United Artists Theatre / Ace Hotel

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933 S. Broadway     | map |     

Los Angeles, CA 90015

(213) 623-3233

Website: acehotel.com | on Facebook | events calendar

Opening: What is now known as The Theatre at Ace Hotel originally opened December 26, 1927 with "My Best Girl," a silent film starring Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers. The reopening of the building as a hotel was in January 2014 with the theatre following a month later.

Architect: C. Howard Crane designed the theatre, Walker and Eisen were the building architects. Walker and Eisen did a number of other theatres, including the Four Star for United Artists.



The Los Angeles Public Library collection includes
this C. Howard Crane / Walker & Eisen drawing of
 the exterior.  This is an early version -- there
were some changes before construction.
 full size view

The 14 story office building has 74,000 square feet of space. Counting the theatre area, total building square footage is reckoned as 93,783  on a land area of 23,850 s.f.  The cost was announced as $3.5 million.


A cut-away drawing of the United Artists from the 2012 article
 "
Hollywood Heights: United Artists Theatre"
by Mary Mallory.
She has a nice history of the building as well as details of the
opening festivities.
It's a post on L.A. Times writer
Larry Harnish's great blog The Daily Mirror.
full size view

Murals were by Anthony Heinsbergen (1884-1981). The UA principals, other actors and board members of the company are depicted in various murals and paintings around the building. The Gothic style was evidently chosen because of Mary Pickford's love of European castles. Chaplin, another of the UA principals, wasn't enthusiastic about United Artists operating theatres -- he thought they should stick to making movies. 

The building was owned by the Ninth and Broadway Building Co. (Joseph M Schenck & I.C. Freud, principals) and leased to the United Artists Theatre Circuit, a corporation separate from the main United Artists Corporation.  The theatre was operated for UATC by Fox West Coast.  Fox also ran the State for Loew's/MGM and the Paramount (former Metropolitan) for Paramount Publix. 

The new theatre was profiled in an article in the January 7, 1928 issue of Motion Picture News. The article declared that it was "the final word in theatre construction."

" ... The general interior arrangement differs radically from other Los Angeles houses in that a great deal of attention has been given to both entrance lobby and foyer, to be called the 'foyer promenoir' and which can accommodate more than 1500 persons, without crowding. Lobby and foyer are approximately 40 feet high.

The lobby is done in black, gold, red and buff marble, with large gold mirrors set in frames of antique design of antique gold. The balcony is panoramic, and in its rear is a promenade, with a passageway leading into the foyer. Here are little offset balconies, from which one may look into the general foyer. The mezzanine is back and under the balcony, like a receding under jaw. Here are 200 seats. There are two promenades -- one for each level.

The stage is large -- about 30 feet deep and 50 feet across the proscenium front. The scenery is supported from a steel gridiron, high up under the stage roof, and is operated by a counter-weighted system of ropes. The proscenium girder is 66 inches deep and 50 feet long and weighs 60 tons.

There are four aisles. The theatre proper is 100 feet wide and 150 feet deep. An electric lift raises the orchestra pit to the stage level and there is a separate organ console lift, which raises to the same level.

The main support of the balcony is a double web-plate girder which spans the entire auditorium, approximately 100 feet, and which carries seven cantilevers and the mezzanine below. The girder is said to be the largest individual structural member ever fabricated and erected in one piece in the west. It is three feet wide, seven feet high, 100 feet long and weighs 103 tons.

Every seat in the big auditorium is alike. The chairs have been especially designed for this theatre and have deep cushions and airinflated backs, a new feature in theatre construction.

A refrigeration plant has been installed at a cost of $100,000 of the latest washed-air type, with dehumidifiers automatically controlled to maintain a proper temperature. The theatre was built not only for the present theatre-going needs, but has taken into account the expected growth of Los Angeles and the certain development of the theatre. Its general style and equipment are expected to be a standard for many years to come. 

