Cameo Theatre

528 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Circuit, Metropolitan Theatres, Universal Chain Theatrical Enterprises Inc.

Architects: A. Godfrey Bailey, Simeon Charles Lee, Alfred F. Rosenheim

Styles: Beaux-Arts, Renaissance Revival

Previous Names: Clune's Broadway Theatre

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News About This Theater

Cameo Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

Opened as Clune’s Broadway Theatre October 10, 1910, it was an original nickelodeon theatre and is a rare example to survive today almost unaltered. Its operator William H. (Billy) Clune was an early pioneer film producer and exhibitor. Architect Alfred F. Rosenheim designed a Beaux-Arts interpretation of Italian Renaissance Revival style. Its original roof-top electric sign and ‘digital’ clock were Downtown landmarks for many years. In 1921 it was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ Style 185, Opus 397. On August 1, 1924 it was taken over by Universal Pictures chain and renamed Cameo Theatre opening with Virginia Valli in “The Signal Tower”. It was operated by the Universal Pictures chain until 1926. In the late-1920’s it was operated by H.L. Gumbiner (who soon was to build the Tower Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre further along South Broadway) who replaced the sign and clock with a large 24-sheet billboard.

The interior of the building was specifically designed as a ‘picture playhouse’ and had decorations which featured marble, plaster, leaded glass and a profusion of electric lights.

Minor alterations were carried out by architect Simeon Charles Lee in 1949. In 1987 it was repainted and redecorated by the then owners Metropolitan Theatres. In its later years it was screening Kung-Fu and exploitation films and was closed in 1992. It was the longest continually operating movie theatre in California at that time. The front entrance was converted into retail use and they moved out in March 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The auditorium was used for storage, this has now ceased and the entire building stands vacant in October 2021.

The Cameo Theatre is designated a Historic-Cultural Monument

Contributed by Ray Martinez, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

DonSolosan on October 31, 2009 at 6:05 pm

The link above has gone bad. Here’s the image:

and the info:

View link

TLSLOEWS on May 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Another fallen marquee.

DonSolosan on May 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm

And another bad link, Re: the info. That’s why I hate linking to other websites, particularly the library!

The image is still viewable, and the info has been added to the image at the top of the page.

drb on July 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

Have we seen this one? From the H.A.M.B. forum
View link

drb on June 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

The Facebook page for the Tropico Station blog has a recent interior photo of the Cameo in the photo album, misidentified as the Roxie. You might need a Facebook account to see it.

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I’ve uploaded a 1910 photo of Clune’s Broadway Theatre to the photo section. It looks like the theater was not open yet when the photo was taken, though construction had apparently been completed.

ScottyA on October 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I just uploaded a photo I took in 1984! I worked on a low-budget film that eventually ended up on a quadruple feature, at the Cameo. I was scared to go inside, but the jam-packed marquee cracked me up.

JCharles on December 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

In the book Xerox Ferox, writer Jimmy McDonough describes the Cameo as being the “most extreme” theatre he ever set foot in, describing it as “Calcutta with four walls and a movie screen.” (pg. 147)

DavidZornig on October 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Circa 1999/2000 photo added, photo credit Cat Murray.

rivest266 on September 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm

This reopened as the Cameo theatre on August 1st, 1924. Grand opening ad posted.

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