Arcade Theatre

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534 S. Broadway
   |
map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Lease or filming inquiries:
Downtown Management Co.  (213) 688-1100

Architect: Morgan & Walls designed this vaudeville theatre for Alexander Pantages to resemble an English music hall. The firm later added Stiles Clements to the partnership and went on to design many other theatres including the Mayan, the 1926 Belasco, and the El Capitan and Wiltern office buildings.

The developer for the project was William Garland, who was also involved in the Morosco Theatre, now known as the Globe.

The theatre is built on a lot 60' wide x 160' deep. In addition, the basement also extends under the Broadway sidewalk. The 32'9" deep stagehouse is the full 60' wide.  The auditorium and office building portions of the structure are 50' wide, leaving a 5' exit passageway to Broadway on either side of the building.

Opened: September 26, 1910 as the Pantages. This theatre, along with the 1911 Orpheum (now the Palace), put Broadway on the map as the new entertainment street in Los Angeles.

The opening bill included:
Barnold’s Dog and Monkey Actors in “A Hot Time in Dogville”
Sophie Tucker, singer and comedienne
Maurice Burkhart, character-singing comedian
MacLean and Bryant “17-20 on the Black” gambling sketch
Lelliott Brothers, comedy musical sketch
Yalto Duo, novelty whirlwind dancers



The cover of a 1911 program at the Pantages.
larger view

The program is in the collection of
Danni Bayles-Yeager. Visit her website:
Online Archive of the Performing Arts

The Pantages was renamed Dalton's after Pantages moved to his new Pantages Theatre at 7th and Hill in 1920.  In the 1926 city directory it's listed as Dalton's Broadway Theatre.

In 1928 it was given the name Arcade to capitalize on the popularity of the Arcade Building nearby. The current marquee is on the building dates from around 1935 when S. Charles Lee did a facade renovation.

It was known in the 40s as the Telenews and the Teleview.  The 1942 city directory listing was as the Telenews.

Seating: 1,400

Status:  Closed since 1992. The lobby is now used for retail. Seats on the main floor have been removed as the auditorium is used for storage. The stage is also used for storage. Most of the auditorium decor remains intact and the floor retains its original slope and seating risers.

Just north of the Arcade you'll find the Cameo (formerly Clune's Broadway) and the Roxie (which replaced Quinn's Superba).

The Arcade Theatre building (along with the Roxie Theatre, Cameo Theatre and the adjacent Arcade Building) have all been owned since the early 90s by Joseph Hellen.  

His company, Downtown Management Co. also has a number of other properties in the area. Donna Evans detailed Mr. Hellen's plans for a highrise behind the theatres in a September 2013 L.A. Downtown News article.

All the plans for the space behind the three theatres have raised concerns about their impact on the future viability of the theatres as live performance venues.  Access from Spring St. would be the optimum loading situation as well as providing access to parking.  The current narrow alley behind the theatres takes a turn to the west north of the Roxie and becomes an exit onto Broadway.  See photos on the Roxie Theatre page.

Ryan Vaillancourt had a story in LA Downtown News in 2012 about earlier plans for a garage and six or seven stories of housing on top, for a building height of about twelve stories. The story, "Developer Opens One Historic Core Apartment Complex...," also talks about the company's renovation of the nearby Chester Williams building. 

The 2012 Gary Leonard photo here, of the 86 year old tycoon Joe Hellen, is one of four photos with the article.

A L.A. Downtown News story from July, 2011, "Spring Street Garage Plans Filed," discussed Hellen's plans at that time to build a smaller parking garage facing onto Spring St.  There have been a number of versions. Ryan Vaillancourt did a 2010 profile in LA Downtown News about Mr. Hellen: "The Survivor."

The Arcade in the Movies:
  In Arthur Hiller's "W.C. Fields & Me" (Universal, 1976) we see a number of downtown theatres including the Los Angeles, the Cameo and the Arcade. 



"Keno Every Night"  The Arcade Theatre (with the
Cameo beyond) in "W.C. Fields & Me" with Rod
Steiger and Vallerie Perrine.
larger view | another shot - with more of the Cameo

Thanks to Escott Norton of the
 Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation
for the screenshot.

