The Iris / Fox Theatre


6508 Hollywood Blvd.


Los Angeles, CA 90028
           

| map |

 (323) 656 -4800


Website:  
www.playhousenightclub.com  


Opened:
1918 as the Iris -- a replacement for an earlier Iris Theatre located on the other side of the street and a block east (near the present Warner Theatre).  

The opening attraction here was 1915's "Birth of a Nation." 

Architect: Frank Meline designed the original classical facade with diamond brick patterns and  sets of paired columns topped with Grecian urns. 

With a 1934 remodel by S. Charles Lee it got a deco look.  A June 29, 1934 L.A. Times item credited the remodel to Clifford Balch as architect with decoration by Robert Power Studios.  Gore Brothers were mentioned as operators -- and the fact that their friend Sid Grauman might officiate at the reopening. Noir City Dame has this article and lots more on her Noirish Los Angeles post #31116 about the theatre.

It got another renovation and a new marquee in 1955. There was another remodel in 1968 and a re-branding as the Fox Theatre. That's the 1968 facade still on the building.

It was running first run product (occasionally in 70mm) well into the 80's. It closed as a film theatre in 1994. The Iris/Fox was operated by West Coast Theatres and its successors Fox West Coast,  NGC and (lastly) Mann Theatres.

Seating: Originally 1,000 advertised, the later (perhaps more accurate) tally was 814 and down to 647 in the final years.

Status: Closed 1994 by Mann Theatres after some earthquake damage. It was being used as a warehouse by Mann long after the closure.

The venue re-opened in June 2009 as the Playhouse at the Fox nightclub. The lobby area has been expanded and now hosts a fast food restaurant.

The Iris Theatre in the Movies:



In the Laurel and Hardy two-reeler "45 Minutes
From Hollywood" (Hal Roach Studios, 1926) we get a look
at the Iris Theatre on the right, running "What Fools Men,"
 a 1925 release.
Thanks to Chris Bungo for the screenshot.
 larger view

See our Theatres In Movies post on
"45 Minutes From Hollywood" for more on the film.


We get a look west toward the Iris vertical in Stanley
Kubrick's "The Killing" (United Artists, 1956) as Sterling
Hayden comes out of a store just east of the Warner.
larger view

See our Theatres In Movies post on "The Killing"
for shots showing the Warner and Lux theatres.

More information: Visit the Cinema Treasures page on the Fox. 

Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #7611 featured some exterior views from Cinema Treasures as well as other items.  Noir City Dame's Noirish Los Angeles post #31116 about the theatre with clippings of articles related to various remodelings.

The Cinema Tour page on the Fox has 8 exterior views.


The other Fox Theatre on Hollywood Blvd: The Music Box had been called the Fox in the 40's and 50's but then after the Fox name was moved up the street to the remodeled Iris, the former Music Box became the Pix.



The restaurant in the former lobby. 

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click any of these photos to enlarge ]




The lounge area on the expanded mezzanine level.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



A club view looking toward the screen area.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010


Sean Ault Collection



A 1942 look at the Fox, here still called the Iris, running
"The Wife Takes a Flyer" with Joan Bennett, an April 1942
release. In addition to a "News Scoop" we also get "Two
Yanks in Trinidad," a March 1942 release.

 full size view

Thanks to transit historian Sean Ault for spotting the
 image on eBay. The portion above is just a slice.



Here's a wider view, showing the Warner running "Sergeant
York" with
Gary Cooper, a September 1941 release.
 full size view


Hollywood Historic Photos

hollywoodhistoricphotos.com



A 1966 Bison Archives look at the "Batman" premiere
at the Iris from the Hollywood Historic Photos collection.
Also from Hollywood Historic Photos

The "Batman" photo has also appeared on Vintage Los Angeles.



