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The Crown Theatre

The Crown Theatre operated from about 1915 until about 1925. It was on Santa Monica Blvd. in the Sawtelle neighborhood. The card appears on the site -- that's our theatre over on the right.

See our page on the Crown Theatre for more information on this vanished theatre.

The Philharmonic Auditorium

The Auditorium, at 5th & Olive, opened in 1906 and was the center of the city's cultural life until the Music Center was built in the 1960s. As a result it was the subject of many postcards.   Thanks to Ken McIntyre on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles for this very early view across what was then known as Central Park and up 5th toward the Auditorium.

Another other shot that popped up on eBay has us looking the other direction, east on 5th.

A better look at the facade appears in this card from the collection of Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar Del Valle

Another facade view, this one from in the park, appears in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

Here we get palm trees and a fine look at the red and white striped awnings. It's in the terrific Hollywood Postcards collection of Michael McCray on Picasa.

One more low-level facade view, this time from Elizabeth Fuller's lovely Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr.

An up-in-the-air view from the Elizabeth Fuller Old Los Angeles Postcards collection. Note that there's no Biltmore Hotel yet on this side of the park.

Another view from above, here looking north with Hill St. on the right side. Sorry, only a sliver of the auditorium appears -- over on the far left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles for this one. 

A last one from above -- this linen card looking north based on a photo taken after the Biltmore opened in the mid 20s. Thanks to Brian McCray for this one, appearing on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.

We're not so lucky as far as the number of interior views.  But that's typical. Maybe only 2. This look toward the back of the house appears in several collections.   Thanks to Cezar Del Valle's Theatre Talks collection for this one.

One last one -- gaudy enough to make you get out the sunglasses. We're looking at the house right boxes. It's from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

For many more photos -- and even a few more postcards -- see our page on the Philharmonic Auditorium.

The Metropolitan / Paramount Theatre

Grauman's Metropolitan, at 6th and Hill, opened in 1923 and, despite being the largest movie theatre in Los Angeles and at a busy corner across from Pershing Square, seems to have been the subject of only one postcard. At least that's all that has surfaced so far. Thanks to Brooklyn theatre historian Cezar del Valle for sharing this one from his Theatre Talks collection.

Note here the verticals still say "Grauman's." Later they would be redone to say Metropolitan and in 1929 the building was renamed the Paramount. Head to our Metropolitan Theatre pages for more on the theatre, demolished in 1962.

The Warner Downtown

The theatre, opened as the Pantages in 1920, was the subject of many postcards. 7th & Hill was a busy intersection -- and B. Marcus Priteca had designed a terrific building to take photos of. It's still there, quite unchanged outside but now selling jewelry rather than films and vaudeville.  More vintage views -- and more postcards of the theatre -- are on our Warner Downtown page.

This great view from above highlights the verticality of the building -- and shows off the dome nicely. It was on eBay. Thanks to theatre sleuth Michelle Gerdes for the find.

The theatre became the Warner in 1929. The card above gives us the vertical sign saying Warner but it's been doctored. The card is based on an earlier photo, taken when it still was the Pantages.  Thanks to Cezar Del Valle for the card from his Theatre Talks collection.

A card from a bit later, when the theatre actually was the Warner -- note the quite different marquee when compared to the view above. Again, our thanks to Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar Del Valle for the card.

A superb 30s view looking north on Hill St. Thanks to Brian McCray -- the card is in his wonderful Hollywood Postcards set on Picasa.

The RKO Hillstreet

There's certainly no shortage of photos of this house at 8th and Hill built by the Orpheum Circuit in 1922. But so far only one postcard of it has surfaced. Thanks to theatre researcher Michelle Gerdes for this one.

We're looking north on Hill -- a busy theatre street at the time. Behind us were (and still are) the Mayan and Belasco. Ahead at 7th & Hill is the Warner (now a jewelry mart), a block farther at 6th was the Metropolitan, now gone. At 5th and a block to the left (at 5th & Olive) was the Philharmonic Auditorium, also demolished.

Sadly, the Hillstreet didn't make it either. There's lots more on our RKO Hillstreet page including interior views.

The Trinity Auditorium

The building at 855 S. Grand dates from 1914 and has been a hotel, church and performance space. Reopening in 2016 as the Esplendor Trinity Hotel, the auditorium will be coming back into use for the first time in decades. See our Trinity Auditorium page for lots more information. We get an early look at the Trinity in this card from LA Relics.

Another view of the building comes from a card that appeared on eBay.

