Hollywood Playhouse

1735 Vine St.

Los Angeles, CA 90028   | map |

The theatre is now a music venue called Avalon(323) 462-8900

Website:  avalonhollywood.com | on Facebook  |

Also in the building is Bardot Hollywood at
1737 Vine St., a separate restaurant and club occupying the second floor areas fronting on Vine St. as well as the rooftop patio behind those spaces.   | avalonhollywood/bardot | on Yelp  |

January 24, 1927 as the Hollywood Playhouse, a legitimate theatre operation. 

Architects: Gogerty and Weyl.  

One sheet of the plans for the building  from the collection
of Joël Huxtable. He's a lighting designer who also took
on the task of being the theatre's archivist until 2009.
He's continued collecting material about the building.
 larger view

Henry L. Gogerty (1894-1990) and Carl Jules Weyl (1890-1948)  also designed many other Hollywood buildings. Mr. Gogerty did many as solo projects after his partnership with Mr. Weyl was dissolved in 1928.  Some area buildings include:

Mountain States Life Building/Yucca Vine Tower - 1928 - 6305 Yucca Ave.
Bernard Luggage  1638 Vine St. - 1928
Blaine Building - 1925 - 6601 Hollywood Blvd.
Fred Thompson Studios (Cat and Fiddle) - 1928 - 6530 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood News  Cherokee Ave.
Owens Studio Building (Hollywood Toys) 6560 Hollywood Blvd. - 1926
Dance Studio / Capitol Records  - 1930 - Yucca and Vine
Original Brown Derby Restaurant - Vine St.
Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale - 1928- 1310 Air Way
Fiesta Hall & Great Hall -- Plummer Park, West Hollywood

Seating: Originally 1,178. Seats have been removed on the main floor.

The Playhouse in the 20s: The operator, Ed Rowland, generally brought in traveling shows, largely dramas.  The initial production was "Alias The Deacon" staring Berton Churchill, then the biggest star on Broadway. Later the Henry Duffy company productions were featured. Duffy also produced at the El Capitan (the one on Hollywood Blvd., that is).

Noted performers in the early years of the Playhouse included the Duncan Sisters, Charlotte Greenwood, and Billie Burke.

Coming attractions listed in the Hollywood

Playhouse's opening night program.

The staff and policy page of the program.
 It's from the collection of Joël Huxtable.
full size view

The program cover for "If I Was Rich," once
appeared on a site called Theatre Print. The 1927
production featured Phil Tead and Charles Miller.

The Playhouse in the 30s: In the late 30s the Playhouse was used for a number of WPA Federal Theatre Project productions.

A program cover from the 1933 production of "Androcles
and the Lion."  This was the first of many WPA productions
at the theatre. It's from Joël Huxtable's collection.
slightly larger view

The "Androcles" cast onstage.
full size view

The Playhouse had a fling with burlesque in 1936.
Larry Harnisch's The Daily Mirror blog post on burlesque
star Carrie Finnnell downtown at the Follies also featured
 this ad for Billy Minsky's show -- and a story of
his troubles with the vice squad. 
larger ad view  | full article

A poster in the Library of Congress collection
 for 1937's "Revue of Revues" by the Federal
 Theatre Project at the Hollywood Playhouse.
full size view

A Library of Congress collection poster
 for "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" in 1938.
 full size view

A WPA poster for "The Warrior's Husband"
in the Library of Congress
full size view

Also in the LOC collection:
| "Ready! Aim! Fire" - 1937 | " Two a Day" - 1938 |
| "Judgment Day" - 1938 | "Caesar and Cleopatra" - 1938 |
... and lots more

Also see the
Federal Theatre Project Materials Collection
items at George Mason University. You can search
 their site by city, show title or theatre name. They have:
| "Revue of Reviews" - 1937  | .. and  8 more

In the 40s: In 1942 the theatre was purchased from Guaranty Bank (who had foreclosed) by C.E. Toberman and Sid Grauman.  Toberman moved the name El Capitan to this building as his original El Capitan (on Hollywood Blvd.) was then being called the Paramount.  Their first tenant was Ken Murray, whose "Blackouts" had a long profitable run of seven years and 3,844 performances.

Cezar Del Valle's
Theatre Talks blog post devoted to the El Capitan gives us a bit from the July 11, 1942 issue of the magazine Billboard:

"Another West Coast two-a-day vauder, Blackouts of 1942, presented by Ken Murray and Billy Gilbert, opened this week at the 1,100-seat El Capitan, formerly the Hollywood Playhouse, on North Vine.

