The Palace Theatre


630 S. Broadway     |map|

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Website: www.palacedowntown.com | on Facebook | on Twitter

The Palace is managed by Broadway Theatre Group:
-- Ed Baney, General Manager - 213-629-2939
-- Paul Assimacopoulos, Programming / Live Events - 213-488-2009 
    or paul@btgla.com   

Architect: G. Albert Lansburgh and Robert Brown Young designed this lovely French renaissance palazzo. Lansburgh would later design the 1926 Orpheum down the street. Sculpture on the striking brick and polychrome terra cotta facade is by Domingo Mora, whose son would later do the sculpture for the Million Dollar Theatre. The four figures on the facade represent the muses of vaudeville: music, song, dance and drama.

The building was designed with fire safety in mind. There are 22 exits and one of the city's first sprinkler systems.

Opened: The Palace Theatre opened in June 26, 1911 as the Orpheum with two-a-day vaudeville.  Sophie Tucker was on the inaugural program. Many famous performers appeared on the stage here including Al Jolson, Sarah Bernhardt (1913), the Marx Brothers, W.C Fields and Will Rogers.

This was the 3rd home for Orpheum Circuit vaudeville in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to the construction of this theatre, Orpheum had presented at the Grand Opera House on Main Street and at the Los Angeles Theatre on Spring Street, which was later known as  The Lyceum.


A July 26, 1915 program cover available as a print in
several formats from Theatre Print. The show that week
featured Nazimova in "War Brides" and Joe Cook.
  larger view
| on FB/LATheatres



An Orpheum Circuit program in the
 collection of Gary Leonard. It appears on the
Downtown Palace Facebook page.

On February 20, 1926 this theatre reopened as the Broadway Palace.  The new Orpheum Theatre had opened down the street February 15, 1926. By 1929, William Fox was running the house, calling it the Fox Palace. Later it was known just as the Palace.


A section of a 1931 insurance map from the Los Angeles
Public Library showing the Palace Theatre. 
full size view  |  more maps

In 1939 it  became a newsreel theatre known as both the News Palace and the  Palace Newsreel Theatre. After some big 40s first run engagements such as "Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) it was back to newsreels, at least that was the programming in 1949. It was operated in the 40's by Principal Theatres of America (a Fox West Coast subsidiary) and by 1949  by Metropolitan Theatres.

It later ran for many years as a grindhouse after its first run and newsreel days were over. In recent years it had sometimes been identified as the Downtown Palace Theatre, to help distinguish it from the (now renamed) Hollywood Palace.

Seating: Currently 1,068 with the 2nd balcony not in use. The theatre's website gives a main floor capacity of 608 with seating for 460 in the balcony. No seat is farther than 80 feet from the stage. The seating got rehabbed as part of the 2011 restoration. On the main floor, several rows are missing at the front. The orchestra pit is covered.

Originally it was touted as 2,200. A perhaps more realistic total is the number 1,956 that appears on the theatre's website.   Main floor: 774   1st balcony: 389
2nd balcony: 645   Boxes: 148

The 2nd Balcony: The upper balcony was originally a "black balcony" with bench seating and hasn't been used since the 1940s. Originally the entrance to the second balcony was from two separate stairwells with no access to the rest of the theatre. It has its own restrooms upstairs and a "lobby" -- really just a corridor.

One set of stairs to the 2nd balcony is off the office building lobby, on the south side of the building. There's another on the north side of the building. Access is also possible using the fire escapes. Or via a firedoor at the top of the first balcony near the booth. That gets you into the office building where it's possible to get into that stairwell coming up from the office building lobby. In Bob Poole's 2011 L.A. Times story about restoration work, Shahram Deljani announced plans at that time to "flip it" and make the second balcony a V.I.P. area. But it's still unused.

Status:  It's now owned by the Delijani family.  They also own the Los Angeles, State and Tower theatres. The theatre interests are operated by an entity known as the Broadway Theatre Group with Shahram Delijani heading the firm and Ed Baney as general manager. The Palace is currently available for theatrical productions, concerts, film shoots, and special events.

