Roosevelt Theatre

212 N. Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

frankmondial on October 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hi. Lou Goldstein’s booking Chinese-language films into the Roosevelt (above) intrigues me. What happened to the actual prints? On a European “lost films” site, I posted nine Chinese-American movie titles, all involving ESTHER ENG (Ng Kam-ha – see Having long written about her, and with a future film on her in view, I have many of her papers and photos – including a program leaflet, date uncertain, for the same Roosevelt Theatre. She did distribute Chinese movies in the 1940s/50s – some maybe stored long ago in the Roosevelt’s vaults? Thanks for any interest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 27, 2011 at 1:23 am

The pin icon on the Google Map is too far south. The Roosevelt Theatre was farther north, on the east side of the street. The extension of Temple Street east of Main crosses the site of the theater. It was about where the street’s eastbound lanes and southern sidewalk now are.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 27, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Wait, not that one. This one, which is a drawing of the block, undated, but from the 19th century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm

The building the Roosevelt would later occupy part of was already there in 1882, if the L.A. Library has this photo dated properly.

kencmcintyre on April 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

The theater is about mid block on the right in this late 30s photo from the USC archive:

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 19, 2009 at 6:01 am

There is a brief scene at the end of the 1954 release Crime Wave, with Sterling Hayden, in which the theatre exterior is clearly visible.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm

The Electric Theatre was already listed at 212 N. Main Street in the 1915 L.A. City Directory. Since the building is gone I have no way of finding out how old it was at that time.

The urls of the photos from the USC Archive have been changed yet again since the last time I linked to them. The L.A. Library may misidentify more of its photos than USC does, but at least the library’s urls are stable. I wish they’d both get Flickr accounts.

Here’s the ca.1935 photo with the theater in the distance.

Here is the 1936 photo with a fairly decent view of the marquee.

There’s a photo dated 1930 at the State Library showing part of the theater at right, and there was no marquee yet. The marquee was probably added when it became the Roosevelt.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 10:18 am

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

Lou Goldstein, former film salesman connected at various times with several of the independent exchanges here, has leased the Roosevelt Theater on North Main Street from Max Gardens and will book Chinese language films into the house.

kencmcintyre on October 18, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Thanks. I wasn’t sure if these were the same.

vokoban on October 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

I’m sure I made some mistakes on here, but on this map I have the Gay, Plaza at 224 N. Main and the Roosevelt a few doors south at 216.

View link

kencmcintyre on October 18, 2008 at 3:13 pm

This 1925 LA city directory shows a Gay Theater at 224 N. Main:

kencmcintyre on May 3, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Here is a 1938 ad from the LA Times:

vokoban on August 26, 2007 at 6:07 pm

In the movie they pan over a little to the south and you can see the building with the turrets on the corner that shows up on the Sanborn comparison above. Wouldn’t this be where City Hall East now sits?

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2007 at 5:33 pm

It looks like the same building that was in the 1936 USC photo. You can see more detail in the 1954 photo, though. We were speculating that this block was razed during expansion of the Civic Center.

vokoban on August 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Here’s a screen shot of a movie called Crime Wave from 1954 that shows a Roosevelt Theater in the background.

View link

vokoban on August 23, 2007 at 8:45 am

From looking at those side by sides, I think the 1942 city guide was a misprint. The building at 220 N. Main that says Bank also says 1926, so that’s probably what you can see in Joe’s picture from the 30’s. I don’t think a 216 N. Main even existed by 1942.

vokoban on August 23, 2007 at 8:36 am

On the 1906 map the US Hotel takes up 168, 170, and 172 and then the addresses start at 200 on the turreted building after Market. The 200’s end at 240 with the US Natl. Bank and then start on the other side of Commercial with the 300’s. All the 100’s N. Start at first and the 300’s on the West side of Main start at Temple (Downey Block 301-325) where it ends at Main.

vokoban on August 23, 2007 at 8:09 am

Here’s a side by side comparison of the 1906 and what is supposed to be an updated 1950 sanborn map. The maps are very confusing when it comes to dates, so I’m not sure how accurate the 1950 is. You can see that by the later map on the right that the addresses jump from 212 to 220.

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2007 at 10:41 pm

I found the 1935 photo from the USC archives. It shows the intersection of Main and Market Streets and, at the far end of the two-story building beyond the turreted U.S. Hotel on the corner, the marquee of the theatre can be seen. The address of the U.S. Hotel was 170 N. Main, and it was the last building in.the 100 block even though it was north of Market Street. The numbers changed at Temple Street, which then ended at Main Street and is out of camera range at left.

This offers a possible explanation of the theatre’s migratory address. If, sometime after 1940, the numbers on the east side of Main were adjusted to make Market Street instead of Temple Street the dividing line, then the numbers in the 200 block would have had to have been adjusted upward a bit to accommodate a 200 block address for the U.S. Hotel’s lot. Thus there would have been a change from 212 to 216 for the theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2007 at 10:07 pm

OK, having reread vokoban’s comments of Aug 21 (and Ken Roe’s remarks at the beginning of the comment thread), it looks as though the name Roosevelt must have been given to the former Miller’s Theatre on South Main first, and then moved to the Electric Theatre on North Main sometime after 1939. I can’t account for the 1942 directory address of 216 N. Main for the Roosevelt Theatre, unless the buildings on the block were renumbered. The 1936 photo shows the theatre entrance at the very north end of its building, so it doesn’t seem likely that the door could have been moved northward.

vokoban on August 22, 2007 at 9:58 pm

In the 1942 city directory, a Roosevelt is listed at 216 N. Main….strange.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2007 at 9:53 pm

By 1939, the name Roosevelt Theatre had migrated to the former Miller’s Theatre at 842 S. Main. Both the California and Miller’s were originally under the same ownership and, since they both came to be operated by Frank Fouce in the 1930s, my guess is that Fouce had been running this theatre at 212 N. Main and then closed it when he acquired Miller’s and moved the name Roosevelt there.

USC having changed the URLs for its photos, my link from October 5, 2006, above no longer works. I can’t find the 1935 photo I linked to, but here’s a 1936 shot which shows the Electric/Roosevelt Theatre in the background. Only the generic name “Theatre” is displayed on the marquee, and the names of the movies appear to be in Spanish.

vokoban on August 21, 2007 at 9:15 am

From 1938-1949, the California, Mason, and Roosevelt all seem to show the same movie at the same time, mostly Mexican movies.

(Aug. 3, 1942)
Today the American premiere of a Mexican feature, “Prodigal Barber,” with Fernando Soler, starts at Frank Fouce’s California and Roosevelt theaters.

There are numerous ads in the above time span with all three or a combination of two of the three theaters showing one movie.

vokoban on August 21, 2007 at 9:00 am

Something is strange here….doesn’t the electric theater have its own page? 212 N. Main is listed as Electric Theater in the City Directory for these years: 1915, 1916, 1920, 1923 LAT, 1930, 1936

This article seems to say that there were two different theaters:
(Nov. 27, 1938)
Glamorous Vilma Vidal, featured in the 12-reel production, “Refugiados en Madrid,” currently showing at the California, Electric and Roosevelt theaters, has been voted in both the Argentine and in Mexico as the “actress with the perfect diction.”