Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | [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.

Navigating Your L.A. Theatre Tour

Welcome to the tour!  In addition to this Los Angeles Theatres site, I have three other websites devoted to historic theatres in the L.A. area. All the material on those sites is (slowly) moving over here. The version of the program they're hosted on is being discontinued. But the pages should be up and functional at least into the middle of 2018.

I'm currently working on the Westside theatres -- the 100+ theatres that were once downtown will be up next. The Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page will let you know what new items have been added either here or to the doomed web pages. My Theatres In Movies site might also warrant a look -- it's an ongoing project tracking which Los Angeles area theatres have showed up in films.

If you can't find what you're looking for, leave me a comment on this post or do an e-mail to counterb@gmail.com. See you at the movies!    -- Bill Counter

This site on a Mobile Device: If you find what you're looking for here on this post, terrific. But also note that you can go to the bottom of any page or post and click on "View Web Version" to get the navigation links at the top of the page and the long list down the right side.


Historic Hollywood Theatres

Hollywood wasn't just about the movies. Starting in the mid 20s it was also a center for legitimate theatre and musical revues at four newly built playhouses. You'll find a an alphabetical list of the theatres in the district on the Hollywood Theatres overview page that includes a bit of data on each and links to pages for more details. Down below this list there's also an alternate name directory.

Also of possible interest is a separate section with a list of theatres by street address.


 Westside Theatres

The Westside started booming with retail and housing in the mid 20s and the theatres followed. Many theatres along Wilshire Blvd., in Beverly Hills, Westwood, and other neighborhoods became prime venues for everything from small foreign films to major roadshows. The Westside Theatres overview page gives both a list by neighborhood as well as a survey arranged alphabetically.

There are also separate sections broken out for Westwood / Brentwood and theatres in Santa Monica. Also see the list of Westside Theatres: by street address and the Westside Theatres: alphabetical list page which includes alternate names.


Historic Los Angeles Theatres -- Downtown

The home page gives a rundown on the 20 major surviving theatre buildings with links to their pages. You might also want to consult alphabetical rundowns on theatres west of Broadway, the Broadway theatres, Spring St. theatres and Main St. and farther east.

In addition, the site has a downtown theatre directory with both a list by address and an alternate name list.


[more] L.A. Movie Palaces

This site tries to fill in all the other areas of Los Angeles County. You'll find separate sections on theatres north of Downtown, San Fernando Valley Theatres, Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, theatres along the coast, and lots more. The home page has links to all these theatres organized by area.

And if you are still having trouble finding what you're looking for, these pages might help:
- the main alphabetical theatre list -- a list that also includes alternate names for each venue
- the main Los Angeles County theatres by address list
- San Fernando Valley theatres by address list
- San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier theatres by address list
- film and theatre technology resources
- theatre history resources
- theatre tours and events

Happy touring! Please let me know if you spot errors, links that don't work, etc. 

Ravenna Theatre

233 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004
| map |


Opened: In 1925 as Chotiner's Ravenna. The location was just south of Beverly Blvd.

It was also advertised as Chotiner's Hollywood Ravenna. The Max Chotiner circuit also included the Parisian Theatre. It's also been listed as at 241 N. Vermont. Closing date as a theatre is unknown -- evidently running into the 60s. It was later just the Ravenna Theatre.

The facade view above appears with "Striking a Chord: Babe Egan and Her Hollywood Redheads, 1925," a Homestead Museum blog post about the leader of the all-female band advertised on the front and side of the marquee. The photo is in their collection. The feature film was "Baree, Son of Kazan," an April 1925 release.

A version of the photo also appears on page 46 of the Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. Presumably the photo in the book is from Mr. Wanamaker's extensive Bison Archives

Architect: Richard D. King, who also designed the Fox La Brea and Hermosa theatres.

Seating: 798 




Another photo from the Homestead Museum. Their caption: "This 1925 photo from the Homestead collection shows 'all-girl' band Babe Egan and her [Hollywood] Red Heads aboard a trailer pulled by a tractor during a Los Angeles parade. The banner noted the band was the house act for Max Chotiner's Ravenna Theatre."  Also see the Jeannie on Jazz post about "Babe Egan and the Ravenna Theatre."

