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

Navigating Your Tour of Historic Los Angeles Theatres

On a Mobile Device: If you're missing the right column navigation bar or links at the top you can go to the bottom of any page and click on "View Web Version." Still can't find what you're looking for? Send me an email at counterb@gmail.com. See you at the movies! -- Bill Counter

Downtown L.A. Historic Theatres

The survey page gives a rundown on the 20 major surviving theatre buildings in the Downtown Theatre District. There are links to pages about each of them for more detail. You might also want to consult alphabetical rundowns on pages for Hill St. and farther west, the Broadway Theatres, Spring St. Theatres and Main St. and farther east. Those pages give you more detail, including discussions about all the theatres that have vanished. In addition, there's a downtown alphabetical theatre list with alternate names and a theatre list by address.

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 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 page 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, and in other neighborhoods became prime venues for everything from small foreign films to major roadshows. It's a huge territory. The Westside Theatres overview page gives you both a list by neighborhood as well as a survey arranged alphabetically. Also see the list of Westside Theatres: by street address and the Westside Theatres: alphabetical list page which includes alternate names.

Westwood and Brentwood

Westwood Village was the third significant theatre district to evolve in Los Angeles, after Downtown and Hollywood. With the construction of the UCLA campus beginning in the late 20s there was a chance to develop a unique shopping and entertainment district for faculty and students. By the 1970's the area had evolved so that Westwood had the largest concentration of first run screens of any neighborhood in Los Angeles. The Westwood and Brentwood Theatres overview page will give you a tour of the area.

Theatres Along the Coast

Santa Monica had a vibrant theatrical life even in the days when it was a small town isolated from the rest of Los Angeles. And that's just the beginning. The Along the Coast section will give you links to discussion of theatres in Ocean Park, Venice, Hermosa Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach and other communities.

[more] L.A. Movie Palaces

This section fills in all the other areas of Los Angeles County. Hundreds of terrific theatres were being built by the studios and independents all over the L.A. area in the 20s and into the 30s.  You'll find coverage of theatres north and east of Downtown as well as in Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, Pomona, Whittier, Long Beach and many other far flung locations.   Some of those listings have been upgraded and appear on this site, many other links will take you to pages on an older site hosted on Google. The index page has links to all these theatres organized by area.

Searching by theatre name

If you don't find it in the right hand column, head for the Main Alphabetical List, which also includes the various alternate names each venue has used. This list includes those pages recently updated for this site (in bold face) as well as the write ups on an older website. For a narrower focus you'll also find separate lists for Westside and Downtown. As well, there are lists by name on the 10 survey pages for more limited areas like Pasadena, North of Downtown, Long Beach, etc. that are listed on the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces page.

Searching by address

If you know an address or street head to either the Main Theatre List by Address, the San Fernando Valley List by Address, the San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier List by Address or the Long Beach List. If what you're looking for isn't there, you should find a link to take you to a more localized list by address for Downtown, WestsideHollywood, etc. Also see the survey pages for more limited areas that are listed on the [more] Los Angeles Movie Palaces page.

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

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Redondo Pavilion: the Ballroom & the Pavilion Theatre

S. El Paseo at Emerald St. Redondo Beach, CA 90277 | map |


Opened: 1907 as the Redondo Pavilion. It was also known as the Redondo Auditorium and the Pavilion Auditorium. The postcard is one that appears in the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.

The building contained shops, restaurants and a ground floor film theatre called the Pavilion Theater. The seating capacity is unknown. It's listed as being there in the 1912/13 city directory. The closing date of the theatre is unknown, as are details of its programming. The theatre entrance was via the arch at the middle of the facade.

On the second floor was a 4,000 capacity ballroom. The ballroom was later known as the Mandarin Ballroom and, beginning in April 1946, as a Western music venue called Texas Jim's Redondo Barn. In 1950 Jim left and it was just called the Redondo Barn.

Architect: Edward C. Kent


Thanks to Douglas Thompson for locating this item that appeared in the Redondo Reflex on February 17, 1907.