Attendance has been good, with the first several nights sell-outs at $1.65 tops. Show runs two hours 15 minutes.

Murray and Gilbert have gathered a likely array of talent and show holds interest, but its exceptionally good spots are few and far between. Comedy is good, however, and that's what West Coast people seem to want these days."

A program for Ken Murray's "Blackouts of
1942" from the collection of Marlaine Hysell.
full size view

The reverse side of
the 1942 program.
full size view

A 1944 ad from Playgoer magazine in the Paper
Ephemera collection of Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr.
full size view

A 1945 L.A. Times nightlife ad from Kliph Nesteroff
on Vintage Los Angeles. In the middle, we get the
 El Capitan touting "Ken Murray's Blackouts of '45."

The cover of the program for "Blackouts of
1947" from the Cezar Del Valle Collection. 
full size view  | page 2 | page 3page 4 | page 5 |

Page 6 from the 1947 program.
full size view

In the 50s: The theatre later became the Jerry Lewis Theatre and the Hollywood Palace as a TV production studio. Nixon broadcast his "Checkers" speech from here in 1952.

Current Status: The building got a major makeover in 2003 and it's now a music venue known as the Avalon. The second floor space facing onto the street operates as a separate lounge called Bardot. The outdoor patio on this level serves as a smoking lounge. There also is a main floor restaurant at 1733 Vine called Honey.

The Hollywood Playhouse in the Movies:

We get some nice aerial shots in the Jerry Lewis film
 "The Errand Boy" (Paramount, 1961). Looking west along
Hollywood Blvd. it's the Pantages in the center. To the left of
the Capitol Records building we see the Hollywood Playhouse.
 In the lower left of the image is part of the Music Box.
larger view

See our Theatres In Movies post about
"The Errand Boy" for a Sunset Blvd. aerial view and
visits to the Fox Westwood Village and the Chinese.

The Avalon gets a starring role in Taylor Hackford's
"Against All Odds" (Columbia, 1984) as Jake's Palace, a
nightclub owned by James Woods. The film also
 stars Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward.
 larger view

James Woods at the bar at the back of the main
floor of Jake's Palace in "Against All Odds." 
 larger view

A look up the main lobby stairs in "Against All Odds." 
That entrance into the auditorium from the
landing is a recent modification.
larger view

A street view of the Avalon as Jake's
Palace in "Against All Odds."
larger view

See our Theatres in Movies post
for several more shots from the film.

Status: It's always been a live house or TV studio and currently is a music venue.  

More information: There are several hundred recent pictures of this theatre as the Avalon Hollywood on Yelp.  Also see About.com's article on the Avalon Hollywood. The site also has a review of Bardot. The Bardot piece has a photo of the patio plus 3 interior space views.

You-Are-Here has photos of a number of other Gogerty and Weyl buildings.  See Sharon Knolle's photos of Gogerty's Plummer Park buildings. See the Archiplanet listing for Henry Gogerty.

The other Hollywood Playhouse: There was also a small legit venue on Las Palmas called the Playhouse. It's been through a lot of different names, too. See our Hollywood Playhouse page for details on that one.

The other El Capitan: This venue on Vine St. just borrowed the name temporarily. The Hollywood Blvd. El Capitan opened with that name in 1926 and recently got it back after a spell as the Paramount.

The ticket lobby area.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click on these photos to enlarge ]

A facade detail.

photo: Bill Counter -- 2010

Life Magazine


A nice 1936 Life Magazine shot of the Playhouse in
its early days. Thanks to
Alison Martino for the find,
posted on her Facebook
page Vintage Los Angeles. 
full size view | on Vintage LA

A c.1938 look down on the Playhouse from Life.
The banner is touting stage shows at popular prices.
The title of the show on the marquee seems
 to be something called "Black Empire."
Another aerial photo from Life. The Hollywood
Playhouse is down in the lower left corner.

See an LAPL view from about the same angle as this lower
shot but taken c.1929. There's no WPA "Vodvil Playhouse" sign
 and no marquee yet. But we did get an awning out to the street.

Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Tourmaline for
finding the two aerial shots.  They appear, along several recent
 views of the building,  on Noirish Los Angeles post #35795.