Special accommodations have been made underneath the great foyer for women patrons. There is a large combination lounge and smoking room, washroom and a cosmetic room. This room has been fitted with elaborate dressing tables. The color scheme of the room is one of greens and taupes. For men there are rooms underneath the main foyer, also.

The run [carpet] in the foyer was manufactured in Europe especially for the new theatre. The colors were determined here before the order was given that these colors might harmonize with the color scheme of the entire theatre. The run is in the center of the foyer and is about 25 by 50 feet.

...An elaborate lighting system has been installed. It is in five colors: red, blue, amber, white and green. Thus with a ten preset switchboard, practically any combination may be obtained. By means of a recently devised indirect lighting system, the entire color effect upon the ceiling will be visible during the projection of the picture.

The dome, in the center of the ceiling, is covered with silver-backed, rough faced mirrored discs -- about 3,000 of them -- and, in addition about 2,000 glass pendants. From the mosaic dome, an enormous sunburst spreads in all directions.

In the auditorium proper there are no lamps or chandeliers. The walls are in travertine, with three large perforated fans on each side..."

C. Howard Crane, who designed over 300 theatres, also did two other theatres for the United Artists Theatre Circuit with similar Spanish Gothic interiors. In Detroit (2,o70 seats) it was much like the Los Angeles building, with a full stage and the theatre integrated into an office building. 

In Chicago (1,703 seats), the United Artists was a re-do of an earlier theatre and ended up being a smaller version and lacking a stage. Crane, based in Detroit, designed hundreds of theatres including the St. Louis Fox and most of the major theatres in Detroit - including the Capitol and Fox.



A floorplan from the July 1928
issue of Architect and Engineer.
full size view | on Internet Archive (+ a lobby shot)

The issue also has a facade view and a lobby ceiling detail
Plus there's an
article "United Artists Theatre Los Angeles"
 that has outer lobby and auditorium views.

Seating: Originally 2,214 including a mezzanine. The mezzanine was closed and hacked off during the 1955 TODD-AO conversion.  Motion Picture News noted that the mezzanine sat 200.

Stage: 28' deep

Pipe Organ: Removed in 1955. Life had an article about the organ on August 24, 1962.

History: 



"S.R.O." The fans are lined up at the United Artists for Norma
Talmadge in "The Woman Disputed." The ad appears in the November
 3, 1928 issue of Motion Picture News, available on the Internet Archive.
 It was a United Artists release, available in versions with or without
sound, a practice typical of that transitional era.
 full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

In an early widescreen experiment the UA ran "The Bat Whispers" in 1931. This was a production in "Magnifilm" (filmed both in 35mm and 65mm versions) and the newspaper ad said "Twice the Size" but the projection was evidently a 35mm reduction print. The screen size and aspect ratio details for the United Artists presentation are unknown -- perhaps a 2 to 1 aspect ratio on a larger than normal screen.


A 1931 ad for "The Bat Whispers" in Magnifilm.
Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating the ad. The UA
 is being advertised as "A Publix Theatre."
full size view

The theatre had a checkered history in the 30s with at least one closure and several different operators. Universal at one point took a stab at operating the theatre so they'd have a downtown showcase for their product.

In the mid-thirties the United Artists was being called Grauman's United Artists. Paramount Publix Theatres had earlier bought Grauman's downtown holdings and evidently they thought expanding the Grauman's brand would be good for business. The Mayan (previously a legit house) was also at this time being called Grauman's Mayan.  Fox West Coast actually operated the theatres for Publix, as they did for other United Artists properties where Publix wasn't involved.


A 1934 ad for the theatre under the Grauman's
name. They're offering free parking. Sid, of course,
had gone to Hollywood and wasn't involved.
Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the ad.
 larger view

As a result of the government anti-trust suit forcing the studios to divest themselves of their theatre holdings, UATC took over the operation of this theatre themselves in the 50's (along with the nearby Loew's State).  These two downtown houses didn't stay with Fox West Coast (now separate from 20th Century Fox) because part of the deal was a requirement for FWC to sell off certain theatres in an attempt to provide a bit of competition.

During the 50's it frequently played day and date with other United Artists houses such as the Four Star and the Egyptian. 

TODD-AO came to the UA in 1955. This theatre was the second 70mm equipped theatre in Los Angeles. "Oklahoma" (which continued its run at the Egyptian, the first theatre so equipped) began a 52 week run at the United Artists on December 24, 1955.  

The remodeling for the process included knocking out some proscenium plaster for installation of a huge, deeply curved screen. Other work entailed removal of the mezzanine and construction of a new projection booth at the rear of the main floor.



"All freeways lead to Oklahoma." The LA Times ad
for "Oklahoma" that's shown here is reproduced on Michael
Coate and William Kallay's 70mm in Los Angeles section
of their great website From Script To DVD.  It's on the
 United Artists page.

After the "Oklahoma" run, United Artists Theatre Circuit closed the theatre. In October 1961 UATC renamed it the Alameda Theatre and reopened it. That experiment with Mexican films only lasted until June 1962 when they closed it again and turned the building back to its owner Joseph Schenck Productions.

At the end of the United Artists' movie days it was operated by Metropolitan Theatres under a master lease then held by the Needleman family, owners of the Western Costume Co. building to the south of the theatre as well as the nearby Orpheum Theatre, also then operated by Metropolitan. The United Artists finally closed as a  film theatre in 1989.

From 1990 until 2010, the United Artists was used as church, the Los Angeles University Cathedral.  The church purchased the building some years after a long period as a renter. 

During the years as a church, the formerly grubby theatre was cleaned and much of the former opulence was restored to the interior.  The screening room in the basement used by Mary Pickford was used as the repository of the church's bible collection.

In Limbo:

In 2010 the church moved their operations to another building in Glendale and placed the building on the market. Blogdowntown and Curbed L.A. both ran stories about the proposed sale. Hillsman Wright, of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, announced a plan to bring the theatre back to life.  The plan got a nice boost with an August 2010 story in the Wall Street Journal by Dennis Nishi: "Can L.A.'s Historic Theater District Be Revived?

The mission was discussed in more detail in an interview with Eric Richardson in an August 2010 post on Blogdowntown: "The Historic Theatre Dream on Broadway." More on the  LAHTF and the theatre appeared in Los Angeles Downtown News : "To Protect and Restore."

One of the big signs that the church had placed atop the building in 1989 came down in 2011 for a journey to Glendale. Eric Richardson of  BlogDowntown had the story: "Jesus Saves Neon No More at United Artists?" One sign still remains on the building.

The ACE Hotel takes over: 

The property is now an Ace Hotel with a refurbished theatre.  The hotel opened January 6, 2014 with the theatre, now called The Theatre at Ace Hotel following on February 14. Jason Dibler is the hotel manager. Margaret Lake, formerly of the Olympia Theatre in Miami, manages the theatre.

The building sold in October 2011 to Greenfield Partners, a Norwalk, Connecticut based hotel developer and real estate concern.  Designing the 2013-2014 renovation were Killefer Flammang Architects with Wade Killefer as the design principal and John Arnold as project manager. Overseeing the construction was another partner in the venture, Jon Blanchard of BLVD Hospitality  and Voyager Hotel GroupCommune Design and the in-house Atelier Ace made the interior design decisions for the project.

Stories and photo spreads about the hotel opening include those by Brigham Yen, on Eater L.A., Curbed L.A., L.A. Downtown News (+ an additional Gary Leonard photo spread), on the blogs Opening Ceremony, Globe St. and Hypebeast as well as on the Bringing Back Broadway Facebook page.

GQ got into the mix with a photo taken from the top of Ace to lead its story "America's Next Great City is Inside L.A." Alex Calderwood, the founder of the Ace chain, passed away November 14, 2013 at age 47. The N.Y. Times had a story. Brad Wilson is currently president of Ace Hotel Group.

