Theatre History Resources

Here's some sites I've come across in the quest to learn
more about the historic theatres of Los Angeles. Of course,
 you'll see that many more have been referenced as you
look at the listings for individual theatres on our sites.

But these are either the most useful or otherwise
interesting in various quirky ways. 

If you have suggestions for additions
to the page, please contact us.

See you at the movies!

--- Bill Counter

about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please 
e-mail 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.

    AMPAS B'hend & Kaufmann Collection

A 40s look at the snackbar at the Loew's State.
We're in the outer lobby with the stairs to the
 balcony behind the bar.
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

The Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection
is part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection.
The collection's
 online component has currently 204 items to browse,
over 50 of which are of  Los Angeles area  theatres.

In addition to the B'hend archive, the Academy's online
holdings include many other collections of interest including
 items from Bison Archives, American Society of
 Cinematographers, Alfred Hitchcock and much more.
The Digital Collections home page lays it all out.

    American Theatres of Today   

by R.W. Sexton and B. F. Betts

The two volumes were published in 1927 and 1930
 by the Architectural Book Publishing Co, New York.

Reprinted in one volume in 1977 and 1985 by the
Vestal Press, New York
. Theatre Historical Society
also did a reprint in 2009.

A plan of the main floor of the Mayan showing
 the arrangement of the two side stages from Volume 2 of
 "American Theatres of Today."   larger view

The book also has many other great photos
and plans of Los Angeles Theatres.

buy from Theatre Historical Society | buy from Amazon |

    Bringing Back Broadway 

BBB on Facebook

This ambitious venture with a 10 year timeline
is a joint project of the City of Los Angeles and
the Broadway Theater District property owners. The
goal is to get some life back into Los Angeles' historic
Broadway theatres and provide a new cultural
destination for Downtown Los Angeles.

Above is a vintage view of the Roxie and Cameo theatres
from the Bringing Back Broadway website.
full size view

There's a newsletter to keep you posted concerning
progress and special events. You can subscribe on
the website's contact page and get all the news about the
rebirth of the downtown theatre district.

A fanciful image of the Roxie facade from the
Bringing Back Broadway website. Don't miss the 47
image "Historic Broadway" photoset on Flickr.

Also see the "
Theatres" page on the BBB website
for a tour of the Broadway survivors.

    Broadway Theatre Tour

This site's Broadway Theater Tour is a great
stroll down Broadway with theater data and pictures. Here
we're looking at the Roxie, the only art deco theatre
in downtown Los Angeles.
full size view


This wonderful blog chronicles the happenings of theatres
in Orange County. Nicely written articles touch on openings,
closings and upgrades in the works for the various multiplexes.

Also great articles about the older venues in Orange County.
The photo here is of the West End Theatre in Santa Ana on a
2010 post by Christopher Crouch: "West End Theatre at 95.

    Cinema Treasures

Data on thousands of historic U.S. theatres with links,
photos and endless fascinating discussions.  Here's a
luminous photo from an article on the Raymond Theatre
in Pasadena.   

Search the Cinema Treasures list for Los Angeles
(359 theatres) or Hollywood (43 theatres).  For dates
and facts on Los Angeles movie theatres, this is by
far the most comprehensive resource. 

Note that within the Los Angeles list, there's a
pull down menu to select various communities. 
Or start with the California list for areas outside L.A.

    Jericl Cat on Flickr

Jericl Cat's terrific Los Angeles Theatres set has
  more than 370 photos to browse -- and it continues to grow.
Here we're enjoying a great view of the Saban/Wilshire
Theatre lobby.   full size view

    Great American Movie Theatres   

by David Naylor,
foreword by Gene Kelly

A National Trust Guide
The Preservation Press,
Washington, D.C., 1987

buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

A view of the auditorium of the United Artists
 from this great guide to theatres around the country.
Los Angeles, of course, is well represented.

The photo is from the Theatre Historical
 Society Terry Helgesen Collection

    L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation   

www.lahtf.orgLAHTF on Facebook

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is
very active in preservation work on the downtown theatres.