Just south of the Pavilion was the Casino, which also opened in 1907. In 1912 it was remodeled into a film house, the Capitol Theatre. And south of the Casino was the saltwater Plunge, also referred to as the Bathhouse, which opened in 1909. The pools there were heated by a Pacific Electric generating plant. The Plunge was demolished in 1941 and the site became a parking lot to handle the crowds at the Pavilion's ballroom. All of these amusement buildings were commissioned by Henry Huntington and designed as attractions to stimulate business for his Red Car line running along the coast.

Status: The Pavilion was demolished in December 1960. The El Paseo is now under water. The area was dredged to form a new harbor in 1961.


The entrance to the Pavilion Theater:  


Looking north toward the theatre entrance. It's a card that appears with Sam Gnerre's fine 2011 South Bay Daily Breeze article "The Redondo Barn."



The C.C. Pierce photo the card was based on. It's from the California Historical Society and appears on the USC Digital Library website.



A detail from the C.C. Pierce photo. The sandwich board advised that there would be a performance at 7:30 and admission would be 10 cents and 15 cents. 



Another view down the colonnade toward the Pavilion Theatre entrance. This card was on eBay with the seller noting that it had a 1909 postmark. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for spotting this one on the site.


The Ballroom: 


A fine view of the second floor ballroom. Thanks to Ron Felsing for posting this one on Flickr. He's still on the platform but the card seems to have vanished from there. Card Cow has a version on theitr site with a 1910 postmark. 


More exterior views: 
 

c.1907 - An early postcard view that appeared on eBay. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for spotting it on the site.



c.1907 - Wharf #1, the pier between the north end of the Pavilion and the State of California Building. It's a California Historical Society photo appearing on the USC Digital Library website. Note the "Casino" sign on the building at the right. Perhaps at the time of the photo the new Casino building south of the Pavilion wasn't yet open.



c.1908 - The Redondo Pavilion with the Casino beyond. At the far left there's no sign yet of the Bathhouse. It's a California Historical Society photo appearing on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1908 - A detail of the Casino from the California Historical Society photo. Note the "Redondo Pavilion" lettering above the entrance arch and check out all the stud lighting. That little sign at the right side of the entrance is for the building's movie theatre. 



c.1909 - A view from the pier of a bit of the Pavilion plus the Casino and Bathhouse. The latter appears to be still under construction. Note the scaffolding. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo.



c.1910 - A postcard view of the back of the three buildings. It once popped up on eBay.



c.1910 - A look out to the pier north of the building. The card is from the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.



c.1910 - A look in from the pier. It's a card that was on a now-vanished Redondo Beach Landmarks site that was hosted on Earthlink. 



c.1910 - A view south down the tracks toward Newport Beach. The Pavilion is at the right with the Casino and Bathhouse farther left left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



c.1910 - Thanks to Realtors Maureen and Bruce Megowan for this postcard, one appearing in the fine South Bay History section of their website. 



c.1910 - The photo the card above was based on. It's a photo from the files of the South Bay Daily Breeze that appears with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn."



c.1910 - A fine panoramic view of the Paseo. The Pavilion/Auditorium is in the center with the Casino to the left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. He's got it in an album on Photobucket.



c.1910 - A postcard from the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.



c.1910 - A moonlight postcard view with the dark hulk of the Casino in the middle between the nicely lit Bathhouse and Auditorium. The card was on eBay.



c.1914 - Looking north on Pacific Ave. The card was a find by Ken McIntyre. In her "History of Redondo Beach" Maureen Magowan discusses the roller coaster: "One of the popular tourist attractions was The Redondo Beach Lightning Racer roller coaster which had two parallel tracks. In cars traveling over 6,000 feet of track, riders had the sensation of racing those in the adjoining car. First opened to the public in 1913, the Lightning Racer was located on the beach just north of old Wharf One (and today’s Municipal Pier). Severely damaged by an extreme storm in March 1915, the coaster was demolished."



c.1920 - A view north from Penny Postcards from California. Note that they've added stairs outside the front entrance to get to the ballroom without having to go inside to the main entry hall.



c.1920 - A view looking north. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. 



c.1923 - Looking south along the Pavilion toward the Capitol Theatre and the Bathhouse beyond. It's a postcard by Mission Art Company that's in the California State Library collection.



c.1925 - Looking south on Pacific Ave. with the Paseo on the right. That's the Garland Hotel straight ahead. It's a California Historical Society photo on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1925 - A postcard view of the theatre and Pavilion beyond. It was a find on eBay.



