Music Box / Fonda Theatre

6126 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90028  | map |

(323) 464-6269   

Websites: goldenvoice.comfondatheatre.com  |  on Facebook

Opened: October 20, 1926 as the Carter DeHaven Music Box with the revue "Fancies." 

The original concept was to offer revues (in the Ziegfeld style) with dancing (and illicit drinking) in the open-air cabaret space above the lobby.

Initial investors in the theatre included John Barrymore, John Gilbert, Reginald Denny, King Vidor and Mae Murray. 

The revues didn't last long and soon the Music Box was doing legitimate theatre with performers including Clark Gable and Bela Lugosi, among others. Gable's appearance was in 1927 with Nancy Carroll in the west coast premiere of the play "Chicago."

The Music Box Theatre went through a number of managers and formats. In 1936 it became the Lux Radio Theatre before returning to legit operation in the 40's.



A 1944 ad for the revue "Yours For Fun" from the
Paper Ephemera collection of Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr.
It appeared in an issue of Playgoer magazine.
full size view

Fox West Coast acquired the house in 1945 and after a remodel opened it in February, 1945 for movies as the Guild. It was later known as the Fox and when the Iris up the street took the Fox name (after a remodel) it became the Pix in the mid-50's.

In December, 1958 it was equipped for 3-strip Cinemiracle projection for a 15 week run (a moveover from the Chinese.)  

It was still a major house into the 70's. In 1975 it hosted the Hollywood Blvd. run of "Jaws" and later "Rocky". The Pix later ran Spanish language films and eventually closed after 32 years as a film house in 1977.

When converted back to a legit operation by the Nederlander Organization in the 1985 it was re-named  the Henry Fonda. For years as a music club the moniker was Music Box@Fonda.

After many decades of being closed, the original open-air cabaret space on a terrace above the lobby was put back into use as an indoor/outdoor lounge area used as part of the Blue Palms restaurant. The restaurant's entrance is just east of the main theatre entrance.

Architects: Morgan, Walls & Clements

Seating: Advertised as 1000 originally, perhaps closer to 980.  The seats have been removed on the main floor.  Total space in the building is about 31,000 SF.

Stage Specs:
Proscenium: 32' w
Stage depth: 28'
Fly system: Hemp -- 20 36' long battens 18" o/c. High trim: 60'

Status: The theatre is operated by concert promoter Goldenvoice, a division of AEG, and is now known as the Fonda Theatre. Goldenvoice took over the lease in March 2012.

It had closed early January 2012 after a long run as a music club directed by Thaddeus Smith. Several partial ownership shares in the business had changed hands recently with the landlord unaware of the turnover.  An eviction notice resulted. L.A. Weekly had the story.

In the storefront south of the entrance at 6124 Hollywood Blvd. is the Blue Palms Brewhouse. There's a connecting door into the theatre lobby so the spaces can be combined for special events.

The Music Box in the Movies:



The entrance of the Music Box is seen as Richard Gere
cruises down Hollywood Blvd. in Paul Schrader's
 "American Gigolo" (Paramount, 1980).
larger view


A look at the marquee in "American Gigolo."
larger view

We get a brief look at the exterior as Andy Samberg
comes out of a show with a friend in "Celeste &
Jesse Forever" (Sony Classics, 2012).



In "Price Check" (IFC Films, 2012) Eric Mabius
and a friend see a show at the Music Box. The
film, about exciting adventures in the grocery
 business, also stars Parker Posey.

The Music Box on Video: See the "Insider's Peek #8: Music Box" on the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation's YouTube channel. It's a 6 minute video by Don Solosan. It features Thaddeus Smith and LAHTF's Hillsman Wright.


A view of the auditorium sidewall in
Mr. Solosan's 2010 video about the Music Box.

More information: See the history of the Music Box Theatre by William Gabel and B. Erikson on Cinema Treasures

The Cinema Tour page has some pictures, including three nice interior shots  contributed by Ken Roe.  There are also some great pictures of the venue on Yelp.




A view of the marquee in 2007.

photo: Bill Counter

 [ click to enlarge ]




Cinema Tour

 www.cinematour.com    



Cinema Tour has lots of photos of the
Henry Fonda/Music Box including this
 nice interior shot by Ken Roe.

Also by Ken:
proscenium view from farther back  |
 |   side alcove  |

See more on the site's
 Music Box @ Fonda page.



Cinema Treasures

 cinematreasures.org/theaters/493


A 2010 look at the auditorium
by Hollywood 90038.
 full size view



A look toward the rear of the auditorium
 by contributor Hollywood 90038. 
full size view



The back of the main floor.  It's
 a photo by Hollywood 90038.
full size view



Albert Domasin on Flickr

www.flickr.com/photos/goalbert/collections

Looking up from the main lobby to
the lounge area above. 
full size view

A look at the lobby bar.
full size view

A look toward the rear of the auditorium.
full size view  |  another view

Take a look at all 32 views in Albert's 2012
Music Box Theatre set taken at the LAHTF
"all-about" tour of the theatre.



Fariah on Flickr



The alcove near the proscenium at the
 Music Box Theatre in a shot by Fariah!
    full size view



Hollywood Photographs

 www.hollywoodphotographs.com 



The Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph
Collection has lots of wonderful images of the Music Box
including this 1931 view of the boxoffice area.
full size view

Other exterior views:
 |  exterior from the west - 1928   |   exterior from the east - 1928   |
  |  facade view - 1928  |   facade - 1931 - note the open air 2nd floor
 cabaret space  |  another facade view - 1931  | another entrance view - 1931 |
  | 1972 exterior  - as the Pix |  1987 exterior - as the Henry Fonda  |

Interior views:
interior film shoot -  1931   |  film shoot - 1931  |
  |  proscenium from back of the house 1931 |
| similar proscenium view - 1931  |

Browse the Collection:
more Hollywood theatre photos  |



L.A. Public Library Collection

 www.lapl.org 


An early sanitized exterior view from Mott Studios.
full size view | in the State Library collection

The undoctored version of the photo above from
the January 1928 issue of Architect and Engineer:
full size view | on Internet Archive



 Parking west of the building -  Note the
interesting shape of the side of the theatre.
full size view




Here's a Mott Studios view of the main floor
 niche house left from the LAPL collection.  
full size view 




Looking across the balcony of the Music Box
Theatre, again a photo by Mott Studios in the
Los Angeles Public Library Collection.
 full size view




Ken McIntyre on Photobucket

 s132.photobucket.com/albums/q12/kencmcintyre   

A view of the boxoffice of the Pix Theatre in
1974 from Ken's amazing collection.
 full size view 

 



A great view of the Pix sign at night.

  full size view

Three more nice postings by Ken McIntyre:
|   facade  |  daytime vertical sign  |
|   view down Hollywood Blvd. --note the Henry
 Fonda vertical on the left   |



Photos of Los Angeles

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A 1928 photo of the Music Box -- we're looking
 east on Hollywood Blvd. in this view located
 by Ken McIntyre.
The photo above is part of the Bruce Torrence
 Hollywood Photographs collection.




A wonderful 1931 view of the facade. The
show playing is "Women Go On Forever."
 full size view

Note that here
there aren't as many readerboards across
the 2nd floor as in the Vintage Los Angeles photo
.



A 1951 look at the theatre, when it was called the
Guild, that Ken McIntyre added to his Photos
of Los Angeles collection
full size view




A view of the theatre in its Pix days while
running Spanish language features. 
full size view  | a re-post




Another nice shot of the facade when
the theatre was named the Pix.    
full size view




Looking east on Hollywood Blvd. in 1976
 with a bit of the Pantages below us and the
 Music Box (then called the Pix) down the street.

Also see:
 |  2011 facade view  |


Theatre Talks - Cezar Del Valle

www.flickr.com/photos/theatreposts

www.flickr.com/photos/theatretalks

Historic Hollywood Theatres: The Music Box

A 2002 view of the Music Box by Betty Sword. It's
from Cezar Del Valle's delightful collection.
full size view



A Tribute to Henry Fonda

www.tripod.com
   


A photo of the Henry Fonda Theatre proscenium during
the theatre's legit period on a "Tribute to Henry Fonda "
on The Movie Pal website. 




On the same page is this nice view looking toward the back
of the house.  For larger views go to the Henry Fonda Tribute
and scroll down
toward the bottom of the page.






 



A view of the Music Box, now

known as the Fonda Theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The Music Box Theatre obviously began life as
a legitimate theatre--just look at the size of the
stagehouse in relation to the rest of the building.




A look at the facade in February, 2012. Here the
theatre is closed pending a change of operators.

photo: Bill Counter


The marquee in the shot above says "You Can't Stop The Music"
-- but the landlord obviously could stop stop it from happening
at the Music Box.
The building was then leased to concert
promoter Goldenvoice in March 2012.



A 2007 view of the theatre with an earlier paint job. 
The stagehouse was doing extra revenue duty

 as a billboard for "American Gangster."  

photo: Bill Counter 

[ click on these images to enlarge ]



Yes, there's a nice Spanish style facade under that 1945
vintage cladding on the second story of the Music Box.