Brigham Yen on DTLA Rising ran a November 2013 story about the rebirth of the building and the anticipated opening of the hotel.  The L.A.Times also had a November 2013 item. Curbed L.A. and Eater also had stories tracking the project.

Kevin Roderick had an October 2011 story about the project on LA Observed. Also see the Curbed L.A.  December 2011 story.  The building had been on the market since 2009 with an initial asking price of $15 million. With no takers, the price gradually slid downward. The sale price was $11 million.

The United Artists in the Movies: 



In the Harold Lloyd feature "Feet First" (Paramount,
1930) we get a look up Broadway toward the United Artists.
The trouble begins in the Post Office in the now vanished
Triangle building just south of Olympic.
We end up
 (somehow) on 8th St. looking at the Tower Theatre.
larger view




John Huston's "Asphalt Jungle" (MGM, 1950) is
supposedly set in Cincinnati but here we are in L.A.
 looking across a parking lot toward the bright lights
of the United Artists on Broadway.
larger view




Another "Asphalt Jungle" shot with the marquee off. We're
breaking into a building from the alley between Broadway
and Main St.  It doesn't go well. The film stars Sterling
Hayden (as the hooligan), Jean Hagen and Sam Jaffe.



In Universal-International's "The Benny Goodman Story"
from 1956
we get some shots inside the United Artists. Here's
Steve Allen as Benny Goodman rising up on the United
Artists pit lift with his band.
  larger view




Here the lift is fully up with more of the organ grille
 area visible in "The Benny Goodman Story" 
larger view

Trivia Question:
 How many other Los Angeles movie
 palaces had orchestra pit lifts?



Donna Reed runs down the aisle of the
United Artists in the "The Benny Goodman Story."
larger view

The entrance, lobby and main floor of the auditorium have a nice
cameo in "Sweet Smell of Success" (1957). Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis,
Susan Harrison and others do a scene in front of the stage and
we see the main floor booth installed for Todd-AO, the sidewall
murals and a bit of backstage. 

The film, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, was a United
Artists release of a Hecht, Hill and Lancaster production.



Here's an exterior view. Look at the larger version and
you can see the ad for "Oklahoma" over the entrance
that has been blacked out. 
larger view




Tony Curtis in the United Artists lobby in
"Sweet Smell of Success."
larger view




Looking back toward the main
floor Todd-AO booth.
 larger view




Here we're onstage and in the upper right corner you can
see a bit of the curved track for the TODD-AO main drape
 out beyond the proscenium.
larger view

 This was filmed after the run of "Oklahoma" ended as
there's no Todd-AO screen. The UA is pretending to be
a theatre in New York. 

More from "Sweet Smell of Success":
 |  looking from stage toward balcony - Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis |
 |  another shot onstage  |  a bit of sidewall & organ grille  |
 |  heading to house left - Tony Curtis |
|  dimmer board  |


The United Artists on Video:

See Don Solosan's 2010 video on the LAHTF Facebook page:  "Insiders Peek #6 - United Artists" featuring Hillsman Wright. It's a great 3 minute HD tour of the interior with some stunning video and still shots.  It's also on YouTube.


A lobby view by Mr. Solosan.
On YouTube:
Insider's Peek #6

Mr. Solosan's sequel on YouTube, "Insiders Peek #9"  was made to promote a December 2010 LAHTF tour of the building that was cancelled at the last minute by the building's then owner. Here we get views of the basement screening room and other interesting shots.



A view by Mr. Solosan of the UA screening
room in "Insider's Peek #9" for the LAHTF.
On YouTube:  Insider's Peek #9

Also see "United Artists Theatre in the 80s" -- a 9 minute video on the LAHTF YouTube channel.  The silent video spends most of its time indoors and includes close up details of the proscenium and the murals in both the auditorium and the lobby. Also see Matt Spero's "United Artists Theatre Los Angeles," a 9 minute tour of the building from 2010.

More L.A. United Artists Theatre information:  

Much of our data for the United Artists comes from the many informative postings on the Cinema Treasures page devoted to the theatre.  Cinema Tour has a few exterior photos that are worth a look.

Don't miss part one of Sandi Hemmerlein's 2014 Avoiding Regret photo essay on the United Artists lobby and lounge areas.  Sandi's part two, "Inside..." is devoted to the auditorium. Another 2014 photo set worth investigating is that by Jim Kohat.  Pauline O'Connor did a Curbed L.A. piece in February 2014 that featured many fine photos of the theatre by Elizabeth Daniels.

See the 2011 United Artists photo tour on LA Curbed with many photos from the LAHTF and Bringing Back Broadway. And check out the LAHTF page on the United Artists. 

The 82 photo set real estate broker Pat Lile generated in 2009 is spread around our various pages is also on a BBB Facebook United Artists album

Detroit and Chicago United Artists:

Historic Detroit
has some sad photos of their United Artists. Forgotten Detroit also has a photo gallery of our unfortunate UA relative. 
See the Cinema Treasures page on the United Artists Detroit and United Artists Chicago.


     street views -- 1940 to 1982    




1940
A view looking north from Olympic posted
on Facebook's Photos of Los Angeles
by Ken McIntyre.
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres



1941
A glorious postcard view of the United Artists in Cezar
Del Valle's Theatre Posts collection
on Flickr. We're running
 "Smilin' Through" and "Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day."

 full size view

Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian. For other
interesting material see his website Theatre Talks,
 Theatre Talks on Flickr and his Facebook page.

 The card above also appears in the collections of
 Brian McCrea, Eric Lynxwiler and there's yet
 another version on Photos of Los Angeles.





1940s ?

Here's a postcard view looking north on
Broadway from the United Artists/Texaco building
in Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards
collection on Flickr.
full size view

Brian McCrea's collection has another version
of the card above with somewhat brighter coloring.
looking north - day view  |


 


1946
A postcard view of the United Artists on Photos of
Los Angeles.  The UA is running "Black Angel"
with Dan Duryea, June Vincent and Peter Lorre.
Also on the bill is "Wild Beauty."
full size view




1946
A look north from the
 Metro Transportation Archive on Flickr.
It's a shot taken during a transit strike that's
in their Downtown Los Angeles set.
 full size view
  on FB/LAtheatres



1947
A dazzling view of the United Artists as we look north on
Broadway posted by Gary Alinder on MacroChef as part of the set
Travel: My Father's Color Images of Southern California in the 1940s.
 The photo, on 35mm Kodachrome is by Ed Alinder.
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

Sharp sleuths Scott Santoro and Wendell Benedetti
figured out that the film in the photo above was "Smash Up:
The Story of a Woman" starring Susan Hayward and
Lee Bowman (Universal International, 1947).

The photo above also appears
on Photos of Los Angeles.



1947
A look at streetcars on the blog U in the USA as
we look north on Broadway past the United Artists.
full size view



1954
A view in the Metro Transportation Archive on
Flickr gets us a diagonal look up Broadway Place toward
the United Artists and the Eastern Columbia Building. It's an
Alan Weeks photo in Metro's Downtown Los Angeles set.
 full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

See Nathan Masters' fine piece on the now
unused Broadway Place on the KCET website.



1954 or '55
The Metro Transportation Archive on Flickr
includes this
Alan Weeks photo looking north. The streetcar
 on the right is heading onto Broadway Place, a street no longer
 used. "She Wolf" is playing, an Italian film released in the
 U.S. by Republic in November, 1954.
Thanks to Monica Seitz Vega for
 finding the photo above!



