Bill Robinson Theatre

4219 S. Central Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90011

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The Tivoli Theatre was part of a long lost section of movie houses in South Central Los Angeles. It was opened prior to 1926 when it was listed with 450 seats. In 1931 it become an African-American theatre and the seating capacity had been increased to 873. In 1939 it was renamed Bill Robinson Theatre. It was still open in 1960.

The building was demolished in 1971 following damage from the Sylmar earthquake.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2007 at 5:04 pm

You can see that the theater is already gone in this 1987 photo:

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Oh Bill Robinson, where have you gone…lost in San Jacinto.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2007 at 6:35 pm

L.A. library’s index cards use the American dating system, with the month first.

I’ve been unable to determine if the Soboba theatre was on East or West Main Street.

Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mr. Robinson,
We’ll get back to you eventually.

losangeleno on September 14, 2008 at 8:52 pm

As a small child, my family took me to the Robinson Theater to see Ben Hur. It was our neighborhood theater. As a young boy, I got a job cleaning and stacking bricks that were the remains of the demolished theater. Both the Robinson Theater, and the Dunbar Hotel were our pyramids of Giza, monuments of a civilization that had long since become passed away.

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

When was it demolished?

losangeleno on September 14, 2008 at 9:26 pm

The Robinson theater was located on Central Ave, between 43rd St. and 43rd Pl. on the west side of the street. Directly across the street from the Los Angeles Sentinel news paper, Civic meat market, and Lucy’s Supermarket.

losangeleno on September 14, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Here’s an old theater on the corners of Central and Jefferson Ave. that’s standing.

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I’m sure it hard to have been built around the same time as the Robinson to the north and the Lincoln theater to the south. All three within a few miles of each other, all on Central Ave.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Los Angeleno: The theater on Central at Jefferson is listed at Cinema Treasures as the Florence Mills Theatre. It is the oldest of the three theaters you mention, having been erected in 1912, and known to have been operating as the Globe Theatre in 1914.

kencmcintyre on October 25, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Advertised in the LA Times in January 1960. Double feature on 1/22/60 was “Sad Horse” and “Sound & The Fury”. Admission was fifty cents.

docchapel on July 25, 2015 at 8:43 am

Worked this theater briefly during a revival, and ran a bunch of “Hammer” Horror Films that were popular in the lated sixties. The theater was like the Rio, and didn’t stay open very long on its second go round.

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