Music Box / Fonda Theatre

6126 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90028  | map |

(323) 464-6269   

Websites:  |  on Facebook

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

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.

The original concept was to offer revues (in the Ziegfeld style) in the auditorium 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 a radio studio for CBS. In the 1937 city directory it's the Columbia Music Box, in 1940 it's listed as the CBS Lux Radio Theatre.  The theatre returned to legit operation in 1940. In 1942 it was called Abbott's Music Box.

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

Becoming a film house: Fox West Coast acquired the house in 1945 and after a remodel opened it February 1, 1945 for movies as the Guild. CBS leased it again for several years beginning in 1948 for radio productions including the Tide Show with Dinah Shore and others.

It was later renamed the Fox and became a film house again. In 1958 after a spruce-up, it was advertised as the New Fox.

Cinemiracle at the Fox: In December, 1958 it got the moveover of the first (and only) Cinemiracle presentation of "Windjammer," previously at the Chinese for a 40 week reserved seat run. Cinemiracle was a 3 projector + separate sound dubber system much like Cinerama, except the gear was all in one center booth. At the Chinese that involved a new booth and proscenium remodel for a 90' screen. 

A December 7 L.A. Times article "Windjammer in Move December 25" noted that "...recent improvements in both screen construction and projection techniques involving the Cinemiracle presentation, would become part of the New Fox installation... The house will be dark for several days prior to Christmas while the new system is made ready."  Perhaps those "recent improvements" involved showing the film on a smaller screen and junking the elaborate 3 projector installation. At the Fox, like at the Chinese, that would have required a new main floor booth. They were open with other films through December 23.

The best guess is that they made a composite print of the three negatives and it was run in standard 35mm Cinemascope format. The reserved seat engagement opened Christmas day for a 15 week run. It was advertised so one would think it was the same as the Chinese. A December 24 L.A. Times article had noted that it was "produced and presented in Cinemiracle." Ads noted that it would be "On Giant Cinemiracle Screen" and that "The Giant Wall to Wall Screen Comes Alive" and promised "Never Anything Like It Before."

As the Pix: The theatre's name was changed to the Pix by June 1960 when Fox West Coast got out and Pacific Theatres started running it. 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.

[The Fox name resurfaced on Hollywood Blvd. in 1968 when the Iris up the street  got a remodel and a re-branding as the Fox.]

Going legit (again): When the Music Box / Pix was converted back to a legit operation in 1985 by the Nederlander Organization it was re-named  the Henry Fonda. A few shows but not a lot of luck with the venue as a legit operation.

Later the main floor seats were pulled out, the floor was leveled, and it had a new life as a music club. For years 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 in conjunction with the Blue Palms restaurant. The restaurant's entrance is just east of the main theatre entrance.

Current status: The theatre is now 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 Stage:
The proscenium is 32' wide, stage depth is 28'. It's a hemp house currently with 20 36' long battens on 18" centers. Batten high trim is 60'.

The Music Box in the Movies:

"Street Of Illusion" (Columbia, 1928) was shooting
scenes onstage at the Music Box according to a small
item in the Variety May 18, 1928 issue.

The Bruce Torrence Hollywood photographs
collection has several photos of a 1931 film shoot
in the theatre. We're not given the title.
| runway on the main floor | another on the runway |
  | proscenium from back of the house |
| another proscenium view |

We get some nice aerial shots in the Jerry Lewis
film "The Errand Boy" (Paramount, 1961).  In the lower
left of the image is a partial view of the Music Box. The
Pantages is in the center. To the left of Capitol
Records we see the Hollywood Playhouse.
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 marquee of the theatre (as the Pix, running
"Bullitt") is seen at night in the softcore porno film
"The Kiss Off" (Canyon Distributing, 1968)

Exterior views of the Music Box (in its Pix days) as well
as the Hollywood Theatre appear in "The First Nudie
Musical," (Paramount, 1976).  The interior theatre shots
were done at the Fox Venice. Thanks to Bruce Kimmel
for the information -- he was the writer for the film.

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 exterior of the Music Box appears for a
nightclub scene in the Coen Brothers film
"Hail, Caesar!" (Universal, 2016).
 larger view

Interiors were done at the Palladium. We also get
shots inside the Los Angeles Theatre and a side view
 of the Warner Hollywood. See our "Hail, Caesar!"
 Theatres In Movies post for those.

The auditorium of the Music Box is used for a club in the
south of France in "Nina" (RLJ Entertainment, 2016).
larger view

The theatre's rooftop pavilion is also seen in the
final scene of "Nina" just before the credits roll.

 The Nina Simone biopic, directed by Cynthia Mort, stars
 Zoe Saldana as Nina and David Oyelolo as Clifton, the nurse
who becomes her friend and manager. 
See our "Nina"
 Theatres In Movies post for several more shots.

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 Bill 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.

Cinema Tour    

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

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

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 

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 | data page

A lovely view toward the
rear of the auditorium.
A rare vintage view of the upper floor cabaret space.
full size view

The openings at left looked out onto Hollywood Blvd. They've
been filled in on the inside and are obscured on the outside by
metal cladding on the facade. The colonnade down the center of
the image separating this pavilion from the patio at right has also
been filled in -- with a wall having doors that open to the patio.

Thanks to Martin Pal for finding the two lower views in
the Torrence collection and including them (with many more
Music Box views) in his Noirish Los Angeles post #28606.

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

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 

An early sanitized exterior
view from Mott Studios.
full size view

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   

A view of the boxoffice of the Pix Theatre
1974 from Ken's amazing collection. They're
running "Lenny" and "Save The Tiger."
full size view
on Photobucket


A great view of the Pix sign at night. 
full size view
on Photobucket

The wonderful Pix vertical in the daytime. 
full size viewon Photobucket

Two more nice postings by Ken McIntyre:
| facade as Mexican film house |
west on Hollywood Blvd. - Fonda vertical on the left - c.1986 |

Noirish Los Angeles- Skyscraperpage

Thanks to Martin Pal for his Noirish Los Angeles post #28606,
chock full of Music Box photos. Included is this entrance view of the
theatre featured on the Capitol album "Swingin' At the Cinema."
full size view
| on Noirish LA

The Noirish Los Angeles post #28606 also includes
this 2013 entrance view. Thanks, Martin!
full size view | on Noirish LA

Photos of Los Angeles

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 Music box, then called the Guild
Theatre, as the home of the Tide Show. Thanks to
Ken McIntyre for the shot on Photos of Los Angeles.
full size view

Note that they've added windows
to enclose the upstairs lounge area.

The Dinah Shore Tide Show ran between 1945
and 1952. After 1948 these shows originated at the
Music Box.  Fox West Coast had taken over the
theatre in 1945 and had renamed it the Guild. 

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

The photo above also appears on Martin Pal's
 Noirish Los Angeles post #28606 along
with many more Music Box photos.

It's a January 1983 photo by
Terry Guy. He has it on Flickr.

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  |

A Tribute to Henry Fonda

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

On the same page is this nice view looking toward
 the back of the house.  Seats on the main floor!

USC Archives

A 1926 Dick Whittington Studio look at the Music Box.
A closer look at the entrance from the photo above.

Thanks to Godzilla for finding the photo in the USC Archives
 and including it in his Noirish Los Angeles post #17466.

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.

The Music Box, then called the Pix Theatre,
during the Hollywood Flood of 1962.

photo: Sean Ault Collection

Thanks, Sean!

[ click on any of these images to enlarge ]

A look at the facade in February, 2012. Here the
theatre was 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. 

photo: Bill Counter 

The stagehouse was doing extra revenue duty
 as a billboard for "American Gangster."  

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

photo: Bill Counter
- 2007

There once was talk (by a previous operator)
 about removing the metal cladding.

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

photo: Bill Counter
- 2007

A view of the marquee in 2007.

photo: Bill Counter

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

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

The airbrushed view is also in the  collection of the
 California State Library as view #1 in a set of 8.

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.


Sid Avery - MPTV Images

A fine 1965 signage view of the theatre as the Pix
during the run of "Cat Ballou." It's a Sid Avery photo.

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 | data page

same view in USC Archives |

Also from the State Library is this view
towards the rear of the auditorium.
 full size view | data page | another take

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

The standee area at the rear of the main floor. 
full size view | data page

A view of the main lobby.
full size view | data page

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

More from the California State Library:
In addition to what is shown above, three additional photos
(a doctored exterior view, a balcony photo, and an auditorium
sidewall detail) are part of a set of 8 Music Box Theatre views.

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 theatre's Facebook page.
larger view

The second floor outdoor patio -- a look west.
larger view

Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation  |  LAHTF on Facebook

A 1975 view of the theatre during the run of "Jaws." Thanks
to Bobby Cole for posting it on the LAHTF Facebook page.
full size view | on the LAHTF page

A view of the interior space of the upstairs lounge.
The doors at the right go to the patio above the lobby . 
Hollywood Blvd. is to our left -- the wall was originally
open to the street. It's a Don Solosan photo.
full size view

A look at the rear of the auditorium from
the stage. It's a Don Solosan photo from 2010.
full size view | on the LAHTF page

A panoramic vista from the top of the balcony.
Thanks to Don Solosan for the photo!
  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 Don Solosan.
full size view

A detail of the proscenium cove.
It's a Don Solosan photo.

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 patio area
in a c.2009 photo looking west.
larger view

A look at a 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

Thanks to Steve Raymond for his set of Music Box
photos appearing on the SoCal page in April 2016.
Looking across the auditorium.
The rear of the house.
Upstairs in the lounge adjacent
 to the rooftop patio.
Another upstairs lounge shot.  We're
looking west -- the patio is off to our left.
Outside on the rooftop patio. We're looking west
 toward the W Hotel.  That's structure of the upper part
of the auditorium on he left, the enclosed lounge on the
Hollywood Blvd. end of the building is on the right.
Another look at the rooftop patio.  That's the back
of the auditorium at the right -- we're looking east.

Thanks, Steve!
| the photo set on the SoCal page |

Theatre Talks - Cezar Del Valle

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

UCLA - L.A. Times Photo Collection |

A 1986 telephoto view west with the Music Box's
vertical (by this time called the Henry Fonda) on the
 left. It's a Tony Barnard photo for the L.A. Times.
There's also a second take of the same vista.  The UCLA site
has a zoom feature so you can go in and pan around.

The Egyptian is down there somewhere. Way down on the
 left is the El Capitan (with its vertical saying Paramount).

 On the right are the X Theatre, the World Theatre
hiding behind it (with a blank marquee), the Pantages
 and the Warner (with Pacific on the vertical).

Vintage Los Angeles

A wonderful view of early Music Box signage posted
 by Maurice E. Ideses on this great Facebook page. 
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