Warrens Theatre

401 W. 7th Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Warrens Theatre

Opened as the second Pantages Theatre in downtown Los Angeles (the Arcade Theatre was the first) on August 16, 1920 with vaudeville and a movie “The Courage of Marge O'Doone”. This B. Marcus Priteca designed theatre included Greek treatments for owner Alexander Pantages. The theatre’s exterior was coated in white terra cotta. Pantages ran the theatre for nine years.

Following a three weeks closure for refurbishment, which included the installation of 2,000 new seats, it reopened as the Warner Bros. Downtown Theatre on September 27, 1929 with Nancy Welford in “Gold Diggers of Broadway”. Al Jolson was guest of honor for the evening. The theatre served as the downtown theatre for Warner Bros. until the mid-1960’s. At that time, Metropolitan Theaters purchased the theatre and ran it for another twelve years, renamed Warrens Theatre.

After being sold by Metropolitan, the theatre became a church before becoming a retail outlet for the Jewelry Exchange. The original seats on the main floor of the auditorium have been removed to make way for retail stalls. The balcony is still intact and its seats have not been removed.

To see a little of the inside of this theatre, watch the Barbra Streisand film “Funny Girl” (note the exterior is from the backlot at the Burbank Studios).

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 80 comments)

drb on July 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

Another old postcard:
View link

LouisRugani on November 7, 2010 at 7:00 am

(Associated Press, August 10, 1929)
Alexander Pantages Involved with 16 Year-Old Dancer at Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, Cal., Aug. 10.â€"
(AP)â€"Alexander Pantages, millionaire theatre magnate, today was charged with two offenses against a 16-year-old dancer, Eunice Prince, in a complaint issued by District Attorney Buron Fitts. Pantages' attorneys immediately announced they would
institute habeas corpus proceedings.

Los Angeles, Cal., Aug. 10. â€" (AP) â€" Alexander Pantages, millionaire vaudeville theatre operator, was in the city jail today, charged with suspicion of committing a statutory offense against Eunice Pringle, 16-year-old dancer and daughter of a
Los Angeles physician.
Miss Pringle, who graduated from high school last year, the youngest in her class, and entered the University of Southern California, was placed in the custody o£ juvenile authorities after she had told the police that Pantages had attacked her.
Pantages was taken into custody yesterday when the girl ran out of his office screaming, her clothes disarranged.
One witness to the occurrence said Miss Pringle fell fainting out of the theatre magnate’s office. Other witnesses declared the clothing of both Pantages and the girl
was torn and disarranged. Several persons reported hearing the girl’s screams emanating from Pantages' office.

Denies Girl’s Charges.

The theatre magnate denied the girl’s charges and hinted that it was a “frameup.” He told police he had booked Miss Pringle two weeks ago for a dancing act, but that she
had proved a failure. He said she had frequented his office for two days, begging for another chance.
Pantages declared Miss Pringle asked him for an interview yesterday afternoon. After a preliminary conversation he said, she leaned close to him and said, “I’ll make you
take my act.” Pantages asserted the girl then pushed him into another room and ran down the hall.
Fred Weise, who was in the hall, told officers he heard the girl screaming and saw Miss Pringle emerge from Pantages' office with the theatre magnate chasing her. Weise
said the clothing of both Pantages and Miss Pringle was in disarray.

Got $15,000,000 Recently.

Chief of Detectives A. E. Taylor said Pantages told him that Miss Pringle, realizing she was not to be re-employed, forcibly removed his coat and then tried to tear the remainder of his clothing into a state of disarray.
District Attorney Buron Fitts said a formal complaint would be issued today, pending which the wealthy theatre operator was to be held in jail. Pantages recently sold six of his theatres to the Radio-Keith-Orpheum circuit for a reputed price of $12,000,000. This week he sold two others to a Hollywood corporation for $3,000,000. Pantages' wife, Mrs. Lois Pantages, is scheduled to go on trial here Sept. 2, on charges of second degree murder, resulting from the death of Joe Rokumoto, a Japanese, following the collision of their automobiles.

William on May 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm

You can see the former theatre’s marquee in a current Fios / Verizon commercial. It’s the one with people caught in traffic in large type phones and a faster drives by.

DavidT on December 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Yes indeed, that is the interior of the Warner Brothers Downtown theater in the opening scenes on 1968’s “Funny Girl”. While Barbra Streisand is sitting alone in an orchestra seat, shots are taken from the stage looking out and from an upper balcony looking down. Also, in the 1933 film “Lady Killer”, James Cagney briefly plays a Warner Bros theater usher. There is a short sequence shot on the roof of the Warner Brothers Downtown theater (usher inspection). Also a quick view of the marquee – even though it says “Strand” -it is clearly the Warner Brothers Downtown in all its blazing glory

DavidT on April 29, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Here is a link to a view of the Warner Brothers Downtown Theater – seen from the Hill Street side in 1931. www.guidodeiro.com/vitaphone.html

spectrum on January 18, 2016 at 10:25 pm

This theatre has been a jewelry store since at least the late 1970’s – they’re maintaining the interior architecture beautifully – the auditorium is very ornate – white with lots of gold leaf. Design is similar to the State theatres in New York and St. Louis.

JAlex on December 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Not similar to the (Loew’s) State in St. Louis, which was designed by Thomas Lamb. I saw many films at this theatre, from “Arena” to “Autopsy.”

JimFarris on April 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

I feel it was a kind of an honor to go to the Warrens near it’s demise, of course I did not know it at the time. It was the early 1970’s and I saw “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” and “She Freaks” plus another I can’t recall. The snack bar backing was glass and you could see the movie from the lobby. Beautiful and useful!

DavidZornig on January 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

Warrens Theatre is seen a few times in this `60s Texaco commercial.


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