Hippodrome Theatre

320 S. Main St.   | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Opened:  November 27, 1911 as the Adolphus Theatre, primarily a vaudeville venue.  The theatre was built on the site of the Panorama Building, which in its later days had served as a skating rink.  See more information below about that structure.

On August 31, 1913 the Adolphus re-opened as the Hippodrome. The building also housed a 2nd floor dance hall that later became a gym.

Architects: Edelman and Barnett

Seating: 2,100 -- not a great Los Angeles movie palace but it was the largest theatre on Main Street. Later it was listed as 1,508 seats.

Status: Closed in the 40's when it was just advertised as the Hip. The auditorium was demolished in 1952 for a parking lot. The portion of the building fronting on Main St. remained until 1984. 

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Hippodrome for lots of discussion. 

Nearby: Almost across the street were the Follies / Belasco and Regal theatres.

     Jeff Bridges on Flickr    

Another great job of mapping by Jeff (aka vokoban)
for research on Cinema Treasures.  Here's an overlay
 of Sanborn fire maps  on a satellite image
showing the
Hippodrome right in the middle
of the block.  
full size view

     Arnold Hylen - Photographer    


A 1948 look at the Hippodrome by noted photographer Arnold
Hylen. The Hip is running "The Big Clock" and "Casbah." Note the
"Hip Cafe" to the left of the entrance. The photo comes courtesy
 of Hylen's grand niece, Lisa Santa Lucia-Riccardi.
Thanks, Lisa!

     Life Magazine    


We get a look north on Main St. toward what was
 then called The Hip in Life's portfolio shot for a spread
called "Streetcar Party." On Google, the "related images"
selection allows paging through a large portfolio.
 It's a Bob Landry photo from May 1942.
full size view | in Google's Life collection

A detail from the Life photo.

Thanks to Tourmaline for including this photo and
from the set in Noirish Los Angeles post #35591.


     Photos of  Los Angeles    

A look north in 1923. On the left is the
Turnverein Hall / Regal Theatre

at 323 S. Main.  The Hippodrome is on
 the right
, playing "Shifting Sands."
full size view | on Photos of LA

Thanks, Ken!  The LAPL has a version of
the photo above, but it's not quite as sharp.

That vertical arrow at the extreme left of the photo
is on the Belasco/Follies Theatre, 337 S. Main.

A 1943 view discovered by the intrepid Mr. McIntyre.
It was taken during the Zoot Suit riots.  
full size view on PoLA | on Photobucket

The photo above also appears
on Noirish Los Angeles:
 |  Sleepy Lagoon Murder & Zoot Suit Riots  | 

Also in Ken's great collection is this view
of the facade in 1952 just before demolition
of the auditorium. Note the Cleveland Wrecking
 sign just above the marquee.
on Facebook | on Photobucket

Historic Los Angeles Theatres -- The  Hippodrome on Main St.

A great photo of the demolition of
the Hippodrome's proscenium in 1952.
full size view

A 1976 facade detail. 
full size view

It's not funny anymore, but in 1976 we still
see "Comedy" on the facade in terra cotta.
 full size view

Also see:
| another 1976 facade detail |

     Theatres in Los Angeles    

A 1940 view of the Hippodrome Theatre on
 p.28of  "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne
TarbellCooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc
Wanamaker.Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Most of the rare photos in the book
are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.
 On Google books: larger view

 A theatre slideshow on AlleyQuest.com
also features the photo.
full size view

A wonderful view of the Hip in 1946 running "Road to Utopia"
with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.

Thanks to Sean Ault for spotting this one on eBay. There's also a
version of the photo that Ken McIntyre posted on the Facebook page
 Photos of Los Angeles and the page got a a re-post as well.

 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 look through the remaining part of the
building fronting on Main St. The auditorium
had been demolished long before. 
full size view

     California State Library    


An early postcard view looking south on Main St.
The Hippodrome can be seen on the left. Also note
the vertical sign for the Follies Theatre
right across the street.
full size view | data page

In the view above, the Regal Theatre
is just out of the frame to the right.

A detail from the photo above.  The card is
 1913 or later as that's when the theatre became
 known as the Hippodrome.

A view by William Reagh. We're looking north in
1957. That "auto park" sign way down the street

is the former Hippodrome vertical.
full size view | data page

The building on the corner
is the Westminster Hotel.

The Hippodrome photo here from the California State
Library collection by William Reagh dates from 1979.
The theatre auditorium had been demolished.
full size view
| data page

     L.A. Public Library Collection    


An early view of the facade of the Hippodrome.
"Every Week There's a Good Show!"
   full size view

Looking north on Main St. in 1923. 
 full size view

There also is a slightly different version of the photo
 above that once appeared on Noirish L.A.
Best of all
is the slightly sharper version Ken McIntyre
found for Photos of Los Angeles.

The poor theatre's entrance as an auto park
in the 50s after demolition of the auditorium.
full size view

Looking north on Main Street in 1975. We're looking
 at the south side of the forlorn Hippodrome. 
full size view  on Photos of LA

 Also in the Library's collection:

| looking south in 1928 - theatre is on the left |
| another auto park view -- same as in California Library collection |
| another auto park view | stagehouse view - rooftop exercise |

More about the Panorama Building...

     Jeff Bridges on Flickr    


A nice 1906 Sanborn fire map unearthed by Jeff
as part of his ongoing Main Street theatres research
on Cinema Treasures. Note the circular Panorama Building,
later the site of the Hippodrome Theatre.
full size view

     California State Library    


An 1888 view by Martin Behrman of the Panorama
Building that was on the site before the Hippodrome
was built. In its later years it was a skating rink. 
full size view | data page

The signage on the building says the
panorama was of the Battle of Paris.

The photo also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.

The USC Archives has a lovely zoomable view
from City Hall that they date as 1887.
| Panoramic view of downtown |

     L.A. Public Library Collection    


An undated look at the buildings later
constructed on Main St. in front of the circular
Panorama Building itself. 
full size view

The LAPL also has a slightly different version
of the Panorama Building shot seen above that's in
the California State Library collection. 
| Panorama Building |

For more on Panoramas, see the page on the Union Theatre.