Galway Theatre

514 S. Main St.  
| map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Opening: Unknown. It's listed for 1906, 1907 and 1908 in The Billboard as the La Petite #5 with Mark Hanna as manager, a seating capacity of 580 and running 6 shows daily.

It's listed similarly in the 1907-1908 Henry's Theatrical Guide  The building dates from 1905.

Arthur Hyman was running a theatre at 5th & Main under the name Rounder in 1911. It's not known if it was this venue or another.  See the College Theatre page for more on the Hyman circuit.

This location is not listed as a theatre in city directories from 1914 through 1942.

In the late 40s the location was a bar, The Gayway, advertising "2 Bands - Dancing -Service Men Welcome." Thanks to Craig Owens of the Facebook page Bizarre Los Angeles for researching the venue. With the photo on his page he also chronicles a few stories of crime and trouble at the Gayway.

It is in use as a theatre again (the Galway) from 1956 or so through the late 80s. In its later years it was a porno theatre.

The building is still there, in use as a community services agency with offices downstairs and housing upstairs. Earlier the building was known as the Rennie Hotel, later the Leonide Hotel building (510 S. Main). It's now known as the Chrysalis Building.

The Galway in the Movies:

In the 1960 Universal-International release
"Too Soon To Love" we get Jennifer West and Richard
Evans on Main Street. They're looking for an abortionist.

Note the very bottom edge of the illuminated "Galway"
letters just above the "open all night" banner. 
larger view

Another shot from " Too Soon Too Love." 
  larger view

See our Theatres in Movies post on
"Too Soon To Love" for several views of
the Banner Theatre from the film.

A look south across the entrance to the Galway in
 "Maidens of Fetish Street" (Cameo Pictures, 1966).
The film is also known as "Girls on F Street."

 A big thanks to Beaudry including screenshots from
 the film in his Noirish Los Angeles post #29000.

Visit Something Weird Video for more about the film.
"Maidens" also has views of the Follies and the Art Theatre.
See our "Maidens" Theatres In Movies post for those shots.

Footage shot by Robert Frank in 1971 shows Mick Jagger
in front of the Galway -- as well as other Main Street shots.
slightly larger view

 Frank later compiled a number of his images for the
 1972 cover of the album "Exile on Main Street."  It was
 edited in 2009 to the track "Rocks Off." Videodrumz
 has the footage on YouTube: "Rocks Off."

Thanks to Jonathan at
 Vintage Venice Reel to Real Tours
for finding the footage.

The Galway gets another starring role in the epic called
 "The Clonus Horror" (Group 1, 1979) in which politicians are looking
for an eternal hold on power via cloning. Main Street is, of course,
the place to go if you're trying to hide from the evil scientists.

A 1979 look at the Galway in "The Clonus Horror" 
larger view

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Galway for lots of discussion about the mysteries of the Galway Theatre. 

The USC Archives has a 1939 view of the block showing the space used at that time for retail. 

See our listing of some other La Petite locations on the Broadway Theatres page.

     Los Angeles Public Library

A 1948 Herald Examiner photo of the Galway
Theatre location as a bar called The Gayway.
 "2 Bands - Dancing -Service Men Welcome."
full size view

 Thanks to Craig Owens of the Facebook page
 Bizarre Los Angeles for researching the venue. 
With the  1948 photo he also chronicles a few
stories of crime and trouble at the Gayway.
| the photo on Bizarre los Angeles |

A 1973 view looking south on Main from 5th by
Victor Plukas. Halfway down the block we see the
Galway's vertical sign saying "Theatre." Farther down
 toward 6th we get a glimpse of the Burbank
with its vertical reading "Burlesk."
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

A detail from the photo above.

Also see:
| 1930 looking south - no Galway evident |
| 1972 view looking south - Victor Plukas |

A view of the Galway Theatre in the 1980s.

photo: Gary Graver

See the videos by Mr. Graver (1938-2006) for a great show of many theatre
photos he took over a period of several decades in Los Angeles and Portland.

On You Tube:
"Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2"

 [ click either of these to enlarge ]

A view of the building that housed the Galway Theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The Galway was in the second bay from the right. The far
right space in the building (#516) was a pinball arcade for
many years. The turquoise building on the right is #518, a
1924 building on the site of the
Sherman Theatre.

 about photos from other
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We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
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     American Classic Images

A 1983 view from American Classic Images.
 full size view

Also in the collection:
 |  1986 view  |

     Sean Ault Archives by Osiris Press    

A c.1967-68 look north on Main St. from the Sean
Ault Archives by Osiris Press.  The Galway is on the
 far right. Sean comments that "Scream of the Butterfly"
(1965) is one of the items on the marquee.

Sean is a noted historian of transit
 in the LA area. Thanks, Sean!

A detail from Sean's photo.

A bit of Main St. color as we look south from 5th in a
photo from Sean Ault's collection. The Galway vertical is in
the middle of that fine array of signage on the left.
full size view | on FB/LA Theatres

That "Famous" vertical is not for a theatre but for an
Army-Navy surplus store.  The next theatre down the
 block was the Burbank, not visible here.

You can see many more items from Sean's Osiris
Press transit archive that he's put on YouTube.

     Photos of Los Angeles    

A view of the Galway from
Ken McIntyre's collection.
full size view