El Centro Theatre

804 N. El Centro Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90038

| map |  


Opened: The building was constructed in 1910. By 1914 it housed a movie theatre called the El Centro, one of Hollywood's earliest. By 1915 had become the Ivy Theatre.  It's still known as the Ivy in the 1916 and 1917 city directories. It's also been known as the New Theatre. Later it was a garage.

In 1946 the theatre and a storefront south of the original theatre (which had been a vitamin factory) was turned into a legit operation called the Circle Theatre.  A number of UCLA drama students including Charlie Chaplin's son Sydney, were involved. Chaplin donated props on occasion. The group was called the Circle Players.

In 1974 the original film theatre space became the Cast Theatre with the Circle Theatre continuing under separate management in the storefront space. 

Later the complex reverted to the El Centro name. The original theatre space was then known as the Chaplin Stage of the El Centro Theatre a 45 seat legit venue.  The storefront space seated 99 and was called the Circle Theatre.

Status:  The complex was sold in 2012 and, after a renovation, is again known as the Circle Theatre. The new tenants (and owners) are the theatre companies Black Dahlia and Red Dog Squadron.

More Information: See the El Centro page on Cinema Treasures for lots of history about this building and its more famous theatre next door.

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Vintage Los Angeles

A look at the 1946 opening night of the Circle Theatre,
next door to the original Ivy/El Centro. It was added to
the site by The Felix in Hollywood Tour Company.
 full size view | on Vintage LA

Philip Mershon of The Felix leads
walking tours exploring Hollywood history:

The El Centro Theatre. The original theatre is at the left.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click on the images to enlarge ]

A closer view of the facade.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

El Centro Theatre website

A 1946 construction view, readying the
building to be the Circle Theatre.

full size view

A view of the building as the Cast Theatre
that was on this vanished website.

full size view

Also see:
| article about the 1946 opening  |