American Theatre

452 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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marc21sd
marc21sd on May 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I have a photograph of what is apparently the interior of the American Theater. In the bottom corner of the picture is an imprint with the name of H. Devorkin and 452 ½ S. Broaway, Los Angeles. If you have any questions please contact me at My name is Marc, from San Diego.

MichaelPage
MichaelPage on February 27, 2009 at 4:56 am

Ken – I recently found that my mystery building (in my posts above) was constructed in 1914. Do you have any archival info for that time frame?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 10, 2008 at 8:09 am

Here it is again, back from the dead.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 10, 2008 at 4:03 am

Why would the photo disappear for good? Wouldn’t the link just change and a new one could be posted?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Before it disappears for good, I saved it here. Thanks for finding the photo, Nick.
http://tinyurl.com/4wu8l6

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 9, 2008 at 10:04 pm

The small theater near 5th on Broadway in that 1917 photo has an eagle (which looks to be covered in light bulbs) above the entrance, which would certainly fit with the name American Theatre. I have no doubt that it is the American Theatre, as it’s definitely in the building I cited in my comment of Sep 27, 2007, above.

The URL of the picture has changed, but pasting the call number CHS-9694 into the Digital Archive’s search box still brings it up.

nickb
nickb on March 27, 2008 at 3:09 am

Here’s what looks like a nickelodeon at left in this photo of 5th and Broadway in 1917. (CHS-9694, should the link change.) Could it be the American?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 25, 2007 at 7:06 am

Here is a January 1948 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/2eg9ze

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 27, 2007 at 10:54 pm

A property report generated for 452 Broadway by the city planning department’s zoning information system gives the address as 450 and 452 S. Broadway, and says the building was erected in 1908. The small building at left in ken mc’s photo (linked in his comment of January 15) must be the former home of the American Theatre.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 7, 2007 at 5:57 pm

A preliminary search through the LA Times archives shows nothing at that address. I’ll keep looking.

MichaelPage
MichaelPage on July 7, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Ken—

Do you or any others here, have a listing for L.A. theaters in 1920? In researching a venue in Silver Lake at 3037 Sunset Blvd (an ‘80s nightclub that I and others were fond of), it dawned upon me that it was probably once a theater; sure enough, I found a reference to the address being somehow related to silent films, in a 1920 census. I wonder if this is one of those L.A. “mystery theaters”. Recently it’s been gutted for retail space but the ancient facade is still there.

I have a couple photos too.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 3, 2007 at 8:56 am

LA Times listed another American theater at 4227 S. Broadway in 1950. If it’s on CT under a different name, let me know.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 1, 2007 at 9:33 am

Maybe closed/demolished?

Here is the theater line-up per the LA Times on 3/11/13:

Garrick
Clune’s Broadway
Tally’s Broadway
American
Banner
Isis
Picture
Mozart
Lyceum
Optic
College

reluctantpopstar
reluctantpopstar on May 7, 2007 at 6:49 am

The Chester Williams Building, now on that site, was built in 1926. The only option would be the one-story building to the left in that January 2007 photo posted by KenMC, housing the American Theater, if that building was renumbered to 450, that’s its number right now. Otherwise, the building is gone. Anyone have a photo of the theatre while it was open?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 12, 2007 at 5:15 pm

The 1939 LA city directory listed an American Theater at 4727 S. Broadway. I assume that theater is listed under a different name.

MrFootprint
MrFootprint on September 12, 2005 at 8:34 pm

My grandfather, Jean Klossner was on the original Meyer & Holler construction crew that built the Egyptian, Chinese, Mayan and American theaters (among others) ….. After the opening of the Chinese, he performed the footprint ceremonies for over 40 years. He said Sid Grauman always wanted to open a complete chain, each theater with a different theme …. So different than the “Multiplex Giants” of today ……

KenRoe
KenRoe on February 15, 2005 at 8:40 am

The American Theatre was operating at this address in 1910 as a nickelodeon. Looking at the building in 2005 (in use as a L.A. Sports Shoe store), it appears the building could date from the 1920’s but could be earlier?

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on September 17, 2004 at 12:25 am

The American seated 500 and was a silent theatre operating in 1925.