RKO Hillstreet Theatre

801 S. Hill Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 1 - 25 of 63 comments

DavidZornig on June 2, 2016 at 3:48 am

Clearer copy of the 1953 photo added.

drb on July 14, 2010 at 5:00 am

The USC photo links from above, plus a few “new” ones, are now here:
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kencmcintyre on October 31, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Here is part of an article in the LA Times on 4/29/63:

The largest theater in downtown Los Angeles closed two weeks ago-at least temporarily-with no more fanfare than was accorded its opening 41 years ago. The Hillstreet, at 8th and Hill, opened Monday afternoon March 20, 1922, with a vaudeville program and the film “Why Announce Your Marriage?” with Elaine Hammerstein. The theater closed Sunday evening April 14, 1963 with Vincent Price in “Diary of a Madman”.

Although “shortage of product” was the reason given for the theater’s closing, it is reliably estimated that at each of the last three evening performances the 2,752 seats were occupied by a tiny fraction of its capacity. Metropolitan Theater Corp., which leased the Hillstreet from the Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corp. in 1959, said it hopes to resume regular programming when summer vacation begins for the city’s schoolchildren.

Designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, the most prolific theater architect in western United States, now living in retirement in San Mateo, the Hillstreet has an almost identical “sister” theater, the Golden Gate, in San Francisco. Though somewhat smaller than the San Francisco house, the Hillstreet has the same faintly ecclesiastical Spanish Renaissance styling. The fan-vaulted ceiling in the foyer of the Hillstreet was covered up when the entrances to both theaters were modernized on their 25th anniversaries.

kencmcintyre on July 24, 2009 at 5:28 am

It looks like they are turning the old bank building on the theater space into a nightclub. Here is a 1940 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on May 22, 2009 at 2:41 am

Here is a 1938 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on April 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Here is a late 1930s view from the USC archive:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 19, 2009 at 6:17 am

The April 26, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an article about the recent remodeling of the Hillstreet Theatre, with several photographs. The remodeling was designed by the A.B. Heinsbergen Company.

kencmcintyre on December 4, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Here is a September 1938 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on October 12, 2008 at 8:50 am

Aiming right at the competition, a circa 1931 ad for the RKO Hillstreet can be seen on Hollywood Boulevard. The photo is from the USC archive.

vokoban on September 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Maybe I should make a graphic novel called The Life & Loves of the Trado Twins….hmmm.

kencmcintyre on September 29, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Look at page seven of this Canadian newspaper from 1922. The twins and Jack Thomas are bottom billed:

vokoban on September 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Here’s something from the day before this theater opened:
(March 19, 1922 LA Times)

Tomorrow afternoon the new Hillstreet Theater of the Junior Orpheum Circuit at Eighth and Hill will open its doors to the public without any formal ceremonies. The new theater is a model of the most advanced ideas in theater construction, and embodies many new features for the comfort and pleasure of the patrons. Continuous vaudeville and exclusive photoplay showings will comprise the entertainment offered, with excellent musical programs rendered by a large orchestra, with Allen Hall directing and Charles Hayes O'Haver presiding at the mammoth three-manual Moller organ. The opening bill gives an excellent idea of the class of the attractions to be offered at the Hillstreet Theater and is sure to appeal to every taste. Gladys Buckridge and Billy Casey, the Ziegfeld stars, with one of the season’s most elaborate productions entitled “Ornamental Song Hits,” hold the headline position. They will be assisted by the clever Trado Twins, dancers, and Jack Thomas at the piano.

{I wish I had a photo of those Trado Twins….}

kencmcintyre on September 29, 2008 at 3:24 am

Here is a January 1930 ad from the LA Times:

BhillH20 on May 10, 2008 at 3:07 am

Its such a damn shame that they chose to tear down this theater/office building after a mere 40 years!! Yet, the Warner Bros. Downtown theater/office building at 7th & Hill and the Loew’s State theater/office building at 7th & Broadway are still around after more than 80 years…

vokoban on March 18, 2008 at 2:59 am

That’s funny…because of the sepia color from the scanning I thought they were from an old out of print book. I already own the new IA book…it’s great.

kencmcintyre on March 18, 2008 at 2:24 am

That’s the last of them. Check the images of america section at Barnes & Noble and look for LA theaters.

vokoban on March 18, 2008 at 2:12 am

Ken, the photos look as though they are from a book and I’d like to find a copy. Will you tell the title?

vokoban on March 18, 2008 at 1:33 am

ken, where are you getting these photos?

kencmcintyre on November 1, 2007 at 2:19 pm

Wallace Reid was a very popular silent film star who died shortly after the advent of talking pictures. It looks like his wife directed the Warner Baxter film.

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Here is a 1954 ad from the LA Times:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 8, 2007 at 3:43 am

The Junior Orpheum Circuit ran combination houses which featured moderately-priced shows consisting of a movie and several acts of vaudeville, presented either continuously or (usually) three times a day. Regular Orpheum Circuit theatres were two-show-a-day, all-vaudeville houses, though of course many of them soon converted to combination houses or ran only movies as vaudeville withered away.

kencmcintyre on August 8, 2007 at 3:40 am

Read Joe’s comment of 7/12/07.