See the LATHF website for information on the organization's
monthly "All About" open houses. They visit a different
heatre each month or so for a tour and discussion.  There
are numerous film screenings hosted by LAHTF in historic
theatres. You can keep up with it all on Facebook.

This view of the Loew's State Theatre on the LAHTF
website is courtesy Berger Conser Photography.
larger view

    Ken McIntyre on Photobucket

Ken captured this scene of filming
at the Regent Theatre downtown in 2009. 
 full size view

Mr. McIntyre investigates everything theatrical

 and has produced an amazing collection of
photos of Los Angeles movie palaces and
neighborhood theatres. His work also includes
unearthing newspaper ads and rare archival
photos of theatres. Have fun browsing
 through his collection.

    Movie Palaces   


by Ave Pildas (photos)  and Lucinda Smith (text)
Foreword by King Vidor

Clarkston N. Potter, New York, 1980
Hennessey + Ingalls, Santa Monica, 2000
ISBN: 0940512254

buy the book:
 |  AmazonBarnes & Noble |

A nice shot of the Hollywood Theatre entrance c.1980
 by Mr. Pildas from his book "Movie Palaces".

Mr. Pildas' book has lots of shots of other Los Angeles
 Theatres and he is (it seems) particularly fond of boxoffices.

    Mark Peacock on Flickr   

Mark Peacock's Vintage Theatres photo set has a
 number of nice views of theatre exteriors and signage.
Here we're at the El Rey on the Miracle Mile  
full size view

See Mark's 2009 blog post "A Walk Down Broadway"
for lots of fine views of the downtown theatres
and other sights.

    Ken Roe on Flickr

Ken goes everywhere and documents his theatre
explorations nicely. Browse his collection on Flickr.
From his collection comes this nice shot of the
Fox Wilshire/Saban Theatre proscenium.
 full size view

    The Show Starts on the Sidewalk   


"The Show Starts on the Sidewalk" by Maggie
Valentine offers a nice history of the movie palace
with lots of references to S. Charles Lee and
various historic Los Angeles theatres.

Ms. Valentine is an assistant professor of
architecture and interior design at the University
 of Texas at San Antonio.

A 1931 view of the rear of the main floor at the
Los Angeles Theatre from Ms. Valentine's book.
On Google:  full size view

More about S. Charles Lee, L.A.'s
 most prolific theatre architect:

Chapter 2: "The Theatre and the Architect"
Chapter 3: "Chicago to Los Angeles..."
Chapter 4: "Lee's Movie Palaces"

    Theatres in Los Angeles   

A 1940 view of the Hippodrome Theatre in
 "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell
Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Most of the rare photos in the book
are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

 The image on Google books: larger view

    UCLA - S. Charles Lee   

Many documents and photos from Mr. Lee's many
theatre projects are archived here. It's all sorted by
project so it's an easy search to see what the archive has.

A lobby view of the Academy Theatre, Inglewood
 from UCLA's S. Charles Lee Archive.  
full size view 

    Uncanny - Downtown Walking Tour

A great site by Tom Wetzel with lots of excursions
via old photos on various interurban lines. We'd suggest
his Downtown Walking Tour.

Here we're going up Hill St. with the Town Theater
in the background on the right. full size image

    USC Geography Walking Tour

The Downtown Walking Tour is a good exploration
some of the classic buildings downtown.

Here's a postcard of the Pantages/Warner
 Bros.Theatre at 7th and Hill in their
 chapter onthe Jewelry District.
 full size view

    You Are Here

Here's an exterior of the Million Dollar. This is part
of a wonderful documentation of downtown buildings that
awaits you on the
Broadway Corridor page.  Click on any
theater to see a great pic. full size image

Also see Martin's tours of:
Hollywood Boulevard |   Sunset Boulevard  Wilshire Boulevard 

    more resources...   


The Village Theatre in Westwood in 2007
[ click on image to enlarge ]

    Agility Nut

A look at the detail at the top of the Warner San Pedro's boxoffice
and the marquee soffit above in the Agility Nut
It's on Debra Jane's
page 6 of her California Theatres set. 
full size view

The collection is mostly exteriors. Start with the
California page 1 or Los Angeles page 1 for the full tour.

    American Picture Palaces   

by David Naylor

Van Nostrand Reinhold Company New York, 1981
paperback: 1991  ISBN: 9780130263292

This great book is a lush tour through the country's
movie palaces with many stunning photos that don't
 appear elsewhere. Many Los Angeles Theatres
 are represented. It's highly recommended.

buy the book:
| Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

An early interior view of the Pantages /

downtown in Mr. Naylor's wonderful book.
The photo is from the Terry Helgesen collection.

    Robert Berger Photography

Berger Conser Architectural Photography sets
 the standard for elegant images of Los Angeles Theatres.
Their work graces the websites of several preservation
organizations and can be seen in "The Last Remaining
Seats: Palaces of Tinseltown" by Robert Berger and
Anne Conser, available through Amazon or
your local bookseller.

From the Robert Berger website comes this
view of the Wiltern proscenium.

 For  larger views of this and 15 other photos,
head to Berger's Last Remaining Seats section,
where there are great images from the book.
You'll find the Wiltern at stops #6 and #14

    Best Remaining Seats   

by Ben M. Hall
Crown Publishers, Inc, New York, 1961
Paperback: DaCapo Press, 1988

Ben Hall's landmark 1961 book is still the
 best treatment of movie palace architecture. It has
 inspired decades of theatre lovers to work toward
 saving these landmark buildings.

Here we get a rare glimpse toward the rear
 of the Egyptian Theatre's auditorium. Many other
 Los Angeles movie palaces are also featured.

[ buy it on Amazon ]

    Big Orange Landmarks

Here's a bird's eye view of the auditorium
of the Los Angeles Theatre from this
blog's great article. 
 full size view

Floyd Bariscale's blog tours the whole list of the
 buildings designated cultural landmarks by
 the City of Los Angeles.

Among his other wonderful
 Los Angeles theatre excursions:

Philharmonic Auditorium  |  Chinese Theatre  |
 |  Pantages Theatre  | Biltmore Hotel/Theatre  |
Pellisier Bldg./Wiltern Theatre  |  Shrine Auditorium  |
 |  Pan Pacific Auditorium  |  Variety Arts Center  |

also of interest:

Original Disney Studio site Old Warner Studio  |
 |  Hollywood Sign  |

    California State Library  


The State Library is a great treasure trove of
photos for many Los Angeles theatres.  Here we have
a photo of Clune's Auditorium from the collection. 
full size image

    Cinema Tour

Information and photos on historic theatres in Los Angeles
as well as around the world.  Here's a Bob Meza photo

on the site's page about the Warner Grand Theatre.
full size view

    Elizabeth Fuller's Old L.A. Postcards

Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection
of 659 cards encompasses a vast swath of vintage Los Angeles
including beaches, hotels, parks and more. The collection is also
an interesting collection of theatre cards. You'll find her cards
linked to on many pages of our sites including those for the Chinese,
the Egyptian, Warner Hollywood, Loew's State, United Artists
 and many, many more.

The view here is looking south on Broadway perhaps
around 1905. The light colored building on the right is
the Mason Opera House. 
full size view

Broadway cards  |  theatre cards  |

    L.A. Conservancy  | on Facebook
Historic Theatres Committee on Facebook

The Los Angeles Conservancy is one of the main forces
acting to preserve the downtown theaters. Visit their site
for lots of ideas on how you can participate.

The Conservancy offers Walking Tours of
historic downtown buildings.

Last Remaining Seats offers a yearly series of classic
films in some of the remaining Los Angeles movie palaces.

Here's is a photo of the Million Dollar Theatre by
Berger Conser Architectural Photography on the site's
Broadway Initiative page.  The page features 8 other
views by Berger Conser.   full size view

And don't miss the Photo Gallery -- a stunning array
 of photos of downtown Los Angeles theatres.

The Conservancy's Historic Theatre Committee
blog appears to be dormant but there are a number
of interesting posts from 2007.

The Historic Theatre Committee now has a
 Facebook page with all the latest news. The Facebook
site also features photo albums to view.