1956
From the Metro Transportation Archive
on
Flickr comes this great look up Broadway. It's
 in their LATL Streetcar Lines set.
"Oklahoma"
 is on the marquee.
full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres

The photo above also appears on the L.A. Times
Facebook page, where they mistakenly date it as 1963 --
 which was the date of last streetcar service in Los Angeles.



c.1961-62
When was the United Artists not the United Artists?
 When it was called the Alameda, of course. Just a brief
experiment by United Artists Theatre Circuit -- then the
 sign ended up on the East L.A. United Artists
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres



1963
A photo in the
California State Library collection
by William Reagh shows the Gothic tracery
on the
exterior to nice effect.  Our main feature is "La
Fierecilla del Puerto," a 1963 release.
 full size view


 A sharper version of the view above is in the
 Los Angeles Public Library collection where they
date it as 1957.
  The California State Library dates
 it as 1982.
And it's also on Photos of Los Angeles
 -- with a poster for the feature




1971

Looking south on Broadway during the UA's
days a a Spanish language film house. Thanks to
 L.A. transit historian Sean Ault for the photo. 
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres



1982
A William Reagh photo in the collection
 of the
California State Library that was
taken from a block east on Main St.

full size view



More United Artists exteriors
 from the LAPL collection:

view south  - from between 9th & Olympic - c.1926 - just south of UA site  |

| Mary Pickford - groundbreaking ceremony  |
|  
another view  |  speakers on the platform  |   crowd scene - undated  |
pre-construction window exhibit  steamshovel at work  |
 | 
facade drawing  |  1927 facade view -- from above & south  |
another c.1927 view -- from the south early corner view  |
another 1928 view1928 from the south -- Western Costume Bldg.  |


More exterior views in the USC archives:
looking north - 1928  |
 |  looking north from 10th - 1928 - UA and Orpheum  |
 | view looking north - 1929 Gloria Swanson in "The Trespasser" |
| night view with vertical lit | 1931 panoramic view looking north  |
 - Note that the Texaco signage has been added.
  | 1936 view - "Garden of Allah" | 1939 looking north
- Dick Whittington - another "Hardys Ride High" shot |



For post-2000 photos see the United Artists
 recent exterior views page.





United Artists Theatre - C. Howard Crane, architect

photo: Bill Counter - 2007 -- click on it to enlarge



 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.



     street views -- 1927 to 1939    

[ more 1939 views and up to 1982 are at the bottom of the left
column. See the recent exterior views page for post-2000 photos. ]




1927
A view from the Los Angeles Public Library
collection showing the
not quite finished theatre.
Look at the great checkerboard sidewalk!
Here they're still working on the tower.
full size view



1927

Almost ready to open.  The photo, a post
on the LAHTF Facebook page by Hillsman
Wright, is from the Marc Wanamaker collection.

full size view


1927
An elegant look at the newly completed
theatre. The photo, a post on the
LAHTF Facebook page by Hillsman
Wright, is from Marc Wanamaker.
full size view



1927

In the collection of  Ken McIntyre on Photobucket
is this photo
of some of the United Artists principals
getting ready
to go to the opening.  
full size view

Top row left to right:  John Barrymore (evidently in costume
for the '29 release "The Tempest"),
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks.
Lower right: D.W. Griffith. Lower left: Joseph Schenck, president of
both
the United Artists Corporation and the separate United Artists
Theatre Circuit. Schenck
would later join Darryl Zanuck
in forming
20th Century Fox. 

The photo above is also in Jose Huizar's
BBB-Historic Broadway album on Flickr.




1927
A Mott Studios in the collection of the
California State Library gives us a look
at the entrance with
the opening attraction,
"My Best Girl," on the Marquee. 

full size view



1927
An early
Mott Studios look at the top of the
building from the California State Library
full size view


c.1928
A great postcard view of the United Artists
 from Brian McCray's Hollywood Postcards
collection.  Go browsing -- at last peek he
had 408 stellar views to look at.
full size view

Another version of the card above
appears in the collection of Cezar Del Valle.



1928
A view from the
Los Angeles Public Library
collection. D.W. Griffith's "Battle of the Sexes"
is the feature on the marquee. 
full size view 



1928

An uncropped version of the "Battle of the Sexes"
 photo
appears as a postcard in the Cezar Del Valle
 Theatres Posts collection on Flickr. The back of the
card says "This is a real photograph."
full size view
  on FB/LAtheatres




1928

The July 1928 issue of
Architect and Engineer had
 this photo of the United Artists running D.W. Griffith's
 "Drums of Love," a March 31 release.

 full size view | on Internet Archive




c.1928
Exterior photos of the United Artists from
the USC
Archives include this C. C. Pierce
view looking south
on Broadway.   
full size view

The Huntington Library also
has a version of the photo above.


c.1928
An undated view Ken McIntyre located for his Facebook
page Photos of Los Angeles. We're looking south from
8th & Broadway past Hamburger's department store, the
 Majestic Theatre and on toward the United Artists.
full size view

In the view above, note that there's no
southern expansion yet of Hamburger's.





1928
Lining up for the show in a Dan Watts photo from
the
Los Angeles Public Library collection. Playing
 is "The
Woman Disputed" with Norma Talmadge.
full size view




1928
A December view looking north on
Broadway added to the Vintage Los Angeles
Facebook page by Kent Abramson.  
full size view





1929
Mary Pickford in "Coquette" at the United Artists in
1929. "Her First All Talking Dramatic Picture -- Hear Her
Golden Voice."   The photo is from Marc Wanamaker's
Bison Archives.
A larger view appears as image
#1 on Bison's
photo gallery.

Along with Suzanne Tarbell
Cooper and Amy Ronnebeck Hall,
Mr. Wanamaker is also the author of  "
Theatres in Los Angeles"
(Arcadia Publishing, 2008). Most of the rare photos in the book
are from Bison Archives.  Mr. Wanamaker also provides consulting
 services on historic matters for films and architectural projects. 



The photo above on Google Books:
| United Artists marquee - "Coquette"  |



1929
A great look north on Broadway in a C.C. Pierce
 photo in the Huntington Digital Library. The
United Artists is running Mary Pickford's "Coquette." 
full size view


The photo also appears in the USC Archives.



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




1929
A view from the south of the crowd lined
up for "Coquette."  The photo, a post on the
LAHTF Facebook page by Hillsman
Wright, is from Marc Wanamaker.
full size view



1929
Looking west across acres of parking (and Broadway)
during the run of "Coquette."  The photo, a post
 on the LAHTF Facebook page by Hillsman
Wright, is from Marc Wanamaker.



1929
A look at the entrance with the United Artists
playing "Taming of the Shrew" ("all talk") with
Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks.  It's a
 Los Angeles Public Library photo.
full size view




1929
On the LAHTF Facebook page we get
another "Taming of the Shrew" photo
posted by Michael Lynch.




1929
Los Angeles Public Library photo giving us a
nice
close look at the boxoffice in 1929 during
the run of "Bulldog Drummond." 
full size view



1930
A USC Archives view looking north.
The Eastern
Columbia Building had opened in September 1930.

full size view
  



1930

A Los Angeles Public Library photo looking north
toward Broadway on the left with the United Artists and,
beyond, the skeleton of the Eastern Columbia Building.
full size view



1930
A great 1930 view of the corner and north side
of the building in the
Los Angeles Public Library
collection. We're running a Maurice Chevalier feature.
 full size view



1931
Looking north on Broadway from 11th St.
It's a USC Archives photo from
the
California Historical Society. 

full size view | another take - same day

Huntington Library also has the photo above. They
attribute it to C.C. Pierce.
You can read "Douglas
Fairbanks" on the theatre's south readerboard.