1961 - Looking south to the area where the Bathhouse, Capitol Theatre and Pavilion had once been. It was dredged for a new marina area as part of the King Harbor development. It's a South Bay Daily Breeze photo appearing with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn."

More information: Check out the Arcadia Publishing book "Redondo Beach Pier" by Jennifer Krintz. There's a preview on Google Books. There's a history page about the city on the website of the City of Redondo Beach.

See Sam Gnerre's 2011 Daily Breeze article "The Redondo Barn" about the Pavilion and its ballroom. Realtors Maureen and Bruce Megowan have some great material in the South Bay History section of their website. 

Other early Redondo beach theatres: The Airdome and the Elite Theatre were also in the amusement area along the beach. Both were listed as being at The Midway in the 1912/13 city directory. Their locations and history are unknown.

See the page about the Capitol Theatre. It was the major film house in town until the Fox Redondo opened on Diamond St. in 1929. The Fox was built on the site of the earlier Art Theatre. A later theatre was the Strand, a house that ended up as the Marina 1-2-3

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Capitol Theatre

127 S. El Paseo Redondo Beach, CA 90277 | map |


Opened: 1912 as Fancher's Capitol. It was a remodel of a three story half-timbered building constructed in 1907 for Henry Huntington that had originally been called the Casino. Thanks to realtors Bruce and Maureen Megowan for this c.1907 postcard view of the building, one appearing in the fine South Bay History section of their website.

The location was just south of the Redondo Pavilion, also opened in 1907, which contained shops, restaurants, a ground floor theatre called the Pavilion Theatre, and the Mandarin Ballroom on the second floor. South of the Casino was the saltwater Plunge, also referred to as the Bathhouse, which opened in 1909. The pools there were heated by a Pacific Electric generating plant. The Plunge was demolished in 1941 and the site became a parking lot to handle the crowds at the Pavilion's ballroom. The Pavilion was demolished in 1960.

On the Cinema Treasures page about the Capitol, contributor RBHS notes that the $30,000 Casino building was built by Frank Dorrington under commission from Henry Huntington. The buildings Huntington constructed were designed as an attraction to stimulate business for his Red Car line running along the coast.

Seating: 710

Architect: John Parkinson. Cinema Treasures contributor Ken Roe attributes the building to Parkinson but doesn't have data on who did the 1912 theatre conversion. More research from Mr Roe:

"The auditorium and stage portion was built on wooden pilings above the sand and was located on the El Paseo beach amusement zone area of Redondo Beach. There were 600 seats on the main orchestra floor and 100 in the small shelf balcony. It was a primitive building with the roof trusses and beams visible to the audience in the auditorium. A Wurlitzer theatre organ Opus 307, style 135A was shipped to the Capitol on 13th May 1920.

"The theater was taken over by Gore Brothers of Los Angeles in 1919 and in 1920 the company was re-named West Coast Theaters. The Capitol remained the major theater in Redondo Beach until the opening of the Fox Redondo in February 1929 when the manger Thomas Quinn transferred to the new theater and the Capitol went over to second runs and westerns."

Redondo Beach was a prime resort town as well as a shipping port. The beginning of development of San Pedro as a port in 1899 started changing all that. By 1912 ships operated by the Pacific Steamship Company no longer stopped at Redondo. With the railroad pulling out in 1926, lumber schooners no longer used the Pier 3 at Topaz St. The number of visitors continued to decline due to prohibition and the depression. The three-story 225 room Hotel Redondo, constructed in 1890 for $250,000, closed and was sold for $3,000 to be recycled for its lumber.

