Playhouse Theatre

1236 W. 7th Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90017

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The Playhouse Theatre was one of many small independent theatres that were around Los Angeles. It opened in 1913 and the address has also been given as 1234 ½ W. 7th Street.

The Playhouse Theatre was operating into the early-1930’s.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 7, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Advertised as McKinney’s Playhouse in the LA Times on 10/22/33.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 10, 2008 at 9:47 pm

The assessor’s information for this address is reported as part of a bundle, with the addresses 1232, 1234, 1236 and 1238 W. 7th. Street included. On a parcel of 11,717 sq. ft., there are said to be four buildings, but information for only one building is included on the assessor’s report, and that one is a structure of 8697 sq. ft., built in 1913.

The Playhouse is among the movie theatres listed in a 1914 ad reproduced on this L.A. Times blog page. A TerraServer satellite view of the location shows a building that looks as though it might have been a theatre. If somebody could check this one out, I think they might find that the Playhouse hasn’t been demolished after all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 5, 2009 at 2:18 am

A Playhouse Theatre, at 1236 W. Seventh Street, was listed among the movie houses in the 1915 L.A. City Directory.

Google Maps gets the right location for this parcel, but their Street View feature totally blows it, showing a spot east of the freeway when you try to view anything east of Hartford Avenue.

I’m still convinced that the Playhouse Theatre building has not been demolished.

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on July 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

It’s either the Quality Cafe building or the violin shop building.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Thanks MagicLantern.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Some of the city directories list the address of the Playhouse Theatre as 1234 ½ W. 7th. It’s listed there in the 1942 directory, when 1236 is listed as a restaurant. It’s still listed in the 1956 directory, but is gone by 1960. That year, the Irwin Jewelery Company is listed at 1232, and the Grand Fir Quality Coffee Shop is at 1238, with nothing listed in between. The theater might have been vacant that year. A laundry and dry cleaners shop was listed at 1236 in 1961, and something called the 1-2-3-4 Club was at 1234.

Bing Maps provides a decent bird’s-eye view of this building, and the roof of the auditorium can be easily seen. The photo doesn’t get close enough to the facade to make the signage over the former theater’s entrance readable, though.

All of the buildings on this block are old and low-rise. There’s been a lot of rebuilding in the neighborhood in recent years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this block got redeveloped when the real estate market picks up again. Maybe somebody from the area could get some pictures of the ex-Playhouse before it really is gone forever.

spectrum
spectrum on December 1, 2010 at 11:27 am

The Playhouse Theatre building is still standing and has a new roof – front facade is also in good shape although looks extensively done over. The main entrance opens into a violin shop. I don’t believe that extends to the auditorium – it would be a fairly large music store. Clearly no balcony, is a fairly low building. No hint of what is in the auditorium but there are a couple garage doors on the back right side. Maybe it’s a warehouse?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2014 at 4:14 am

The December 14, 1912, issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer said that a brick moving picture theater and garage was to be built on the south side of 7th Street between Garland and Hartford Streets. As the L.A. County Assessor’s office says that he Playhouse building was built in 1913, it must have been this project. The building was designed by the firm of Mayberry & Parker, architectural engineers, with offices in the Pacific Electric Building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm

There is a page for Edward Leodore Mayberry Jr., at the Pacific Coast Architecture Database, and it has an interesting bit of information. It lists the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara among his works. Mayberry was the engineer on that 1924 project designed by architect George Washington Smith.

The Lobero was (and is) a live theater, but the movie theater trade publication Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World was so impressed by the house that it ran an illustrated article about it in the “Better Theatres” section of its issue of September 1, 1928, suggesting that the Lobero be used as a model for suburban movie theaters.

A brief biography of Mayberry’s partner, Llewellyn Adelbert Parker, can be seen on this web page, and it says that their firm (which operated from 1907 to 1918) engineered the Majestic Theatre (presumably Hamburger’s Majestic on Broadway) and the Panorama Theatre. The Panorama was the Main Street building that Adolph Ramish converted into the Adolphus Theatre, later renamed the Hippodrome.

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