The Delijanis have plans to revitalize all four of their theatres and have secured liquor licenses and use permits that, for operational purposes, designate the four buildings as a single complex.  See the May 2013 LATheatres.blogspot post for a summary of the plans announced at that time.

The building is in good shape and ready for action. The theatre unveiled a $1 million restoration to celebrate its 100th birthday on June 26, 2011.  The restoration work was begun in 2007 with cleaning and facade repair of both the Palace and the Tower.

The office tower portion of the Palace Theatre Building was proposed for a condo development at one time. It's currently vacant. Curbed L.A. reported in 2007:  "On the heels of that $40 million "Bringing Back Broadway" campaign, applications have been filed to create condominiums in two Broadway theater buildings...the office tower of the Palace Theatre and the Fox office tower of the Los Angeles Theater."   No action was pursued regarding those plans.

The Palace Theatre in the Movies: 



We get a look at the Palace in the cruise down Broadway
during the opening credits of Dennis Hopper's "Colors" (Orion,
1988).  We also see the Million Dollar, the Broadway and
 the State.   You don't need to see the rest of the film.
larger view

The interior of the Palace has been used for many films,
videos and commercials due to its intact state. In 1983 the
Michael Jackson video "Thriller" was filmed at the Palace.

Michael Hudson-Medina calls our attention to the
1993 TV movie version of "Gypsy" with Bette Midler
which had scenes shot at the Palace.




The setting for the apartment of Maude Lebowski
(Julianne Moore) is in the Palace's 5th floor loft space in
Joel and Ethan Coen's "The Big Lebowski"  (Polygram, 1998).
larger view




Another look at the loft in "The Big Lebowski"
with a view of the Los Angeles Theatre out the
windows. The dude (Jeff Bridges) has come to visit.
larger view




 The Bill Condon film "Dreamgirls" (Dreamworks,
 2006) used the Palace as the "Detroit Theatre" and
changed the neon on the marquee for the shoot.

From Ed Fuentes' downtown Los Angeles blog
[view] from a loft we get this view above of an
extra walking across the street with the "Detroit
Theatre" ready for "Dreamgirls."
full size view



An end view of the marquee with a scissor lift
in front -- work is still in progress on the neon. 
Note that the vertical beyond still says"Palace."
The photo is by Ed Fuentes.
full size view



Eddie Murphy and his crew rising up from the basement
on the Palace Theatre's lift in a shot from "Dreamgirls."
larger view




A look out into the house from "Dreamgirls."
Note that the proscenium boxes are a setpiece
constructed for the film -- the actual ones were
removed years ago and replaced by murals.
larger view



Looking toward the stage in a
scene from "Dreamgirls."
larger view

Also from "Dreamgirls":
| marquee as the Detroit Theatre | another marquee shot |



In Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" (Touchstone / Warner
Bros., 2006) we get several scenes using the interior of the
Palace. The film, which stars Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine,
also features the interiors of the Belasco and the Los Angeles.

Movie-Locations.com has a page on the film.
larger view



Looking into the auditorium at the Palace with John C. Reilly
onstage in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (Columbia,
2007).  The film is in color but for this sequence director
Jake Kasdan went for a 60s grainy TV news look.
larger view

"Dewey Cox" also used the Variety Arts
and the Shrine Auditorium.

In the Adam Sandler film "You Don't Mess With the Zohan"
(2008) the Palace marquee gets a brief shot as the NYC venue
 for "Hacky Sack Mania." Interiors were shot elsewhere.




We get a nighttime view looking south on Broadway in
Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer" (Fox Searchlight, 2009).
The film stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In "(500) Days" we also get to go to
the movies at the Million Dollar.



