Town Theatre

444 S. Hill St.   | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Opened: 1920 as Bard's Hill Street Theatre.

Lou Bard had a chain that also  included the Olympic and the Vista.  In the 1921, 22 and 23 city directories this one is listed as the Bard Theatre.

In the 30's it was renamed the Town and in the 1960's it became the Pussycat.

Architect:  Albert C. Martin remodeled an existing one story building to use as a theatre.

Seating: 430

Status: Closed in 1985 and was later demolished. The current building on the site housing a jewelry store is of recent vintage.

The Town in the Movies:

A look at the Town when it was the Pussycat
in the film "Cleopatra Jones" (1973).
larger view

The still from "Cleopatra" appeared in Jay Allen Sanford's 2010 San Diego Reader article about Pussycat Theatres chain: "Pussycat Theatres: A Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty."  The version currently online via SDR is missing its photos. A better bet might be on Blogspot:  Pussycat Theater History 1  and  Pussycat Theater History 2.

More Information: See the discussion on the Cinema Treasures page devoted to the Town

     L.A. Public Library    

A c.1937 shot by Herman Schultheis. We're
 looking north on Hill from 5th with the theatre
over on the right behind the end of the bus.
On the extreme left is a corner of Pershing Square. Across the
street with Thrifty Drug on the ground floor is the Title Guarantee
 and Trust Company Building (John and Donald B. Parkinson, 1930).
 On the extreme right is the Hotel Portsmouth. The taller building
 behind it is the Hotel Clark (Harrison Albright, 1912).

Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding
the shot above in the LAPL collection.

A 1965 view of the Town's marquee.
full size view 

     Photos of Los Angeles

A lovely 1946 view looking over the streetcars
of Hill St. toward the Town Theatre.
full size view

See the similar shot in the Metro collection. The day of
these photos they were  running "Confidential Agent" with
Charles Boyer, Lauren Bacall and Peter Lorre.

A 1960 look south on Hill with the
Town playing "Espresso Bongo." Thanks to
 Ken McIntyre for the find.

A 1986 photo of the closed theatre taken by
Michael Putnam. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for
the post on Photos of Los Angeles.

     Uncanny - Downtown Tour   

A great site by Tom Wetzel with period views along different
rail lines. Tom's  Downtown Walking Tour explores the area
of the Subway Terminal Bldg. Here we're looking north on
Hill St. with the Town Theatre on the far right. 
full size view | on Photos of L.A.

 about photos from other
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     Sean Ault Collection    

A 50s view looking north on busy Hill St. from
5th St. in the Sean Ault collection.
In the shadows
 on the right (this side of the Grant store) is the
 Town Theatre in its pre-Pussycat days.

full size view
  | on FB/LATheatres

Looking north on Hill St. c.1978 with a view
of the Town Theatre in its Pussycat days. 
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 transit archive on YouTube.

     Metro Library and Archive

A view from the 20s looking north on Hill St. You don't
get much of the Town, but you can make out the marquee on
the right side of the street, just past the building on the corner. 
It's part of the Metro Downtown Los Angeles set.
full size view

The photo above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.
| from Michelle Gerdes:  a re-post  |

A 1945 view of the Town Theatre marquee
hiding out behind the streetcars on Hill St.
full size view

The Metro Archives also has another version
of the photo with slightly better contrast.

Kenneth McIntyre has also posted the
photo above on Photos of Los Angeles

     Pussycat Theatres - Sanford    

Chapter 1:

A 1972  view of the Town running as a
house in the Pussycat chain. It's in Chapter
 Two of Sanford's Pussycat epic.

Jay Allen Sanford's  "Pussycat Theatres: A Comprehensive
History of a California Dynasty"
is a  rambling book-length history
of the chain that first appeared in the San Diego Reader in 2010.

The version still on the San Diego Reader website
but that version is now missing its photos.

     USC Archives    

A Dick Whittington Studio view from 1939 showing
a glancing view of the Town Theatre marquee on
the right. USC labels this as the RKO but that's a
few blocks farther down the street. 
full size view

A detail from the USC photo above
with "Gunga Din" on the marquee.
full size view