Miller's Theatre

842 S. Main St.   | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Opened: 1913-ish.

It's in the 1914 through 1918 city directories as Miller's Theatre, operated by Fred A. Miller.  While Miller had the Alhambra on Hill St. (around 1915-16), this theatre was known as Miller's Main Street.

The theatre was profiled in the July 10, 1915 issue of Moving Picture World.  The article noted:

"...At present there are 714 seats but Mr. Miller will shortly extend his stage and install 186 additional chairs...

Mr. Miller is a believer in advertising. He spends on an average of two or three hundred dollars a week in newspaper advertising. With a stereopticon he throws on the side of a large and high building the announcements of his house.

...Miller's has been built about a year and a half. The music is provided by a Fotoplayer. The pictures are shown on a Mirror screen, the only one in the city proper. The projection is on Power machines employing direct current. Mr. Miller uses neither rectifiers or economizers; and, as he truly says, he gets an excellent picture.

Young women are employed as ushers, they are garbed alike. The proprietor says he has found them very satisfactory, and especially helpful in the event of a sudden illness on the part of one of the women patrons. Indirect lighting is used. Two 24-inch exhaust fans aid in providing excellent ventilation.

A lobby 100 feet long and 17 feet wide is attractively decorated with flowers. There are also a number of settees for the comfort of patrons. There is also a sanitary drinking fountain supplying ice water."

A photo of Fred Miller that appeared
with the article about his theatre in the
July 10, 1915 issue of Moving Picture World.
on Internet Archive

Miller's was in (or rather, behind) the Greenwood Hotel building, later known as the Argyle Hotel then the Hampshire Hotel. An article in Moving Picture World for July 15, 1916 again noted that the lobby was 100 feet long.

By June 1918 the theatre was being operated by Carl Ray of Ray's Amusement Enterprises. In the 1919 directory it's listed as both the Garden Theatre and Ray's Garden Theatre. 

From 1920 to at least March, 1926 it again was Miller's. In 1924 Fred Miller had sold to Loew's, who was then controlling both this venue and the California, with Fox West Coast operating.

At one point the roof sign just said "Theatre Main Pictures 10 cents" when they took the "Miller's" off the top of it.  It was  known as the Triangle from 1929 through 1931 and by 1938 had become known as the Roosevelt.

A detail from the 1914 Baist's Real Estate Survey
from Historic Mapworks showing the 9th/Spring/
Main intersection with the theatre tucked way
behind the Hotel Greenwood.
 larger detail view | more maps

Thanks to Hoss C for his investigations of the
intersection on his Noirish Los Angeles post #21537.

Seating: 800 according to the 1916 article in Moving Picture World.

Status: Demolished. Closing date is unknown but the lobby seems to be in use for retail in a 1950 photo. It's now a parking lot.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on Miller's.

     at 9th & Spring & Main...    

This has always been an interesting intersection and one
that got the attention of many photographers. It's fun to see
it's changed over the years

Looking north at 9th & Main in a 1911 view
from the Huntington Library
full size view

Note on the Huntington's pages, you can
use the slider to zoom in and pan around.

Also in the Huntington's collection:
another 1911 view  |  yet another  |  and another  |

A 20s view from the Los Angeles Public Library
collection. Note the signage for the California Theatre on
the triangular building. At other times, the sign was for Miller's. 
full size view

In the view above that the Orpheum Auto Park, just
up Spring St. to the left is under construction. Milller's,
off to the right is hidden in shadow.

A great view from Pattern Bar on Facebook
looking down at the Spring/Main/9th intersection
with the California over on the right and a bit of the
Miller's roof sign (and the vertical!) in the lower right.
full size view | on Facebook

Check out the Pattern Bar History Album 1887-1951
for more vintage views of the neighborhood.

An interesting late 20s view from the
Los Angeles Public Library looking west from
the intersection. Note the back of the Orpheum
building from our vantage point on Main St. 
full size view

See a closer view of the Orpheum Auto Park building in
the foreground from the California State Library collection:
  | Orpheum Auto Park |

From the Los Angeles Public Library comes this
c.1937 Herman Schultheis shot looking north. Don't
you love the perch for the traffic observer? Evidently
 his primary mission is to operate switches
for the trolley lines.
full size view

A late 30s photo by the Dick Whittington Studio. It
popped up on Photos of Los Angeles, a find of Ken
McIntyre. We're bit too far north to see Miller's Theatre
on the right. But we do get a bit of the California up
the block -- including an edge view of its roof sign.

