Shrine Auditorium



665 W. Jefferson Blvd.    | map |

Los Angeles, CA   90007

(213) 748-5116

Website: www.shrineauditorium.com  |  stage specifications  |


Opened: January 23, 1926 as a replacement for a 1906 Shrine Auditorium at 649 W. Jefferson Blvd. that had burned in 1920.  The $2.5 million for the new building was raised from public subscriptions as well as contributions from Shrine organizations. It was first known as the Los Angeles Civic Auditorium.

It ran as a full time cinema for a brief period in 1928.  The academy awards were held here frequently between 1947 and 2001 -- usually alternating with the much smaller Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Architects:  John C. Austin and A.M. Edelman did the building. The auditorium interior is by G. Albert Lansburgh.   Lansburg's best known projects in the L.A. area are the 1926 Orpheum Theatre downtown and the auditoriums for the El Capitan Theatre and Wiltern Theatre.

Seating: 6,308 currently. The capacity was originally 6,717.  Its seating capacity ranks it the largest historic theatre in the country, ahead of Radio City Music Hall and the Fox Theatres in Detroit and St. Louis.

In addition to the auditorium, the complex includes various basement halls and a vast exposition hall to the north.

Stage Dimensions: The proscenium 100' wide x 36' high. The stage is 192 feet wide and 72 feet deep.

Status: Alive and well as a home for the circus, concerts, dance presentations, sports and other special events.

It's now booked and operated by Goldenvoice, who notes that they're putting lots of money into improvements such as restroom upgrades, new lobby carpet, WiFi and (eventually) sound and lighting system improvements. Todd Martens had the story for the L.A. Times in December 2012. 

The Shrine in the Movies: 



The Shrine impersonated a New York theatre in "King Kong"
 (RKO, 1933). The shot here is from Vintage Los Angeles,
a great Facebook page curated by Alison Martino.
larger view

  In "A Star is Born" (Warner Bros., 1954) Judy Garland
is onstage at the Shrine bookending the film with her
speech at an Academy Awards presentation. 

Other film bits for the Shrine have included "The Turning
Point" (1977), "Foul Play" (1978), "The Bodyguard" (1992)
and "Naked Gun 33 1/3 – The Final Insult" (1994).



Christina Milian onstage at the Shrine Auditorium
for the MTV Music Awards near the end of F. Gary
Gray's "Be Cool" (MGM, 2005).
larger view


Another "Be Cool" shot with
a look into the auditorium.
larger view




John Travolta on the set of "Be Cool" at the
Shrine, with author Elmore Leonard. The film
also visits the Mayan and the Chinese




In "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (Columbia, 2007)
the Shrine Auditorium is used for a glitzy concert sequence
with star John C. Reilly as well as other performers
including Jewel and Lyle Lovett.
 larger view | a shot from the balcony


More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for an insightful history of the building by Ken Roe with lots of interesting data. 

The Cinema Tour page on the Shrine features five photos by (again) the indefatigable Ken Roe.  Vintage Los Angeles has a 1953 view.

Seeing Stars has a page with data about various events held at the Shrine.

The Arcadia Publishing book "West Adams" has a photo the old auditorium and three of the new Shrine Auditorium on pages 30 and 31.



    Big Orange Landmarks   

bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com



Floyd Bariscale's 2008 article on the Shrine Auditorium has
ooodles of interesting data. And some great photos. Here's one
by Mr. Bariscale showing the Shrine set up for the circus. 
full size view



A close up of the chandelier
from Mr. Bariscale's article.
full size view

See Mr. Bariscale's
Shrine Flickr set for 41 more.



    Cinema Tour - Ken Roe  

www.cinematour.com



A look back into the cavernous auditorium of the
Shrine in 2002 by Ken Roe.  It's on the Cinema
Tour Shrine Auditorium page.
full size view



A look at the proscenium from the back of
 the balcony, also by Mr. Roe. 
full size view

More 2002 views on Cinema Tour by Ken Roe:
| facade | proscenium -- from balcony front |
| proscenium & stage -- from main floor side |

For the full tour, head to Ken's Shrine
Auditorium photos on Flickr
:
| start here -- and page through
17 more wonderful shots |



A main floor view by Mr. Roe from his Shrine Flickr set. 
full size view



    L.A. Public Library Collection   

www.lapl.org


A view of the foyer under construction in 1926.
 full size view





An auditorium view by Keystone Photo Service
from 1926. We're looking at the asbestos curtain. 
full size view



A 1926 closeup of the main chandelier.
 It's a Herald Examiner photo.
full size view



Fanchon and Marco ladies onstage at the
Shrine for a benefit in 1930. 
full size view



