313 W. Eighth Street,
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In 1927, the Bard’s Eighth Street Theatre opened on the north side of Eighth Street between South Broadway and Hill Street, opposite the huge May Company department store. Architect Lewis A. Smith remodeled a restaurant into this last theatre added to shownman Lou Bard’s theatre chain. The interior featured vaguely Chinese decor and had 600 seats.
The opening feature was the premiere showing of Universal’s farce comedy “Oh Baby”, starring Madge Kennedy and with Creighton Hale in the leading male role.
In 1932 the theatre was renamed Olympic Theatre to commemorate Los Angeles hosting the Olympic Games that year. The theatre was remodeled in 1942 by architect Charles O. Matcham.
During the later years Metropolitan Theatres ran this theatre as a Spanish language house. The theatre itself appears in movies including “The Omega Man”(1971) starring Charlton Heston.
The Olympic Theatre was closed in the summer of 1986 by Metropolitan Theatres to enable wall stengthening to withstand earthquake shocks, but it never reopened. By 2004, the facade and marquee had been repaired and by then, the interior was used for storage and had been stripped back to its four walls and painted white, with the floor leveled. The ceiling retained a large oval area and the organ screens were still intact. Two stairways leading to the auditorium from the lobby were cemented to make ramps.
In 2007, the building was reopened as a shop for chandeliers and French rococo furniture, with much of the remaining original interior repainted in white and gold.
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