Tally's Broadway Theatre

833 S. Broadway

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Opened:  May 2, 1910 by Thomas L. Tally as Tally's Broadway. It was constructed in 30 days. 

The 1910 city directory gives a listing here for both Tally's Film Exchange and Tally's New Broadway -- a name that was actually used only on Tally's earlier theatre on the street at 554 S. Broadway, renamed the Garnett Theatre after Tally's move.

In 1911 Tally's Broadway was known as the Kinemacolor Theatre while showing color films in the Kinemacolor process but then went back to the Tally's Broadway name.  It required a special projector showing alternate frames through red and green filters. The Neptune Theatre, in Venice, also had a fling with Kinemacolor, as did the Auditorium (in 1911).

J. A Quinn was running this theatre at 833 S. Broadway in 1912 -- and hoped to build an office building atop it according to a 1913 biography of him on rootsweb.  See the Quinn's Superba page for more on Quinn.

A 1912 ad unearthed by Ken McIntyre with the "Q shows"
(Tally's, Banner and Garrick) listed at the bottom.
Click on it for a larger view.

Tally was back and Quinn had gone on to other venues by 1915. The theatre was profiled in the July 10, 1915 issue of Moving Picture World.  The article, titled "Tally's Feature House, A Leading Los Angeles Picture Theater That Possesses Distinction" starts with a discussion of Mr. Tally's pride and joy, his mammoth pipe organ. We eventually get around to talking about the rest of the theatre:

"...The high ceiling of Tally's contains four large illuminated stained glass panels in the center. on the sides are sixteen Billikens in windows faintly illuminated in bluish green. Over the screen between the showing of pictures is a plush green curtain. At each side of the stage is a large window, with small panes, faintly illuminated and decorated with draped curtains.

At each side of the house are four pendant lamps, hanging from the top of a low-roofed arch extending down each side. Additional light comes from twenty-eight indirect lamps set in the ceiling. There are 100 loge chairs at the rear, all in wicker, and comfortable. Seymour Tally, the son of the owner, is the house manager, and he is assisted by James S. Randall, advertising manager. Picture men visiting Los Angeles should not overlook Tally's."

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

An article in Moving Picture World for July 15, 1916 said "The chief feature of this house is the music. It has a splendid orchestra and a simply wonderful organ."  In 1916 the admission prices were 10, 20 and 30 cents. The house manager at the time was still Seymour Tally, son of Thomas.  The article noted that the 30 cent price got you a wicker chair back in the elevated loge section.

In the 1922 directory it's just listed as Tally's. On May 15, 1922 it was renamed Guterson's Broadway Theatre, under the direction of Mischa Guterson, formerly the music director of Grauman's Million Dollar.

It was a big enough deal that California Governor W.D. Stephens appeared along with various Hollywood stars. Evidently Guterson didn't stick around as beginning again with the 1923 directory it's listed as Tally's Broadway Theatre.

A 1928 ad for Tally's, at the end running marginal
product.  Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the find.
full size view

Architects: Train & Williams, who also designed the Hyman Theatre (later known as the Garrick).

Seating: 900

Status: The building was demolished for a 1929 expansion for the May Co. department store (originally Hamburger's) just to the north.

Earlier Tally adventures: Tally had quite a history with early film exhibition in Los Angeles prior to the opening of this building at 833 S. Broadway.  See the exhibition timeline for Mr. Tally below.

On Broadway, he had taken over the Broadway Theatre and renamed it Tally's New Broadway Theatre in 1905. That theatre, just south of the present Arcade Building, was later known as the Garnett Theatre.  

NOT Tally's Broadway:

A photo of the theatre building at 544 S. Broadway
(later the Garnett Theatre) from the USC Archives. 
Despite it saying "NEW," it came before the Tally's
Broadway at 833 S. Broadway.
full size view

More information: See Cinema Treasures page on Tally's for lots of interesting data unearthed by Jeff Bridges (vokoban), Joe Vogel, Ken McIntyre and other researchers.

An article in Moving Picture World for July 15, 1916 gives a nice rundown of early film exhibition in Los Angeles, although crediting Tally for the first film showings in the area, which was not the case.

Wikipedia has an article on Thomas Tally.

There's a fine discussion of the career of Thomas Tally beginning on page 119 of Jan Olsson's 2008 book "Los Angeles Before Hollywood - Journalism and American Film Culture, 1905-1915." The book is available as a pdf from the National Library of Sweden.

Nearby: Just two doors south of Tally's was the Majestic Theatre.   Across the street was the Mission and the still surviving  Orpheum.  The Mission was demolished for construction of the Orpheum.

     Tally's exhibition timeline    

311 S. Spring St.  -- Tally's Phonograph & Vitascope Parlor was the first permanent film exhibition site when Tally partitioned off the back of his store in 1896 to create a makeshift theatre.

Note: This was following the first successful exhibition of movies
on a screen in Los Angeles at the Grand Opera House on July 6, 1896.
Tally was not involved in the event at the Grand.

339 S. Spring St. -- Tally moved his operation here in 1899 and closed the 311 S. Spring location.

262 S. Main St.  -- Tally's Electric Theatre opened in April, 1902. It's recognized as the first purpose built venue for exhibiting films in Los Angeles. It didn't do well. By July, 1903 it was a vaudeville house called the Lyric.

554 S. Broadway -- Tally took over the Broadway Theatre and renamed it Tally's New Broadway Theatre in March, 1905. It was later known as the Garnett Theatre after he moved to the location at 833 S. Broadway. The theatre site was just south of the present Arcade Building.

833 S. Broadway -- Tally's Broadway opened May 1910. Demolished in 1929.

441 S. Hill St. -- Tally was possibly involved in the College Theatre around 1912. There's one mention of it being one of his houses at the time.

642 S. Broadway -- The Palace of Pictures opened in 1914.  Thomas Tally was evidently involved in the project as the building permit announcement included his name. This location closed in 1916.

642 S. Grand Ave. -- From 1919 through at least 1938 Tally has a connection with the Criterion Theatre, which at various times was known as Tally's Criterion. This building is now demolished.

     Nathan Marsak on Flickr    


A wonderful c.1910 view from way at the back
of the auditorium.  It's a postcard from the
Nathan Marsak collection. 
full size view

A parade outside Tally's.  Nathan calls
our attention to the very early structure to the
left of Tally's -- it was soon replaced.
full size view

A detail from the parade shot. 
larger view

These views are from Mr. Marsak's
Tally's Theater Broadway set.

Mr. Marsak also did a nice post on Noirish Los Angeles
with several of these views of Tally's.  Also see some of
his great Los Angeles postcard collection in several
posts on Noirish Los Angeles - page 59.

     Photos of Los Angeles    


A wonderful 1923 parade photo discovered by
Ken McIntyre. We're looking south toward 9th St.
Starting at the left is the pre-Eastern Columbia Building version
of clothing retailer Columbia ("Good Clothes"), the curved marquee
of the Majestic Theatre (with a couple of guys standing on it),
Robbins (a credit retailer) and Tally's Broadway Theatre.
Thanks, Ken!

     UC Riverside    


A nice look north on Broadway with the Majestic Theatre,
Tally's Broadway, and the big hulk of Hamburger's
Department Store beyond.

It's a detail from a view c. 1914-18 by Underwood
& Underwood. It's from the Keystone-Mast Collection,
UCR/California Museum of Photography,
University of California at Riverside. 
larger detail view 

A look at the full image. 
Well, half of it
-- the original is a stereo pair.

     A Visit To Old Los Angeles    


A view  looking north toward 8th with Hamburger's
Department store the prominent building. On the far left,
 we have a glimpse of Tally's Broadway.  Down the block on the
right we see the roof signs of the Garrick and Rialto.
full size view

This is on Brent Dickerson's great tour
Later Around Broadway and 8th. This multi-
part Broadway tour is one of many great adventures
 on Brent's site. Details are on the site's index page.

There's a larger version of the photo on
 Noirish Los Angeles post #8775 where Chuckaluck
 credits it to Photographium.