Arnold Hylen - L.A. Images of an Era

facebook.com/arnoldhylenimagearchiveslosangeles



A December 1948 view looking east toward the
Warner by Arnold Hylen on the Facebook page Arnold
Hylen - Photographer. The Iris Theatre (which would become
the Fox in 1959) is running a preview of  "You Gotta Stay
Happy" with Joan Fontaine and James Stewart. 
full size view



LAist

laist.com


A nice post on this blog offers a great selection of
short video clips focusing on Hollywood Blvd.  Here we get
a shot of the Warner and Iris in 1956
in a 1 minute clip.
The Iris is running "Friendly Persuasion."
Click to enlarge
or watch the videomore Hollywood videos on LAist


Mid Century Modern

...and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s and '80s

www.facebook.com/groups/75888708987



A 1966 view from the Richard Wojcik Collection.
We're looking east along Hollywood Blvd. toward
the Warner.  Note a bit of the Iris marquee at the
right with the film "Maya" playing.
full size view | on the MCM page



Noirish Los Angeles

skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=170279


A glorious 1918 look at the Iris Theatre. It's Ethereal
Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #7603.
See more photos on his post #7611. The 1918 photo is also
 on  Chuckaluck's post #7622
See Noir City Dame's post #31116
for clippings of articles related to various remodelings.


There are also versions of the 1918 photo on our LA Theatres
Facebook page, the Garden of Allah Novels page and
 (cropped) in the book "Story of Hollywood."



Photos of Los Angeles

facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A 1946 shot of the snack bar at the Iris.
 full size view


The photo above also appears in the AMPAS
Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection and on
 Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #7604.



A rendering for the 1955 facade remodeling.



A 1956 look at the Iris running "Bambi." 
full size view



A look at the Iris in 1961 playing
"Two Women" with Sophia Loren.
 full size view
| on FB/LATheatres

The photo above also appears in the Bruce
Torrence Hollywood Photographs collection.



Thanks to Bill Gabel for this
1972 photo from his collection.



A 1986 view west toward Wilcox and the Fox Theatre
beyond on the left. It's from Bill Gabel's collection.
 The Warner/Pacific is on the right.



A 2013 look at the Fox at night by Ken McIntyre.
full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres



The Story of Hollywood

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
by Gregory Paul Williams   BL Press, 2005 

www.storyofhollywood.com

 | on Amazon | Google Books preview  |


A view of the original 1918 Iris/Fox
facade on p.93 of Mr. Williams' opus.

larger view on Google Books



A view of the Iris in 1942 on p.225 of
Gregory Paul Williams' great book. 
larger view on Google Books



Vintage Los Angeles

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles


A look east toward the Warner and the Iris
from the collection of Maurice Ideses. 

full size view
| on Vintage LA

| more Warner Theatre street views |



Thanks to Richard Wojcik for
 this fine December 1963 photo.

The Fox Theatre's post-1968 facade.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

  [ click on any of these to enlarge ]



A postcard view looking east.


[ click on any of these photos to enlarge ]

On the right you'll see the facade of the Fox (then the Iris)
in this view from 1956. Note "Cinerama Holiday" playing
at the Warner Theatre down the street.   

The card is one that was part of the collection on
the now vanished website Yesterday LA.



Another view looking east toward the Warner.

photo: Google Maps - 2009


That's the Fox on the right -- here with the
marquee just rows of vertical fluorescent tubes.

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



The Fox as The Playhouse.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



The bar in the former auditorium space.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



The club sidewall -- no historic elements remain.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010



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.


American Classic Images



The Iris Theatre in 1954. It's a photo
from American Classic Images.
full size view

The view above also appears on the
Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.


Warren Beckerman


Thanks to Warren Beckerman for this shot he
took looking west with the Iris down the street on the
left. The Warner was running "Kaleidoscope,"
 a September 1966 release.
 full size view


California State Library

www.library.ca.gov



In the State Library's collection is this
1946
marquee view by Arnold Hylen.  
full size view

The photo also appears on Ethereal
 Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #7605.