In Mark Steven Johnson's "Daredevil" (Fox, 2003) we get lots of rooftop action with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and others in what is supposed to be New York. Much of that was done on Broadway, especially with setups on the roof of the Arcade Theatre and the adjacent Arcade Building (540 S. Broadway).


Here in a shot from the featurette about the
 making of "Daredevil" we see a night setup on
the roof of the Arcade Theatre.

Across the bottom of the photo are (from left) the
Roxie Theatre (with stagehouse visible), the flat-roofed
Cameo, the Arcade Theatre (with fake water tower on
 the stage roof) and the Arcade Building.  
larger view

More information: The Cinema Tour page on the Arcade has some 2003 photos (including interiors) by Adam Martin. Cinema Treasures has lots of links to additional photos as well as lots of discussion about the history of the Arcade Theatre.


     Sean Ault Archives by Osiris Press    



A look north on Broadway from 6th c.1963 with a bit of
 the Arcade Theatre on the right. They've got their Keno
game on the marquee but aren't bothering with film titles.




     Broadway Theatre Tour    

www.gmrnet.com


A look at the Arcade in the 90s on Grace
Market Research's Broadway Tour page.
full size view



     California State Library    

www.library.ca.gov

Historic Los Angeles Theatre -- The Arcade on   Broadway

A 1972 exterior of the Arcade by William
Reagh in the State Library collection.

The Arcade is running: "Villa Rides" (1968), "Boxcar
Bertha" (1972) and "The Oblong Box" (1969)
... plus Keno every night at 8 pm! 
full size image

Note that at this time in the south bay of the building (right)
there's a jewelry store and the office building entrance. Later
storefront use of the space occupied the full width of the bay
after upper building floors were abandoned.  Also note the dentist's
sign (he's on the 2nd floor) -- here with the neon still on it.
And we get a good view of the restaurant in the north storefront.





Also in the State Library Collection is this
 view by Martin Behrman taken prior to 1920.
 full size view



    Elizabeth Fuller's Old L.A. Postcards   

www.flickr.com/photos/zilf


Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcard collection
has a number of theatre pictures including this 20s
view of the Arcade Building and Dalton's Theatre beyond.

It's no longer the Pantages but not yet the Arcade.
Beyond Dalton's are Clune's Broadway (later the
Cameo) and what had been Quinn's Superba.
full size view

This card also shows up in Vintage Los Angeles.
It's part of Brian McCray's glorious Hollywood
Postcards collection.
Arcade / Cameo  / Superba  |



     Jose Huizar on Flickr    

www.flickr.com/photos/josehuizar   



A 40s interior photo of the Arcade Theatre.
It
's
on Flickr as part of City Councilman Jose
Huizar's " BBB- Historic Broadway" album.
full size view

The photo is from the Theatre
Historical Society of America. 



     L.A. Public Library Collection    

www.lapl.org



From the Library's great collection comes this early
view of the Arcade Theatre when it was the Pantages.
 larger view

Acts on the bill at the time included Lottie Mayer and
the Diving Maidens (did they have a tank?),  Tai Ling Sing,
Johnny Singer and Joseph Greenwood
.

It's hard to tell what's in the storefronts in the view above. Note that
 the south storefront has a sign on the awning saying something
"parlor."  The storefront is only half the with of the south bay --
the other half is the entrance to the office building floors.


The photo above is also on Jose Huizar's Flickr album.




A c.1910 view showing the Pantages signage
on the south side of the building.   We're
looking north on Broadway.
full size view
  
|  USC Archives version




A 1928 view showing the building with a
"Dalton's Theatre" sign painted on the north side.

