Linda Lea / Downtown Independent

251 S. Main St.   

Los Angeles, CA 90012

| map |

(217) 617-1033


Opened: 1925 as the Arrow and kept the Arrow name until at least 1939. In the 40s it was the Aztec and the Azteca, sometimes running burlesque as well as films.  Apparently at one time it was also called the Civic before finally becoming the Linda Lea.

Linda Lea Architect: John Kunst    

Downtown Independent Architects: Hodgetts & Fung  

Seating: 500 originally

Status: This theatre had once been very popular exhibiting Japanese films but had been closed since the 80's. 

It was demolished in 2007 to make way for the new ImaginAsian Theatre, opening in December 2007. Blogdowntown ran a nice story on the ImaginAsian debut.  The two side walls are the only things remaining from the original structure.

The ImaginAsian was soon renamed the Downtown Independent, a hip venue for indie films, foreign cinema and documentaries.

Linda Lea in the Movies: It can be glimpsed in the film "Black Belt Jones" (1974).

Status: The Independent and the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live are the only downtown Los Angeles theatres regularly running movies. 

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Linda Lea.  Tovangar 2's Noirish LA post #30848 includes a copy of the October 1923 building permit, signed by the architect.

L.A. Curbed ran a story when the property was in play for the reconstruction program. American Classic Images has a 1983 photo.

And see our listing on the Main Street Theatres page for the other Linda Lea on 1st St., also known as the Fuji-Kan.

     California State Library

The State Library has this view looking north
on Main (from Third) with the Linda Lea
halfway down the block. The roof sign is
advertising Japanese films.  
full size view

     Downtown Independent

A view of the auditorium from the theatre's website.
 full size view

A nice shot looking out from the lobby toward the street.
See the DI website for more views of the theatre.
full size view

     L.A. Public Library Collection   

A c. 1920 view of the block looking south from the
Library's collection.  Here the Linda Lea roof sign
is advertising "All seats 10 cents."   
full size view

A detail of the theatre facade
from the photo above.

A c. 1937 view of the theatre when it was the
Arrow that's in the Los Angeles Public Library
collection. It's a photo by Herman Schultheis. 
full size view

     Photos of Los Angeles

A c. 2007 shot on Ken McIntyre's
Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
full size view

Another c. 2007 look at the facade.
full size view | on LAtheatres.blogspot

     Skyscraper City    

Here's an L.A. Times pic posted in an article
about the ImaginAsian Center on this blog about
the plans for the new theatre -- the first new movie
 theatre in downtown Los Angeles in 20 years.
 full size view

     USC Archives

A 1939 Dick Whittington Studio view, looking
 north from 3rd along the west side of the block.

On the side of the Linda Lea the signage says
 "Talking Pictures and Vaudeville." This view above
 also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.

Another view looking north on Main in 1939.
Note the interesting marquee strangely inserted into
 the original Arrow Theatre nickelodeon arch.
full size view

  Note the Higgins Building
down the block at 2nd St.

A detail of the facade from the USC photo above.
larger view

At this point we're advertising 2 Spanish language
features plus a stage show for 15 cents -- despite the
old price still being on the roof sign.

A look at the Downtown Independent.

photo: Bill Counter
- 2010

[ click on either of these to go to a larger view ]

A January, 2007 photo of the Linda Lea.

photo: Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles

about photos from other
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We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that
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question concerning reproduction or other use.

     Gary Graver on You Tube    

"Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2"

The Linda Lea after closing in an c. 1980s view
by Mr. Graver. See his video for a great show of many
 photos he shot over a period of several decades in
Los Angeles and Portland, OR.
larger view

     Love and Hate L.A.

A 2008 blog post on the ImaginAsian Center
gives us this nice look at the boxoffice.
full size view

Looking north across the facade.
full size view

The doors at the time of the 2008 opening.
full size view

     Ken McIntyre on Photobucket

Looking north on Main during January 2007. 
full size view

Most of the Linda Lea is gone as we
look through it to the west.

A later 2007 view during the demolition/
reconstruction of the Linda Lea
into the ImaginAsian Center.
 full size view

More views from 2007:
demolition - roof view  |
| walls - from across the street | framing from the south  |


     Supra 21v on Flickr

A February 2007 look at the original facade of the
Linda Lea during demolition after the "modernization"
 had been peeled off.  The facade was later demolished.
full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres


     Pete Woodhead on Flickr

A sign detail by Pete Woodhead from 2005.
   on Flickr  |  on Photos of Los Angeles

     You Are Here  

A shot of the Linda Lea Theatre facade
in its last years from the dazzling website
by Martin of Stuttgart, Germany. 
 full size view

Another c. 2007 look at the facade.
full size view

Take a tour through the
Theatre+Movie Palace
 of this site for lots of other
terrific photos.