Belasco Theatre

1050 S. Hill Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

frank gagliano
frank gagliano on January 21, 2020 at 4:55 am

The Belasco, The Mayan, The Orpheum, The United Artist – now Ace Theater, The Palace, and the Los Angeles Theater are all in great condition and benefit from a thriving gentrification of downtown Los Angeles. Billions of dollars are being invested in new residential and conversions of old hotel and office buildings to residential; the streets have come alive. Nightlife is flourishing and downtown LA is now hip, vibrant, and growing again. Unfortunately, downtown’s skid row and the thousands of homeless along with the blocks upon blocks of encampments bring a stinging blight and a sense of concern for one’s safety that mars this otherwise incredible revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.

DonSolosan on July 1, 2013 at 2:36 am

LawMann, I think it’s possible, but unlikely. The seats have been removed and the floor leveled to make it into a nightclub/live performance venue. Not only on the main floor, but also in the balcony. True, LRS screened a movie at the Wiltern and had to bring in folding chairs for the main floor, but the large balcony was intact. With limited seating in the balcony, I don’t know what size audience the Belasco could handle—and that’s a key factor in picking venues for LRS.

Something you might consider: join the LRS committee and make a pitch for using the Belasco. They will consider it. I pushed for screening “King Kong” at the Shrine where the Kong on display scenes were filmed. Unfortunately, the financial details didn’t make sense, and it was shown at the Los Angeles instead. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I!

LawMann on June 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I hope this theatre is added to the Last Remaining Seats film series held each year. What a beautiful place to see a vintage motion picture.

Hibi on April 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

What a beautiful theater. I hope concert audiences dont ruin it!

HowardBHaas on July 11, 2011 at 12:28 am

It was the restored Belasco that the royals visited:

socal09 on June 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

This is the new website for the Belasco

It’s used primarily as a nightclub and for special events.

monika on March 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I want to congratulate everyone involved with the Belasco’s absolutely stunning renovation. The theatre is lovely, and I’m excited to see how it thrives from this point.

Photographs from the LAHTF’s “All About… The Belasco” tour are in abundance on Flickr.

CSWalczak on February 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

The policy here at CT clearly favors inclusion rather than exclusion. There are some entries here on CT that are not even theater structures in the strict sense – such as the Detroit Film Theater and the Cleveland Cinematheque. Recently someone posted a park were apparently a film was shown once or just a few times (I thought that one was a bit dicey, though). It would hardly surprise me if other buildings built for legitimate theater especially in the 1920’s or before showed a film or two from time to time. Theaters listed here include those originally built as a barn, a factory, a cafeteria, and a gas station, to say nothing of the not inconsiderable number of theaters that were storefronts. There are also a few listed theaters that showed films for periods of less than four years, so a place’s original purpose and length of time as a film exhibition site are not necessarily factors that would prevent it from appearing on CT, nor does the type of film shown necessarily exclude a location.

DonSolosan on February 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Then we would have to eliminate the Shrine Auditorium and Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and… There are a lot of buildings listed here with cinema history that are not, strictly speaking, cinemas. As far as I know, it’s never been the mission of CT to only list buildings that were purpose-built to show movies. For example, all those storefronts that were turned into porn theaters in the 70s. Eliminate those and you marginalize a huge piece of cinema history.

In the case of the Belasco, it showed films over the course of at least four years. Isn’t that enough to get a listing here? People have history with this building and seeing movies there. It’s better to be inclusive.

What’s the problem, is the Internet running out of space or something?

socal09 on February 27, 2011 at 7:29 am

If this theatre was not built to show films and only screened them for a short time, then it really isn’t a ‘cinema treasure’ and doesn’t belong on this site. It’s a beautiful building but not a cinema.

CSWalczak on February 27, 2011 at 1:35 am

Thanks so much, Don. The item about the 1932 film showing was especially of interest.

DonSolosan on February 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm

According to the presentation prepared by Ed Kelsey, the Belasco switched to film in 1932. He has an ad for the German film “Maedchen in Uniform” playing there (even though the title “Schoolgirls in Uniform” has undertones of exploitation, it isn’t. “Maedchen” in a serious film that offended the Nazis and they attempted to destroy it. Fortunately, they failed). It doesn’t seem to have stuck with films for long. Eventually they came back when the theater became a burlesque house, alternating with the live acts.

No one knows if the projection booth was added, or a part of the original design. It might have been a follow-spot platform. The fact that the design is so well integrated suggests that it’s original; the half-assed access ladder at the top of the mezzanine level suggests that it was added later. Nowadays it’s used as an office.

There is no film projection equipment remaining in the building. They recently held the premiere of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar documentary “On The Shoulders Of Giants.” It was presented digitally on a rented screen, with folding chairs on the main floor, but the owners plan to buy a screen in the future.

There are eight huge video projectors mounted on either side of the proscenium; these will be used to project special effects on the ceiling.

DonSolosan on February 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

All About the Belasco
February 26th, 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 10)
Free to LAHTF members; $5 to the general public

Hope to see you there!

DonSolosan on January 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

It’s probably time to update the description, which claims that plans to convert the building to a nightclub “came to nothing.” In the past few years around $10 million has been spent renovating this building.

It’s not going to be a nightclub, but a multi-purpose venue similar to the Music Box in Hollywood. They have the large ballroom upstairs, the theater with leveled floor, dance floor, stage, bar, and in the balcony tables and seating, restaurants, a small bar, and a proposed jazz club downstairs.

I’ve been inside and they’ve done a wonderful job with the place, with many references to its rich heritage in their planning and design. Everything’s pretty much done (except the jazz club) and they’re preparing for a February opening.

The LAHTF will be presenting an All About soon, so stay tuned for details.

DonSolosan on August 19, 2010 at 2:08 am

Here’s a montage of construction photos showing the Belasco going up.

vokoban on January 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Here is an old Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Belasco and the Mayan.

View link

DonSolosan on January 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I just looked at Bing, and its aerial view had the pointer aimed at the Mayan Theater…

DonSolosan on January 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Chuck, are you talking about Google street view? If so, that’s out of date. The interior renovation is pretty much complete; I haven’t been by recently so I don’t know what they’re doing about signage outside. I understand the owner of the Mayan has filed an objection to them opening, and that has to be worked out.

vokoban on January 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Maybe the economy put a stop to it. When I was there they were doing all kinds of things inside. There was a lot of construction equipment and it looked like they were trying to save as much as possible. It was really dark and kind of eerie inside.

vokoban on January 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I thought I posted these photos on here but I guess I didn’t. These are pictures are from a few years ago when they were converting the theater into some sort of nightclub. I don’t know if it’s open as anything yet:

View link

DonSolosan on October 31, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Chuck, there’s not much of the exterior of that building that says “theater.” I remember shooting the Mayan in the 90s, and shot a few details of the Belasco, never guessing that it had been a theater.

kencmcintyre on August 9, 2009 at 7:47 am

Here is an interior photo, circa 1930s:

kencmcintyre on June 27, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Here is a January 1939 ad from the LA Times: