Meralta Theatre - East LA

2035 E. 1st St.    | map

Boyle Heights (Los Angeles), CA   90033

Opened: 1914 or earlier. It's in the 1914 city directory as the New Lyceum Theatre. R.F. Hale was the proprietor in 1914.

In the 1918, 1919 and 1922 city directories it was the Meralta at 2033 E. 1st St.  In 1923 it's given the 2035 address.

The Meralta name was derived from the last names of the two owners at the time, Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta. After its run as the Meralta, it was known as the Teatro Azteca.

Architect: Unknown

Seating: 817

Status: Now used as a church.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Meralta. Ken McIntyre has links to a set of 2007 photos he took of the Meralta. A 1914 directory ad listing the New Lyceum is in Jeff Bridges' Flickr album.

Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel notes that the L.A. County Assessor’s office says that the building was erected in 1924 with major repairs or a remodel in 1930. Perhaps the 1924 date was also just a remodel.

See our pages on the other two theatres run by Pearl and Laura: the Culver City Meralta and the Downey Meralta.

A look at the building in 2012

photo: Bill Counter

[ click on these images to enlarge ]

A view of the Meralta Theatre after closing.

photo: Gary Graver

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a  filmmaker and cinematographer.
 Over several decades he took many photos of theatres in Los Angeles and
Portland, OR.  More can be seen on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and
"Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.

The Meralta Theatre in 1922.

photo: Exhibitor's Trade Review - May 27, 1922

[ click on the photo for a full size view ]

 Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar Del Valle
  located the photo. It's featured in a Theatre Talks
Wordpress post about the theatre.

The article with the photo noted:

"K.C. Manny, manager of the Meralta Theatre, a Los Angeles suburban house, put Goldwyn’s 'Watch Your Step' over by means of two unique exploitation stunts at very little costs.

Obtaining an old steam automobile with a high-speed record, he placed it in the lobby. Running a wire from an ordinary electric socket to a buzzer placed under the hood of the machine, he obtained the suggestion, which was further heightened by a mounted six-sheet hung directly over the automobile, and a row of stills stretched from stern to stern of the ‘old boat.’

Taking advantage of the possibilities of the title, Mr. Manny had a stencil  made, reading ‘Watch Your Step’ and lettered the sidewalks within a radius of half a dozen blocks of the theatre, in addition to stencilling the title on the automobile. Three-sheets, one-sheets and color enlargements, obtained from the exchange, added color to the lobby display. A ten-dollar bill more than met the cost of both stunts."

Thanks, Cezar!

Looking west on 1st toward the Meralta.

photo: Google Maps - 2014

Click on the image above to enlarge or head to
 the current interactive version on Google.

about photos from other

websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will
direct you to a full size version on the website hosting it.
Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
restrictions. Contact the webmaster of the site in
question concerning reproduction or other use.

    American Classic Images

A 1983 view, as the Teatro Azteca, from
American Classic Images. It was spotted in
 the collection by Ken McIntyre.

  The photo is also on Ken's
 Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.