Note the roof signs for the Cameo and what had been
Quinn's Superba to the left of the Dalton's/Arcade building.
The Quinn's building later became a restaurant and
was demolished later for the construction of the Roxie.
  full size view




A 30s view looking south on Broadway with the Roxie,
Cameo and Arcade Theatres.
We know it's 1931 or later due
to the Roxie being there. Note that the Arcade Theatre
(renamed
in 1928) still has a Dalton's sign on side.
full size view




A 30s view looking north on Broadway toward the
readerboard of the Arcade Theatre. That's the
Arcade Building at the right.
full size view


A parade view from 1983.
 full size view

Also in the collection:

| north on Broadway - another c.1910 view  |
south on Broadway - mid 20s  |
 | 1961 view - Roxie, Cameo, Arcade  |



     Photos of Los Angeles    

facebook.com/groups/244565982234863




A lovely c.1991 view of the Roxie,
Cameo
and Arcade
theatres.
full size view
  
Photos of Los Angeles



     USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm



An interesting view showing the top of the Pantages
building c. 1910. Note the Philharmonic Auditorium
building at the left side of the view. It's a C.C. Pierce
photo from the California Historical Society.
full size view


Just north of the Pantages we see the roof of the Cameo.
It looks like the sign frame has been constructed but
with no signage installed yet.


The large white building under construction is the
Metropolitan Building at 5th and Broadway. Not to be
confused with the later Metropolitan Theatre of 1923
which would be built a block west at 5th and Hill.





A great view of the south side of the Pantages that's
on
 part 5 of a six section 1913 panorama in the USC Archives. 

full size view 

To the left of the Diamond Tires sign is a top view
of the arcade between Broadway and Spring that
predated the Arcade Building (1923-24).


The photo above also appears on Noirish LA - page 65 as
part of a wonderful post by Ethereal Reality.




A view looking south. Here it's 1928 and we can
see what had been Quinn's Superba (after '22 it was Tait's
restaurant), the Cameo and the
side of the Arcade Theatre
building -- here
called Dalton's.
full size view 





A view of the Arcade marquee in 1929 from
the Herald Examiner collection in the USC archives.
full size view



A detail from the photo above.




A 1938 view looking south from the USC Archives

of the Cameo and the Arcade Theatres.  It's a Dick
 Whittington Studio photo.  
full size view



A detail from the photo above. Note that the current
Arcade Theatre marquee configuration is on the building.


Also from USC:
| looking north on Broadway - c.1910 - note the "Pantages"
signage.  It's also in the LAPL collection  |




An early morning view of the Arcade Theatre's facade.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

This 1910 Pantages vaudeville theatre, along with the Orpheum
(now called the Palace), made Broadway
a serious contender as the
main theatrical street in Los Angeles.

After these two buildings opened, the action started rapidly shifting
west from Main Street. Now this theatre's lobby is being used for retail and
the auditorium, relatively untouched since 1910, is being used for storage.

See the exterior page for many recent street views and the
auditorium page for lots of interior views.

[ click on these two photos to enlarge ]



The Arcade, Cameo and Roxie Theatres.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010




 about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will
direct you to a full size version on the website hosting it.
Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
restrictions.  Contact the webmaster of the site in
question concerning reproduction or other use.




     American Classic Images    

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1983 view
from the American
 Classic
Images collection. 
full size view



Another version of the 1983 shot.
A 1983 day view looking north
toward the Cameo and Roxie.



     Boxoffice    

www.boxoffice.com/the_vault


A look at the Arcade from a Boxoffice May 25, 1940
 article on sprucing up theatre facades, "The All Important
Meaning of Magnetism Out In Front."  S. Charles Lee
did the facade improvements. 
article p.1  | p.2 -- with larger size photo  |  page 3


The photo appears to date from 1935 as "Car 99" was
released that year.  "The Lost Squadron" is a 1932 release.

Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for digging
through "The Vault" to find this one!



     Corbis Images    

www.corbisimages.com


A Bettman Archives shot of Truman's June 1948
 visit to Los Angeles. Playing at the Arcade that week:
"Nobody Lives Forever" (1946) with John Garfield and
 "Million Dollar Kid" (1944) with the East Side Kids.
 full size view  | on FB/LATheatres 

The photo above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles and on
Skyscraperp
age's Noirish Los Angeles as post #3768 by GS Jansen.




     Downtown Filming    

www.downtownfilming.com




This cornice detail is a shot
from the
site's Arcade Theatre page which has
 many additional photos.

full size view





     Gary Graver    



A 1991 look at the entrance to the Arcade.


