Shrine Auditorium

665 W. Jefferson Blvd.    | map |

Los Angeles, CA   90007

(213) 748-5116

Website: |

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 beginning in August, 1928. With its 6000+ capacity it was by far the largest film theatre in the country. The initial attractions were "The Fair Coed" with Marion Davies and "Dressed To Kill" with Edmond Lowe. The admission was 25 cents. At the time the theatre was boasting about its new cooling system.  Variety covered the event with a front page story in their August 11, 1928 issue: "World's Biggest Theatre..."  C. Sharpe Minor was at the organ.

The Academy Awards were held at the Shrine 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

See our blogspot posts for more by Mr. Edelman and Mr. Lansburgh.

Seating: 6,308 currently. The capacity was originally 6,717. Variety listed its capacity ina a 1928 article as 6,457.  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 | on Vintage LA

In "A Star Is Born" (Warner Bros., 1954) Judy Garland
is onstage at the Shrine in benefits at the beginning of the
 film (as a small time singer/dancer) and at the end (as
a star). This exterior shot is part of the film's opening.
 larger view

An onstage shot from "A Star Is Born" with Judy
Garland trying to pull a drunk James Mason offstage.

See our Theatres In Movies post about "A Star is Born"
for more shots from the film featuring the Shrine Auditorium.

Other film bits for the Shrine have included
"The Turning Point" (20th Century Fox, 1977), "Foul Play"
(Paramount,1978), "The Bodyguard" (Warner Bros., 1992) and
"Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" (Paramount, 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. See our Theatres In Movies post
about "Be Cool" for shots at those theatres.

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

See our Theatres in Movies post about
 "Walk Hard" for two more shots at the Shrine as well
 as views of other theatres featured in the film.

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 Water and Power Associates Early L.A. Buildings page 1 has many photos of the Shrine drawn from the Los Angeles Public Library and USC Archives collections.

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

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.

    California State Library   

A 1926 Mott Studios look at
one of the Shrine's lounge areas.
full size view | data page

A view toward the rear of the auditorium.
full size view | data page

The Library's collection includes a total of 26
 c.1926 Mott Studio photos cataloged in three sets:

| # 001447647 - 18 views, exteriors and lounges - data page |
| #  001445667 - 6 views, inside and out - data page |
| # 001385653 - 2 exterior views - data page |

    Cinema Tour - Ken Roe

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. Times - UCLA Archives

A 1926 opening photo from the UCLA's
 Los Angeles Times Photographic archive.
Thanks to Eitan Alexander for spotting
 this one in the UCLA collection.

    Brian McCray - Hollywood Postcards   

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

A postcard view of the 1926 building.
full size view

    Noirish Los Angeles

A fine early 60s look at the Shrine in
the Noirish Los Angeles post #23819 by
Mr. Ethereal Reality. He found it on eBay.
full size view
| on Noirish LA

    Photos of Los Angeles

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 Photos of LA

A view from the rear of the main floor. It's one of 3
views on the Shrine website's Venues page.

Also see:
| photo gallery | history timeline |
| interactive tour |

The Shrine Auditorium.

photo: Wendell Benedetti - 2015

Thanks, Wendell! 

Our talented photographer has taken snippets of images from
various archival sources (including an interactive image once
on the theatre's website) to create this panoramic view.

[ click on any of these to enlarge ]

A view of the front of the Shrine Auditorium.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

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

about photos from other
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We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
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Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
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question concerning reproduction or other use.

    Dave Bullock - eecue  |

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


A postcard view of the original 1906 Shrine
Auditorium, destroyed by fire in 1920. Redrock
Collectibles had it for you for $7.99
full size view

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!

    L.A. Public Library Collection

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 |

    Scotty Moore

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.

    USC Archives

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.