The Homestead post has this to say about Mr. Chotiner: 

"Ravenna Theater owner Max Chotiner (1887-1969) was a native of Austria, who migrated to the United States in 1899 and lived in Pittsburgh.  He joined his father’s cigar manufacturing business and remained with it until just before 1920, when he migrated to Los Angeles and operated a shoe store with his brother.  He then got into the theater and real estate businesses and married actress and movie theater owner Alice Calhoun (1900-1966) in 1926, just after the photos were taken.

"The Marcal on Hollywood Boulevard was owned with Mark Hansen, who possessed several theaters. The couple owned a home on Benedict Canyon Road in Beverly Hills and their neighbor in the 1930 census was famed film comedian Harold Lloyd (though the Chotiners lived in an impressive $55,000 house, Lloyd’s was listed as valued at $2.5 million!).  But, Calhoun’s career did not survive the move into sound films and her marriage to Chotiner came to an end in 1938 amid claims he left her at home and went out on the town.

"In 1940, Chotiner, recorded in the census as a divorcee, was listed as a real estate investments manager with an office at the Fox Parisian building on 8th Street. In 1948, he and Calhoun were reconciled and remained together until her death.  They were buried together in a highly elaborate monument at Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Calhoun, for whom a wing was endowed by her husband at the City of Hope after her death from cancer, also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame." 

Status: The Ravenna Theatre was demolished around 1985. There's a parking lot there now.



This auditorium view appears in "Theatre Decoration and Stage Equipment," an article the Motion Picture News issue of February 18, 1928 that's available on Internet Archive. It's part of a story about theatres decorated by Robert E. Powers Studios. They call this one Moorish-Spanish.

The photo is also included in Charmaine Zoe's wonderful Theatres: Stage and Movie set on Flickr that has over 700 photos from (mostly) various issues of Motion Picture News.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Ravenna Theatre.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Royal Theatre

11523 Santa Monica Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA 90025
| map |


The Royal showing off the updated signage installed following the 2012 tripexing. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2014 photo, one that appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.

Phone: 310-478-3836   Website: www.laemmle.com



The theatre in 1938. It's a photo from MGM in the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Opened: March 8, 1924 as the Tivoli Theatre. The location is about five blocks west of the 405.

Architect: Not known

Status: Long operated by Laemmle Theatres, the Royal remains one of the premiere venues for foreign films in Los Angeles. It became a three screen operation after a 4 month remodel in 2012.

Seating: 600 for years. The original count is not known. With the triplexing, the total seat count is down to 300. 



The Tivoli's booth in 1924. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Dallas Movie Theaters for the photo on the site's page about the Royal Theatre.



The Royal was once equipped for 70mm projection. It's now all digital. "Hamlet" got a 70mm run in 1996 and the theatre had sometimes run festivals of 70mm prints such as 2010's "Star Wars" marathon.

In this booth photo from the theatre's single screen days on the site In70mm.com we're looking at a Norelco DP70 35/70mm machine and a Simplex XL. The third machine looks like it might be a 16mm unit. The photo by Johan Wolthuis is on the DP70s in California page. The site, curated by Thomas Hauerslev is a wonderful place to visit for information about 70mm projector history, news of 70mm festivals and more.

The triplexing project: In July 2012, Greg Laemmle announced "imminent" plans to triplex the theatre. The big house (about 175 seats) retains the existing proscenium. The smaller houses include one with less than 50 seats and one with about 100 seats. The Westwood-Century City Patch's Sarah Fay had the story.

A nice story in L.A. Biz by Annlee Ellingson in December 2012 discussed the reopening and the company's strategy to stay competitive in a changing business.



A lobby view that appeared on the Laemmle website c.2010.



A pre-triplexing auditorium photo once on the Laemmle website. 



Although the theatre has been triplexed, the original proscenium remains intact in the forward auditorium. It's a 2013 photo by Stephen Russo that originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A proscenium detail by Stephen Russo appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page in 2013. Thanks, Stephen! The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the Los Angeles area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of the buildings. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



A look from farther back in the big house. It's a 2016 contribution from Vincent V. on the Yelp page about the Royal.



