as head usher for the reopening/birthday event. WOW, what a great day to see it back it working order. new seats, new carpet, new wallpaper, fresh coats of paint and oil on wood. She is ready for her next life, a multi purpose venue. Only 1030 Seat now out of the 2200 that she had before but that’s enough. I would love to have a variety show there, jugglers & other performers then a short film. Maybe someday!

jwballer
jwballer on June 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Happy to see the palace open again

William
William on March 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

LawMann, “Earthquake” opened at the Chinese Theatre across the street and later moved over to the Paramount Theatre.

LawMann
LawMann on March 20, 2011 at 4:11 am

Back in 1977 Paramount Pictures re-released “War of the Worlds” and “When Worlds Collide”. I saw these two classic movies with friends who were visiting from northern California at the Palace Theatre. I’ll never forget stepping outside to a late afternoon sunlit Broadway which was bustling with pedestrians and traffic life and remembering what I just saw, those same Los Angeles city streets being attacked by martians. We walked the seven blocks to the Los Angeles city hall building which only less than an hour earlier was blasted by martians. It was an awesome experience, pretty much like after seeing “Earthquake” at the Paramount theare in 1974 then walking the few blocks to Hollywood & Vine to see what was just destroyed on the big screen.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Here is a view from December 1951, from USC:
http://tinyurl.com/28mavhm

DanaQualley
DanaQualley on May 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I’m posting the same comment to different theaters.Check out “Ncis Los Angeles” In tonights episode the climax takes place in an abandoned theater in L.A. The name of the theater was the Palace. There was a lot of shots. of the auditorium and the theater in general.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Here is a nice photo of the marquee, fully operational, in November 2009:
http://tinyurl.com/y5f4mlb

gemmigina
gemmigina on April 1, 2010 at 8:15 pm

As seen on ABC’s “Castle” (which is actually set in New York), March 29: View link

socal09
socal09 on November 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm

It is a beautiful old place but what to do with these old theatres on Broadway? The immigrant Latino population is moving on that once used these places for Spanish films and churches. The young white condo buyers that are moving in are too busy to see live shows and watch movies on their Ipods and flat screen TVs at home. I don’t see any commercially viable uses for these places other than for infrequent special events and as filming locations. The new Club Nokia and Nokia theatre at the LA Live complex nearby have a lock on any live performances for halls of this size.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I’ve just seen the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation’s page about the Palace. It has a few interesting pictures but also has some errors in the text. It says that the third Orpheum in Los Angeles (the Palace) was built when the second Orpheum burned down, but in fact the second Orpheum didn’t burn down, and had a long post-Orpheum life as a movie theater called the Lyceum.

The page also says that the first Orpheum was built in Los Angeles in the 1880s. That’s a bit ambiguous, but if it means that the Orpheum Circuit began in Los Angeles it’s not quite right. The first theater in what became the Orpheum circuit was opened in San Francisco in 1887, and in 1894 its operator, Gustav Walter, entered a partnership with Martin Lehman, owner of the Grand Opera House on Main Street in Los Angeles, to present vaudeville shows there under the Orpheum banner. As a circuit implies more than one theater, the Grand could be considered one of the first two theaters in the Orpheum Circuit, as it was the first house Walter and Meyerfield operated outside San Francisco, but it was never the flagship of the circuit.

Incidentally, the Wikipedia article about the Orpheum Circuit also contains some errors. Most significantly, it is wrong in saying the company was founded by Martin Beck. Gustav Walter and his assistant Morris Meyerfield started the circuit. Beck, originally a vaudeville troupe manager from Chicago who became another of Walter’s assistants, acquired control of the company several years after it was founded.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Here is a night shot. The Los Angeles marquee is also lit, on the left.
http://tinyurl.com/dgzran

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Here is another late 30s photo from USC:
http://tinyurl.com/csrlpq

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 25, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Here is a 1939 photo from the USC archive:
http://tinyurl.com/ddm8ul

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Great slide show from last week. Let’s hope this place can be turned around like the Orpheum.