Hollywood Theatres and Movie Palaces


Welcome to Hollywood!


Hollywood starting making sense as a film exhibition area around 1910 with the rapid residential expansion westward and the booming film industry.

It wasn't until 1922 and the opening of Grauman's Egyptian that Hollywood started to rival downtown as a location for star-studded premieres and first-run exhibition. Grauman's second location, the Chinese, added to the allure of the district and other exhibitors not already represented added to the growing strip of theatres.

Legitimate theatre was also well represented with houses such as the Music Box (later known as the Henry Fonda) and El Capitan opening as live venues before becoming movie theatres.

The last of the Hollywood movie palaces to open, the Pantages, has gone the other way -- it's now a Broadway house with its movie days long over.

You can start your Hollywood theatre tour with a theatre map showing how the buildings are arrayed in the district. Or go to our alphabetical listing page to look at a few pictures and get a different overview of the various historic theatres.

On either page we have links to the pages giving more detail about some of the most interesting historic theatres in Los Angeles.


We'll see you at the movies!



the major historic theatres:


Grauman's Chinese



    






6925 Hollywood Blvd.
 
Opened: May 18,1927
 
Architects: Meyer & Holler 
 
Seating: 2,058 in 1927 -- now 932

Status:  Still a major first run venue and the site of many premieres.  The photo is a 2007 view.

More information:  See our Grauman's Chinese pages --
|  main Chinese page | street view timeline  | forecourt  | lobby |
|  lounges  |  auditorium  upstairs  |  stage  |  basement  | attic  |


Cinerama Dome

6360 Sunset Blvd.       

Opened: November 7, 1963    

Architect: Welton Becket and Associates

Seating: 937 originally, 856 at present.

Status:  First run. It's now part of the new ArcLight complex

More information: See our Cinerama Dome page for lots more photos and info.    The photo here is from 2007.  


Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood  Blvd.  
 
Opened: October 18, 1922 by Sid Grauman and known for many years as Grauman's Egyptian.
 
Architects: Meyer & Holler 
 
Seating: Originally 1,741. Now 616 seats plus a 78 seat screening room.

Status:  American Cinematheque opened in the renovated building in 1998. They offer a mix of revivals, foreign films, indies and various festivals. The photo of the forecourt here is from 2007.

More information: See our Egyptian Theatre pages for photos and more details --
main egyptian page  |  street view timeline  |
forecourt  | lobby areas | auditorium  |  booth  |


El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Blvd. 
 
Opened: May 3, 1926 as a legit theatre. From 1942 onward it was known as the Paramount Theatre.
 
Architects: Morgan, Walls & Clements did the building, G. Albert Lansburgh was the theatre architect.
 
Status: Lushly restored and playing first run Disney product -- and again called the El Capitan. The image here is from 2007.
 
More information and photos: See our El Capitan Theatre pages --
| main el capitan page street view timeline  |
| 
lobby areas  | auditorium  |  stage  | 

                                                                                    

Hollywood Playhouse

1735 Vine St.
 
Opened: January 24, 1927 as the Hollywood Playhouse. Later known as the El Capitan and the Hollywood Palace.
 
Architects: Gogerty and Weyl
   
Seating: Originally 1,178  

Status: Currently it's a music venue, the Avalon Hollywood.  The photo is from 2007.

More information: See our Hollywood Playhouse page.  

                                                  

Ricardo Montalban Theatre

1615 Vine St.

Opened: January 19, 1927 as a legit operation, Wilkes Vine St. and was later called just the Vine St.
In March, 1931 it became a cinema,  the Mirror. In 1936 CBS took over and called it the Studio Theatre. In 1954 it became The Huntington Hartford Theatre and later the James A. Doolittle.

Architect: Myron Hunt    Seating: 1,200

Status: Reopened in 2004 as the Ricardo Montalban with a resident troupe featuring works for young people. The facade has been restored to its 1927 appearance and work is continuing on the interior. It's a 2007 photo.
 
More information: See the page on the Ricardo Montalban Theatre.


Music Box / Fonda Theatre

6126 Hollywood Blvd.

Opened: October 18, 1926 as the Music Box Theatre. While running movies in the 40's and 50's it was known as the Guild, the Fox and later as the Pix.
 
When converted back to a legit operation by the Nederlander Organization in the 1970's it was known as the Henry Fonda. Later known as the Music Box @ Fonda, then the Music Box again. It's now called the Fonda.
 
Architects: Morgan, Walls & Clements  
 
Seating: 980 at one time -- currently no seats on the main floor.

Status: Very much alive as a music club operated by Goldenvoice.  The photo is a 2007 view.

More Information: See our page for the Music Box/ Fonda Theatre.


Pantages Hollywood

6233 Hollywood Blvd.

Opened: June 4, 1930

Architect: B. Marcus Priteca   
 
 Seating: 2,691

Status: Now a legit operation managed by the Nederlander Organization.  The 2007 photo was taken during the run of "Wicked."

More information: See our Pantages pages for lots of photos and information:
main Pantages page  |  street view timeline page  |
ticket lobby  |  lobby areas  |  lounges  |  auditorium  |
backstage  |  support areas  |


Warner Bros. Hollywood

6433 Hollywood Blvd.

Opened: April 26, 1928

It's also been known as the Warner Cinerama, the Hollywood Pacific and the Pacific 1-2-3.