The photo also appears on Photos of Los Angeles:
 version 1
| version 2

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     California State Library    


A 1916 view of Tally's from the State Library
 collection. We're running "The Dumb Girl of
Portici" with Anna Pavlova.
  full size view | data page

The view also appears in the LAPL collection.

     Film Reference    


Here's the most famous picture of the Majestic
and Tally's: Harold Lloyd in "Safety Last" (1923) with the
theatres shown behind him.  It looks like he's on a building
just a bit south of the theatres, which are on the west
side of Broadway. He's actually hanging from a set
atop a building on the east side of the street.

This image is on the site's Harold Lloyd page.
 Hamburger's (later May Co.) department store
building is at the far end of the block.
full size view | on Film Reference

The image also appears on the 
Dr. Macro. Also see their
data page for "Safety Last" with other images from the film.

Harold Lloyd L.A. filming locations:

|  John Bengtson' Blog: Silent Locations  |
|  book "Silent Visions" by John Bengtson 0n Amazon  |
| Annette Lloyd on YouTube: "Harold Lloyd's LA Locations" |
|  "Harold Lloyd 'Safety Last' Documentary" on YouTube  |

     Michelle Gerdes Collection    


A look north on Broadway from Ninth with Tally's
Broadway on the left. Down the block on the right is a
glimpse of the Garrick Theatre at 8th & Broadway.
It's a card in Michelle's collection.
 full size view

     Huntington Digital Library    

A terrific 1915 view by G. Haven Bishop of Tally's
that was discovered by Ken McIntyre in the
collection of the Huntington Library.
full size view

Tally's is running "Pretty Mrs. Smith." The photo
is part of a set commissioned by Southern California
Edison Co. documenting electric signs.

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

     L.A. Public Library Collection    

Here's an early exterior view of Tally's
Broadway -- possibly before opening.
full size image

An interior view from the LAPL.  Here we're actually
pretty far forward in the auditorium -- it was very deep.
  full size image

This view looking north in the early 30s
 is in the Library's collection. 
full size view

It's the Eastern Columbia Bldg. (1930) on the left with the
 Majestic Theatre (demolished 1933) just beyond.  North
 of the Majestic is a squat retail store and then the
Co. (1908, previously Hamburger's Department Store).

The side of the May Co. closest to us is the 1929 expansion (taller
than the rest of the building) where Tally's Broadway used to be.
Here we're right across the street from the Orpheum.
 Its vertical can be seen
at the far right of the photo.

     Ken McIntyre on Cinema Treasures    


Ken has unearthed this shot of Tally's running
  "King of Kings" in 1928 fairly near the closing of
  the theatre. Notice the signs about the impending
  May Co. expansion on the building.

     Noirish Los Angeles    


A dazzling animated version of the 1916 photo.
A big thanks to Tourmaline who included
this on his Noirish Los Angeles post #9368.

Tally's is running "The Dumb Girl of Portici" with
Anna Pavlova. The California State Library and the
 Los Angeles Public Library both have copies of the
 black and white original.

     UCLA Archive - L.A. Times Collection    

digital2.library.ucla.edu | calisphere.org/collections/153/

A 1920 view of the Majestic Theatre building
and (on the far right), Tally's. It's from the
UCLA L.A. Times photo collection.
full size view | on Calisphere

This photo also appears on Noirish Los Angeles:
| Majestic & Tally's |

     USC Archive    


A c.1915 view from what is a giant panoramic image.
Here we have the Majestic on the left and Tally's
 Broadway just to the north. The large building
 at the center is Hamburger's Department store. 
this view | full panorama

A rare 1930 night view from the California Historical
 Society.  The Majestic marquee and vertical can be seen at left.
 The Orpheum can be seen at the right of the photo.
full size view

Where's Tally's? Gone. Take a look at the May Co.
building and note the 1929 extension on the side nearest us
-- higher than the rest of the building. It gobbled up Tally's.

Also see:
| 1917 view looking northwest -- Tally's on far left |

Extant on the 800 block of Broadway:
Vanished from the block: