Garrick Theatre

802 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2014 at 12:19 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.

AndrewBarrett on October 4, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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 March 31, 2014 at 12:13 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.

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

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


“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.”

corahooda on May 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

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!

kencmcintyre on April 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm

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

odinthor on April 23, 2008 at 2:49 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

nickb on April 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm

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.

kencmcintyre on October 28, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Here is a 1911 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on July 17, 2007 at 8:38 pm

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 on October 3, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Here is a re-post of the 1913 photo as the link has expired:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 23, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Ken, the theatre on the right is the Rialto.

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Further research finds the theater on the right is the “Laff Chance”. A comedy club, perhaps?

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2006 at 6:11 pm

I should have said left instead of right. I don’t know what the theater is on the right side of the picture.

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2006 at 6:08 pm

Here is a photo from 1924. The Garrick is the smaller building on the right:

vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Joe, there are a few new and grisly entries on the Roxie page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 8, 2006 at 1:29 pm

There were at least three other Garrick Theatres in California alone early in the 20th century— San Diego, San Francisco and Stockton each had one, that I know of. Philadelphia and St. Louis also had them, and probably many other cities did as well. It became a popular name for theatres long before movies were invented. Ultimately, all of them were named for David Garrick.

vokoban on January 8, 2006 at 5:12 am

I saw something about the San Diego Hyman also. Garrick was more frustrating to weed out since there was a Garrick in Chicago, New York, and London.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 7, 2006 at 7:49 pm

The photo at the top of this page shows the Garrick after the 1921 remodeling by G.E. Bergstrom. The original facade, by architects Train & Williams, can be seen in this photo of the Hyman Theater from the L.A. Library photo collection. The facade, largely unchanged from its days as the Hyman, can be seen in this later photo of Broadway (from the USC archives), showing the Garrick Theatre at the lower right.

I have re-checked my source for the date of construction of the Hyman/Garrick Theatre, and see that the 1913 date actually referred to another Hyman Theatre, in San Diego. As the plans for the Hyman in Los Angeles were announced in September of 1910, this theatre probably opened in early 1911.

Incidentally, Train & Williams was the firm which designed the operators pavilion and power house which long stood at the top of the Angel’s Flight funicular. As far as I know, the only other theatre designed by Train & Williams was The Strand in Pasadena.

vokoban on January 7, 2006 at 1:46 pm

I wonder if the Hyman theater was the same building as the Garrick. The Hyman is mentioned quite often from 1910 until 1912 and then there is nothing more.

(Sept. 11, 1910)
Plans for notable and extensive building improvements at the vacant southeast corner of Broadway and Eighth street are in course of preparation in the offices of Architects Train & Williams, the builder being the Leasehold Company. In all, the structures planned will occupy a frontage of 272 feet on Eighth by 50 feet on Broadway. Bids for the construction will be called for this week. The improvements at the corner will consist of an attractive one-story brick moving picture theater building, to be known as the Hyman Theater. This structure will have a frontage of 50 feet on Broadway by 150 feet on Eighth. The exterior will be cement plaster over brick, the front being elaborately treated in staff ornamentation. The show-house entrance will be in tile and marble.

(June 14, 1911)
Another bill of novelties, music and comedy is to be found at the Hyman Theater this week. Mack & McKay have a singing and dancing act,…….First-run pictures are always seen at Hyman’s and with the diversity of subject they take first place. The Hyman orchestra under the direction of Miss Bessie Hardy, plays all the latest eastern music.

(April 29, 1912)
Robert Emmet Boyle, the cripple who shot and almost instantly killed George Coblentz, No. 818 South Spring street, in the Hyman Theater bar, No. 216 West Eighth street, late Saturday night, would have been taken to the Police Station by his mother, Mrs. Margaret M. Boyle, had she been physically able to make the long trip at that late hour……

vokoban on January 7, 2006 at 1:23 pm

I think this theater was called the Garrick pretty consistently from around 1915-1927, even after the remodel.

(Nov. 28, 1915)
How her actions, while she was wandering in a condition of aphasia brought tragedy into the life of a beautiful young society girl, is said to be powerfully shown in “Body and Soul,” the unusual photodrama, which heads the programme opening today at the Garrick Theater.

(March 5, 1916)
Your last opportunity to see the beautiful Audrey Munson
The world’s famous art model, in
The picture that has produced the biggest attendance in the history of The New Garrick Theater

(April 24, 1916)
Mary Pickford is seen in one of her best dramatic roles in “Hearts Adrift” at the Garrick Theater this week.

(Dec. 27, 1921)
All decked-out in a new set of trimmings, which make its interior exceptionally inviting, the Garrick Theater reopened Sunday to a large attendance of holiday crowds. The house had been closed for some weeks previously while it was being remodeled, with a view to making it an abiding-place for firt-run attractions. The decorations are quiet, in the prevailing mode of theater interiors, and the space seems to have been somewhat amplified by the new arrangement of chairs, so that a very attractive home for the cinema presentation has been provided.

(Oct. 18, 1922)
A new idea in motion-picture programs is to be initiated at the Garrick Theater next Monday, when that playhouse will radically change its policy. The plan is to present a diversified program of short reel subjects, combining in one bill dramas, comedies, travelogues, films of scientific interest, news weeklies, fashion, cartoons, educationals, Western dramas, and other varieties of short productions.

vokoban on January 7, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Here’s something about the final days of the Garrick Theater:

(March 6, 1927)
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 to be constructed there for the Gumbiner Theatrical Enterprises. Plans for the new theater, to be known as the Tower Theater, have been completed by Architect S. Charles Lee and according to the specifications the structure is to be one of the finest in the city. The interior is to be finished in marble and bronze in a method of execution never before attempted, according to Lee. The seating capacity of the theater will be 900. The exterior of the building will be featured by a 100-foot tower of terra cotta and this will not, it was said, infringe upon the height-limit building ordinance of the city. Contract for the work has been awarded to R.E. Campbell and under the terms of the document the building is to be completed within six months.

kencmcintyre on November 28, 2005 at 3:47 pm

The LA Library says that the Hyman was also called the Yarrick. they may have been misinformed.

kencmcintyre on October 11, 2005 at 4:45 pm

From the USC Digital Archive, the Garrick is on the lower right side of the picture:

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 2:57 am

The single storey Garrick Theatre had a seating capacity of 650 on one level.

The S. Charles Lee designed Tower Theater which replaced it on the same parcel of land has a seating capacity of 906 in orchestra and balcony levels.