A 1977 L.A. Times photo by Bill Varie appearing on Calisphere. It's from the UCLA - L.A. Times Photo Collection. Note the lovely metal cladding on the facade, later removed by Laemmle. 



A c.1988 look at the theatre from Bill Gabel's collection appearing on the Cinema Treasures page about the Royal. Thanks, Bill!



The theatre in 2007. Photo: Bill Counter
 


A night view of the Royal. Thanks to Mark Peacock for his 2010 photo. It's from his Vintage Theatres set on Flickr. Also visit the blog: On the Road With Mark Peacock



A 2011 post on the Los Angeles Movie Theater Reviews blog about the "Laemmle Royal Theatre" features this great view of the entrance and spiffed-up marquee. The photo has also been seen on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



Thanks to Doug Simmons for this 2016 facade photo, added by him as a comment to a post he did on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles about the Laemmle Monica Film Center.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Royal Theatre.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Century Plaza Theatres

2040 Avenue of the Stars  Century City (Los Angeles), CA 90067
| map |


Opened: April 5, 1972 as the ABC City Theatres. It was initially a twin cinema with the two being advertised as ABC City Theatre One and ABC City Theatre Two. "Cabaret" was the initial attraction in the big house.

The theatres, also known as the Century Plaza Twin and the ABC Century Plaza, were part of the ABC Entertainment Center with the City Theatres on the south side of a central plaza and the Shubert Theatre on the north.

When ABC sold their theatre circuit (what was left of Paramount Publix) to Henry Plitt the twin became known as the Plitt Century Plaza Theatres. The 1978 photo above is from the collection of Robert Juzefsky and appeared on Vintage Los Angeles. At the Plitt Theatres: "House Calls" and "Star Wars." The photo also appears on Cinema Treasures.

The theatres were a favorite for trade screenings. Filmex used the theatres for their festivals in the late 70s and early 80s. Both houses were equipped for 70mm. The big one got an installation of the HPS-4000 sound system in 1984, when the theatre was still run by Plitt.

In the late 80s Cineplex Odeon took over and triplexed the big house. The larger of the three chunks kept 70mm capability and the HPS-4000 sound system. The two smaller portions ended up with 35mm HPS-4000 systems.

The 800 seater (that had been the little house in the twin days) was refitted for THX. The complex finished its days with a total of 2,000 seats and was advertised as the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza 4.

Architect: Henry George Greene

Seating: Initially as a twin it had 1,424 in the big house and 800 in the little one.



A look to the rear of the big house -- when it was still big. Thanks to Bill Gabel for the photo, a contribution of his on Cinema Treasures.

Status: Closed in 2003 and demolished in 2004. The Shubert has also been demolished. There's a new twin tower complex on the site.

The Century Plaza Theatres in the Movies: 


We see the theatres in the Gilbert Cates film "Oh, God! Book II" (Warner Bros., 1980). See the Theatres In Movies post for two more shots from the film. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for the screenshot. The film stars George Burns, Suzanne Pleshette and David Birney.



A 2003 view of the just-closed theatre's entrance taken by Mark Campbell. That's part of a dead mall area underneath. The photo appears on the Cinema Tour page about the theatres. The page has twelve more 2003 photos (including some interior views) by Mark Campbell and Scott Neff.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of discussion and a few more photos.

The website From Script To DVD has a page on the Century Plaza as part of their section on 70mm equipped theatres in Los Angeles.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Shubert Theatre

2020 Avenue of the Stars  Century City (Los Angeles), CA 90067
| map


Opened: 1972 with a production of "Follies." It was operated, as the name would suggest, by the Shubert Organization. The theatre, along with the Century Plaza Theatres across the plaza, was part of what was called the ABC Entertainment Center. Initially there was a Playboy Club on the lower level, under the theatre.

This view of the drop off area is a 1986 photo by Michael Haering in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. We're looking over toward the Shubert,  where "42nd Street" was in residence.

Major shows to play the house included "Sophisticated Ladies," "Ragtime," "Evita" (1980-81), "Cats," "Dreamgirls," "Amadeus," "Chorus Line" (1977), "Beatlemania" (1978), "Annie" (1979), "Les Miz" (1988) "Sunset Boulevard," "Mamma Mia" (2001) and many more.

