Biltmore Theatre

520 W. 5th St. 
| map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Opened: March 3, 1924 with a Ziegfeld production of "Sally" starring Leon Errol. The musical was written by Jerome Kern, Clifford Grey and Guy Bolton.

The theatre was under Erlanger circuit management. Will Rogers was the opening night emcee and tickets were $10.00. 

An opening night souvenir brass ticket. Thanks to
Brenden Rittenberry for the photo of the ticket in his collection.
 He notes it's resting on its original protective cloth sleeve.
Two more views of the legendary brass ticket
are on our Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

The tickets for the opening said: 

 A.L. Erlanger, Joe Toplitzky, Owners
Edward D. Smith, Manager
March 3, 1924
Monday Night

For decades the Biltmore a major venue for Broadway shows playing Los Angeles. The Biltmore was still part of the Erlanger circuit during the 30s and 40s. 

Architects:  Renowned New York hotel architects Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver designed both the Biltmore Hotel and the adjacent Biltmore Theatre.  Interior decoration was by John B. Smeraldi. Anthony Heinsbergen was one of Mr. Smeraldi's apprentices.

The theatre was  connected to the hotel via an arcade and also had the entrance on 5th St.

Seating: 1,654

An ad in a 1926 program at the Mason Theatre for
movies at the Biltmore.  Click on it for a larger view.

 The program is from the collection
of Danni Bayles-Yeager.
full program 

A cover of the 1927 program for "The Shanghai
 Gesture" directed by Guthrie McClintic.
 larger view

 The full program is in the collection of
Danni Bayles-Yeager. Visit her website:
Archive of the Performing Arts | Biltmore page

The program for "Dracula" in 1928. It's
from the collection of Lane Wallace. Yes, Bela
Lugosi was on the road playing the part.
full size view | reverse side

The program cover for the 1937 production of
 "Brother Rat" available as a print from TheaterPrint.
 The comedy starred Tom Ewell and Paul Ballentyne.
slightly larger view

Helen Hayes played "Victoria Regina" in a 1938
 road production at the Biltmore. The program
 is from the collection of Lane Wallace.
full size view | reverse side

Thanks, Lane!

A program for the 1940 engagement of George White's
 "Scandals" that included Ann Miller in the cast.  It's
from the collection of Danni Bayles-Yeager.
full size view |reverse side

A 1944 ad for a run of "Blossom Time" from the
Paper Ephemera collection of Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr.
It appeared in an issue of Playgoer magazine.
full size view

Status: Demolished in 1964. After years as a parking lot, a tower addition to the hotel was built on the site in the 80s.

More Information: See the Wikipedia article on the Biltmore HotelFloyd B. Bariscale has a fine Biltmore Hotel article as part of his Big Orange Landmarks series. The Pacific Coast Architecture Database has a page on the Biltmore and the Biltmore Theatre.

     Noirish Los Angeles

A plan view of the Biltmore complex on the back of a brochure
advertising the Biltmore -- "In the center of things in Los Angeles." 

It's in post #3778 by Ethereal Reality on the delirious
discussion thread Noirish Los Angeles -- page 189.
  |  full item  |

     USC Archives 

A view looking east on 5th in 1927
from the USC Archives.

full size view

 about photos from other
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     California State Library

A look at the Biltmore's lobby in 1924. It's a
photo from the Mott Studio collection of
 the California State Library.
full size view

One of the Biltmore's lounges.

A view of the proscenium and boxes
from the Library's collection. 
 full size view

A c.1924 entrance view from Mott Studios.
Raymond Hitchcock is appearing in "Caliph."
full size view

More c.1924 Mott Studio views of the Biltmore:

In addition to the four views above, the California
State Library has six other Mott Studio photos.
All ten are cataloged as 
set 001384377.

This view looking east on 5th is a
photo by William Reagh.  
full size view | data page

Note the Philharmonic Auditorium vertical
in the next block on the left. 

Also by William Reagh: The destruction
 of the Biltmore Theatre in 1964.
full size view | data page

Also by William Reagh:

| east on 5th - 1987 |

     L.A. Public Library Collection    

A lovely 1924 view of the
of the Biltmore.
full size view

A 1923 construction view of
 the house left box area.

larger view

A 1924 look at the lobby from
the Library's collection.
 full size view

The crowd at the Biltmore for the grand opening.
 Ziegfeld's smash musical "Sally" was the attraction. The
photo appeared in the Herald Examiner March 4, 1924.
 full size view  | on the LAPL site | on FB/LATheatres

"Sally" originally opened on Broadway in
1920, had a 1923 revival at the New Amsterdam
Theatre, and was on the road for years.

A look toward the Biltmore's stagehouse.
We're on 5th, looking east toward Olive St.
The rear of the stage is on the right.

Another view east on 5th toward the Biltmore. The block
to our right shows construction action for the new Central
 Library between Grand and Flower, formerly the site of the
 State Normal School. The Library would open in 1926.
 full size view

A 1924 photo looking west on 5th. The show
 is the John Golden production of "Lightnin."
full size view

An 1949 look up on the balcony level breezeway
with a policeman inspecting one of the giant vases on
 the facade after someone had tried to push one
into the street. It's a Herald Examiner photo.
  full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

More exterior views in the Library's collection:
| architect's rendering  | 1924 exterior from above  - "Sally" |
| looking east on 5th - "Room Service" - Schultheis |
 | 1939 crowd at entrance   5th Avenue - 1944 - William Reagh | 
display case detail - 1963 - Reagh  | 1964 exterior - Cleveland Wrecking |
| 1974 -- east on 5th -- site still a parking lot  |