An undated look at the Arcade, Cameo
and Roxie Theatres by Gary Graver.

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a
noted filmmaker and
cinematographer. He took many photos of theatres
in
Los Angeles. More can be seen on You Tube:
 "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2."
 Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photos.




     Huntington Digital Library    

hdl.huntington.org/cdm


A 1913 G. Haven Bishop photo from the Huntington
Library showing off the stud lighting on the 2nd floor.

full size view


On the Huntington Library page you can
use the slider to get a larger image -- then you
can pan around to explore details.



An entrance detail from the 1913 Huntington Library photo.
Click on it to enlarge.



A wonderful 1915 view unearthed by Ken McIntyre.
Beyond the Superba are the Cameo and the Pantages. It's a
G. Haven Bishop photo for Southern California Edison
Company that's in the collection of the Huntington Library.
 

larger view

In the view above note the nicely lit upper
story and the stud lighting between the vertical
signs of the Pantages / Arcade Theatre.




A detail from the 1915 Huntington Library photo.
Click on it to enlarge.



A 1916 view by G. Haven Bishop. Here we're
looking north along Broadway at the Pantages,
Clune's and Superba theatres. 
full size view


Note that the Arcade Building hasn't yet been
built on the corner of 6th & Broadway.




A detail from the 1916 Huntington Library photo.
Click on it to enlarge.



     Noirish LA - Skyscraperpage.com    

skyscraperpage.comforum.skyscraperpage.com



Beaudry (Nathan Marsak) has this wonderful c.1915
postcard in his collection showing the Superba, Clune's
 Broadway and Arcade  (here as the Pantages). 
full size view

He's posted it on the Skyscraperpage forum thread
  Noirish LA - page 59 where you'll find more great
Los Angeles postcard views.

See another version of the card from
the collection of Cezar Del Valle. 




This lovely view -- probably taken not much after the Pantages
opened in 1910 was located on eBay by Mr. Ethereal Reality and is on
his post #2388 which shows up on Noirish Los Angeles - page 120.  
full size view




This is a detail from the right side of the glass negative showing
a nice view of the top of the Pantages building from the southwest.

The other interesting thing is that if you let your eyes
travel down to the bottom of the image, you're looking
at the 600 block of Hill St.

 The arched entrance above the rear of the car parked
on the street is the Bandbox Theatre.
larger view



     Theatres in Los Angeles    

By  Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall
and Marc Wanamaker. Most of the rare photos in the
book are from Mr. Wanamaker's
Bison Archives.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008




A 1967 look at the Arcade, Cameo
and Roxie on page 20 of this great book. 
On Google Books: full size view



     Vintage Los Angeles    

facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles


A classy 1948 view looking north on Broadway
toward the Arcade Building, and the Arcade,
 Cameo
and Roxie theatres.

 It's from Laura DeMarco and posted on the
amazing Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
full size view

The view above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles. Vincent
Paterno's sharp eyesight lets him tell us that the Arcade is playing
Dick Powell's "Station West" along with a revival of "Little Caesar."
 


The photo also appears on Tom Wetzel's great
tour of the Subway Terminal Building area.





Another look north on Broadway, this time in 1958, featuring
the triplets
. It's another great view from the Richard Wojcik
collection that he's added to
Vintage Los Angeles.  
full size view



     Wikipedia    

http://commons.wikimedia.org



A dazzling 1920 view of the Superba, Clune's
(Cameo) and
the Pantages (Arcade). It's from the
New York Times Archive.

 full size view


     You Are There    

www.you-are-here.com



Here's a great shot of the Arcade by Martin.

This is a dazzling website. Martin lives in Germany and
 it seems is mapping LA building by
building during his
visits. This is part of his
Broadway Corridor spread. Note
the visibility of
the Pantages name in the photo.
 full size image








more arcade theatre pages:
recent exterior views  |  auditorium  |  boxes  |
  stage  |
 |  theatre basement  |  booth  | lobby  |  lobby basement  |
 |  attic  |  roof  |  office building  |  systems overview
  |


on the same block:
| Roxie Theatre | Cameo TheatreSuperba (demolished) |