A bit later, a building (now gone -- it's the hotel restaurant's patio now) sprouted on the corner of 9th and Grand. It's another card that was on eBay, this one with a a 1921 postmark. The rear says "Hotel Trinity has 350 rooms and is absolutely fireproof. Hotel Trinity has the largest lobby and sun-parlor in Los Angeles. Hotel Trinity has its own power, light and cooling system. Within Hotel Trinity is Trinity Auditorium, seating 2,500 people and having one  of the largest pipe organs in the west."

Thanks to Chuckaluck for spotting this corner-view card. He included it in a post on Noirish Los Angeles about the Trinity.

See our Theatres West of Broadway page for an overview of the many theatre buildings on Hill St., Grand and Figueroa.

The United Artists Theatre

The United Artists, at 933 S. Broadway, opened in 1927 and was a design of Detroit-based C. Howard Crane. Crane designed similar theatres for United Artists in Detroit and Chicago.  It's now part of the Ace Hotel and known as the Theatre at Ace.

An early view, perhaps c.1928, comes from the amazing Hollywood Postcard collection of Brian McCray. Thanks, Brian!

A 1941 card featuring the theatre appears in several collections. This one is from Cezar Del Valle's Theatre Talks collection.   Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian.

A nice 40s view comes from Elizabeth Fuller's terrific collection of Old Los Angeles Postcards on Flickr.

 A night view looking north appears in the Vanishing Movie Theatres collection of Don Lewis on Flickr.

Other versions of these cards, as well as more than fifty additional vintage street views are on our main page about the United Artists Theatre.

Tally's Theatre

Not to be confused (but it always is) with Tally's New Broadway farther up the street, this one at 933 S. Broadway (just south of the Hamburger's / May Co. department store building) opened in 1910.

This card from the Michelle Gerdes collection gives us a look north toward 8th St. Tally's is on the far left.  If we wander inside, we encounter this:

Thanks to Nathan Marsak for the great card from his collection on Flickr. Tally's succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1929, making room for Hamburger's store expansion. There's lots more about the building on our Tally's Theatre page.

Tally's New Broadway / Garnett Theatre

Thomas Tally had been involved in other theatrical adventures on Spring and Main Streets. But 1905 he took the big step of going to Broadway and took over a nickelodeon called the Broadway at 554 S. Broadway. He fixed it up a bit and called it Tally's New Broadway.

Here we see a view looking north that appears on Brent Dickerson's terrific Broadway Tour Part 3. The tour also gives us many more vintage views including visits to Clune's (now the Cameo) and the Orpheum (now the Palace).

Another view of the New Broadway, also from Mr. Dickerson's page. This time we're looking south toward 6th St. Tally later moved on to a new theatre at 833 S. Broadway, a house he just called Tally's Broadway. What was he going to do? Call it the New New Broadway?

For more information see our listing for this earlier theatre under its last name the Garnett Theatre. It's on the Broadway Theatres page.

The Mason Theatre

The Mason, long a major stop on the touring circuit, opened in 1903 as the Mason Opera House. Its location between 1st and 2nd sadly put it on the far edge of the Broadway theatre district as that area expanded south. In the final decades, before its demolition in 1956 for a state office building, it was one of L.A.'s major homes for Spanish language films along with occasional stage shows.

This early postcard was a find of Ken McIntyre for his Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. Except for an added marquee and vertical sign plus some first floor remodeling, the building looked basically unchanged until its demolition.

We get a bit more traffic in this card from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards set on Flicker. Go browsing -- she has 686 cards in her set. In this one we're looking south from 1st St. The Mason is the lighter colored building near the far right.

The busiest of the bunch is this hectic view from Alison Martino on the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page. The facade of the Mason is down there in the center of the card. But even more prominent is the stagehouse on the far right with its three smoke vents -- all the way over on Hill St.  

 The card is dated 1909. The message scribbled on the front reads: "We have ate in this restaurant many a time. Broadway is the main street in Los Angeles - we can walk down here to the corner of First and Broadway from where we are staying in ten minutes. Bye Bye - Linda." 

See our page on the Mason Theatre for many more views of the building.

Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre

The Million Dollar, opened by Sid Grauman in 1918 at 307 S. Broadway, was a fevered dream of A.C. Martin (the building designer) and William Lee Woollett (the designer of the theatre). The decorative influences range from the classical to strange folk tales to the wild west -- the front of the balcony originally had horned heads of cattle attached. This card is from the collection of Michelle Gerdes.

Another card from Michelle Gerdes showing the theatre in its early days with the vertical sign still reading "Grauman's."   Thanks, Michelle!

There's lots more information about the building on our Million Dollar Theatre web pages.

The Palace Theatre

The theatre now known as the Palace, 830 S. Broadway, opened as the Orpheum in 1911. Here we get a lovely view from up in the second balcony. It's from the Theatre Talks collection of Cezar Del Valle, a Brooklyn-based theatre historian.

The exterior got featured in a number of cards. Here we get the straight-on view in a card from Brian McCray's amazing Hollywood Postcards collection on Picasa. It's based on an early photo -- note we have no vertical signs installed yet.

An early street view looking south on "Busy Broadway" is this colorful card from the Facebook page Bizarre Los Angeles. That's the Orpheum over on the left.

Another view looking south at the theatre in its Orpheum days is this one from the West side of the street. Again, it's from Bizarre Los Angeles.

It's always fun to see a certain card changed over time to update details. Or perhaps just two different companies starting from the same black and white photo and ending up with quite different coloration. This card from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr gives us a different take on the same view as the card from Bizarre Los Angeles above.  Don't like that red and white striped skirt of the woman on the corner? Here it's gone. Notice that we also get a barn-red facade on the Orpheum.

A view north on Broadway from 7th St., again from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection, an amazing compendium of (at last count) 686 cards. Thanks, Elizabeth!  The card is based on a c.1918 photo by Martin Behrman in the California State Library collection.

See our web pages on the Palace Theatre for many more views of the building, including a few more postcards.

The Palace and the Los Angeles in 1959

A lovely view of the bright lights of Broadway as we look south in 1959. The Los Angeles Theatre (an S. Charles Lee design from 1931) is on the right with the Palace Theatre on the left.

The Palace, a design of G. Albert Lansburgh and Robert Brown Young, had originally opened in 1911 as the Orpheum. Follow the links above to our web pages for many photos of each building.

The Los Angeles Theatre in the 40s

It's fun seeing the same basic drawing for a postcard altered over time with different coloration and (sometimes) different signage superimposed. The card above, from the collection of Michelle Gerdes, gives us a view south on Broadway. This particular card was postmarked in 1947.

Another take from the same era, done slightly closer, is this card from the Theatre Talks collection of Cezar Del Valle. Here we get a crowd added.  In both cards, there's a bit of the vertical signs for the Palace Theatre over on the left.

And here's a fun version of the same view from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. Now we get two red cars in the middle of Broadway instead of only one. Her copy of this card bears a 1944 postmark. And, this time we get a moon!

You'll find many more vintage views on our main page about the Los Angeles Theatre. The theatre opened in 1931 and was designed by S. Charles Lee.

Loew's State: early views

An early tinted postcard view of Loew's State in Cezar Del Valle's Theatre Talks collection. Here we don't have much in the way of a marquee on either side and no vertical signs yet. Perhaps the card was done from a drawing before the theatre opened.  The theatre, designed by the firm of Weeks and Day, opened November 12, 1921 at 7th & Broadway, L.A.'s busiest intersection.

Another corner view a bit later, perhaps 1923. This lovely card from the Michelle Gerdes collection appeared on our Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. Note that there are no readerboards yet on the second floor -- they'll be along soon. And that marquee with the single line of milk glass letters soon gets augmented. Check out the width of the canopy at the office building entrance -- later reduced in size. 

See our pages on the State Theatre for more information and photos.

Loew's State: west on 7th

Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards (686 at last count!) includes this card looking west on 7th St. from Broadway. The theatre, a Weeks and Day design, opened in 1921. Note the second entrance on 7th St. -- it was in use until 1936. Playing at the State is "Dream of Love" with Joan Crawford. The card is based on a 1928 photo that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. 

This great 1940 postcard is again from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr.  The State is running "Dr. Kildare Goes Home." We're looking up 7th. -- you can see the Warner Theatre on the right at 7th and Hill. The Warner, designed by B. Marcus Priteca, had opened in 1920 as the Pantages.

A wonderful 1950s postcard view from Viewliner Ltd. It's on their post "Streets of LA." We get a glimpse of the "Warners" vertical down a block at 7th and Hill.  The State is running a reissue of "The Westerner" (1940) with Gary Cooper.

Another 50s view. Here we're looking west on 7th. The card above is from the now-vanished website Yesterday LA.

An early 60s look west on 7th on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.The State was running "Ben Hur" (1959). This was not the roadshow engagement -- that was at the Egyptian in Hollywood.

See our pages on the State Theatre and the Warner Theatre for many more views both recent and vintage.