La Tosca Theatre

2930 S. Vermont Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

| Street View

Opened in around 1912 as the Photoplay Theatre, this theater ran art films during its later years and was located not far from the campus of the University of Southern California.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 16, 2005 at 6:47 pm

Ruth Wallach, you can contact me at

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 3, 2007 at 12:41 pm

On 1/22/50, the La Tosca featured “Imitation of Life” and “Magnificent Obsession”.

William
William on July 23, 2007 at 9:22 am

You can see the front exterior marquee in the 1972 Columbia film “Black Gunn” with Jim Brown. (Around 22 minutes in)

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on July 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Building’s still there. Now operating as Genesis Vacuum.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 6, 2010 at 4:09 am

Magic Lantern is correct. This building is not demolished. The L.A. County Assessor lists this lot as 2928 Vermont, and says that it is occupied by a building of 7693 square feet, erected in 1912 but with an effective construction date of 1930. I thought that 1930 might be the year the building was converted into a theater, but La Tosca Theatre is listed at this address in earlier city directories.

In the 1923 City Directory, 2930 S Vermont is listed as the location of “Lustig & Gore (B.H. Lustig, Michl Gore) motion pictures….” and is listed again as the location of the La Tosca Theatre.

In the 1915 City Directory, the address belongs to “Photoplay Theatre motion pictures….” It looks as though was probably a theater in this building from the time it was built in 1912.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm

That’s interesting. I’ve driven past that building a hundred times, didn’t realize that that it was the old theater building. Thanks.

karencotter
karencotter on August 12, 2010 at 8:43 am

THIS LINK SEEMS TO NOT BE ACTIVE ANYMORE BUT I CAN’T HELP LEAVING MY MEMORIES HERE: I WAS BORN ON 30TH STREET IN LOS ANGELES EAST OF VERMONT AVENUE IN 1937 12 HOUSES FROM THE THEATER. AND LIVED THERE UNTIL 1952 WHEN THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD POST WWII BEGAN A WUICK DECAY. AROUND 1960 USC BEGAN BUYING UP ALL THE AGING PROPERTIES IN A LARGE AREA AROUND THE LA TOSCA AND AGAIN THE FINAL BLOW STRUCK WHEN THE WATTS RIOTS GAVE THE COUP DE GRACE TO A HUGE AREA OF L.A.
AND VERMONT AVENUE BECAME THE SLUM IT REMAINS TO THIS DAY NORTH OF USC AND SOUTH ALL THE WAY TO THE SOUTH BAY. WHITE FLIGHT DOOMED THE NEIGHBORHOOD SAVE THE IMMEDIATE AREA AROUND USC.

THE THEATER ITSELF WAS DISMANTLED AROUND THE EARLY 1960’S I’D SAY, AS I WORKED AS A YOUNG ADULT IN DOWNTOWN L.A. AND HAD OCCASION ONCE OR TWICE TO DRIVE BY MY OLD CHILDHOOD NEIGHBORHOOD.

THE OTHER LITTLE THEATERS IN THE AREA WERE THE “TROJAN” ON JEFFERSON BLVD. AT HOOVER, ALSO LONG GONE AND A BIGGER THEATER CALLED THE “BOULEVARD” AT WASHINGTON AND VERMONT. THERE WAS A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF RACISM IN L.A. DURING THE 1950’S AND BEYOND AND (I’M SIMPLY SPEAKING THE TRUTH HERE – FROM MY CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES) AND WHEN THE BOULEVARD’S CLIENTELE CHANGED FROM PREDOMINATELY WHITE TO BLACK, THE THEATER DECLINED AND WAS EVENTUALLY ALSO CLOSED. THE AREA NORTH OF VERMONT AND JEFFERSON/ADAMS IS STILL A WAR ZONE BUT MUCH OF THE AREA HAS BEEN PURCHASED BY USC OVER THE DECADES AND IS SLOWLY BECOMING RE-HABBED FOR STUDENT HOUSING AS THE UNIVERSITY SPREADS IN SCOPE.

AS ANYONE WHO LIVES IN SOUTH CENTRAL L.A. KNOWS, THE AREA POST THE WATTS RIOTS FROM APPROXIMATELY MANCHESTER TO THE SOUTH AND NORTH TO THE 101 FREEWAY WAS BEEN PRETTY MUCH DESTROYED AND THE BUILDINGS STILL CIRCA THE 1920’S IN DESHABILE. KOREATOWN IS SLOWLY EATING AWAY FROM THE NORTH SOUTH OF OLYMPIC AND WHILE THE BUILDINGS ARE STILL ROTTEN TO THE CORE, A LIVELY COMMERCIAL ATMOSPHERE PREVAILS.

ANOTHER WORLD, ANOTHER TIME, BUT THE LA TOSCA WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN MY MEMORY: SMALL, OLD, SHABBILY CLEAN AND ALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS FROM ALL DIRECTIONS HAVING A GOOD TIME EVERY SATURDAY FOR 5 CENTS!
THE TROJAN CHARGED 7 CENTS! VERY UPSCALE! AND THE BOULEVARD 10 CENTS.

WE WERE DEPRESSION BABIES AND 5 CENTS WAS LIKE A DOLLAR TODAY.

HOPE THIS STRIKES A CHORD WITH SOMEONE WHO MIGHT READ THIS.

K THORSEN

AT ANY RATE, THE LA TOSCA THEATER WAS A BIG PART OF MY CHILDHOOD AS IT HAD ALL THE KID TYPE MOVIES ON WEEKENDS, ALL THE TARZAN MOVIES, ALL THE WESTERNS OF THE 1940’S AND EARLY 50’S AND ON SATURDAYS, THE THEATER WAS PACKED WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS. THERE WERE TWO FEATURES !!!, THREE CARTOONS (BUGS BUNNY, THE ROADRUNNER, ETC) AND A CONTEST FOR KIDS CHOSEN FROM THE AUDIENCE. SIMPLE CONTESTS, I.E., A HERSHEY BAR WAS ATTACHED TO A LONG STRING, 6 KIDS WERE LINED UP ON STAGE WITH THE END OF THE STRING IN THEIR TEETH AND THE KID THAT COULD “EAT” THE STRING TO BRING THE CANDY TO THEIR MOUTH, WON THE CANDY BAR! THE STRING WAS GATHERED UP IN ONE’S TEETH AND HELD IN THE MOUTH, NOT SWALLOWED, OF COURSE, UNTIL WE GOT OUR TEETH IN THE HERSHEY BAR WRAPPER. USUALLY A BOY WON, BUT ONCE IN A WHILE A GIRL WOULD BE VICTORIOUS! BECAUSE WE WERE ALL POOR, THAT CANDY BAR WAS INDEED WORTH THE STRUGGLE. OTHER GAMES LIKE THAT WERE PLAYED WITH VARIOUS CANDY BARS THE PRIZE. FOR WE POOR KIDS, THOSE SATURDAY MOVIES WERE THE STANDOUT OF OUR WEEKENDS AS MOST OF OUR FAMILIES HAD NO CARS DURING WWII AND LIKE US, NO CARS UNTIL AROUND 1950. AS I RECALL THE LA TOSCA CHANGED HANDS AROUND THE TIME I LEFT AND BRIEFLY BEFORE WE MOVED IN 1952, SWITCHED TO GERMAN MOVIES. BY THEN WE WERE TEENAGED AND HAD MOVED ON TO BIGGER THEATERS.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 13, 2010 at 7:01 am

La Tosca was still in operation at least as late as the early 1970s. It was included in the Independent Theatres listings in the Los Angeles Times of February 10, 1971. I don’t know what kind of movies it was showing then, as its listing carried only the note “Call theatre for program.” I do recall the theater showing mostly German movies through the 1960s.

The La Tosca Theatre is also listed in the Los Angeles City Directory for 1973. Unfortunately I don’t have access to directories between 1973 and 1987, so I can’t find the year in which it vanished from the listings. It was not listed in 1987 though.

Also the page still needs the 1915 aka of Photoplay Theatre.

neum0100
neum0100 on May 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Hello all, I’ll be in LA next week to conduct research about this theater and would be interested to see any programs or advertisements that still exist or conduct oral interviews with anyone that has memories of attending films here. Specifically, I’m interested in the time when the La Tosca presented German-language films. You can email me at ciccone (at) bust (dot) com. Thanks!

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater