Unique Theatre

3645 E. 1st St.    | map |

Boyle Heights (Los Angeles), CA   90063

Opened: Sometime in the mid-20s. It's in the 1926 city directory. Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel has done some digging on this one. His report:

"The L.A. County Assessor’s office gives an original construction date of 1922 and an effectively built date of 1935 (a major renovation) for the 11,532 square foot building at this address. The 1923 City Directory has no theater listed at 3645 E. 1st St., but the Unique Theatre is listed at that address in the 1926 directory.

As the 1923 directory lists the Unique Theatre at 4007 ½ E. 1st, I wonder if the street numbers were adjusted for this section of 1st Street sometime between 1923 and 1926? That would be odd, though, as I’ve found no indication that any other streets in the area were renumbered during that time.

It’s possible that the building was converted into a theater from some other use, but it’s also possible that the address listed for the Unique in the 1923 directory was simply a mistake. If a 1924 directory becomes available and it lists the Unique at 3645, I’d certainly believe the address listed in 1923 to have been an error. IN any case, the Unique Theatre was definitely in operation at this address by 1926."

Architect:  Unknown

Seating:  1,100

Status: Now being used for retail -- it's sort of a swapmeet.  The floor's been leveled and there's nothing of interest visible inside.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Unique for all that is known about this venue.

We also had a Unique Theatre downtown on Broadway as well as a Spring St. Unique Theatre.

    Roadside Architecture   


A nice look at the Unique Theatre's
vertical sign in Debra Jane's
great collection.
It's on her LA Theatres page 2

full size view

    Ken McIntyre on Photobucket   


Ken's  2007 look at the vertical sign of the Unique.
 full size view | on Photobucket | on Photos of Los Angeles

Indefatigable theatre researcher Ken has a number
 of 2007 views of the theatre linked on the Cinema
Treasures page for the Unique Theatre.

Another look at the facade.
  on Photobucket | on Photos of Los Angeles

A look at the interior.
on Photobucket

Also in Ken's set:
| entrance terrazzoanother facade view |

The best vertical sign in East Los Angeles.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

A look at the facade.

photo: Bill Counter - 2012

[ click on these to enlarge ]

A view of the Unique Theatre after closing.

photo: Gary Graver

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a noted 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.

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    AP Images   


A 1964 Associated Press look at the theatre in its
Spanish language film days from AP Images.
full size view

Thanks to Tinseltoes for posting a link
to this one on Cinema Treasures.

    [ view ] from a loft    


A glimpse of the top of the vertical on this blog's
2007 post about LA Signage: "Three for the Road." 
larger view