Garrick Theatre

802 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Garrick Theatre exterior and the nearby Rialto Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theater was located on what is now the site of the Tower Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The Hyman Theatre was operated as part of the Arthur S. Hyman circuit, and opened prior to 1911.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 18, 2007 at 4:38 am

From the LA Times, March 6, 1927:

Theater Landmark Razed

Wrecking of the old Garrick Theater, located on the southeast corner of Eighth and Broadway and for many years a landmark of downtown Los Angeles, was started last week, to make way for a new $500,000 playhouse. Plans for the new theater, to be known as the Tower Theater, have been completed by architect S. Charles Lee.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 28, 2007 at 11:56 pm

Here is a 1911 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/2mz9tp

nickb
nickb on April 8, 2008 at 3:07 am

The Garrick seems to have been run for at least part of its time by J. A. Quinn, also of Broadway’s Superba and later the Rialto theatres. The LA Times' Nov 15 1914 edition notes that the Garrick was about to celebrate the third anniversary of Quinn’s ownership.

odinthor
odinthor on April 23, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Two more pictures of the Hyman Theatre alias the Garrick—at least, the theater manages to edge into the pix—can be found at

http://www.csulb.edu/~odinthor/socal7a.html

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 23, 2008 at 11:43 pm

That’s an interesting site. He really gives you the flavor of LA a hundred years ago.

corahooda
corahooda on May 3, 2011 at 6:15 am

I’m new to this board researching the Hyman Theatre. I have an antique lady’s pocketwatch inscribed to a Ms. Yarnell from the Hyman Theatre. The watch was from around 1907 and the history I got was that it was circa 1910 awarded to a silent screen star. This came from the Los Angeles area so I am assuming it is from this long gone theatre. What a treasure trove of information that you’ve all compiled. Thank you!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2014 at 8:12 am

The June, 1916, issue of a magazine called American Globe ran the following item:

“NEW GARRICK THEATER NOW THE HOME OF CHARLIE CHAPLIN

“The New Garrick Theater on Broadway at Eighth street has been taken over by a Los Angeles Syndicate. A new picture machine has been installed and a nine piece orchestra, as well as organist, was added. M. Jean de Chauvenet, famous royal player and composer, is organist. Charlie Chaplin has moved again. He is now at home at the New Garrick Theater. The renovating of the house as well as a new ventilating system has added materially to the comfort of crowded houses. Recently there was a line more than half a block long waiting the enter the New Garrick, which is an indication of better times.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2014 at 8:13 am

Alterations were to be made to the Garrick Theatre in 1913, according to the March 15 issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer. Lawrence A. Valk was the architect for the project, the extent of which was not specified.

Barman and Robinson were listed as the owners of the theater, and their address was given as 5th and Los Angeles Streets. It’s likely that they were also the owners of the Globe Theatre, which was at that intersection.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on October 5, 2014 at 2:30 am

Dear folks, the first Wurlitzer model B theatre organ to be shipped (2 manuals, 4 ranks, curved console) went to this theatre, the “Garrick Theatre” in Los Angeles, on October 22, 1921. This is Wurlitzer Opus 475.

I can see from the comments that the theatre was demolished in 1927 to make way for the still-standing Tower Theatre.

The Wurlitzer shipping records tell us that the B was repossessed by Wurlitzer, and then shipped on February 18, 1927, to the “8th & Broadway Corp.” of Los Angeles, CA.

What does that mean?

I would imagine that either the entire organ was crated and shipped back to the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda, NY for refurbishing, and then shipped out again to Los Angeles (possible), or simply that the organ was removed from the soon-to-be-demolished theatre (probably by the local Wurlitzer dealer… maybe Glockner Music Co?) and stored, and then re-installed right near where the old theatre used to be?

This doesn’t make sense, since I thought that the Tower Theatre in LA had a Wurlitzer model 216 organ (2/10), opus 1620, shipped on April 23, 1927 to the Tower Theatre.

—–> Who were the “8th and Broadway Corp”? What theatres did they own/run? <—–

Here’s a little Garrick Theatre organ timeline I’ve slapped together:

1915 (date unknown): the Garrick Theatre has a two-manual, eight-rank Robert-Morton theatre pipe organ (with a California Organ Co. nameplate) installed.

I do not know what became of this organ when the Wurlitzer was installed in 1921, perhaps it was taken in on trade by Wurlitzer and then re-sold somewhere else.

June, 1916: M. Jean de Chauvenet is the organist at the Garrick Theatre, and they also have a nine piece orchestra (possibly used in conjunction with the organ).

February 18, 1927: the Garrick Theatre’s style B is repossessed by Wurlitzer before this date, and is shipped on this date to the “8th and Broadway Corp” (whatever that means).

Week before March 6th, 1927: demolition of the Garrick Theatre building is started.

April 23rd, 1927: A new Wurlitzer model 216 (two-manual, ten-rank) theatre pipe organ, opus 1620, is shipped to the new “Tower Theatre” in Los Angeles, built on the Garrick Theatre site. Actually, I believe the Wurlitzer records show the 216 being shipped to the “Garrick” even thought it was in the process of demolition!

Perhaps the owners of the Garrick/Tower hadn’t yet decided upon the new theatre’s name at that point.

October 12th, 1927: the Tower Theatre opens.

1931 [exact date uncertain to me]: the Tower Theatre’s model 216 Wurlitzer organ is sold to the nearby Los Angeles Theatre.

circa 1972 [exact date unknown]: Wurlitzer style 216 theatre pipe organ, opus 1620, DISAPPEARS from the Los Angeles Theatre!

Many theatre organ people have heard tales of the “midnight organ supply” (the practice of organ enthusiasts, organbuilders, and organists stealing parts out of still-extant organs in theatres in the dead of night), but this story takes the cake!

What a vanishing act! The ENTIRE ORGAN disappeared!

(I mean the 216, not the B, although technically, the status of the B is “unknown” since it is not known where it went when then 8th and Broadway Co. got a hold of it).

Reportedly, the 216 still exists and is in somebody’s house somewhere (don’t know who, don’t know where). This rumor has also made its way around the theatre organ community, although no names have ever been mentioned, probably so that said organ-stealing party(/ies) can avoid the consequences.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2014 at 8:19 am

The only mention I can find of the 8th & Broadway Corp. in the trade journals is this item from the California “Changes in Ownership” column of the July 22, 1932, issue of The Film Daily:

“Olympic (formerly Bards 8th St.) sold to Laurence Cohen by 8th & Broadway Corp.”
The Olympic was on 8th Street west of Broadway, and opened as Bard’s 8th Street Theatre in April, 1927. Lou Bard operated the house, but I don’t know if he owned it outright. It’s possible that the house was financed by someone else.

The lease on the Garrick (and the land under it) was taken over by H. L. Gumbiner in 1921, and he operated the house until having it replaced by the Tower in 1927. In the early 1930s the Gumbiners were operating the Cameo and Broadway Theatres as well as the Tower, but so far I haven’t been able to connect them with Lou Bard. There could have been a business relationship of some sort between them, and if so the Garrick’s organ might have gone to Bard’s 8th Street.

Gumbiner is best known for having built the Los Angeles Theatre in 1930, which is how the Tower’s organ ended up there. The Los Angeles was expensive to build, and Gumbiner’s finances were stretched thin, so moving the organ from the Tower was probably an economy move.

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