Seating: 1,830

Architect: Henry George Greene

Status: Closed in 2002 and demolished. A new office tower is now on the site.



A Gil Cooper / L.A. Times photo of the installation of one of the lobby chandeliers in 1972. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for spotting it in the UCLA / L.A. Times Photo Collection.



A David Zanzinger lobby photo. Thanks to Kevin Miller for posting it on the Mid Century Modern Los Angeles Facebook page. He notes: "When you entered the theatre from the street level, that was the Mezzanine, and you had to take the stairs down to get to the Orchestra level."



A view to the rear of the house by David Zanzinger.  Again thanks to Kevin Miller for locating the photo. More of Mr. Zanzinger's work can be seen on the site PhotoShelter. Also pay a visit to his Facebook page.



A postcard of the fountain in front of  the ABC Entertainment Center from the site Card Cow. Thanks to Alison Martino for finding the card in the site's collection.



A look down on the complex in 1979. Thanks to Alison Martino for her May 2011 post of the photo on Vintage Los Angeles where it elicited many comments. There's also a September 2011 re-post with many additional responses.

A slightly different version of the photo had been seen on the non-public Mid Century Modern Los Angeles Facebook page in 2010 and made a reappearance on Vintage Los Angeles in 2013. "Annie" was at the Shubert with the films "Meteor" and "Fiddler On The Roof" at the Plitt Century Plaza Theatres.



A 1980 photo of the complex from the Richard Wojcik collection appearing on Vintage Los Angeles. "Evita" was at the Shubert. Thanks, Richard!



A view south on the Avenue of the Stars -- that's the Shubert nearest us. Thanks to Alison Martino for the photo. It was a post on the non-public Facebook group page Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.



A photo from Alison Martino's collection looking over toward the Shubert during a run of "Cats." Thanks, Alison! It was a post on the non-public Facebook group page Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.



Nearing the end. A "Dame Edna" marquee shot from Douglas McEwan taken during the theatre's final season. He had it as a post on the Mid Century Modern Los Angeles Facebook page.

More Information: Wikipedia has a page on the Shubert. On Facebook there's a fan page about the Shubert Theatre.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Silent Movie Theatre

611 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
| map |


The Silent Movie Theatre in 2010. It's been operated by Cinefamily since 2007. Thanks to Don Solosan of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation for his photo. 

Phone: 323-655-2510    Website: www.cinefamily.org

Opened: February 1942 by John Hampton and his wife Dorothy as a venue for silent films. Hampton had been collecting silents since he was a boy in Oklahoma. In 1940 he and his wife moved to L.A. and bought the lot on which to build their theatre.

Dorothy sold the tickets and the candy bars, John ran the booth. They lived in an apartment above the theatre. With gradually dwindling audiences over the years, they closed the theatre in 1980. John Hampton died in 1990.



A pre-opening view. The photo appears on the Water and Power Associates Museum page Early L.A. City Views (1925+) page 3. It's also on their Early L.A. Buildings (1925+) page 4. It's from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

Film buff (and friend of the Hamptons) Laurence Austin reopened the venue in 1991. Among his improvements was bringing in a live organist for the films. Austin was shot and killed at the theatre in 1997. The crime involved Mr. Austin's partner (and projectionist) James Van Sickle and several accomplices.

The theatre was put on the market in 1998 and purchased by film enthusiast Charlie Lustman, who reopened it in 1999 with Chaplin's "Modern Times." His improvements included a new marquee, new screen and a cafe as well as a general redecorating.

The film end of the business was break-even at best and Lustman supplemented by building a clientele for private parties and other events. In 2006 he sold the business due to declining health.

Seating: 224

Status: In 2006 the theatre was taken over by Dan and Sammy Harkham and Hadrian Belove of the organization Cinefamily. They reopened in 2007. It's alive and well as the home of revivals, cult films, festivals and more.



A look back at the rear of the house on the Time Out page about the Silent Movie Theatre. It's a Jakob Layman photo.



