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Historic Movie Palaces
Downtown Los Angeles has one of the most amazing collection of historic movie and legitimate theatres in the country.
These theatres constitute the largest theater district (and first to be so listed) on the National Register.
Mayan facade detail >>
The district is unique in both in terms of the number of surviving structures, their state of preservation and the amazing variety of architectural styles.
As the money and business left downtown for Hollywood and other suburban areas in the 20s and 30s, there was little incentive to modernize the downtown theatres. Many of the auditoria are quite unchanged from when they opened.
Sure, we've got retail stores in the lobbies of many of the theatres but beyond that it's an architectural wonderland.
I've wandered around and taken a few pictures and done a bit of research. I hope to point you in the direction of more investigations of Los Angeles theatres using the sources we've detailed in our listings.
Have fun exploring!
-- Bill Counter
Main Street Theatres
Spring Street Theatres
Theatres West of Broadway
Downtown Theatre Directory
420 N. Main St.
The news & events album on our Los Angeles
The LA Historic Theatre Foundation, Cinespia and
An early morning view of the Roxie, Cameo
photo: Bill Counter - 2007
[ click to enlarge any of the photos on this page ]
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Opened: September 26,1910 as the Pantages.
Architect: Morgan & Walls
Seating: 1,400Status: Closed since 1992. The lobby is now used for retail. | map |
Opened: 1926. It was named for noted producer David Belasco.
Architects: Morgan, Walls & Clements.
Seating: 1,601 originally
Status: Closed in 1952. Later used as a church. After decades of sporadic use, it got a multi-million dollar makeover in 2011. It's now alive again as a club and special events venue.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Architect: Alfred F. Rosenheim
Opened: October 1910 as Clune's Broadway.
Seating: 900 originally, then 775. It ended up with about 600 in later years. No balcony.
Status: Closed 1991. Currently retail in the lobby. The 1910 auditorium decor is pretty much intact. The auditorium is currently used for storage.
More Information: See our Cameo Theatre page for more information and photos.
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Architect: Morgan, Walls & Morgan did the Garland Bldg, Alfred Rosenheim designed the theatre.
Opened: January 1913 as the Morosco Theatre for legit producer Oliver Morosco.
Seating: 1,300 originally
Status: Reopened in July 2015 after a major refurbishment by new operator Erik Chol. Work included reopening the Broadway entrance, used since 1987 for retail. The Globe is now a multipurpose space for music, theatrical events and films. It had closed as a film theatre in 1986. The auditorium and stage areas had a later life as a nightclub (ending in 2011) using the alley as the entrance.
Architect: S. Charles Lee with S. Tilden Norton
Opened: Jan. 30, 1931
Seating: 1,937 currently
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Architect: Morgan, Walls & Clements
Opened: 1927 as a legit theatre but was running movies as early as 1929.
Seating: 1,491 originally
Status: Closed for movies in 1990 and now thriving as a nightclub.Status: Closed as a theatrical venue on New Year's Day 1877. The facade was restored in the 60s and interior work was done in the 80s. It's currently owned by the City of Los Angeles and after years of sitting vacant will soon become the home for the city's public access television channel.
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+ in the early 30s an entrance at 757 S. Broadway
630 S. Broadway | map |
Status: The theatre unveiled a $1 million restoration to celebrate its 100th birthday on June 26, 2011. The Palace is currently is being booked for theatrical productions, concerts, film shoots, and special events.| map | map |
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Opened: 1917. Also known as Grauman's Rialto and Quinn's Rialto.
Architect: Oliver P. Dennis
Seating: 1,000 originally. 840 in later years.
Status: The space reopened in December 2013 as an Urban Outfitters store with a wonderful restoration of the marquee. It had closed as a theatre in 1987 with the lobby then used for retail.
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+ a 2nd entrance until 1936 at 306 W. 7th St.
Architects: Weeks and Day
Status: Currently it's being used as a church. Note the added stained glass in the organ grille area in this 2007 photo.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Architects: Thornton Fitzhugh, Frank Krucker and Harry Deckbar. It's also been known as the Embassy Auditorium.
Status: Well, the building was going to reopen in 2016 as a boutique hotel but owner the Chetrit Group had a falling out with their operator-to-be. Stay tuned. The hope is that the auditorium will be revived as a performance space.
More Information: See our page on the Trinity Auditorium.| map |
940 S. Figueroa St. | map |
California State Library. Click on it for a larger view.
More Information: See our Variety Arts Theatre page.