    Online Archive of California   

An incredible treasure trove of great theatre photos.
This archive accesses collections from a number of
participating institutions. Shown here is an interior view of the
Pan Pacific Theatre from the Huntington Library Archives.
full size view   

    L.A. Public Library Photo Collection

  A grand collection of 60,000 photos about all
aspects of Los Angeles. Shown here is a photo of
New Broadway Theatre, now demolished. 
full size image

   Movie Links / Hollywood History Resources

This page on our Hollywood Theatres site has links to archives
 to explore, information on strange early color, sound and
widescreen processes as well as data on where to go for

classic movies on the big screen in Los Angeles.

he New Beverly Theatre
, one of many
 venues for classic film screenings that are
 listed on the Hollywood Resources page.

 full size view

    Public Art in L.A. 

This fun site has an informative page listing
Fascinating Downtown Buildings
 as well as an
interesting  list of  Neon Signs on Wilshire Blvd. and
elsewhere. Scroll down the list and you'll find links to
lots of theatre signs.

Here on the site is a view of some fancy
 trim on the Million Dollar Theater Building.
full size view

   Rivest's Ultimate List of Movie Theatres

Mike Rivest has illustrated lists of theatres all over the
You can browse on Scribd or download sections
of the list in PDF format.

Go to
Los Angeles Theatres page for an illustrated
tour of 1530 or so theatres in the L.A. area.

    Roadside Peek

This site has all sorts of interesting adventures
 nationwide. There's a Broadway Theatre Tour
 with a number of exterior shots as well as chapters
 on Hollywood and Westwood.  full size view

    A Stroll Down Old Broadway   


Go to the Broadway Tour Part 3 for a tour that includes
Tally's, Clune's Theater, the Orpheum (now the Palace)
and several others.

Here we're looking south on Broadway with Talley's
on the left.  full size image

This fun site features a number of  other episodes
created by Brent C. Dickerson combining his text with
an amazing collection of old postcards and other historic photos.  

Other Broadway adventures include Broadway Part 1 ,
 First to Fourth and  Broadway in the 20's.
The index page will give you the rundown
on many more episodes. 

more from

    Too Much Fire on Flickr

View some nice work on Too Much Fire's
 Theatres photo set. Here it's a wonderful view down
the aisle at the Los Angeles Theatre with the fire
curtain visiblefull size view


    UCLA - Calisphere

Calisphere acceses various UCLA collections as wel
as documents form other institutions.

From the UCLA photo collection comes this 1940
postcard of Westwood Village. We're looking toward the
Fox Westwood Village Theatre.  full size view

    USC Archives

A wonderful collection with images displayed on
the web in high resolution.  After selecting an image you
can use the slider and zoom in on more detail. The
collection is particularly good on photos of downtown.

Here we're back in 1927 looking north on Broadway
from 4th Street. Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre
is on the left.  full size view


A view of the Orpheum Theatre from
Broadway Theatre District
full size view

Also see Wikipedia's articles on:

| Broadway | Carthay CircleChinese Theatre |
| Los Angeles Theatre | Million Dollar |
| Orpheum | Pantages Theatre | Tower Theatre |
| Warner Grand | Hollywood Cultural Monuments |
| Cinemas in California |  and lots more...

    YouTube Theatre Videos   

"Second Run ( America's Classic Movie Theaters) Part 1"
Gary Graver's 10 minute documentary is a moving tribute
 to the lost single screen movie theatre. The shots of
 theatre exteriors are mostly in Los Angeles.

"Second Run  Part 2"
A collage of more great Los Angeles movie palace
exteriors -- and theatres from other cities shot over
 the last 40 years by Mr. Graver.

 "Save the Fairfax Theatre"
Haeyong Moon and Don Solosan's 2 minute video.

 "The Show Starts on Broadway". 
A video about the Million Dollar Theatre by Haeyong Moon

"Million Dollar Theater: The Hidden Layers"

This Haeyong Moon video takes you up above the
 current dropped ceiling in the lobby with Hillsman Wright
from the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

"Mayan Theatre in the 80's"

"The Orpheum Theatre"

"Ed Kelsey on the Saban"
A great 10 minute visit to the theatre

 formerly known as the Fox Wilshire.

"United Artists Theatre in the 80s"

"Tour of the Westlake Theatre"