Old Town Music Hall

140 Richmond Street,
El Segundo, CA 90245

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Old Town Music Hall

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The State Theatre was opened around 1922. It was closed in the mid-1930’s and remained closed until 1944, when it reopened as the El Segundo Theatre. It was renamed State Theatre again in 1951.

Bill Coffman and Bill Field installed a mighty Wurlitzer organ in the old State Theatre in 1968. They had previously purchased the organ from the Fox West Coast Theatre, Long Beach in 1960 but used it at another location. Soon the former theater, built in 1921 and always listed in movie guides as an independent, became known as Old Town Music Hall presenting concerts and accompaniment to silent films.

The theater, which is open from Friday to Sunday, is also a venue for musicals from Hollywood’s golden age, screening films with such stars as Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

Bill Coffman, who called himself “the mayor of Richmond Street”, passed away in December of 2001 but Bill Field with the help of volunteers is carrying on the Music Hall’s tradition. Group tours and theater rentals for fund-raising events are available. The organ is now in need of restoration and the theater, incorporated as a non-profit organization, is in need of many repairs, which can’t be met solely by box office revenue. Tax-deductible donations are gratefully accepted.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 6, 2010 at 5:52 am

The L.A. County Assessor’s office says that this building was built in 1921, with an effectively-built date (indicating major alterations) of 1923. Southwest Builder and Contractor had items in its issue of June 11, 1920, saying that Edward L. Mayberry Jr. was designing a brick moving picture theater at El Segundo for E.L. McMurry.

The State Theatre apparently closed in the mid-1930s, and remained dark for almost nine years. Boxoffice of August 19, 194, said that Norman W. Rowell had renovated and reopened the 350-seat house as the El Segundo Theatre.

Both an architect and an engineer, E.L. Mayberry is most closely associated with Long Beach, but worked throughout Southern California. He is credited as the engineer for architect George Washington Smith’s second Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, a legitimate house which later presented movies. The Lobero today is primarily a music venue, though it also serves as a venue for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2010 at 6:28 am

There’s a typo in the middle paragraph in my comment above. The Boxoffice item cited was in the August 19, 1944, issue.

The name State Theatre was restored to this house in 1951, according to the July 28 issue of Boxoffice that year.

I found a September 16, 1968, Boxoffice item mentioning that the Cinema Showcase in El Segundo had been reopened. This is the only reference to the name in Boxoffice, and a Cinema Showcase in El Segundo isn’t listed in any of my old copies of the L.A. Times from that period. Has anybody else ever heard of it?

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on February 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

There was a Showcase Cinema in Downey, CA operating in 1968; perhaps Boxoffice misidentifed the location?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 4, 2010 at 1:15 am

Here is the State Theater in 1955, with the Douglas Mortuary next door.
http://tinyurl.com/28qrejx

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 4, 2010 at 1:16 am

El Seguno in the caption should be El Segundo, as an aka.

sharring
sharring on September 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

I love going to the Old Town Music Hall. When you turn on Richmond Street your car suddenly turns into a time machine that brings you back to the 20’s and 30’s. When you walk into the theater you forget that it is 2010. There is nothing like watching a silent movie and hearing the awesome sound of the Mighty Wurlitzer. Where else would you walk outside of the theatre to buy macaroons at the concession stand during intermission? The best and most unique music concerts are there on Sundays. I truly believe that you could find no other place like this on earth.

sk00
sk00 on October 20, 2010 at 11:17 am

Certainly my favorite theatre to visit. Those in attendance are always respectful of the great theater, and it is an absolutely enjoyable atmosphere. The staff loves what they do, and the films are top-notch silent pictures, and the accompanying musicians play beautifully. On my first visit, nearly a decade ago, I saw some Laurel & Hardy pictures that were shown from quality film prints. I love to return and see films here whenever I can. El Segundo is a wonderful city…

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I just visited this theatre to see “The Great Victor Herbert.” The organ concert before the movie and during the silent comedy was outstanding. I was disappointed that the movie was a DVD, and the quality was poor. There was no contrast in the picture. Blacks were light gray. And the sound and picture were out of sync. I was hoping for a 35mm print, but it didn’t happen. At the end, the letters DVD appeared on the screen.

jdsch
jdsch on May 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm

The website for the music hall is: http://www.oldtownmusichall.org/

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