Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Along Wilshire | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces | Theatres In Movies
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Theatre History Resources

I was in the process of working on this but got derailed by other aspects of the project. There's currently some information here but you might also want to check in on the following pages until the material gets moved over to this site:

On the Hollywood Theatres site: Movie Links and Hollywood History Resources

On the Wilshire Theatres site: Wilshire History Resources

On the [more] L.A. Movie Palaces site: L.A. Theatre History Resources

Also: Other L.A. History Resources

Archives To Browse:

Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection

California State Library Photo Collection

Calisphere -- a searchable aggregator from UCLA that displays photos from many collections

Huntington Digital Library

Internet Archive

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

The Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection

UCLA Los Angeles Times Photo Collection
| on the UCLA Library website | on Calisphere | 

UCLA S. Charles Lee papers Collection
| on the UCLA Library website | on Calisphere | 

USC Archives Digital Collections

Books Of Interest: 

"American Theatres Of Today" by R.W. Sexton and B. F. Betts is a huge compendium of plans and photos of the most interesting theatre architecture of the 20s -- including many Los Angeles theatres. The two volumes of the book were published in 1927 and 1930 by the Architectural Book Publishing Co., New York. It was reprinted in one volume in 1977 and 1985 by the Vestal Press, New York. Theatre Historical Society also did a reprint in 2009.

"Movie Palaces: Survivors of an Elegant Era" by Ave Pildas (photos) and Lucinda Smith (text.) Foreword by King Vidor. Clarkston N. Potter, New York, 1980. A fine book with photos of mny Los Angeles area theatres. It's available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Check out the great 2008 Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres In Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. Most of the photos in the book are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives. There's a preview you can browse on Google Books.

Anne Conser and Robert Berger's great 1992 book "The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown" is available on Amazon. Visit Robert Berger's website for a portfolio of 16 photos from the book.

City Directories:

The Los Angeles Public Library has a number of searchable city directories posted online.

| 1909 - "moving pictures and machines" | 1909 - "theatres" |

Ken McIntyre has posted photos of several city directories in his Photobucket album.
| 1908 - "theatres" | 1914 - "motion picture theatres" - part 1 | 1914 - part 2 | 1942 "theatres" |

Google has an interesting list of Los Angeles County directories online, listing holdings in a number of different libraries.

Downtown History Resources:  

Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council -- The organization's Historic Resources - Buildings List is a fine compendium of essential information about historic buildings downtown, arranged by address.

Facebook pages of interest:

After The Final Curtain - Matt Lambros

Bay Area Historic Theatres

Historic Theatre Photographs - Mike Hume

Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation -- group page

Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation -- official page

Mid Century Modern Los Angeles

Photos of Los Angeles

So Cal Historic Architecture

Theatre Architecture

Vintage Los Angeles

Los Angeles history resources:

Transportation and the City: Past and Present - Tom Wetzel's Uncanny site documents l.A. transit history

Newspaper searches: 

The California Digital Newspaper Collection is a searchable newspaper archive dating from 1846 to the present.

Photo sets:

Mike Hume's Historic Theatre Photographyon Facebook

Movie Theatres USA - Ken Roe on Flickr

Preservation Organizations:

Hollywood Heritage | Hollywood Heritage Museum on Facebook

Los Angeles Conservancy | on Facebook

Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation | group Facebook page | official Facebook page |

Theatre Historical Society of America | annual conclave info | THS  on Facebook

League of Historic American Theatres | national conference info

Theatre history websites and blogs:   

American Widescreen Museum - Martin Hart

Cinema Treasures -- See the site's Los Angeles list for doing an alphabetical search. Or if you want a handy list for any particular city, Cinema Treasures is the way to go.If you're looking for a list of theatres in a particular community note that Cinema Treasures lists all these small neighborhoods separately. Start with the California page and note the selection bar just to the right of the "California" -- you can scroll down to find any town in the state.

Cinema Tour -- This site has a nice spread with cities arranged alphabetically and thumbnail photos of many of the theatres. The Long Beach - Los Angeles page is a good place to start. You can use the directory at the top of the page to select where you want to go. Or enter the name of the theatre in the search box on any Cinema Tour page to see what the site has.

From Script To DVD -- 70mm in Los Angeles | 70mm Equipped Theatre List and Photo Gallery |

Grauman's Chinese - Kurt Wahlner

In Cinerama - Roland Lataille

Mike Rivest's Ultimate List of Movie Theatres is an illustrated list of 1530 or so theatres in the Los Angeles area.

Noirish Los Angeles -- an enticing discussion forum on Skyscraper page -- now up to 2000 pages.

Theatre Talks - Cezar DelValle


The ZIMAS tool from the City of Los Angeles Planning Department allows you to determine the legal address of a piece of property and look at a report on it. The reports have all sorts of information such as size of the building, date of construction and last date of sale.


Cinema Treasures researcher Jeff Bridges (aka Vokoban) has discovered several interesting ads listing many theatres. | 1914 - "moving picture theaters"  |  1923 - Paramount directory ad  |

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