Closing of the Capitol: It was running at least into the 1940s. Cinema Treasures contributor Magic Lantern notes that in 1945 it was called the New Capitol.

Status: All the amusement buildings in the area have been demolished. The El Paseo is now under water. The area was dredged to form a new harbor in 1961.


An interior view:


A trade magazine photo that appeared with the caption "Auditorium and balcony floors of new Capitol, Redondo, Cal."  Thanks to Elmorovivo for finding the shot for the Cinema Treasures page about the Capitol.


More exterior views:


c.1908 - The Redondo Pavilion with the Casino beyond. At the far left there's no sign yet of the Bathhouse. It's a California Historical Society photo appearing on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1908 - A detail of the Casino from the California Historical Society photo.



c.1909 - A view from the pier of a bit of the Pavilion plus the Casino and Bathhouse. The latter appears to be still under construction. Note the scaffolding. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo.



c.1910 - A postcard view of the back of the three buildings. It once popped up on eBay.



c.1910 - A view south down the tracks toward Newport Beach. The Pavilion is at the right with the Casino and Bathhouse to the left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



c.1910 - A South Bay Daily Breeze file photo appearing with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn." That was a late name for the ballroom in the Pavilion. 



c.1910 - A fine panoramic view of the Paseo. The Pavilion/Auditorium is in the center with the Casino to the left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. He's got it in an album on Photobucket.



c.1910 - A postcard from the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.



c.1910 - A moonlight postcard view with the dark hulk of the Casino in the middle between the nicely lit Bathhouse and Auditorium. The card was on eBay.



1921 - A lovely photo of the Capitol from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The feature is "Reputation," a May release with Priscilla Dean and Harry von Meter



1922 - A postcard of the theatre and the Bathhouse. The feature playing is "Turn To The Right,"
directed by Rex Ingram. Thanks to Projectkevp for posting the card on Flickr. It's part of the KP Cinemas: postcards album of mostly British cinemas, but with detours to Hawaii and other locales



c.1923 - Looking south along the Pavilion toward the Capitol Theatre and the Bathhouse beyond. It's a postcard by Mission Art Company that's in the California State Library collection.



c.1923 - A detail from the California State Library photo.



c.1925 - Looking south on Pacific Ave. with the Paseo on the right. That's the Garland Hotel straight ahead. It's a California Historical Society photo on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1925 - A closer look at the theatre and its new vertical sign from the California Historical Society photo. The marquee appears to be advertising Colleen Moore on the end panel.



c.1925 - A postcard view of the theatre and Pavilion beyond. It was a find on eBay.



1961 - Looking south to the area where the Bathhouse, Capitol Theatre and Pavilion had once been. It was dredged for a new marina area as part of the King Harbor development. It's a South Bay Daily Breeze photo appearing with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn."

More information: Check out the Arcadia Publishing book "Redondo Beach Pier" by Jennifer Krintz. There's a preview on Google Books. See the Cinema Treasures page on the Capitol Theatre for a fine history by Ken Roe.

There's a history page about the city on the website of the City of Redondo Beach. See Sam Gnerre's 2011 Daily Breeze article "The Redondo Barn" about the Pavilion and its ballroom. The site Silent Era has a page on the Capitol with a photo but no other information.

Other early Redondo beach theatres: The Airdome and the Elite Theatre were also in the amusement area along the beach. Both were listed as being at The Midway in the 1912/13 city directory. Their locations and history are unknown.

The film theatre on the main floor of the Pavilion was known as the Pavilion Theatre. The Art Theatre on Diamond St. was demolished c.1928 for construction of the Fox Redondo on its site. A later theatre was the Strand, a house that ended up as the Marina 1-2-3

| back to top | Theatres Along the Coast | Along the Coast - list by address | Downtown theatres | Westside theatres | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | [more] Los Angeles movie palaces | Los Angeles theatres - the main alphabetical list | Los Angeles theatres - list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | contact info | welcome and site navigation guide |