1931
A
Los Angeles Public Library photo
 giving us a nice
look north on Broadway. 
full size view




1931
A Los Angeles Public Library photo from the
Herald-Examiner
of the theatre running "The Bat
Whispers" in Magnifilm, an early 65mm process. 
full size view




1930s ?
An undated rooftop view looking northeast in the
 
Los Angeles Public Library collection. The caption
says: "
Busts of medieval men look out over the rooftop of
the United Artists Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles
that faces the Rives-Strong Building at 9th and Main."
full size view




early 30s
A Dick Whittington Studio photo in the
 
USC Archives looking north on Broadway.



early 30s
A detail from the USC Archives photo above. Times are
 tough. The UA is closed with "Attend Loews State" on the
marquee. Both houses at the time were operated (or not,
 in this case) by Fox West Coast.  It appears to be 1933 or
earlier -- the Majestic Theatre  is still there north
 of the Eastern Columbia building.
Note in the view above that the original marquee has been
augmented with a flashier display in front. On the sides it's down to
two lines of copy from the original three and with more bulbs on top.



1936
A celebration on Broadway as the generators at Boulder
Dam are turned on. It's on a Water & Power Associates
DWP Museum page about the construction of the dam. The
 photo is in the
Historical Photo Collection of the Department
of Water and Power, hosted by the Los Angeles Public Library.
 full size view  |
alternate LAPL URL  |  on FB/LATheatres

The caption reads:
"Tens of thousands of people jammed the parade route on
 Broadway on the night of October 9, 1936, as the street became
ablaze with light when the first Hoover power streaked 266
 miles from the power plant to Los Angeles."  The structure
wasn't officially called Hoover Dam until 1947.

The view above also appears on Photos of Los Angeles
There's also a slightly larger version in
 GS Jansen's collection on Flickr.



1936
Here's a great parade view up Broadway with the
United Artists Theatre on the left.  The photo was
once on the Los Angeles Conservancy website
and is from the Conservancy's archives. 
slightly larger view



1936
Another version of the parade photo above appears
 in Councilman Jose Huizar's Historic Broadway
 collection on Flickr. It's the cover of the 1936 Los Angeles
 City Planning Commission report.
full size view  on FB/LATheatres

 In the photo above the United Artists is running "Piccadilly Jim,"
 an August 1936 release with Robert Montgomery, Frank Morgan
 and Billy Burke. The second feature is "Star For a Night" with
 Claire Trevor, also released in August 1936. 

Note that the theatre sports its new angled
marquee, still on the building today.




1937
Looking north on Broadway in a USC Archives
view taken from the UA/Texaco building. 
full size view



c.1937
A look at the facade of the building
from Main St. by Herman Schultheis from the
 Los Angeles Public Library collection.
full size view



c.1938
The UA and Texaco vertical signs on an old postcard
in the Don Lewis collection on Flickr. Note the
Texaco signage on the tower on top of the building.  
full size view

Check out many more great theatre
photos on Don's Flickr pages.



c.1938
Another version of the card above (mailed in 1938) is
 from the Old Los Angeles Postcards collection of Elizabeth
Fuller on Flickr. Thisgreat collection of vintage postcards
totaled 686 at last look and includes a number of
pictures of Los Angeles movie palaces.
 full size view

More versions of the card above:
 | Vintage Los Angeles  |
 |  Brian McCrea - Hollywood Postcards  |



1939
A Dick Whittington Studio view in the
USC Archives. The UA is running "Hardys
Ride High" with Mickey Rooney.
full size view




1939
A detail from the USC  view above showing the
 theatre's entrance and the storefronts. 
larger view




1939
A closer look at the marquee from the USC photo.
 It's the one still on the building today.
larger view




c.1939
An interesting view looking north from Main St.
toward the United Artists and the Eastern Columbia
Building beyond on Photos of Los Angeles. The
diagonal street, no longer in use, is Broadway Place. 
full size view on FB/LAtheatres

 more united artists theatre pages:
 |  recent exterior views outer lobby  |   inner lobby  |  lounges  |
 |  upper lobby areas
auditorium main floor  mezzanine  |
 |  balcony  |
  projection  |  backstage  |   other basement areas  |
 |
  office building  |  roof  |