Century Theatre

5115 Hollywood Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Hunley's Theatre exterior

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Opened in 1921 as Hunley’s Theatre, a name it retained until at least 1952. It was located on Hollywood Boulevard at Normandie Boulevard, about 1 mile east of the Apollo Arts/Star Theatre. Later renamed Century Theatre, it presented mainstream fare until the mid-1970’s, when it began presenting gay male adult films, known as the Century Theatre. (In 1977, there was also a much smaller Hollywood Century Theater, operating as a gay male adult theatre at 5903 Hollywood Boulevard).

The marquee of the Century Theatre was similar to the marquee at the New Beverly Cinema. When it became an adult house, the films were promoted with large "cut-out" posters which faced Hollywood Boulevard. The posters usually contained oversized pictures of pensive-looking, unintelligent, teen-age stud muffins that starred in the films for reasons other than their acting ability.

An interesting aspect of the Century Theatre was that it had become a ‘private’ theatre. This meant that a patron would pay an admission price of $10 or $15 and receive a membership card (for a reduced admission price upon subsequent visits). Also, the private status meant that the management could legally allow sexual activity on the premises. Usually, in this type of venue, there was a lot of activity in the auditorium and the rest room. In addition, the area behind the screen was cleared out, dimly lit (if at all), and made available for even more furtive, anonymous encounters; this was known as the ‘back room’.

The Century Theatre was still operating in November 1984 as a gay male adult theatre. It was possibly closed in the late-1980’s. It was later destroyed in a fire. I drove through the area several years ago and could not see any trace of this theater.

Contributed by george haider

Recent comments (view all 50 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 20, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Here is a January 1974 ad from the LAT:
http://tinyurl.com/mxgtmw

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

This was in the LAT in August 1935:
http://tinyurl.com/ngp4ub

GoodOleDays
GoodOleDays on January 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Why did the Century and so many other straight porn and especially gay porn theatres close in or about 1977 was it legal issues?

I worked as a manager and relief manager in So. Cal. then later district mangage in No. Cal. for Shan Sayles, Continental theatres in the late 60s to about 73. Does anyone know what happened to Shan Sayles and Continental theatres as I notice Mr. Beehler also worked for the same company.

From what I can tell the demand for straight porn declined and the demand for gay porn increased till about 1977 then everything came to a stop or near stop and I’m wondering why in that period from 77 to the present gay exibition fell to the extent that great houses such as the Century closed. VHS/DVD did not curb the desire for the Good Ole Days or did it? I notice that the demand did not decrease in Europe, in fact, it appears to have increased during the same time period.

Twistr54
Twistr54 on January 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

The influx of home movies and early video did it, many legit houses died because of the video craze in early 80’s to now……Also suburban multi houses were the rage from 76- now and downtown houses closed because they could not compete with the free parking, mulit choice movies etc,,,after a couple years of adult entertainment they usually closed and were left abandonded such as the houses in Detroit, The UA, Michigan, Madison, Grand Circus, State Gem,Century and even the very glamourous FOX took runs at adult fare mid 70’s to try to sustain business..downtown areas became dangerous and people opted for the safer burbs.. good bye grand movie palaces of the past. At least some ran a while longer with the porn and had some extra life. Most are demolished or redone and made a legit live venue..

GoodOleDays
GoodOleDays on January 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

Interesting; Thanks Twistr. Supply and demand. Nickelodeons brought the public out of their homes and home movies brought them back into the homes.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on February 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

i remember this theater showing gay porn when i first visited
L.A. May of 1980. when exactly did it close as a mainstream movie
house and after that when did it start showing gay porn?

William
William on March 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

It stopped showing regular Hollywood type movies when GCC sold the house. So that was somewhere around 1972-73.

henrytk
henrytk on December 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I WAS A STUDENT AT USA IN 1977, AND I WOULD GO ON A FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT. NOT ONLY DID I LOVE THE PORNO, IT WAS SO EXCITING TO HAVE A YOUNG GUY YOUR OWN AGE SIT NEXT TO YOU . SOMETIMES THERE WOULD BE A BLOW JOB AND SOMETIMES JUST RUBBING AND SOMETIMES NOTHING IF NEITHER MADE A MOVE. SOMETIMES WE WOULD LEAVE TOGETHER IF THEY HAD A PLACE. I REMEMBER IF AN OLDER MAN SAT NEXT TO ME I WOULD SAY NO RIGHT AWAY AND HE WOULD GET UP. I FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT NOW. JUST WONDERFUL SEXUAL MEMORIES. I WAS ALWAYS SO SCARED TO WALK UP TO THE TICKET BOOTH, I AM SURE THAT ADDED TO THE EXCITEMENT. I THINK THE MEMBERSHIP CARDS WERE YELLOW? I NEVER SAW ANYONE ARRESTED OR HARASSED MY E MAIL IS if anyone wants to contact me.

talkwithjacob
talkwithjacob on September 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hey Twistr54 I would love to purchase some of the notepads/envelopes that you mentioned you have of the glorious Century Theater. Email me, this would be a very meaningful gift for a friend who used to work there, just need it soon.

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