Architect: G. Albert Lansburgh    
 
Seating: 2, 200 -- originally 2,756

Status:  Vacant and locked up tight. The building is owned by Pacific Theatres, its longtime operator. It's sitting dormant waiting for the next great idea.  The photo is a 2007 view.

More information: See our Warner Bros. Hollywood pages:
| main Warner Hollywood page  |  street view timeline  |
|
  main lobby  | basement lounge  |  upper lobby areas  |
auditorium  |
  stage  | stage basement  |  other basement areas  |
|   booth and attic  |

 
 on our other sites:



Our Downtown L.A. Theatres site gives
you a rundown of the surviving Los Angeles
moviepalaces on Broadway and Hill Streets.

the Los Angeles theatre >>


Other pages deal with the existing and
vanished theatres in detail on Broadway,
Main Street, Hill Street  and elsewhere. 




The Wilshire Theatres  site gives you
thetour of the longest theatre district in
Los Angeles.  We take a trip investigating
 theatres downtown, along the Miracle Mile
 and Beverly Hills.

the Fox Village theatre >>

There are a few detours down side streets
along the way and a major stop for the
theatres of the Westwood area.


 


The Los Angeles Movie Palaces is our
catch-all site for historic Los Angeles theatres
outside the downtown, Hollywood and
Westwood areas.

the Warner Huntington Park >>

There are separate sections for East
Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena, Ocean
Park/Venice, Long Beach and other areas.





Our Links to L.A. Adventures page is
acollection of links to L.A. related historical
websites, blogs, postcard collections,
Los Angeles architecture and more.

a Westwood Village landmark  >>

We've been looking for people who have an
interesting angle on exploring this great city
 and this page is a means of pointing you
 in their direction. 













The Chinese Theatre forecourt in 2007.

photo: Bill Counter - click to enlarge




hollywood theatre listings a-x

[ for alternate names, some photos and more
info see the Alphabetical Listing page ]

Arc / Regent Showcase / Gordon

Arclight Cinemas

Arena Cinema / Egyptian 2 & 3

Vine St.

Ricardo Montalban / Vine St.

 


historic theatres in hollywood
still running movies:

Grauman's Chinese

El Capitan

Egyptian 

Cinerama Dome

Vista


newer theatres running movies:

Arclight Cinemas

Chinese 6

Sundance Sunset 5




intact and open for business:

Hollywood Playhouse (music club, the Avalon)

Hollywood Palladium (concerts)

Vine St./ Ricardo Montalban (legit)

Music Box/Henry Fonda (music club)

Pantages (legit)


the most interesting of the
abandoned hollywood
movie palaces:

Warner Hollywood



Hollywood theatre tours:

The news & events album on our Los Angeles Theatres
Facebook page is a compilation of posts about upcoming
 tours and other special events in historic theatres.


Three Hollywood theatres regularly offer tours:



The Egyptian Theatre
The American Cinematheque offers tours of Sid
Grauman's first Hollywood movie palace (1922) along
with a screening of the film "Forever Hollywood."

Usually one or two Saturdays each month at 10:30 am.
 You get to go backstage, check out the dressing rooms,
the "singer's boxes," and more. Tickets are $12 for students
 and seniors (if you do both the tour and film), $15 general
admission. Reservations are not required.
| tour information | Egyptian Theatre calendar |
| our web pages on the Egyptian |



The El Capitan Theatre
You can now get a tour any day at this classic 1926
legitimate theatre turned movie palace. There's a 30 minute
tour at 8:30 am any morning ($15) that gets you into backstage
 areas as well as the auditorium, lobby and a look at the Wurlitzer. 

Or a 15 minute led "express" tour ($5) offered throughout the
 day that just gets you a history discussion and a walk through of
lobby and lower lounge areas. Reservations are not required.
| tour info on Facebook | the El Capitan website |
| tour info pdf | our pages on the El Capitan |



Grauman's Chinese Theatre
 The Chinese (Meyer and Holler, 1927) offers tours
throughout the day, every day. You get a chat with a guide,
spend some time in the lobby looking at exhibits and then
wander down the side aisles of the auditorium and peek in
 (if a show is on). Or if your tour time hits an intermission,
 you get more of an auditorium tour.
| tour information | tour tickets |
| our web pages on the Chinese |

You'll find information about Downtown L.A. theatre
tours halfway down the left column of the home page of our
 Historic Los Angeles Theatres - Downtown website.



also on this site:

The Hollywood Theatre Map gives a sense of how
the historic Hollywood theatres are arrayed down
Hollywood Blvd. and on the side streets.

The Alphabetical Theatre Listings section gives
you a list of the current and vanished Hollywood
theatres along with a brief description.

There are photos of the theatres still existing
and links to the page for each theatre.  The list
includes alternate names the theatres have used.

The Movie Links & History Resources
section offers links to various photo sources and
databases having items of interest concerning
Hollywood history.

The page also has information about
different film and sound formats and links
for additional resources elsewhere.

 
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