Looking north on Spring in a USC Archives
1939 Dick Whittington photo. We get a bit
of the California Theatre at the right.
full size view

Another 1939 USC Archives shot.
full size view

A c.1950 view looking north from 9th, Spring and
Main. It's from the Metro Transportation Archive
on Flickr.  Note the Miller's roof sign -- without the
Miller's on top at this point.
full size view

The photo above also appears on Michael
 Ryerson's Noirish Los Angeles post #19992.

A 50s view on Vintage Los Angeles
from the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view | on VLA -- with lots of comments

Thanks, Richard!

9th at Spring and Main in 1966.
A great photo by
William Reagh from the California State Library

That's Main St. looking north on
 the right, Spring on the left.

full size view | data page

In the view above (if you look at the large view) you can still
see the California Theatre with its roof sign. Miller's is no more.
Compare this view to the 1917 USC photo. There Miller's
 is much in evidence but the California hasn't yet been built.

A similar view from 2010. The California Theatre
and Miller's are long gone. They'd be off to the right.

If we could see around the corner to the left of the
picture, we'd be in the alley behind
the Orpheum. 
Photo: Bill Counter
  full size view

Turning 90 degrees to the left (west) we get this view across
the empty parking lots toward
the United Artists Theatre
on Broadway. 
Photo: Bill Counter
full size view

A 2014 look at the intersection from above
by Hunter Kerhart Photography. The photo
originally appeared on Hunter's Facebook page.

Thanks, Hunter!

 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
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Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
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    B'hend and Kaufmann Archives

A look at the entrance of Miller's Theatre.
 They're running a Lubin production, "The Third
 Degree," released in December 1913.
 full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

The Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection
is part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection.

     Huntington Digital Library

An April 1915 look at the theatre taken by G. Haven
Bishop for the Southern California Edison Co.
full size view

On the Huntington Library pages you can use
the slider to get a larger image -- then you can
pan around to explore details.

A detail of the roof sign from the photo
above.  Click on it to enlarge.

A detail of the entrance.  Click to enlarge.

     L.A. Public Library Collection  

An undated view -- having a smoke while looking down
on the California Theatre.  Take a look in the lower right
  corner for a roof sign on Miller's Theatre advertising
 '''Theatre Main -  Talking Pictures 10 cents."
full size view

A 1919 view of the organ console at Miller's.
 full size view

     Moving Picture World

This look toward the proscenium of Miller's
appeared with an article about the theatre in the
July 10, 1915 issue of Moving Picture World.
full size view | on Internet Archive

     Pacific Electric Railway

A 1950 Alan Weeks photo gets us Miller's Theatre
on the right and a bit of the California Theatre
farther up the block. It was spotted on the site by the
ever observant Stephen Russo.
on page with data  |  jumbo view

Note that the Miller's roof sign has had the word
"Miller's" removed at the top due to numerous name
 changes -- it's just "Theatre" and prices in this photo.

A detail of the Miller's facade from the photo above.
The marquee has been removed and it looks
like the lobby is being used for retail.

     USC Archives

This great 1917 view looking north from 9th St. shows
Miller's Theatre on the right on the 800 block of S. Main
St.  That's Spring St. going up the center of the photo. Look
at the full size view on the USC site to check out the signage
for Miller's on the building between Spring and Main.
  full size view

The billboard area on the building in the center of the photo
was leased to Miller. He had it blank intentionally and at night
projected slides promoting the attractions at his theatre.

A detail from the image above showing the
Miller's Theatre facade and roof sign.

A section of a 1917 panoramic view from higher up --
note the Miller's signage. Over on the right note the Miller's
auditorium behind the Argyle Hotel with its ventilators.
full size view

Here again part of the 1917 panorama -- this time looking
east. Note the Miller's auditorium and stagehouse roof.
The stagehouse roof is the lighter roofing material
area with 3 vents lined up perpendicular to Main St.
It's a C.C. Pierce photo.
full size view

We're looking north on Main in 1939 from the intersection
of 9th, Spring & Main. The Miller's Theatre roof sign can be
seen on the far end of the Hotel Hampshire building. 
full size view  |  a slightly different version

Another 1939 view. The edge of the marquee
of Miller's Theatre (at this point called the
Roosevelt) can be seen on the far right. 
full size view

Note the California Theatre
farther up the block.