Art Theatre

551 S. Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Art Theatre 1983

One of over 20 theatres located on S. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. The Art Theatre seated 350 people and was opened in 1925. It was operated by West Coast Theatres (later to become Fox West Coast Theatres).

It was located next to the Optic Theatre and across from the Burbank Theatre. Its last years were as an adult house which was still open in 1983. It has been razed.

The two last theatres to survive on S. Main Street are the Regent Theatre and the Linda Lea Theatre.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 4, 2008 at 6:54 pm

The Rio in that video wasn’t the Rio on Manchester, which was a large, modern, freestanding building. I did notice many L.A. area neighborhood theatres in the video, though, including the Clinton, Kim Sing, Eagle, Imperial, Beverly, Vagabond, Pasadena’s State, Tosca, Unique, Vista, Ebony Showcase, and a nice shot of the Garfield in Alhambra about three and a half minutes in.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

OK, thanks. I had a hunch that was a different Rio.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm

This is a March 1950 story in the Dixon Evening Telegraph:

Los Angeles, March 15â€"(AP)â€"Marty Brill, 44, Notre Dame football star of 20 years ago and former Loyola at Los Angeles coach, was charged today with misdemeanor, vagrancy and lewd conduct in a theatre. Officer A. G. Wiseman of the police vice squad accused Brill, married and the father of three children, of making an improper advance. Brill told a reporter he had several drinks and vaguely recalled being jostled by someone in the theater. He is at liberty on $500 bail, pending a court appearance later today. A complaint was issued by the city attorney’s office on the basis of Wiseman’s statement.. The latter and two other vice squad officers, H. E. Dorrall and G. H Yorham, made the arrest at the Art Theater on South Main street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Now Marty’s peccadillo will be exposed among Google results when his name is searched. The guy was pretty well known. Here he is hanging out with actor Pat O'Brien, about 1940.

Such “jostlings” were doubtlessly common at the Art and other Main Street grind houses through much of their history, and probably only a small percentage of them ended with an arrest. There’s a whole secret history of these theaters that’s little discussed.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 1, 2009 at 8:51 am

I guess he had a wide stance.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 1, 2009 at 10:46 am

The Cumberland MD Evening Times had the same story but also included a quote from Marty:

Wiseman quoted the former grid great, now a salesman for a wholesale drug company, “Why don’t you guys give me a break? I’m a married man with three kids. I haven’t done anything like this since I was a kid. I don’t know why I grabbed hold of you tonight. I’m Marty Brill, the famous football player.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm

At extreme right in the 1939 USC photo, is that the Burbank Theatre’s vertical sign that says “Mexico” on it? Though the marquee is hard to read, it looks like it says “Peliculas” on the first line.

I checked the city directories for 1938 and 1939, and the Burbank is listed in both (under the “Theatres” section rather than “Motion Picture Theatres” and there is no Mexico Theatre listed for either year. The Burbank is listed under Motion Picture Theatres in the 1942 directory.

Unfortunately the L.A. Library doesn’t have a 1940 directory online, or I’d check that. If the Burbank was a Spanish-language movie house called the Mexico, it must have been for a very brief time.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm

This Gary Graver photo shows some of the theater detail:
http://tinyurl.com/rxycbd

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on February 18, 2010 at 9:59 am

Gary Graver (who passed away in 2009) was a director/cinematographer. He did film/direct a number of XXX films in the 1970s & 1980s under the name Robert McCallum.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 7, 2019 at 2:36 pm

LA Times listings started in 1925 in the West Coast theatres listings.

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