We get lots of Los Angeles (as parts of Gotham) in
Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" (Warner Bros.,
2012). Included is a shot of the west side of the 600 block
 of S. Broadway and the Palace's marquee.
larger view



The Palace is featured in Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock"
(Fox Searchlight, 2012) with Anthony Hopkins and Helen
Mirren. In this photo that was with an L.A. Times story by
Don Kelsen we see the Palace doubling for the DeMille
Theatre in New York where "Psycho" premiered in 1960.
larger view

In "Hitchcock" we also get the Orpheum, doubling for the
United Artists in Chicago for the premiere of "North By Northwest"
in 1959. The L.A. Times ran a story about the downtown filming. 




We see a lot of the Palace in Weird Al Yankovic's
2014 video "Tacky." We start on the 5th floor fire escape,
move into the loft and down the elevator into the theatre.
 on You Tube



The Palace plays some anonymous theatre on the road
 for the "My Boy Friend's Back" number with The Angels in
Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" (Warner Bros., 2014).

The film also uses the Belasco and Orpheum theatres.

We see lots of the Palace building in "Whiplash," a film about
 the music business set in New York starring Miles Teller and J.K.
Simmons (Sony Classics, 2014) although much of it isn't recognizable.

 Miles goes to a film ("Rififi") at the theatre (the Palace) with his dad.
The next morning we're at a rehearsal studio (the Palace's 5th floor loft)
and soon in a hallway (the Palace's basement lounge corridor) outside a classroom. Later we go back to the theatre (Palace lobby again) and
 we also get a nighclub scene (the Palace ticket lobby.)

More Information:

The Cinema Treasures page on the Palace Theatre  has lots of historical data and photos. The Cinema Tour Palace Theatre  page has a brief history and 2003 photos by Adam Martin -- including interiors. Bringing Back Broadway has a nice page of Palace history.

Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret blog post on the Palace "Downtown LA's Palace Theatre, Restored (But Not Completely)" details her adventures via many photos taken on a 2012 LAHTF "all-about" tour.  Check out the L.A. Conservancy's page on the Palace

The Facebook photo album by Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles has many nice photos of the Palace, including many seldom seen nooks and crannies. The set also includes the Tower and the Los Angeles.  Will Campbell's 2009 Saturday Matinee blog post includes 66 photos from a 2009 LAHTF tour. They're on his Palace Flickr set as well.


     L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation    




A 1946 view of the Palace during the opening for
"The Best Years of Our Lives" added by David Saffer
to the LAHTF Facebook photo collection. 
full size view

 The LAHTF photo collection on Facebook also has lots
of great images of other Los Angeles movie palaces.




     L.A. Public Library Collection    

www.lapl.org  



An uncredited 1911 pre-opening view of the Orpheum.
Note we're still missing the light fixture to the right of the
 "Orpheum" lettering. And don't you love that open sidewalk
elevator?  It looks like a photo studio on five and shoes
 and clothing on floors three and four.
full size view




An uncredited 1911 look at the Orpheum's facade
and the original curving marquee.
full size view




An uncredited c.1911 look north on Broadway
with the Orpheum, the Story Building (1910) and, up
in the next block, the Pantages (now the Arcade.)
 full size view




 A 1928 facade view of the theatre renamed
the Broadway Palace. Note that the signage
covers the "Orpheum" lettering on the facade.
full size view

In the photos both above and below the Palace is
running "Mad Hour," a First National picture with
 Sally O'Neil, Alice White and Donald Reed.





Another uncredited 1928 view looking south
on Broadway at the Palace marquee. Note the
"Broadway Palace" lettering on the north face.
 full size view



An uncredited 40s view looking north from
Loew's State toward the Palace with "NEWSREELS"
as the vertical sign lettering. 
full size view



The Library gives a date of 1972 for this nice marquee
shot. "Wild Rovers" was a mid-1971 release.
full size view



Looking south on Broadway in 1984.
 it's a Herald Examiner photo.
full size view



     Noirish Los Angeles    

skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread


A 1965 view north on busy Broadway, a find on
eBay. Thanks to HossC who included the photo on
his Noirish Los Angeles post #25165.  The Palace
is playing "Operation Crossbow."


