Aloha Theatre

6010 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90003

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm

This house was built in 1913. The December 2, 1912, issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer had an item saying that a permit had been issued for construction of a one-story brick theater at 6010 Moneta Street. The plans were by architects Miller & Hart, presumably not a major firm, given their address on West 28th Street.

kencmcintyre on May 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm

The LA Library just put together several new volumes of the directories in the downtown branch. These aren’t falling apart like the old ones. They span about 1915 to 1942.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 19, 2009 at 12:52 pm

The 1929 city directory lists the May Theatre at 6010 S. Broadway. I can’t find listings for a theater at this address in directories from the 1930s.

kencmcintyre on May 19, 2009 at 11:03 am

It was the Aloha in 1942, according to the city directory of that year.

tj2ucla on February 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

My grandparents rented and operated this theatre from 1935 to 1937. My dad recalls the name to be the May Theatre. My grandfather was the projectionists, grandmother was the ticket seller, my uncle (9-10 years) was the usher and my father (5-6 years old) would stay in a room next to the ticket window. My dad recalls seating of about 400-500 seats, not as big the Century theatre across the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm

It was already called the Wigwam Theatre in 1915, according to the listing in the L.A. City Directory that year. Wigwam Theatre might have been its opening name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm

I said above that in ken mc’s recent photos of this former theatre (linked in his comment of June 16 this year) the building looks as though it had been converted to a theatre from retail space. Ken’s comment of August 13 reveals that the building housed a theatre at least as far back as 1925. There’s still a possibility that the building began as retail space though. A Los Angeles planning department report available in .pdf from the department’s zone information system (search on building address) says that the building was erected in 1910.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 15, 2007 at 9:05 am

The introductory paragraph for the Aloha Theatre says that the Century Theatre across the street from it has been destroyed. Not so, as ken mc has posted recent photos of the Century’s building (linked on its page) which now houses an upholstery supply company.

kencmcintyre on August 14, 2007 at 10:51 am

Listed as the Wigwam Theater at 6010 Moneta (Broadway) in the 1925 city directory, so that should be an aka.

kencmcintyre on July 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

A church group was holding revival meetings in what was described as a former theater in December 1961, so the Aloha hasn’t shown films in a long time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Having seen ken mc’s photos of this theatre and the Century Theatre across the street, I think we can draw some reasonable conclusions about which is which.

The second photo of the Aloha shows the side wall of brick containing five arched windows, three of which are filled in. It seems very unlikely that the windows would have been added after the building was converted from a theatre, and they certainly wouldn’t have been built in the first place if the building had been designed as a theatre, so I’d say it’s reasonable to surmise that this was originally a retail building which was later converted into a theatre, and some or all of its side windows were filled in then. If all of the side windows were once filled in, then the two that aren’t filled in were probably re-opened at the time the building was converted to a church. This is a very plain building and doesn’t look at all as though it had been designed by L.A. Smith, architect of the Circle Theatre. So, the Aloha is almost certainly not the theatre originally called the Circle.

The photos of the Century Theatre across Broadway, though, show a nice arched facade which looks very much as though it had been designed as a theatre in 1921. My guess is that the Century is the former Circle Theatre, and the Aloha was a later conversion from retail space. The article from Southwest Builder & Contractor cited in the first comment on the page thus probably pertains to the Century Theatre.

kencmcintyre on June 11, 2007 at 1:00 pm

This is now a Spanish church.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2004 at 12:23 pm

I know that some Los Angeles area neighborhood movie houses did close down for a while during the depression years, and were then re-opened as the economy recovered in the early 1940s, often renovated and given new names. It seems likely enough that the Circle was among them. (But then, so might the Aloha. Is it certain that it was built in the 1940s, or could it have been an older theater operated earlier under another name?) But it does look as though the Century is a more likely candidate for being the theater designed by Smith. Yet, that 1925 opening date for the Circle-without-address seems a bit late for a theater designed in 1921. It usually took less than a year to build and open a small neighborhood theater in those days.

(I don’t know why I appended “Fox” to West Coast in that first comment- it was still just West Coast in those days.)

Something that annoys me no end is the knowledge that, until I was about five or six years old, we frequently drove along that stretch of Broadway while on the way to visit various relatives who lived in the southern section of the city. Then we began using the new Harbor Freeway, and seldom traveled Broadway again. If that freeway had opened a few years later, I’d probably have a clear memory of the neighborhood with which I could connect some of these theater locations.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 5, 2004 at 12:14 pm

The Cinema Treasures listing for the Century is /theaters/7356

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 5, 2004 at 11:55 am

The Cinema Treasures listing for the Century /theaters/7357 gives an indication of a 1940’s opening for this theatre. According to Mike Rivest’s listings the Circle operated from 1925 – 1935 (no address given), the Aloha operated from 1945 – 1950 @ #6010 S.Broadway and the Century from 1940 – 1950 @ 6013 S. Broadway. The Century is listed as having 900 seats in the Film Daily Yearbook of 1941 and its still listed in the 1952 F.D.Y, but with 950 seats. MMmmmm??

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2004 at 11:06 am

Here’s an interesting puzzle. In the issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor for 7/29/1921 there is a notice that L.A. Smith designed a theater to be built for Fox West Coast at 60th and Moneta Avenue (the former name of South Broadway.) The theater was named the Circle. It is described as a one story brick building, containing six shops and a theater to seat 900.

The question is, does this article refer to the Aloha, at 6010 Broadway, or to the now-demolished Century, across the street at 6013? If there were no theaters on the northern corners of that intersection, though, one or the other of these two had to be the work of L.A. Smith. Perhaps a reference can be found to one or the other under the earlier name, maybe in a Fox West Coast theater listing or some such.