Mid Century Modern


A colorful look down Vine St. toward Hollywood & Vine
in 1964 added to the archive by Gs Jansen. The theatre
(as the Hollywood Palace) is on the right. 
full size view

The view above also appears on Vintage Los Angeles
 where it's dated as 1971.

A look at the theatre in 1967 when it was the Hollywood
Palace. It was added by Christiana Starr to Alison Martin0's
terrific Mid Century Modern Facebook page. 
full size view

A 1968 snap of the Hollywood Palace added
to the Facebook page by Gary Schneider.  
full size view

Photos of Los Angeles


An early view from Bill Gabel looking north on Vine St.
The Hollywood Playhouse, over on the left, appears
to be running a show called "Meet The People."
 full size view
| on FB/LATheatres

Ken McIntyre found this 1947 view looking west

 from Yucca and Argyle. Admittedly it's a better photo
of the City Food Mart than of the Hollywood Playhouse
beyond it. Here it's called the El Capitan -- note that they've
painted that name across the top of the stagehouse.
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres

A 1947 look north on Vine St. as the theatre celebrates
the 5th year of Ken Murray's "Blackouts." Ken McIntyre
found the shot for Photos of Los Angeles.
 full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres

A 1952 look at the theatre as an NBC studio. 
full size view

Note that we still have the
 "El Capitan"
signage on the side.

A c.1960 night view looking south on Vine St. added
by Ken McIntyre to his Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
The outline of the Playhouse can be discerned at the right. 
full size view

A 1968 view looking north on Vine discovered
by Ken McIntyre. The Playhouse is over there on
 the left hiding behind a billboard.
 full size view 

The photo above also appears on our
 Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

USC Archives


A nice 1934 exterior view from the
California Historical Society. Leon Gordon
 is appearing in "White Cargo."
 full size view

A 1934 production of the play at the Hollywood Playhouse
 was mentioned in a news item in the Reading Eagle. Mr. Gordon
 was also the author of the play. A later production of it
ran over
 a year at
the Beaux Arts Theatre in 1939 and 1940.

A 1942 telephoto look south on Vine by Dick Whittington.
You don't get much of the
theatre (here still called the
but if you look at the right side there's the
 marquee and a
bit of decorative plasterwork visible.
full size view

The photo above also appears
Photos of Los Angeles.



This picture (and a history of the theatre)
appears on the Wikipedia Avalon Theatre page.
full size view

Also on Wikipedia:
Poster for Federal Theatre event - Myra
Kinch & Group in "
Modern Dance Now."

 You-Are-Here Hollywood Blvd. Tour


Shown here is a nice facade detail of the Hollywood
Playhouse in its blue period by Martin from his
great website.  full size image

Also see:
| facade view |

Take Martin's tour down Hollywood Boulevard
for lots more terrific photos.

The Avalon, formerly the Hollywood Playhouse.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

[ click on the photos for a full size view ]

A view of the Hollywood Playhouse complex looking
south on Vine St. toward Hollywood Blvd. 

photo: Google Maps
- 2011

Click on the image to enlarge or go
to Google for an interactive view.

The entrance to the club.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The theatre in its Hollywood Palace days.

photo: Sean Ault collection - 1965

Thanks, Sean!

The photo above, along with several other views of the facade, is
included in Mr. Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #27464.

about the photos from other websites...

We've tried to give appropriate credit.
The links near the images will direct you to a full size version
on the website hosting it.  Please contact us if there are incorrect
attributions or links that no longer work.   All images are subject
to copyright.  Contact the webmaster of the site in question
concerning reproduction or other use.



A view of the lobby from the Avalon website.
Click for a slightly larger view.

A view of the auditorium from the balcony.
Click for a slightly larger view.

A view of the auditorium from the site's venue rental 
page.  Click on it for a larger view.  On the page is a photo
portfolio of 11 other interesting rental setups.

A stunning view out through the Bardot lounge roof
canopy up toward the Capitol Records building.
  It's on the
Bardot page. Click on the photo for a larger view.

A view on the patio looking toward the fireplace from
the Avalon website's
Bardot page. Click on the photo for
a larger view.
The page also has two additional
photos of the lounge areas.

Visit the Avalon gallery page for more
great views of this historic building.



A nice view of the rooftop patio that from this
Hollywood page where it's credited to
the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

full size view

Biz Bash


A view of the Bardot lounge area at the Avalon
complex. It's from the site's spread on the Avalon.
full size view

The Boulevard Blog


Two views of some facade ornament at the
theatre from a
 great 2009 post "We Had Faces."  See the post for many
 more details of ornament from Hollywood buildings.