Theaters in Los Angeles -- the Shrine   Auditorium

A crisp look at the Shrine Auditorium in
1939 from the Library's collection. 
full size view




A 1945 diagram showing how an unmanned
experimental plane hit the side of the building. 
full size view


More Interior views in the Library's collection:
  | balcony truss - 1925 | balcony framing -- view across auditorium - 1925 |
 | proscenium framing - 1925 | stage from mid balcony - 1926 |
| stage from balcony rear - undated |
 | proscenium with desert drop - 1926 |
 | rear of auditorium  -- from onstage - 1926 |
 | rear of auditorium - 1926 -- note main floor booth |
| "exhibition hall" - undated | entrance foyer - undated  |

More exterior views:
| old auditorium - 1910 | old auditorium - c. 1920 |
 | old auditorium fire - 1920 |
 | another fire view  |  groundbreaking - 1922  |  excavations  |
 | exterior construction view   |  exterior - 1926?   |
 |  late 20s exterior - from the south  |
 | minaret windows -- with ladies! - 1926  |  30s view -- looking north |
 |  1937 facade view - Herman Schultheis photo  |
 |  forlorn exterior - undated 30s? |  another forlorn exterior  |
 | 40s view - south side of the building  |  another 40s south side view  |
 | 32nd St. ballroom entrance - 1934 -- now known as the Expo hall  |
 | ballroom under construction - 1934 |


    USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm



A late 20s view from the USC Archives
Los Angeles Examiner collection. 
full size view



An undated view of the
ornament at the entrance.
 full size view




A delicious 1939 view from
the Dick Whittington Studio. 
full size view

Also in the USC Archives:
| old auditorium - c. 1905-15 | another old auditorium view |
| early facade view -- 30s? undated | exposition hall - from Figueroa St.|

... and lots more.
Search the USC Archive and you get 107 hits, although lots
of those are Shriner's parades, etc.  Many of the USC items also
appear in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.






A view of the front of the Shrine Auditorium.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click on any of these to enlarge ]


Historic Los Angeles Theatres: The Shrine Auditorium

A view of the facade from the west.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010


The Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles

A view of the facade looking north.
Here we're on Royal St.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010



The outer foyer of the Shrine Auditorium.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010


This area used to be an open arcade -- it was
enclosed in 1993 as part of a major building upgrade.



A window detail.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010



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    Dave Bullock - eecue   

eecue.com/photos  |  eecue.com/blogs



Dave Bullock's Shrine Auditorium set from 2007
takes us backstage, upstairs and down into the
 boiler room. Here we're looking into the wings. 
full size view



A view from the balcony. 
full size view



A detail of the sidewall ornament. 
full size view




A look up into the auditorium ceiling. 
full size view



A look across the great stage.
full size view




A view of the inner lobby.
The auditorium is at the left. 
full size view

Also in the set:
| storage backstage  |  chorus dressing room  |  trap room  |
 |  basement fan room  |  men's restroom marble  |  hallway stage left  |
 |  counterweight system lockrail  |  stage electrical panels  |
 |  balcony & chandelier  |  theatre attic  |  inside the minaret  |
 |  main building switchboard  | ... and more




    eBay   

A postcard view of the original 1906 Shrine
Auditorium, destroyed by fire in 1920. Redrock
Collectibles had it for you for $7.99
A postcard of the 1926 replacement. Vintage
Paper Memories had this one for $7.99.

Thanks to theatre sleuth Michelle
 Gerdes for finding the cards!



    Brian McCray - Hollywood Postcards   

picasaweb.google.com/henrypeavey/HollywoodPostcards



A postcard view of the 1906 Shrine Auditorium building
from Brian McCray's delightful collection. 
full size view



A postcard view of the 1926 building.
full size view


    Photos of Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863


A look into the auditorium added to
 the Photos of Los Angeles collection
 by Benny Ballejo.


An early postcard of the Shrine Auditorium located
by Ken McIntyre for the Photos of Los Angeles page.



A look at Oscar Night at the Shrine in 1947.
 It's a view discovered by Ken McIntyre. 
full size view




A 1989 facade shot from the air.
full size view  | on LAtheatres.blogspot



    Scotty Moore   

scottymoore.net/shrineLA.html



A postcard view of the 1906 Shrine Auditorium. It's one
of many great views of both the 1906 and 1926 buildings on
a most informative web page about the building.

The Shrine Auditorium page includes interior and
construction views from the Auditorium's archive.



    ShrineAuditorium.com   

www.shrineauditorium.com



A view from the rear of the main floor. It's one of 4 views
on the Shrine website's technical specifications page.

Also see:
about -- includes historic photo gallery  |
sound  |  photo blog  |