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.

Navigating Your L.A. Theatre Tour

Welcome to the tour!  In addition to this Los Angeles Theatres site, I have four 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 Hollywood theatres -- the goodies along Wilshire will be next up. 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

You'll find a an alphabetical list of the theatres in the district in the Hollywood Theatres overview section that includes a bit of data on each and links 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.


 Movie Palaces Along Wilshire

This site explores the theatres along the Wilshire corridor from downtown to Santa Monica. The home page gives you both an alphabetical list of all the venues but also a list arranged by area -- it's a long street.

Also on this site is a theatre list by address, an alternate name directory, and a page on Wilshire history resources.

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 a rundown of many of the westside theatres not in Hollywood or along Wilshire Blvd.

Pages already moved here from the older website include:
-- 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
-- the main alphabetical theatre list -- a list that includes alternate names for each venue

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

Grauman's Chinese: the lobby


The lobby in pre-snackbar days. This 1927 Mott Studios view in the California State Library collection is looking from the house left alcove alcove across the main lobby space. The curtains on the left lead into the auditorium.



The lobby in 2007. The wall to the left has been opened up and the snackbar area pushed into what had been seating. It's all plush and impeccably maintained. The lobby is still tiny by movie palace standards but impressively ornate.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The Chinese folding screen mural high on the lobby's north wall. The lobby murals are by artist Keye Luke, who went on to a career as an actor, notably in the Charlie Chan films. Dangling from the light fixtures were originally incense burners to give the smell of sandalwood as the patrons entered the lobby. Thanks to Don Solosan for the c.2010 photo taken for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

The LAHTF works to preserve historic theatres in the Los Angeles area by supporting events, offering tours and promoting awareness of the architectural merit of these treasures. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



A 2007 photo of the lobby mural by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr. At the bottom of the shot we're looking into the snack bar area -- in  1927 it was the rear of the seating area. From 1958 until 2001 there was a projection booth there. 

Mr. Bariscale has done a series of L.A. landmarks articles on his blog Big Orange Landmarks. See his great Chinese Theatre page (#55 on the list) for many photos and lots of historical detail. Also see his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.



A detail of the lobby mural by Cariberry on Flickr. It's a 2006 photo.



A lobby mural detail from Berger Conser Architectural Photography. It's from the book "The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown" by Anne Conser and Robert Berger.   It's available on Amazon. Also pay a visit to the Robert Berger Photography website where 16 photos from the book are displayed in his Last Remaining Seats section. 



 The lobby ceiling. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - c.2010



Another look up at the lobby ceiling. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



Need another chandelier photo?  This 2006 photo is by Cariberry on Flickr.



Thanks to the wonderful Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photographs Collection for this c. 1955 ceiling view. Browse the collection for many more Chinese Theatre photos as well as several hundred other Hollywood theatre photos.



Thanks to The Real Devil Doll on Flickr for this 2006 exit sign photo. Flickr, of course, has oodles more Chinese Theatre photos from a number of different contributors.



A 2001 view looking straight in from the entrance doors at the new bar area created by Behr Browers Architects as part of the renovation they directed. That whole area where the snackbar is was created by pushing the lobby into what had been projection booth and seats. The booth went back upstairs to its original location.  Thanks to Behr Browers for the 2001 photo on their Grauman's Chinese Theatre page.   



The snackbar area. It's in the space originally occupied by the last several rows of seats and (later) a downstairs projection booth that was a 1950's change for a better projection angle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007. There's 2004 snackbar photo by Scott Neff on Cinema Tour.



The ceiling above the snack bar -- an area that used to be the back of the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 2007 snackbar photo by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.



A perhaps 1990s photo by Walman Photography of the snackbar from a Mann Theatres souvenir booklet. The website Silver Screens has it on their page about Los Angeles Theatres.



A c. 1955 snack bar view from the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. This was long before the north wall was opened up.



A ceiling view as we look toward the house right lobby alcove. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr..



The house right end of the lobby. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.
 


The decoration above the entrance to the house right lobby alcove. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2013 photo, one originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A look in toward the ceiling of the house right alcove. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



The house right side alcove. Through the arch and to the right are the stairs down to the men's room and up to the booth and private boxes. Straight ahead you end up at the top of the house right aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The southeast corner of the house left alcove as it was arranged in 2006. Thanks to Cariberry on Flickr for the photo.  At the right that's the alcove's exit to the forecourt.



A closer look at that guy in the corner -- he was later moved. It's a 2004 photo by Michael Lumley on Flickr.



The ceiling of the house right lobby alcove. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



A closer look through the doorway to the house right aisle.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The stairs down to the men's room. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



Looking from the house right lobby alcove down into the auditorium.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 2006 photo of the doorway leading to Aisle C by Cariberry on Flickr



The view back out into the main lobby area from the house right alcove. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr. 



