453 S. Main (N.W. corner Main and 5th) | map |
Opened: May 15, 1909. This early nickelodeon
was operated by Los Angeles theatre operator and movie making pioneer
Billy Clune. This was an attempt at a "high class" operation, eschewing the more sensationalistic product that was rampant at the time featuring violence, endless chases, and mayhem.
Clune's first manager was Robert A. Brackett, a film culture reformer who had earlier exhibited his refined programs (including Gaumont sound films and educational lectures) at the Royal Theatre
on Broadway and the Chronophone Theatre on Spring St., a venue later known as Horne's Big Show.
Cinema Treasures contributor Nick Bradshaw found a July
11, 1909 L.A. Times article under "Houses, Lots and Lands" about the
“RA Rowan & Co report the following recent leases through their agency: For the Century Company to the Clune Theater Company was rented the northwest corner of Fifth and Main streets, with a frontage of 70 feet on Main and extending back 150 feet to an alley. The term of the lease is five years and the monthly rental is reported at $1175 which would make the total rent $70,500.”Usually it's just listed as at 5th & Main but the 1913 city directory gives us the 453 S. Main address.
A detail of the 1910 Baist's Real Estate Survey from
Historic Mapworks showing Clune's at 5th & Main.
larger detail view | more maps
Thanks to Hoss C for his investigations of 5th &
Main on his Noirish Los Angeles post #21527.
Courtesy of Ken McIntyre, a section of a vintage
downtown map showing the Clune's location:
A huge version of a similar map
can be seen on the Big Maps Blog.
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.
One of the few photos to exist of this building -- and
Ken McIntyre found it in the Huntington Library collection.
We're looking at the Main St. side of the theatre. Around
the corner to the left would be the entrance on 5th.
full size view
It's a 1912 photo by G. Haven Bishop taken for the Southern California
Edison Co. On the Huntington Library pages you can use the slider
to get a larger image -- then you can pan around to explore details.
| more of the So Cal Edison collection |
More Clune's signage -- perhaps around on 5th.
full size view
Looking south on Main toward 5th in 1912 Clune's
is on the right. In the gloomy distance, one can
make out the vertical sign for the Optic.
Another view by G. Haven Bishop
looking south in January 1911.
full size view
On the right, Clune's is down there beyond the two Rosslyn
Hotel buildings. The Rosslyn building nearest us is the earliest
and the one that later contained the Rosslyn Theatre.
| another 1911 view looking south |
| another 1912 view looking south |
| yet another 1912 view |