California State Library

A Mott Studio view of the
proscenium and sidewall.  
full size view

Also in the State Library collection is
this view of the balcony soffit and
rear of the main floor.
full size view

A main ceiling chandelier detail.
full size view

A vintage look at the balcony stairs in the center
of the lobby of the Hollywood Playhouse.
full size view

It's a tapestry in the lobby.
full size view

The view from the south toward the
house right end of the lobby.
full size view

A closer look at the
house right end of the lobby.
full size view

The house left end of the lobby.

The main and balcony lobbies
from the stair landing.
full size view

In the balcony level lobby looking south. Through the
doorway straight ahead there's a restroom and, to the right,
stairs up to the balcony crossaisle house left.
full size view

The lit doorway at the left gets you out onto the patio.
The stairs at right head down to the main floor lobby.  

A view of the upstairs patio from the
State Library collection.  We're looking north --
the auditorium would be off to the left.
full size view

For additional Hollywood Playhouse photos by
the Mott Studio not shown here see see the four
sets in the Library's collection:

Cezar Del Valle - Theatre Talks

A 1948 look at the theatre when running Ken
Murray's "Blackouts." It's a Bob Plunkett photo
on the postcard from Cezar Del Valle's collection.

full size view

 Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian with
a fondness for Los Angeles Theatres. Thanks, Cezar!

Hollywood Photographs

From the great Bruce Torrence Hollywood
Photographs Collection comes this detail
the entrance in 1927. 

full size view
| data page

A 1949 look at the main stairs to the balcony. 
full size view | data page

A 1949 look down towards the end of the lobby.
 full size view | data page

Looking across the auditorium toward
the built-out stage in 1955.
 full size view | data page

More interior views:
rear of the auditorium - 1955 |
  toward the stage - 1955 |

More exterior views in the collection:
1927 exterior - as the Hollywood Playhouse |  another 1927 view |
| 1930 exterior ('34?)- "White Cargo" | 1937 exterior |
1947 exterior -- as the El Capitan - "Blackouts - 5th year!  |
1978 exterior -- as the Palace |  1987 exterior | .. and many more
search Hollywood theatre photos  |

L.A. Public Library

An early facade view with "Pomander
 Walk" on the marquee.

A c. 1929 view of the Playhouse from above as
we look north on Vine. The tall structure on Yucca

is the Pacific States Life Building. Also note the
Mulholland Dam in the distance.
 full size view  | similar view 

One version of the photo above also appears on one
of the DWP Museum Hollywood pages, along with many
other vintage views from different archives.

A c. 1937 exterior view from the Library
The show is "Ready, Aim, Fire!"
full size view 

A 1956 aerial view by Howard Kelley with the
Pantages at the lower left and the Playhouse above it.
full size view

Another 1956 view from the north.
full size view

A slightly larger version of the photo above
 appears on Vintage Los Angeles.


The asbestos curtain as viewed from
under the balcony.

full size view

A view of the lobby in 1927.
full size view

Also in the Library's collection:
| 1927 proscenium view |
 | c.1937 facade - "Ready Aim Fire" - Herman Schultheis |

The Travelen


A view of the back of the main floor at the theatre
from this site's Avalon Night Club page. 
full size view

Another view of the patio of the complex
from this travel site.  The patio is used as an
outdoor smoking lounge.
full size view

Vintage Los Angeles


A rare look south on Vine in 1953. That's the
Playhouse's stagehouse on the far right of the
 photo. It's a post by Alison Martino. 
full size view

A larger view of the photo above is on
Flickr in the collection of ElectroSpark.
image also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.

A look south on Vine St. in 1956 from the Richard
 Wojcik collection taken shortly after the opening of the
Capitol Records building. We get a view of the Hollywood
Playhouse tucked in to the left of the Knickerbocker.
 full size view
| on FB/LAtheatres

A 1966 view from the UCLA / L.A. Times archive
posted on Vintage Los Angeles by Doug Boethin. 
full size view

A 1967 shot added to the Vintage
Los Angeles collection by Nile Hight.
full size view

A view of the theatre in its Merv Griffin
 Show days added to Vintage Los Angeles
 by Johns Burwell. 
full size view

A 1967 look north on Vine from
 the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view | on Vintage LA

A good look at the facade in 1968.
It's from the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view  |  a re-post

The Palace in 1973. Thanks
to Rick Balin for his photo.