Hollywood Photographs

 www.hollywoodphotographs.com 



A view of the exterior of the Fox (then the Iris) in 1919 from

the great Bruce Torrance Hollywood Photographs collection.

We're running "The Test of Honor"
 with John Barrymore."





A model posing outside the Iris. On the marquee
for this 1956 view is "Friendly Persuasion."
full size view | data page

Also in the collection:
|
1934 facade -- prior to re-opening -- same as LAPL view |
| 1961 exterior - "Two Women" |



Life Magazine

time.com/photography/life/



Ken McIntyre discovered this 1951 Life magazine look
at Hollywood Blvd. by Ralph Crane. 
Amid the forest
of neon, you can spot the Iris vertical sign underneath
the Broadway - Hollywood sign.
full size view  

The theatre with "Newsreels" atop the readerboard
in the foreground is the News-View, a theatre
that was later called the Ritz


Ken has the photo on his Photos of Los Angeles
Facebook page. It's also on
Google/Life Images and
Tourmaline has it on 
Noirish Los Angeles post #35733.



L.A. Public Library Photo Collection

www.lapl.org 



Looking west from Wilcox toward
the Iris (on the left) in the late 20s.
 full size view


Thanks to Chuckaluck, who was exploring the Hollywood
and Wilcox intersection and included the photo above on
his Noirish Los Angeles post #17947.




Also from the Library's collection is this
1928 street view looking east --
with
the Warner down the street.
full size view





A detail of the Iris marquee from the photo
 above. The theatre is running "Don't Marry"
with Lois Moran and Neil Hamilton.




A view of the 1934 facade by S. Charles Lee
-- just prior to the grand re-opening.
full size view

John Barrymore on the screen again -- this time
in "20th Century" with Carole Lombard.

The photo above also appears on a fine DWP Museum
 page with many other vintage Hollywood photos.
| Iris Theatre  |





A view looking east along Hollywood Blvd. toward
Wilcox. "Toast of New York" with Edward Arnold is a
1937 release. It's a Herman Schultheis photo.
Sorry, there's not a larger size.

Don't miss the "Owl Show" on Saturdays!





Here's a 1968 view with the opening attraction
 "The Killing of Sister George" after one the
venue's many remodels. 
full size image
  



The Fox in 1969 running a reissue of "Dr. Zhivago."
It's a family from Colombia enjoying an outing
 on Hollywood Blvd.
 full size view | on FB/LAtheatres



Ed Ruscha's Hollywood Boulevard



Ed Ruscha, perhaps better known for "Twentysix
Gasoline Stations" and "Every Building on the Sunset Strip,"
also had a fling with Hollywood Blvd.

Here we get a look at the Fox, at left, in 1973 (top)
and 2002 (bottom).
The video, part of the Getty initiative
 "Pacific Standard Time Presents:Modern Architecture in L.A.,"
 has been posted by The Getty on YouTube as a five minute
 video, up one side of the street and then down the other.

larger 73 view  | larger 2002 view | see the video on YouTube

 Many of his works reside at The Getty. This one, from the "Streets
of Los Angeles" archive at the Getty Research Institute, is part of
their exhibition "Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future 1940-1990." 
 Mr. Ruscha lives and works in Culver City.




Theatres in Los Angeles

by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper,
Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.

Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

www.arcadiapublishing.comgoogle books preview


A look at the marquee in 1936 with the Iris
running "Thanks a Million" with Dick Powell,
a 1935 release. 
Many of the photos in the book
 are from
Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

On Photos of Los Angeles:
full size view |
a cropped version


USC Digital Archives

 digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm



The Archives has this fine 1953 view looking
west
with the Iris on the left and the Warner (running

"This is Cinerama") on the right.

full size view



UCLA  Calisphere

www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu


A 1947 Frasher Foto Card from the Pomona Library.
 Looking east we
see the Iris Theatre on the right.
On the left
there's the Academy/Studio/Holly
with the towers of the Warner beyond.
on Calisphere |
the zoomable version