Hayworth Theatre -- formerly the Vagabond

2511 Wilshire Blvd.   | map

Los Angeles, CA 90057


The news: currently for lease.

Opened: 1926 as the Masque Theatre, a legitimate playhouse. 

Architect:  Stiles O. Clements, whose firm Morgan Wall and Clements designed about 100 buildings along Wilshire Blvd. and many theatres around Los Angeles including the Mayan, Belasco and Music Box.

Dwight Gibbs was the architect for the conversion into the Vagabond Theatre in 1950. Gibbs is best known as the architect of the Carthay Circle Theatre.

The side walls in the theatre at some point were decorated with murals depicting various silent film scenes. The restaurant on the corner at the time was called the Vagabond's House.

Seating:  As a movie theatre it was 190 seats. Currently the building houses 3 small auditoria with the main floor space seating 200. Upstairs the two smaller theatres seat 63 and 45. There's also a 1500 s.f. ballroom. The ballroom area was formerly used as a dance studio. The story is that Rita Hayworth's father taught there. There are also two 400 s.f. rehearsal rooms.

Status:  For lease. The Hayworth building got sold in late 2013 to Jenji Kohan, a TV writer who plans to use the second floor spaces for her production work. The hope is that the main 200 seat theatre space will attract interest from theatrical producers. The L.A. Times had the story in March 2014. The sale price was $4 million.

The La Fonda restaurant on the corner closed in early 2014. The new owner is trying to find another restaurant tenant.

A May 2014 Curbed L.A.story  "Mapping the Huge Wave of Gentrification About To Hit Westlake" discusses new housing, transit accessibility and two neighborhood theatres in the news: the Hayworth and the Playhouse.

History: In the 50s the Vagabond found a niche running British films and other artie releases. It was one of 5 local art venues operated by Herb Rosener. It became a celebrated venue for revivals in the 70s. The theatre had a great reputation for unearthing quality prints and offering a top-notch presentation.

The building was designated as a Cultural Historic Landmark by the City of Los Angeles in 1983.

In 1985 Tom Cooper, who had operated the Vagabond as a revival house for 10 years, pulled the plug on the operation, a casualty of home video. The L.A. Times had the story: "Vagabond Theatre Fades Out."

After Cooper's tenure the Vagabond limped along with other operators running classics and 3-D festivals until 1993. Later the theatre went through a spell as an evangelical church.

The Hayworth Theatre Company, a legit operation, used the building from 2006 until 2014. In addition to the productions of this resident company headed by Gary Blumsack, other producers frequently rented time on the buildings three stages.

The Vagabond in the Movies: 

We're in lots of exotic places like Berlin, Switzerland
and on Wilshire Blvd. in John G. Avildson's surprisingly good
thriller about the oil business "The Formula" (MGM, 1980).
After a prologue in Germany, police detective George
 C. Scott is seen leaving the Vagabond.

The film also stars Marthe Keller, John Gielgud and,
of all people, Marlon Brando.
Near the end of "The Formula"
 we get a glimpse
of the Fox Westwood Village out oil tycoon
Marlon Brando's office window.  See our Theatres in Movies
post for a shot from that scene.

Leslie Nielson and Priscilla Presley see "Platoon"
at the Vagabond in David Zucker's "The Naked Gun:
From the Files of Police Squad" (Paramount, 1988).
 The photo is from the site It's Filmed There.

larger view

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page for more about the Hayworth Theatre including tales of great cinematic adventures spanning several decades.  Joe Vogel again has done wonderful research regarding the conversion of the Masque into the Vagabond.

    Cinema Treasures    


A wonderful c.1945 Hopperesque view of the
 ticket taker at the Vagabond. It was added to the
site's collection by prolific contributor Bill Gabel.
The photographer is unknown.
full size view



Thanks to Sean Ault for sending this lovely
shot our way.
This bit is a slice of a much larger
image that appeared for sale on the site.
The whole panorama. Photographer unknown.
full size view

    Vintage Los Angeles    


A 1980 look east toward the Vagabond Theatre
by Meredith Jacobson Marciano that she added
to the Vintage Los Angeles collection. 
full size view  |  on FB/LAtheatres

A view of the Hayworth.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click on the images to enlarge ]

The Hayworth Theatre's
 exterior from the east.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The Vagabond during a 3-D festival.

 photo: Gary Graver - undated

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a filmmaker and cinematographer
 who took many photos of theatres in Los Angeles and Portland. 
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.

 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 1982 view as the Vagabond from the website
American Classic Images. They're running
"Silk Stockings" and "High Society."
 full size view

Also in the American Classic collection is this
1983 photo of the theatre running "Pin Up Girl."
 full size view

    Cathy Cole on Flickr    


A 2005 view of the Vagabond -- when it
was being used as a church.
full size view

It's part of Kathy's Westlake set.

    The Hayworth.com    


A look at the interior of the main floor theatre
 from the website of the theatre company
that operated the theatre until 2014.
slightly larger view

    Waltarrrrr on Flickr    


From Waltarrrr comes this nice 2006 view
of the Hayworth marquee. 
Sorry, no larger view
-- he's pulled the plug on the set this was in.

    You Are Here    


A classy photo by Martin of the La Fonda
 Restaurant and the Hayworth Theatre.
full size view

Visit Martin's Wilshire Boulevard
page for a great tour.