     Theatres in Los Angeles    

by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper,
Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008.
arcadia publishinggoogle books preview


A wonderful 1945 look at the Palace facade from page 17 of 
"Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy
Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.  Most of the photos
in the book are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives

Note the vertical sign on the far right: "Newsreels."
On Google books:  full size view

The photo is also on our Los Angeles Theatres
Facebook page and on Photos of Los Angeles.




     USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/

Historic Los Angeles Theatres -- The Palace

A c.1917 view looking north on Broadway. The Palace
(then the Orpheum) is down in the middle of the block
-- look closely for the Orpheum vertical signs.
full size view



A great c.1917 C.C. Pierce USC view from Spring St.
looking southwest toward Broadway. In the middle
is the roof and stagehouse of the Palace. 
full size view

The Union Oil Bldg. (now the Bartlett Bldg.) is at 7th St. and
Spring. Behind the theatre note Bullocks at 7th & Broadway.
There's a sign on the building over near Broadway that says:
"Orpheum Circuit of Theatres, the standard
of vaudeville, encircling the entire globe."



A detail from the USC view above.



Looking north from the Loew's
State building toward the Palace. 

USC labels this as c.1926 -- note we're no
longer calling this theatre the Orpheum.
full size view




Looking south on Broadway. It's a 1936 shot
 from the Dick Whittington Studio.  The Palace
is running "Great Guy" with James Cagney.
full size view




In this detail from the photo above note the "Fox"
 atop the vertical sign. To left of the Schenley's and Palace
 Theatre signs on the north side of the building, you can see
the sloping glass ceiling of the 5th floor loft space.
larger detail view

See our office building page for some
interior views of the 5th floor loft space.




A terrific 1939 view looking north on Broadway during
the run of "The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle."
   full size view



A 1939 night view from the USC Archive looking
north with the Palace running "Babes in Arms." Note
the Los Angeles Theatre vertical across the street from
the Palace. Again it's a Dick Whittington photo.
full size view
 



A rainy day look north on Broadway in 1939. 
It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo. On the marquee:
Greta Garbo "Ninotchka," an October 1939 MGM release.
full size view

The view above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles,
  Vintage Los Angeles and in the album A Box of Pictures on Flickr.



     Vintage Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles


A 1958 view looking south on Broadway from Sixth.
We get a bit of the Los Angeles Theatre on the right and
 nice views of the Palace signage on the left. 
It's from the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view




Looking north on Broadway toward the Palace
 and the Los Angeles in 1958 for the Dodgers
welcome parade. The shot was added to the
Vintage Los Angeles page by Bobby Cole. 
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres

The view above is also on Photos of Los Angeles.



Another great photo from Richard's collection. This
one is from 1977.  Take a peek and you can even see
the Roxie sign in the next block.
full size view

The 1977 view is also on Photos of Los Angeles.

Also see:
| looking north - 1957 - Richard Wojcik |







A view of the Palace Theatre facade.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

 [ click on any of these images to enlarge ]




A wonderful 1959 postcard view of the bright lights
of Broadway. The Palace is halfway down on the left
with the Los Angeles Theatre across the street.


The card above is one of many views that
appeared on a now vanished website Yesterday LA.



A great telephoto look down
Broadway from 3rd to Olympic.

photo: Wendell Benedetti on
the LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



A look at the Palace in its Spanish language film days.

photo: Gary Graver - 1989  -- click on it to enlarge

Gary Graver took many photos of theatres in Los Angeles and
 More can be seen on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and
"Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.



 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.


     Sean Ault Archives by Osiris Press    



Looking north on Broadway toward the Palace
 in a c. 1963 image from Sean's collection.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres

Thanks, Sean! Sean Ault is a noted historian of transit
 in the Los Angeles area.
You can see many more items
from his Osiris Press transit archive on YouTube.



   Berger Conser Architectural Photography  

www.bergerconser.com


A 1992 look at the exterior from
Berger Conser Architectural Photography.
full size view | alternate address

The photo is from Anne Conser and Robert
Berger's great book "The Last Remaining
Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown."
more on the book

Also visit Robert Berger's website:
www.robertbergerphotography.com



     Bizarre Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/bizarrelosangeles


An early postcard view looking south on Broadway.
Note the Orpheum vertical sign and the Orpheum
signage on the north side of the building. 
Thanks to LAHTF's Stephen Russo for spotting this
one. It's in Bizarre L.A.'s City of Angels: 1920s album.

The card is on our Los Angeles Theatres Facebook
page with some other versions of the signage on the
north wall for comparison.

A fuzzier version of the card above (with somewhat
different coloring) is on Photos of Los Angeles.  Both
Bizarre LA cards are also on our blogspot post
 about Palace Theatre postcards.



Another 20s card (this time from the west side of the
street) looking south during the theatre's Orpheum days.
Thanks to Gaylord Wilshire who found the card
 above for his Noirish Los Angeles post #15894.

See an interestingly similar card in the Elizabeth Fuller
collection - evidently based on the same photo but
with different coloring.



     A Box of Pictures    

www.flickr.com/photos/g_cliser


A rainy day on Broadway in 1965. The Palace
is running "The Nanny" with Bette Davis and
"Ship of Fools" as the second feature. 
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

The photo is part of the Vintage Los Angeles set.




     Broadway Theatre Tour    

www.gmrnet.com  


A great shot of the Palace Theatre marquee in 1995 -
 when the theatre was still running as a grindhouse.
   full size view

Visit the Theatre Tour  on Grace Market Research's
 site for photos and information on other Broadway theatres.



     California State Library    

www.library.ca.gov


A c.1918 photo by Martin Behrman looking north
on Broadway from 7th St. toward the Palace.  In the
distance -- the Pantages (now the Arcade).
full size view | data page

A color postcard based on the photo above is in the
Elizabeth Fuller Old Los Angeles Postcards collection.





A view of Desmond's department store with
 the sidewall of the Palace beyond. Note the 5th floor
 studio ceiling to the left of the Orpheum
 signage. The photo is c.1925. 

full size view
| data page




A look at Desmond's department store, Schaber's
Cafeteria and, beyond, the north wall of the Palace.
It's a Mott Studios photo from 1932.
full size view



     Elizabeth Fuller's Old LA Postcards    

www.flickr.com/photos/zilf 


Elizabeth Fuller has amassed a great collection of
Los Angeles postcards - 682 at last count.   Here we're
looking south and the Orpheum is on the left, colored
redder than it really is.  The card was mailed in 1923.
 full size view

See another card based on the same photo as the
one above that appeared on Bizarre Los Angeles.
The card above is also on our blogspot post
 about Palace Theatre postcards.




This night view is a card mailed in 1913.
  full size view




Another early view looking north on Broadway. The
Palace facade (without any visible signage) is just above the
front of the streetcar. Beyond you can see the signage
of the Story Bldg, at 6th and Broadway.
 full size view

The c.1918 photo the card above was made from, by Martin Behrman,
is in the collection of the California State Library. The postcard is
 also on our blogspot post about Palace Theatre postcards.




Here's a later postcard view
looking north on Broadway. 
The 600 block with the
Orpheum/Palace is on the right
and the Loew's vertical is on the left.


The card was mailed in 1940 but it's obviously an
earlier picture as the (now) Palace Theatre still has
the vertical signs saying "Orpheum." 
 
full size view



     Huntington Digital Library    

hdl.huntington.org/cdm



A lovely 1913 view of the Palace (as the Orpheum) by G. Haven
Bishop showing off the use of stud lighting. It's a photo Ken
McIntyre located in the Huntington Library collection -- part
of a set commissioned by Southern California Edison Co.  
full size view

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

| more of the So Cal Edison collection  |



A detail from the Huntington Library
image above.  Click on it to enlarge.




A c.1927 C.C. Pierce  view taken out of a
window in the Loew's State Building
looking north on Broadway. 
full size view


A detail from the Huntington Library
image above.  Click on it to enlarge.



     Los Angeles Times    

www.latimes.com | on Facebook



A 1943 L.A. Times view looking north from Loew's
 State toward the Palace, then with it's vertical signs
advertising it as a newsreel theatre. The photo, on the
 Times Facebook page, is now in the UCLA collection.
full size view

Thanks to Stephen Russo for finding this one!



     Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr    

www.flickr.com/photos/79761301@N00


A 50s view looking south from 6th toward
 the Palace and Los Angeles theatres.
full size view




Another vintage card looking south from
 Eric's Paper Ephemera collection.
Eric also has version of the 1959 card
that's near the top of the right column.

For a real treat, browse through Eric's L.A. Theatres
set on Flickr -- over 400 great shots.  And check out
his Downtown Los Angeles set as well.




A lovely look south at the Palace and the State.
It appears to be 1957 and the "Holiday Show" at
the Palace looks like "The Little Hut" with Ava
Gardner and "Funny Face" as the 2nd feature.
full size view | in LAHTF's Flickr set

Richard Wojcik has a version of the photo above
on Vintage Los Angeles that's less cropped vertically.



    Brian McCray's Hollywood Postcards   

 picasaweb.google.com/henrypeavey/HollywoodPostcards

Historic Los Angeles Theatres --  The Palace,  formerly an Orpheum circuit house.

A great postcard view of the facade from
Brian McCray's delightful collection.   Notice
the color work up on the cornice. 
full size view

The card above is also on our blogspot
post about Palace Theatre postcards.


     Online Archive of California    

oac.cdlib.org   



This 1946 view looking north on Broadway is from the
State Archives. The Palace is running "Best Years of Our
Lives," a big hit for the theatre. Note the Los Angeles
Theatre on the left. It's a Frasher Foto card.
  full size view

 

     Photos of Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863


A delightful 20's look at the theatre
on Photos of Los Angeles. 
full size view

Also see a similar 2011
view by Deanna Bayless.




A 1931 look north on Broadway
toward the Palace. 
full size view



A 30s view looking north at a traffic-
clogged Broadway. Oh, yeah -- there's a
bit of the Palace on the left.



A 1943 look up Broadway at the Palace -- with
"Newsreels" banners on the vertical signs. The
occasion is a parade for Madam Chaing Kai-Shek.
 full size view  | a re-post




A 1945 Armistice Day parade view of the
Palace marquee as we look south on Broadway. 
full size view



A c.1947 view of the Palace running newsreels.
full size view



Looking north on Broadway during Christmas
season in 1951.  Note the banner on Clifton's for a
show called "My LA" at the Forum Theatre on Pico.
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

There's also a less cropped version of the
view above on Photos of Los Angeles.



A colorful view looking north on Broadway
from 7th St. The Palace is in there on the right
with all the rest of the mess.
full size view




The Palace in 1988. 
full size view



A nice look at the Palace neon in 1989.
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres



The Palace in 1991.
full size view




A 1993 shot at the Palace in its
Spanish language film days.
 full size view

Also see:
| 20s postcard - also on Bizarre Los Angeles |
| 1989 marquee view - "Metiche Y Encajoso"  |



     A Visit To Old Los Angeles    

www.csulb.edu     



An early postcard view of the Palace facade
shortly after opening (as the Orpheum).
 slightly larger view

The card is from the Broadway Tour Part 3 that includes
Tally's, Clune's Theatre, the Orpheum (now Palace) and several
others. One of many great adventures on this site curated by
Brent Dickerson. Details are on the site's index page.








more on the palace theatre :
|  recent exterior views  |  ticket lobby  |  lobby areas  |  lounges  |
auditorium  |  booth  | 
stage  |  stage |