Alhambra Theatre

731 S. Hill Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Alhambra Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre was owned by Edward D. Silent, and designed by Los Angeles architect Silas Reese Burns. It was attached to a five story office block called the Silent Building. The Alhambra Theatre was one of several theatres which once lined Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles, most of which are gone. None of those which do survive are currently operating as movie houses.

The site of the Alhambra Theatre has long been occupied by a parking lot.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 9, 2005 at 2:30 am

I’ve come across a contradiction in the Los Angeles Public Library’s database. Though text entries give the location of the Silent Building as 733 S. Hill Street (the theatre entrance was at the right end of the building), the data accompanying a a picture of the building gives an address of 730 S. Hill Street, which would put the building on the east side of the street. If the address on the west side of the street is correct, then the buildingis gone. If the address on the west side of the street is correct, then the building might well still exist.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 1, 2006 at 9:44 pm

The Alhambra Theatre once had a rooftop sign located up the block from the theatre, atop a building on the south side of 7th Street just west of Hill Street. It can be seen at the center of this photograph from the USC digital archives.

Incidentally, though the photo is labeled by the archives as being from 1921, it must be from 1920 or earlier, as demolition of the buildings left foreground on 7th and Broadway, where Loew’s State Theatre opened in 1921, had not yet begun.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 14, 2006 at 10:41 am

Architect Silas Reese Burns designed the Silent Building and the Alhambra Theatre. In partnership with architect Sumner P. Hunt at the time, his firm was called Hunt and Burns.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 9, 2006 at 2:45 am

Repairing dead photo links and adding a new one:

The L.A. Library photo cited in the first comment above is here.

The USC archive picture cited in the second comment above is here.

New: a photograph of Hill Street south from 7th Street about 1931. The blade sign of the RKO Theatre can be seen in the distance, but a bit nearer, just below the rooftop sign for Birch and Smith Furniture Co. can be seen the marquee of the Alhambra Theatre.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 20, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Here is a photo recently added by the LAPL, circa 1920. The resolution on this computer I´m using is poor, so hopefully you can make out the theater in the photo:
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics37/00068236.jpg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 26, 2007 at 10:23 pm

True crime in April 1914, from the LA Times:

WOMAN CASHIER THUG’S VICTIM.
ROBBED AND DEALT BLOW UPON BASE OF SKULL
Lies Unconscious in Lot for an Hour, Then Walks to Her Home Where Medical Attention Is Secured—Accompanies Police on Search for Assailant.

Slugged in the head by a pursesnatcher on Tenth street near Grand avenue, early last evening. Miss Nellie Hartman, a pretty young woman of 25, cashier of the Alhambra Theater, lay in a semi-conscious condition.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 28, 2007 at 4:07 am

Here’s that pesky Miller guy again. This is from the LA Times, dated 11/8/15:

The Alhambra Theater has been leased by the owners of Miller’s Theater and will be known in the future as Miller’s Hill Street Theater. It opened yesterday with the Fox production of “Sin.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Fred Miller was quite active in the business. In 1923 he built the Gateway Theatre in Glendale, and in 1925 the Figueroa Theatre.

He also had something to do with the Carthay Circle. The California Index has a card headed with his name citing an article about the Carthay Circle in the magazine California Graphic of July 24, 1926. And then there’s a card citing an article in the trade publication Exhibitors Herald-World from February 16, 1929, about Fox-West Coast retaining Fred Miller as manager of the Carthay Circle after they have taken over operation the theatre. I can’t find any reference specifically naming the actual owner of the theatre before Fox took over, so it may or may not have been Miller. Maybe there’s a Times article from the era that would tell.

And apparently Miller didn’t remain as manager of the Carthay Circle for very long after the Fox takeover. Another card from the California Index cites an L.A. Times article of May 18, 1930 (part III, page 9) which was headed “Pioneer theatre man reenters field.” That’s the most recent reference to him I’ve seen, so I don’t know how his return went.

HughMN
HughMN on February 9, 2010 at 5:16 am

I found the following in notes hand copied from Motion Picture World, Vol. 17, No. 13, 27 Sept., 1913 (page 1396):
NEW $65,000 THEATER AT LOS ANGELES
A palatial theater seating 900 people, was opened in Los Angeles recently. It is under the control of the Tally Amusement Company, with E.J. Tally as president and F.J.Kawkins as vice-president. It will be known as the “Alhambra” and will use the Universal program as does Mr. Tally’s other theater, the popular “College” on Hill Street. On the exterior of the “Alhambra” there are 1250 electric lights. The furniture and fittings are magnificent and comfortable.“
T.L. Tally, not E.J., ran the College at this time, though T.L. evidently had a brother named Edward (or Edwin) J. Tally.

drb
drb on July 14, 2010 at 4:33 am

The USC photo from the second comment is now here:
View link
(The roof sign is just left of the Ville De Paris sign)

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