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1038 S. Hill St. | map |
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Website: Go to www.clubmayan.com for a a great video tour of the Mayan Theatre.
Architect: Morgan, Walls & Clements. Facade sculpture is by Francisco Cornejo.
Morgan, Walls & Clements also did the Belasco Theatre (1926) just to the south of the Mayan. The project was financed by developer F.N. Stowall and oil magnate Edward L. Doheny. The Mayan and the Belasco were an attempt to get a new fashionable legit theatre district going west of Broadway.
August 15, 1927 as a legit theatre focused on musical comedies. The opening attraction was the musical "Oh, Kay!" with Elsie Janis.
Seating: 1,491. The main floor has been terraced and no longer has fixed seating.
History: The Mayan was running movies as early as 1929. By 1931 it was being advertised as Grauman's Mayan while operated by Publix.
In the late 30s the Mayan was being used for WPA Federal Theatre project productions such as "The Weavers, " "Follow the Parade," "Volpone" and many more.
A 1937 ad for W.P.A. Federal Theatre productions
at the Hollywood Playhouse, Mayan and
Mason theatres. Ken McIntyre found it for
his Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
full size view | on LAtheatres.blogspot
The Library of Congress collection includes this
poster for the WPA Federal Theatre Project production
of Gerhart Hauptmann's "The Weavers,"
c. 1936-41 at the Mayan.
full size view
A poster in the Library of Congress collection
for "Green Grow the Lilacs" in 1937 at the Mayan.
full size view
Also in the LOC collection:
| "Allison's House" -c.36-38 | "Noah" | "Censored" - 1936 |
| "Dr. Clitterhouse" -1938 | "Alien Corn" -1938 |
| "The Sun Rises" | ... and lots more
Also see the
Federal Theatre Project Materials Collection items
at George Mason University, where you can search
their collection by theatre name.
Duke Ellington at the Mayan: One of the more interesting shows to play the Mayan Theatre was Ellington's "Jump for Joy" with Dorothy Dandridge and Ivie Anderson. It played 101 performances beginning July 10, 1941 to integrated audiences and caused quite a stir (at a time when many downtown venues were still segregated). The Ellington production is discussed at length in R.J. Smith's "The Great Black Way: L.A. in the 40s," Public Affairs 2006. [p.33].
A 1943 ad from Ken McIntyre found for his
Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page has Bill
Robinson (and a cast of 50) appearing at the
Mayan in the revue "Born Happy."
slightly larger view
The Mayan went to Spanish language films later in the 40's and continued to host occasional stage shows. There were occasional forays into adult "artie" films. At the time it was operated by Frank Fouce, who was also involved with the California, the Mason and the Million Dollar.
The theatre closed for movies in 1990 after long use as a Spanish language house and a run from the late 60s onward as the "Fabulous Mayan" - a porno venue operated by Carlos Tobalina.
The Mayan in the Movies: The Mayan has appeared in lots of movies including "It Couldn't Have Happened - But it Did" (1936).
In "Save The Tiger" (Paramount, 1973) Jack Lemmon
has a business meeting in the balcony. The view here
is a shot outside the Mayan looking north on Hill St.
Looking into the lobby in "Save The Tiger."
A nice shot of some plaster ornament
from "Save The Tiger."
In "Save The Tiger" Jack Lemmon and Jack
Gilford are meeting with their friendly
neighborhood arsonist in the balcony.
A view down the balcony lobby
in "Save The Tiger."
More views from "Save The Tiger":
| another balcony shot | another exterior |
Heading to a premiere at the Mayan in
Michael Winner's "Won Ton Ton, The Dog
Who Saved Hollywood" (Paramount, 1976).
Watching a show at the Mayan featuring
our canine star in "Won Ton Ton."
In "Rock and Roll High School" (New World, 1979)
we get scenes using the exterior of the theatre where
people are lining up for a Ramones concert.
Later in the evening in "Rock and Roll High School" we get a
shot of the lit up facade of the Mayan as the "Rockatorium."
The interior scenes for the concert were filmed elsewhere.
Note the quite different marquee in that era compared
to the current exotic treatment.
Whitney Huston and Kevin Costner do an
evening clubbing at the Mayan in Mick Jackson's
"The Bodyguard" (Warner Bros., 1992).
A lobby scene with Mr. Costner in "The Bodyguard."
We get a nice walkabout on the main floor of the
Mayan during the opening credits of Antoine Fuqua's
"The Replacement Killers" (Columbia, 1998). It ends
with some mayhem featuring Chow Yun-Fat.
A look back at the rear of the auditorium during the
opening sequence of "The Replacement Killers."
We see a lot of the Mayan in Willard Carroll's
"Playing by Heart" (Miramax, 1998). The film
also visits the Geffen and the Sunset 5.
In the balcony lobby with Angelina Jolie and Ryan
Phillippe in "Playing By Heart." She's negotiating
a split of the kitchen and furniture items with a soon-
to-be ex-boyfriend. She doesn't want the Ikea stuff.
Angelina Jolie at the bar area at the rear of
the main floor in "Playing By Heart."
Another exterior shot of the
Mayan in "Playing By Heart."
The Mayan also appears in
"Night at the Roxbury" (1998).
Pimped out in red, Vince Vaughn has a violent evening in
the parking lot across the street from the Mayan in F. Gary
Gray's "Be Cool" (MGM, 2005). We also have scenes inside,
mostly onstage, and don't get much of a tour.
"Be Cool" also visits the Shrine and the Chinese.
IMDb has a page on films shot at the Mayan.