There once was talk about
removing the metal cladding.

photo: Bill Counter
- 2007



The entry still shows off the Fox West Coast circuit
Skouras-style  remodel the lobby areas got in 1945.

photo: Bill Counter
- 2007



about the photos from other websites...

We've tried to give appropriate credit.
The links below 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.



Architect and Engineer

archive.org/details/architectenginee9128sanf


This Mott Studios exterior view appears in the
January 1928 issue of Architect and Engineer.
Now here's the doctored version with the roof sign,
electrical towers and second floor readerboards removed:


The sanitized Mott Studios photo of the exterior.
  in the LAPL collection | in the State Library collection



This Mott Studios rear auditorium shot appears in the
January 1928 issue of Architect and Engineer.
full size view | on Internet Archive

A less cropped version of the rear auditorium photo
appears in the California State Library collection. It's also
 in the October 1927 issue of Architect and Engineer as part
of an ad for Calacoustic sound absorbing plaster.

 

California State Library

A c.1926 Mott Studios look at the Music Box
entrance with signage for the "Hollywood Music
Box Revue." Note the view into the rooftop patio
area below the second floor signboards.


A Mott Studios look at the proscenium
from up in the balcony.  
full size view

[ same view in USC Archives ]



Also from the State Library is this view
towards the rear of the auditorium.
 full size view

A version of this rear auditorium shot also appears in
 the January 1928 issue of Architect and Engineer.
full size view | on Internet Archive



A look at the standee area at the
rear of the main floor. 
full size view



A view of the main lobby.
full size view




A detail of some lobby alcoves and their furniture. 
full size view

 Other views in the collection include:
| early doctored exterior view  |
|
view across the balcony | auditorium sidewall detail  |

[ all three of these are also on the LAPL collection --
 see the thumbnails with the LAPL listing below ]

 


The Fonda on Facebook




A look at the bar at the back of the main floor.
larger view  |  another bar shot



Looking across the auditorium.
larger view



House right with a look back
toward the front of the balcony.
larger view



Looking toward the proscenium
from the balcony.
larger view



A nice look at the rear of the house that
used to be on the theatres Facebook page.
larger view



The second floor Blue Palms outdoor terrace.
larger view



LAHTF - Don Solosan

www.lahtf.org  |  LAHTF on Facebook



A view of the interior space of the upstairs
lounge looking out onto the roof over the lobby. 
In the LAHTF Facebook photo album:
full size view



A look at the rear of the
auditorium from the stage.
full size view



A panoramic vista from the top of the balcony.
  full size view

Also see the "Insider's Peek #8: Music Box" on the
Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation's YouTube channel.
It's a 6 minute video by Don Solosan. It features Music Box
owner Thaddeus Smith and LAHTF's Hillsman Wright.



A wonderful 2010 proscenium view by Mr. Solosan.
It appears on the LAHTF "All About the Music Box and 
Hawaii Theatres" page of the organization's website.
larger view

The page was promoting a tour of the theatre.  The LAHTF
hosts regular tours of historic theatres in Los Angeles.



A detail of the proscenium cove, again
from the LAHTF "all-about" page.



old Music Box website 




An auditorium view on a 2009
version of the Music Box website.
larger view



Another view -- from the back
of the main floor c. 2009.
larger view




A view of the lobby at the Music Box - 2009.

larger view




The rooftop lounge's
inside area in 2009. This
is part of the original upstairs cabaret space.
larger view



The outside rooftop lounge area
in a c.2009 photo.
larger view



A look at inside the upstairs lounge area.

larger view

On a 2010-2011 version of the Music Box's website,
 there was a tour of the theatre via about a dozen photos:


A look toward the main entrance.
larger view



Another lobby shot.
larger view



The auditorium from the balcony.
larger view



Booths house right near the proscenium.
larger view



Vintage Los Angeles

www.facebook.com/pages/Vintage-Los-Angeles



A wonderful view of early Music Box signage posted
 by Maurice E. Ideses on this great Facebook page
curated by Alison Martino. 
full size view

Don't you love the slogan "The Pick of the World
 in Girls"?  Take a look at the 2nd floor readerboards
and note that Fanny Brice is in the show.




A 1962 view of the Pix after floods washed mud down
from the Hollywood Hills. It was added to the Vintage
Los Angeles collection by David Thwing. 
full size view



A wonderful 1965 photo from the Ricard Wojcik
collection. We're looking northeast with the back of
 the Music Box's stagehouse in the center of the photo.
on Vintage LA (with many comments) | on FB/LAtheatres