Star Theatre

529 S. Main St.   | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Opening date: Unknown

It's in the 1914 city directory as "Curtet & Haymann." This theatre was in business as the Portola Theatre in 1915 through 1918. In the 1919 city directory it's the Virginia.

In the 1920 directory its listed as the Victoria -- perhaps a typo.  It's listed as Virginia (again) from 1922 at least through 1930.  Sometime prior to 1936 it became the Star Theatre.

The theatre was located in a hotel building known over the years as the Brennan Hotel, Your Hotel and the Green Hotel. 

It was a busy block. Just north of the Star was the Gayety Theatre and the Optic was in the building to the south. South of the Optic down at the end of the block was the Art Theatre. Across the street were the Galway, Sherman and Burbank theatres.

A section of a 1931 insurance map from the
Los Angeles Public Library showing the Art,
Optic, Star and Gayety  theatres. 
full size view  |  more maps

Seating: 300

Status: Closed perhaps in the early 50s. The building has been demolished.  A parking garage is on the site.

More Information: See the research by Ken McIntyre and Jeff Bridges on the Cinema Treasures page for the Star.

     L.A. Fire Department Archives    

Here from the LAFD collection is a January 1913 shot of the
Brennan Hotel fire.  The Brennan building housed the Star. At the
left is the Optic with the Century/Gayety Theatre at the right.
full size view

 At this time the Optic's vertical sign
was mounted on the hotel building.

For more photos go to the "Major Incident" page and
look for "Brennan Hotel Fire, 1913" in the index on the left column.
On the Brennan page, click on "see completion LAFD photo
album photo collection" under the photo for more views.

     Photos of Los Angeles

A 1911 view looking north on Main with the "Vaudeville"
vertical for the Star Theatre visible at the left. Douglas
Rudd posted the view on Photos of Los Angeles.
 full size view  | a re-post  | on FB/LAtheatres

See the uncropped view of the photo
above on the L.A.Times website.

A wonderful 1936 view of the Star
 taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt. 
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

They're running some old Buster Crabbe films along
with "Gambling Lady" with Barbara Stanwyck and
"Master of Men" with Jack Holt.

The photo above also appears on a 2011 post on the
 blog Quite Continental, where the Star photo is featured
 as one of Eisenstadt's works that were coming up for
 auction at Doyle New York.

Ken has found another treasure. This is a
 late 30s view of the entrance to the Star.
  full size view

     UCLA - L.A. Daily News Negatives

A fine 1946 shot looking north on Main with the
Star in front of us advertising its "3 Big Major Features"
 plus "Reconditioned Seats" and the Gayety down
the block. It's the Truancy Detail in action.
It's a Los Angeles Daily News photo. Their caption:
Woman talks to boys skipping school outside a movie theater
in downtown Los Angeles. The truancy problem prompted the
10th District Congress of Parents and Teachers to recommend an
expansion of the truancy detail, which would include increasing
personnel in outlying portions of the district as well as on beaches."

Thanks to Eitan Alexander for
spotting this one in the UCLA archives!


Tom Wetzel's wonderful site has a 50s map of downtown
with many of the theatres listed, including the Star.
It's part of his not-to-be-missed tour of the Subway
Terminal Building Area. Shown here is a small detail.
full map and tour


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     Cinema Treasures

A c.1937 look at the Star from David Zornig on
 Cinema Treasures. He credits it to Jimmy Moy. Note a
sliver of the Optic Theatre on the far left. Thanks, David!
And a thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting the
photo on Cinema Treasures and posting it as a comment
 to another Star Theatre shot on Photos of Los Angeles.

     Huntington Digital Library    

A 1911 view by G. Haven Bishop looking south from
5th & Main. We see the Olympic, later called the Gayety.
Beyond, there's the "Vaudeville" vertical sign for the Star
Theatre and the arched entrance of the Optic.
full size view

A detail from the Huntington Library photo.
 It was taken for the Southern California Edison Co.
to document the glories of electric signage.
larger view

     L.A. Times

A 1911 L.A. Times photo looking north from the
Pacific Electric Building at 6th & Main.  Over on the left,
the 2nd building beyond the intersection is the Howell
Hotel Building. Later it would house the Art Theatre.
Presumably at this time the
Bijou Theatre was a tenant. 
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres

Thanks to Tom Ohmer for posting
this one on Photos of Los Angeles.

A detail from the photo above with
the Art Theatre building at the left.
"vaudeville" sign down the street
 is for the Star Theatre.

     USC Archives

A 1907 view looking north along the west side of the
500 block. The building that would later house the Star
 is the one with "G. A. Theil Wallpaper" sign on the side.
full size view

Here's a view c.1917 from the USC Archives look: ing
north showing the Optic sign -- but not the Optic itself. 
The sign was hung on the taller building just north of the
theatre, here the Green Hotel -- which also housed the Star.
full size view

Up the block is the Gayety Theatre (at this point called the
Omar).  The vertical saying "Burlesque" belongs to the Omar. 

A version of the photo above is also in the LAPL collection.

A great Dick Whittington photo from the late 30s
showing the west side of the block looking north toward
5th St. The Optic Theatre is in the squat building
in the foreground with the Star just to the right.
full size view

A detail from the 1938 view above with the
Optic, Star and Gayety Theatres.
larger view

Also in the USC Archives:
| looking north - January 1907 -
looking north - no Star Theatre yet  |

| another 1917 view - only the top of the Green
Hotel plus a bit of the Century (Gayety) vertical |