The screen end of the Silent Movie Theatre's auditorium. It's a Jakob Layman photo on the site Time Out.



Looking south on Fairfax from Melrose before the theatre's 1942 opening. The photo appears on the Water and Power Associates Museum page Early L.A. City Views (1925+) page 3. It's also on their Early L.A. Buildings (1925+) page 4. The photo is from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.



The theatre in 1942. The photo was once a post on Vintage Los Angeles by Philip Mershon but it has now vanished from that Facebook page.



A 1980 look at the Silent Movie Theatre. It's a Herald Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A 1997 photo from the page about the Silent Movie Theatre on the website Seeing Stars.



The theatre's reopening in 1999 with "Modern Times." It's a photo that appeared on the now dead website Dead History project.



The theatre in 2000. It's a photo from the site Seeing Stars. See their Silent Movie Theatre page for some history of the venue.



A 2010 marquee detail by Don Solosan from the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. Thanks, Don! The LAHTF is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the L.A. area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of the buildings. www.lahtf.org | group Facebook page | official FB page

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Silent Movie Theatre. Living in Cinema had a 2007 story about the theatre's Cinefamily reopening. Cinema Tour has a page with a 2002 night view.

The L.A. Times had a story about the 2007 takeover by Cinefamily. Seeing Stars has a page about the theatre's history.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Studio Theatre

1715 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 
| map |


Opened: Around 1940 as the Regal Theatre. The location was just north of Hollywood Blvd.

This 1948 photo looking north on Vermont is perhaps the only view of the theatre that exists. It appears in the Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. The photos in the book are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting it -- he had it as a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. It also shows up on Cinema Treasures.

The theatre is advertised as the Regal in December 1940 L.A. Times ads. There was no listing for it in the 1938 or 1939 city directory but it's listed as the Regal in the 1942 directory. Sometime in the mid-40s it was renamed the Studio Theatre.

Architect: Unknown

Seating: 430

Status: The theatre closed in 1960. It's been demolished -- there's a Bank of America branch now on the site.


In the photo of the theatre they're running "Henry V." Thanks to Scott Santoro for coming up with an ad for that engagement.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Studio.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Sunset Theatre

1508 N. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027
| map


The Sunset Theatre in 1972. It's a photo from the Richard Wojcik collection on Vintage Los Angeles.

Opened: 1929 or earlier -- it's in the 1929 city directory. The name comes from the theatre's location at Sunset and Western. As part of the Rosener circuit in the 40s and 50s (and up at least to 1960) it ran foreign films and revivals. Then the porno wave hit and it started running adult product under new management. It became a Pussycat Theatre in 1966. 

Seating: 535

Architect: Unknown

The Sunset in the Movies:


We get a look at the theatre's earlier deco marquee in a shot from "Mondo Bizarro" (Olympic International, 1966). See the Theatres in Movies post on the film for a lobby shot featuring the owner's collection of nude paintings.



The Sunset's marquee after renovations appears in the documentary "Inside Deep Throat" (Universal, 2005). The film also visits the Optic, the Art Theatre and the Monica. See the Theatres in Movies post for shots from those scenes.

Status: The Sunset closed in 2003 and was soon demolished for housing and a Walgreen's parking lot.



A look at the Sunset's boxoffice. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the post of the photo on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



 A 1979 look north across Sunset Blvd. toward the theatre. It's a Roy Hankey photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A scenic view through the palm trees from a bit west on Sunset. It's another 1979 Roy Hankey photo from the Los Angeles Public Library. The Library also has another similar shot without the palm trees.



A 1983 photo of the Sunset from Jay Allen Sanford's 2010 San Diego Reader article "Pussycat Theaters - a comprehensive history of a California dynasty." The version of Sanford's article now online at SDR has lost all of its photos. A better bet might be on Blogspot: "Pussycat Theater History 1" and "Pussycat Theater History 2."

The photo also appears in the collection of American Classic Images and on Photos of Los Angeles.



Thanks to Corey Miller on Flickr for this 2002 marquee detail. 

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Sunset. The Cinema Tour page has 16 exterior photos from 2002 and 2003.

| back to top Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | Westside theatres: alphabetical list | Westside theatres: by street address |  Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |