Arcade Theatre

534 S. Broadway
map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

2017 News:  The project for the proposed tower behind the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade theatres has been revived again with a new shimmering blue-glass design by ASAP/Adam Sokol Architecture Practice. Urbanize L.A. had the August 2017 story by Steven Sharp: "Downtown Developer Considers Reviving Spring Street Tower." The article makes no mention of the future of the theatres.  See lots of comments about the new design on the DTLA Development Facebook page.

The word as of February 2016 was that the plans of Joe Hellen to build a tower behind the theatres had been shelved. There are details of what had been proposed down lower in this column.  As for reuse of the theatres, there's no sign of a tenant yet but as of early 2017 Fusion Multiplex was still hoping to put a project together. 

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 Arcade 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 vaudeville shows moved to 7th & Hill  when Alexander Pantages opened his new Pantages Theatre (in 1929 renamed the Warner) at 7th & Hill on August 17, 1920. He still kept this house after the move as a venue running musical revues.

An August 31, 1920 ad with the "New Pantages"
running vaudeville and the "Broadway Pantages" playing
amusical revue. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the find,
a post of his on Photos of Los Angeles.

It's unknown how long the theatre was still under Pantages management. The "Broadway Pantages" was later renamed Dalton's Theatre, running revues and stock company shows.  In the 1926 city directory it's listed as Dalton's Broadway Theatre.  The Dalton clan was also involved in the Follies Theatre on Main St.

In 1928, as a film house, 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.   Ryan Vaillancourt did a 2010 profile in LA Downtown News about Mr. Hellen: "The Survivor."

A Gary Leonard photo of the then-89 year old
tycoon Joe Hellen. It's one of four photos with
a 2012 L.A. Downtown News article.
on the DTLA News site

Behind the Theatres: Among Mr. Hellen's holdings are the lots on Spring St. directly behind the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade Theatres.  Over the years he has floated a number of plans for construction there but none have proceeded.

All his plans for the space behind the three theatres have raised concerns about their impact on the future viability of the three buildings as possible live performance venues.  Whatever was built behind might obstruct exiting and loading access. Ideally, easy access to Spring St. would be desirable.  Of course, how much access is needed in that direction depends on the ultimate use of the theatres.  See a rundown of several generations of proposals for these lots down lower in this column.

The current narrow alley behind the theatres as one goes north takes a turn to the west north of the Roxie and becomes an exit onto Broadway.  There's no possibility of truck access that way. The south end of the alley is a dead end at the north wall of the Arcade Building.  There are alley photos on the Roxie Theatre page. 

The Arcade in the Movies: 

A look north on Broadway at the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie
theatres from Kent MacKenzie's "The Exiles" (1961). It's a film about
a group of Native Americans trying to survive in downtown L.A. See
the Theatres in Movies post for more shots from the film.

"Keno Every Night"
 The Arcade Theatre (with the Cameo beyond) appears
in Arthur Hiller's "W.C. Fields & Me" (Universal, 1976).
 The Los Angeles also makes an appearance. The film
stars Rod Steiger and Vallerie Perrine.
larger view

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

See our Theatres In Movies post about
 "W.C. Fields and Me" for another shot from the film.

Here in a shot from the featurette about the making
of Mark Steven Johnson's "Daredevil" (Fox, 2003) we
see a night setup on the roof of the Arcade Theatre.
larger view

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.   

In "Daredevil"  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, with a lot of setups on the
 roof of the Arcade Theatre and the adjacent Arcade Building
(540 S. Broadway). 

See our Theatres in Movies post about
"Daredevil" for several views of the Olympic Theatre.

Future of the 3 Theatres: There have been numerous proposals for reactivating the theatres but so far a tenant has not appeared with both a viable plan as well as financing to execute it. If a theatre tenant is not found, they could become retail spaces.

A 2015 report was that the three theatres would be turned into a multiplex / restaurant complex by a startup company called Fusion Multiplex. The Cameo might have been the lobby, the Roxie carved up into multiple screens (perhaps with more on an added floor) and the Arcade possibly would have been a restaurant. Fusion has no operating locations yet but promises "a distinctive concept, ground-breaking technology, and exemplary service..." The company's principals, Virgil M. Hollins and Andre D. Giles, have assembled a team of industry veterans to book and operate the venture.  A firm called Lucid Global Partners has been involved in fundraising for Fusion.  Hollins noted in early 2017 that planning is still underway.

Earlier plans for the theatres: Several years earlier a plan emerged that had envisioned restoring the Arcade as a legit operation, perhaps named after Chita Rivera.  The Cameo would have become badly needed lobby and support space. It's unknown what would have become of the Roxie in that scenario.  The word was that substantial funding had been located toward the cost of what was estimated as a $30 million project. It's unknown if this is still a possibility.

The 2017 version of the tower project:  It's alive again (maybe) in a new version by ASAP/Adam Sokol Architecture Practice. Steven Sharp's  article  "Downtown Developer Considers Reviving Spring Street Tower" on Urbanize L.A. noted that the design "envisions a 45-story tower on the property at 525 S. Spring Street, featuring 360 residential units, 25,000 square feet of street-fronting commercial space and a below-grade parking garage. Renderings portray the approximately 500-foot building with an angular form that shifts to create open space along the property lines.  The exterior is composed of varying shades of blue glass that gradually lighten moving up the tower."

A rendering looking along Spring St., one of four appearing with the 2017 Urbanize L.A. article. There is no mention of the future of the three theatres. Sharp posted a link to his story on the DTLA Development Facebook page where it attracted many comments.  full size view

The abandoned Steinberg-designed tower project:  The word in February 2016 was that, after years of planning, the then-latest version of the project to build a tower behind the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade theatres had been shelved.  Downtown Los Angeles News reported in a February story that plans for a tower had "stalled following disagreements" between owner Joe Hellen and the city on the high-rise's design. Simon Ha noted that the tower's modern look was an issue. He's a principal at Steinberg Architects, the firm that had been working on the design.

Hellen evidently had balked at the changes that would have been required to give this one the historic features the city's Office of Historic Resources was after.  One concern with this version, as with earlier plans, was that it would limit the future viability of the theatres due to limited access. That would have been fixable, of course.

A rendering of the now abandoned design for the space appeared with a March 2015 story by Chris Loos on Urbanize.LA: "New Design Unveiled for Historic Core Skyscraper." The article noted:  "Hellen's firm Downtown Management is currently exploring options for the usage of these theaters including live entertainment as well as retail spaces...The tower will feature 360 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all built to condominium level specifications. At ground level, plans call for approximately 9,400 square feet of retail space."

The rendering below for the shelved Steinberg Architects design popped up again in an August 2017 story on Archinect. They had mistakenly grabbed it from the 2015 Urbanize story.

The 40 story structure by Steinberg Architects and TSK
Architects proposed in 2015 for the lot behind the Roxie, Cameo
 and Arcade theatres. We're looking at the Spring St. side of the
 building, with the Arcade Building at its left.
full size view

The site plan from Steinberg Architects and TSK Architects.
Broadway (with the three theatres in purple) is at the top. Spring
 (with the proposed tower in turquoise) is at the bottom.
A ground floor plan for the tower as was envisioned
 in early 2015. The three theatres are at the left.

The drawings are courtesy of Steinberg Architects.

Also see Eddie Kim's March 2015 story in the L.A. Downtown News: "Housing Plan Envisions Revival of Broadway Theaters." Regarding the theatres, the article noted:

"Hellen purchased the 1910 Arcade, the 1931 Roxie and the 1910 Cameo decades ago, with plans to demolish the structures and build a retail complex in their place. He announced a $55 million project in 1992, but was met with fierce opposition from the Community Redevelopment Agency and preservation groups. He eventually scrapped the plan.

'We paid through the nose for the theaters thinking we could demolish them,' Martin [Greg Martin, Hellen's VP] said. 'Big mistake.'

The theaters for years have mostly held swap meet vendors. Downtown Management’s renovation would refurbish the facades and signage and upgrade the interiors. Martin imagines the venues hosting live entertainment, and said the plan has sparked some early flickers of interest from potential tenant-operators. Still, he added, the tight confines make it a tricky sell.

'I’ve heard that the theaters are too small to be profitable, and that any entertainment use would need corporate sponsorship, and that there’s no appetite for that now,' Martin said. 'It seems the people with vision have no money, and the people with money have no vision.'

Another option, said Martin, is a retail conversion of the theaters, similar to what Urban Outfitters did with the 1917 Rialto Theater at 810 S. Broadway. Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway Initiative has sought to activate the street’s collection of historic movie palaces."

Curbed L.A.'s Bianca Barragan also had a story on the 2015 plans: "New Plan For 40-story Historic Core Tower..."

Earlier versions of the project:  Donna Evans detailed Mr. Hellen's earlier plans for a highrise behind the theatres in a September 2013 L.A. Downtown News article.

Ryan Vaillancourt had a story in LA Downtown News in 2012 about 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. 

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.

More Arcade Theatre 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.

     Gary Graver    

A 1991 look at the entrance to the Arcade.

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

full size view

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a
noted filmmaker and
cinematographer. He took many photos of theatres
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.

     Jose Huizar on Flickr   

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

slightly larger view |
on Flickr

The photo is from the Theatre
Historical Society of America. 

    L.A. County Natural History Museum

A 1911 view north on Broadway toward the Pantages.
At the right it's the Orpheum (now called the Palace)
under construction.  It's a Warren Dickerson photo.
full size view | on the LACNHM site

     L.A. Public Library Collection

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
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  |

     USC Archives

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
 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 the theatre's lobby is being used for retail and
the auditorium, relatively untouched since 1910, is being used for storage.

See the recent exterior views page for many 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

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

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

     Sean Ault Collection    

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.


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. 

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 "Boxoffice Vault" to find this one!

     Broadway Theatre Tour

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

     California State Library

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 view | data page

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  | data page

     Downtown Filming

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

full size view

    Elizabeth Fuller's Old L.A. Postcards

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 on Vintage Los Angeles. It's
from Brian McCray's glorious postcard
Arcade / Cameo  / Superba  |

     Getty / Corbis Images

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

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

     Huntington Digital Library

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 -

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

     Photos of Los Angeles

A lovely c.1991 view of the Roxie,
and Arcade
full size view
| on PoLA

     Roxie Theatre on Facebook

1977 view of the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade
It's on a Facebook page not of the building's
owner, but from a group pushing for its reactivation.
full size view | on the Roxie FB page

On the Roxie Facebook page:
 | more Roxie views  |

     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

A classy 1948 view looking north on Broadway
toward the Arcade Building, and the Arcade,
and Roxie theatres. Laura DeMarco
posted it on
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


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

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) |