A 1927 look back into the main lobby area from house right alcove. The doors we see exit onto the forecourt. It's a Mott Studios photo in the California State Library collection.



A look across the lobby into the house left alcove. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Bobc007 for adding his 2009 photo to the site's TCL Chinese Theatres page.

Also of interest on Cinema Treasures are many 2001 lobby photos by Christoper Crouch including: side alcove | snackbar | another snackbar view | ceiling | chandelier | mural | lobby statue | exit doors |



A peek into the house left lobby alcove. The 2007 photo is by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr



A view into the house left lobby alcove from the main lobby. That's the house left aisle and the stairs down to the ladies lounge beyond. The area included an impromptu exhibit of a 70mm Imax projector.

The projector was sitting there after the lower level of the booth was cleared out to make room for new IMAX laser projectors.  Thanks to Escott O. Norton of the LAHTF for his March 2015 photo. See the full 39 photo set about the installation on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A ceiling fixture detail. Thanks to The Real Devil Doll on Flickr for the 2006 photo.



The sign for aisle B in the house left lobby alcove. It's a c.2000 photo from the website L.A. Time Machines, no longer with us.



A platter from the 70mm IMAX system that was headed out the door.  The stairs are to the ladies lounge with the left sidewall of the theatre beyond. Photo: Escott O. Norton - LAHTF - March 2015. Thanks, Escott!



The stairs down to the ladies lounge at the top of the house left side aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



Looking back into the main lobby from the house left lobby alcove. Those doors on the right head out into the forecourt. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 2007 view out from the house left alcove by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr. 



We're in the house left alcove looking out at the expanded lobby area following the renovations by Behr Browers Architects.  Thanks to BBA for the 2001 photo, appearing on their Grauman's Chinese Theatre page. 



Thanks to the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection collection for this c.1955 view from the house left alcove.  The snack bar would stay in the original lobby area until the 2001 renovations.

Also on the LAHTF Facebook page:
  lobby statuary - Stephen Russo - 2012 | mannequin & chair - Russo - 2012 | north wall mural - Russo - 2012 | drinking fountain - Michelle Gerdes - 2012 | decorative medallion - Wah Wu - 2013 | ceiling - Wah Wu - 2013 | side aisle statue and medallion - Wendell Benedetti - 2013 |


back to top Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

Grauman's Chinese: the basement lounges


The ladies lounge is in the basement house left. Here we're in the room at the bottom of the stairs looking into the lounge. No, the Chinese hasn't gone unisex. The group is inspecting the facilities during the 2012 Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation tour of the building. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012
 


Thanks to Elizabeth Daniels for this lounge view, part of her fine 33 photo portfolio appearing on Curbed L.A. in April 2013 with Adrian Glick Kudler's story: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."  Here we're looking back out to the vestibule at the bottom of the stairs.

 

An Elizabeth Daniels lounge photo from her album with the 2013 Curbed L.A. story "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."

 

In the ladies lounge -- with a view into the red-tiled toilet area. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 2009 ladies lounge view on the TCL Chinese Theatre page of Cinema Treasures from contributor Bobc007.



From the ladies toilet room looking back out into the lounge. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The ladies toilet room at the Chinese -- no longer a vintage look in this part of the theatre. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 1981 view by Stephen Stanton of the ladies lounge area -- before the toilet area upgrades of 2001. It's one of many photos he took in 1981 while working at the theatre that appear on the Grauman's Chinese Theatre pages of his website. Thanks, Stephen!



The men's lounge is in the basement house right. Here we're in the east lobby alcove looking toward the house right wall of the theatre. The stairs down are essentially at the head of the house right aisle. Here in the photo we see a bit of the doorway on the far right. It's an Elizabeth Daniels from her album with the 2013 Curbed L.A. story "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



A closer look at the top of the stairs. Thanks to Elizabeth Daniels for the photo, one of 33 great views with the 2013 Curbed L.A. story "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



The door straight ahead gets you up to the booth and private boxes as well as into the original boxoffice, now a Starline Tours kiosk. Photo: Bill Counter - 2013



At the bottom of the stairs to the men's lounge. The dragon in the new carpet matches the pattern elsewhere in the theatre, such as in front of the curtain. Photo: Bill Counter - 2013



Thanks to Cristopher Crouch of Cinelog fame for this photo. He refers to this as "what may be the most famous cinema restroom in existence."



Mr. Crouch has filled in a major gap in our Chinese Theatre documentation by including these two photos in his 2011 Cinelog post "A Completist View."  Mr. Crouch has also posted several more men's lounge views on Cinema Treasures including a view of the stairs down and another bottom of the stairs photo.

back to top Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |