Joy Theatre

2014 E. 1st Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90033

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One of many neighborhood houses in Los Angeles, the Olympus Theatre opened in the Boyle Heights district in 1913 with 800 seats. It was initially a movies & vaudeville theatre. In the early-1930’s it was renamed Joy Theatre. It has since been demolished.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 3, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Featured films on 4/9/42 were “Dumbo” and “Wild Bill Hickok Rides Again”.

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 10:18 am

There is a post office on this site now.

kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Advertised as the Olympus in the LA Times on 8/31/24, so that should be an aka.

kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm

The other scenario, since William Gabel said the theater opened in the early 1930s, was that the Olympus was a predecessor to the Joy. I think it more likely that there was one theater that opened in the 1920s instead of the 1930s.

kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm

2014 E. 1st Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

The Olympus Theatre is listed at 2014 E. First in the 1915 City Directory, and is still there in the 1929 directory. The Joy shows up in the 1936 directory (the next most recent that the L.A. Library has online.) Unfortunately, the building now on this site was built in 1961, so we can’t check the age of its predecessor.

Maybe someone can get hold of some Sanborn maps and compare descriptions of the type of construction. Or maybe some old photos will turn up so we can see if the Olympus and Joy occupied the same building. But a remodeling or simple renaming does seem more likely than a rebuilding, unless the Olympus burned down, or was irreparably damaged in the 1933 earthquake.

MagicLantern on July 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Shouldn’t this theatre’s city be changed to East Los Angeles?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 6, 2010 at 2:33 am

Although some of the eastern parts of the City of Los Angeles, and the entire unincorporated district of East Los Angeles, plus the unincorporated districts of City Terrace and Belvedere, are all referred to colloquially as East L.A., there is a clear official boundary between the city and county areas. The Joy Theatre was well west of Indiana Street, and thus located within the city limits of Los Angeles, not in the unincorporated community of East Los Angeles, which lies entirely east of Indiana Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

The Olympus Theatre, which was in operation by 1914, was most likely the project which the April 26, 1913, issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer described as “…a 2-story brick theater building for M. Minkus at 2014 E. First St., plans by George E. Lubin.” The item went on to note that contracts for the project had been let. Other items noted that the new theater was to have about 800 seats, and the building would be 50x148 feet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 28, 2018 at 12:25 pm

It seems very unlikely that Mr. M. Minkus would have gone to the expense of hiring George E. Lubin to draw plans for an 800 seat theater building at 2014 E. First Street in 1913 had there been a 1200 seat theater designed by E. J. Borgmeyer the previous year already standing on the same lot. The most likely explanation is that the 1912 project fell through, and it was Lubin’s 1913 project that got built and opened as the Olympus Theatre.

It’s interesting that in 1912 the property was under lease to an outfit called the Boyle Heights Picture Garden Company. That sounds like the name of an airdome theater, though no such business is listed for that address in the city directories for 1910, 1911, 1912, or 1913. This might have been an earlier theater project that also never came to fruition.

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