Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
| Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood/Brentwood | Santa Monica | [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 L.A. Theatre Tour

Welcome to the tour!  In addition to this Los Angeles Theatres site, I have two 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 downtown theatres -- with a few side trips to do new versions of pages for some of the more important buildings in outlying areas. 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 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 Theatres Downtown

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 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, 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.

Santa Monica Theatres 

Santa Monica had a vibrant theatrical life even in the days when it was a small town isolated from the rest of Los Angeles. There were opera houses, nickelodeons and, later, a selection of movie palaces to chose from. The Santa Monica Theatres page will give you the rundown on theatres including the Aero, the Criterion, the Elmiro, the Mayfair and many more.

[more] L.A. Movie Palaces

This section tries to fill in all the other areas of Los Angeles County. You'll find links to separate survey pages on theatres North of Downtown, San Fernando Valley Theatres, Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, Theatres Along the Coast, and lots more. The index page has links to all these theatres organized by area.

More resources: If you are still having trouble finding what you're looking for, these pages might help. The alphabetical lists also include alternate names for each venue.
- Downtown Theatres: alphabetical name list
- Downtown Theatres: by street address
- Westside Theatres: alphabetical name list
- Westside Theatres: by street address
- Hollywood Theatres: by street address
- Main Los Angeles County Theatres list: alphabetical
- Main Los Angeles County Theatres list: by address
- San Fernando Valley Theatres list: by street address
- San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier Theatres list: by street address
- Film and Theatre Technology Resources
- Theatre History Resources
- Theatre list by Architect
- Theatre Tours and Events

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

Million Dollar Theatre: vintage exterior views

307 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90013 | map |

Note: The Million Dollar pages are getting moved to this site over the next few weeks. On the old website: Million Dollar Theatre - main page

September 7, 1917 - A construction view by G. Haven Bishop for the Southern California Edison Co. The Edison Co. would be the office building's first tenant. The photo is in the collection of the Huntington Digital Library. They also have another September 7 photo taken a bit closer.

The lore is that the name Million Dollar was applied to the venue later. But note here that even the construction signage says "Home of the new Million Dollar Theatre."

September 7, 1917 - A detail from the Huntington Digital Library photo.

1917 - "Music of the Night," a figure modeled by William Woollett for Gladding McBean & Co., contractors for the terracotta on the Million Dollar. The figure, with the left hand and the ram's horn now missing, resides on the bottom of the north side of the outer arch above the marquee. It's a photo that appeared with an article by Jo Neely in The Graphic titled "A Dream Come True." It's reprinted in the May 1918 issue of Architect and Engineer.  It's on Internet Archive.  

January 18, 1918 - A detail from a construction shot by G. Haven Bishop in the Huntington Digital Library collection. Also see another similar photo he took the same day.

January 18, 1918 - A construction view of the 3rd St. side of the building by G. Haven Bishop from the Huntington Digital Library collection. Note that there's work going overhead -- not a lot of protection for the pedestrians.

January 1918 - The entrance days before the opening. Note the nice "Grauman's" signage above the arch. And don't you love the little trees in pots?  It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.

February 1, 1918 - The opening night photo is in the Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection, part of the AMPAS Margaret Herrick Digital Library Collection. It was acquired from the collection of Ron Downer. Note that we can see a bit of the unfinished area to the left of the entrance -- soon to become the open-air ticket lobby.

1918 - Construction continues on the office building after the theatre's opening. Perhaps the flag on the building was for the 4th of July. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Note the "For Rent" signs in the two bays at the left that were later part of the open-air ticket lobby. And check out the Grauman's "Aladdin's lamp" signage back near the stagehouse.

1918 - A detail from a G. Haven Bishop photo giving us a view up 3rd St. to Angels' Flight. At Grauman's: Pauline Frederick in "Fedora," a Mack Sennett comedy released in August 1918. The photo is in the collection of the Huntington Digital Library.

1918 - A view from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. On the far right note the "Aladdin's lamp" signage looks like it has a plume of steam coming from it.

May, 1919 - The theatre running "The Girl Dodger" with Charles Ray. It's a Huntington Digital Library photo by G. Haven Bishop. Other similar views taken during the run of "The Girl Dodger" in the Huntington's collection include: June 15, 1919 - with a line in front | another take  | no line |

Note that those two southern bays are in use as an open-air ticket lobby -- something that wasn't ready for the the theatre's opening. See the ticket lobbies page for more about that area. 

May 1919 - A detail of the 3rd St. side of the building from the "Girl Dodger" photo. It looks like we're loading in a show. 

c.1920 - A fine postcard view south on Broadway that appears on a page about the Million Dollar on the USC Geography Department Downtown LA Walking Tour. The card also pops up in several other places including Elizabeth Fuller's Old L.A. Postcards on Flickr, the Bringing Back Broadway Facebook page and in the collection of Michelle Gerdes on Flickr.

1920 - The theatre running the February release "On With The Dance" starring Mae Murray and David Powell. The image appeared as part of a theatre slideshow on the site She credits it as being from the 2008 Arcadia publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. The photo is from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives. There's a preview of the book to browse on Google Books.

1920 - Grauman's during the 1920 run of the Harold Lloyd film "High and Dizzy." Lloyd got the 10' x 15' poster up but his film was just a 26 minute short. The feature was "The Fighting Chance." This photo from someone's scrapbook was on eBay but had no takers. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for finding the photo. Visit, his website about another Grauman theatre, the Chinese.

1921 - The theatre is all dressed up to welcome Elks in town for a convention. It's a G. Haven Bishop photo in the Huntington Digital Library collection.

1921 - An entrance detail from the previous photo. The feature film is "One a Minute" with Douglas MacLean. Sid notes on the marquee that his revue has "75 artists 75." Note the signage over the bays of the ticket lobby at the left:"Grauman's Cinema Temple."

1921 - A G. Haven Bishop image looking east on 3rd toward a lost world. The Fay Building on the right is now the site of the Grand Central Market parking garage. The photo is in the Huntington Digital Library collection.

G. Haven Bishop's photos were taken for Southern California Edison. More early theatre views in the Huntington collection: another night view east on 3rd - 1921 | Broadway facade at night - 1921 | 3rd St. side -- c. 1922 | east on 3rd - day view - 1923 | night view west - c.1926 |

The Edison collection at the Huntington also has many views of the interior of the office building showing use of the space as offices, dispatch areas, lunch rooms, etc. Searching the collection for
"Edison Building" gets many of these items.

Some of the more interesting ones include: Laughlin Building  - Grand Central Market) - 1915 - before MD construction | on the roof | office building lobby | library | directors' room | ladies' lunch room - basement | ladies lunch room kitchen | ladies lounge | mail room | assembly room | men's lunch room - 2nd floor |

1922 - A view of the building that appeared along with several interior shots in the Architectural Digest 1922 survey issue of noteworthy southern California buildings. It's from the Stanford Library and on Google Books.

c.1924 - Rats and plague! A fine view looking north across the Grand Central Market and the Million Dollar beyond. The photo is on Calisphere from the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. It was part of a large "Rats" set taken when the city was on a hunt for rats in an attempt to eradicate an outbreak of pneumonic plague.

Can't tell what's playing except that it's a comedy. The three sets of white letters up high each say "HA HA." Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for spotting the photo and including it with others from the "Rats" set on his Noirish post #34867.

1925 - A photo from the California State Library collection with the theatre running Erich von Stroheim's "The Merry Widow" with John Gilbert. It was an August release. 

1925 - A photo of the theatre running Harold Lloyd's "The Freshman," a September release. The Pennsylvanians appeared with the film as part of the "Atmospheric Prologue: On The Campus" stage show for six weeks. The Pennsylvanians came back for six weeks in 1923 for the opening show of Grauman's Metropolitan Theatre. The photo is one that appeared on a now-vanished page about Fred Waring from the Penn State Alumni Library.

1925 - A view of the theatre when presenting Chaplin's "Gold Rush." This would have been the "popular price" engagement. The film had opened in June at the Egyptian on a twice a day schedule at roadshow prices. Note the ductwork on the stagehouse going up to the fan room on the roof. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.

1927 - A look at the Million Dollar discovered on eBay by theatre detective Michelle Gerdes. Playing is "The Magic Flame" with Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky. Note a new vertical sign saying "Million Dollar" has replaced the "Grauman's" sign. The ticket lobby in the south bays is no more -- that space is now retail. Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality has the photo and the program for the engagement on his Noirish post #17525.

late 1920s - Looking north on Broadway toward 3rd and the Million Dollar Theatre. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection where they date it as 1929. The photo also appears in the
USC Digital Library collection from the California Historical Society. They date it as c.1926. Note the "Edison Building" signage on the north side of the Million Dollar's tower. They were the first tenant and stayed until their new building (now known as One Bunker Hill) was completed in 1931.

1930s - A panorama north toward on Broadway toward 3rd. Here at the corner the there's some competition for Grand Central in the form of another "cut rate" market. Note the added vertical sign for the Grand Central Market. And check out the Million Dollar's vertical. It's now higher on the building than the first "Million Dollar" sign was in the late 20s. And the earlier one was higher that the initial "Grauman's" vertical. The photo is one in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

1935 - Disney animator Tyrus Wong and, presumably, his wife on Broadway. The Million Dollar is running "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" with Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone. Thanks to Phillip Anthony Aguirre for the post of the photo on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

1939 - 3rd St. looking east from Hill in a view discovered by Ken McIntyre for a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

1940 - A photo by Bob Landry for Life. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the image in the Life collection and posting it on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. The photo got a 2016 re-post on Photos of Los Angeles by Al Guerrero who noted the display case at the left was advertising "While Thousands Cheer." It was a 1940 release from Million Dollar Productions directed by Leo Popkin. Harry Popkin owned the theatre at the time, presumably they were brothers.

The second feature was "Spy Bureau." Michael Moran went on a hunt and determined that it's an alternate title for the 1936 British film "Second Bureau," the title being a reference to a spy agency that would be unknown to US audiences. The photo can also be found on Other photos for taken for Time or Life can be found on the Time Inc. website, as part of a huge Life collection on Google, or in the Getty Images Life collection.

1940s - Looking south toward 3rd and the Million Dollar. The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. They date this one as 1954 but it's obviously much earlier.

1946 - An Otto Rothschild photo from the Jack Tillmany collection. The "films that make you gasp" program had "Camps of the Dead," an 11 minute short about Nazi death camps, along with two 1945 features: "Woman Who Came Back" and "Girls of the Big House." The photo is now in the Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection.

late 1940s? - Lionel Hampton at the Million Dollar in an undated Los Angeles Public Library photo.

1948 - A look at the marquee during an appearance of Dizzy Gillespie. In addition to the stage attractions, they were featuring the film "Angels' Alley." Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the photo, a post of his on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

late 1940s? - Looking south on Broadway toward 3rd St. It's a photo by Arnold Hylen appearing through the courtesy of his grand-niece Greta Gustafsson. For more about Mr. Hylen visit the Arnold Hylen Photographer Facebook page.

c.1950 - A look east down the Angels Flight tracks and 3rd St. toward the Million Dollar.
It's a photo by Roy Hankey in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. This side of the Million Dollar on the SE corner of 3rd and Hill we see the F.P. Fay Building, now replaced by the
parking garage for the Grand Central Market.

June 1954 - A look south on Broadway toward the Million Dollar. It's a Palmer Connor photo in the Huntington Digital Library collection.  

June 1954 - A detail from the Palmer Connor photo.   

1956 - The P Line on Broadway. It's a photo from the Metro Library and Archive on Flickr. It's part of their Downtown Los Angeles set.

1956 - A William Reagh photo looking east from Bunker Hill. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

1959 - Looking west on 3rd toward the Million Dollar in 1959. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting the photo on Photos of Los Angeles.

1963 - Looking north past the Grand Central Market toward the Million Dollar. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.

1963 - A detail from the Sean Ault photo.

1964 - LBJ in front of the Million Dollar. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on Photos of Los Angeles.

1960s - A look east along 3rd St. discovered on eBay by Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality and included on his Noirish post #25194. Thanks!

c.1965 - A William Reagh view of the marquee from the California State Library collection. 

1966 - A peek at the theatre building (and the Grand Central Market) from Clay St. during the Bunker Hill redevelopment project. It's a William Reagh photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. 

late 60s - Looking down Angel's Flight as Bunker Hill gets cleared. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo. Also see another view down the tracks of similar vintage.  

1979 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this look upward. It appeared as a post of his on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

1982 - A look east on 3rd. It's a Michael Haering photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

c.1984 - Thanks to Tom Zimmerman for this photo looking north toward the theatre in the days before the facade restoration at the Grand Central Market -- and when the Million Dollar still had a vertical sign. The photo, in the collection of the California State Library, has also been seen on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

1987 - An L.A. Times view of the building by Marsha Traeger. It's on Calisphere from UCLA's Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

1987 - A marquee shot from Ken McIntyre on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

1988 - A street festival at 3rd & Broadway. Ken McIntyre found the photo for a post on Photos of Los Angeles.

1988 - A great look at the entrance by Betty Sword. Thanks to Brooklyn-based theatre researcher Cezar Del Valle for sharing the photo from his collection. Check out his latest investigations on the blog Theatre Talks.

1991 - A photo from the collection of Sean Ault. It was taken by his grandfather, William E. Ault.  

1999 - Performers for a Mexican variety show at the theatre. It's a Gary Leonard photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Also in the collection by Mr. Leonard taken for the same event are a shot of showgirls out on Broadway and one of the show's jester.

c.2000 - A view down 3rd toward the Bradbury Bldg. that appeared on the now-vanished website L.A. Time Machines.


| back to top - vintage exterior views |

| Downtown: theatre district overview | Hill St. and farther west | Broadway theatres | Spring St. theatres | Main St. and farther east | downtown theatres by address | downtown theatres alphabetical list

| Westside | Hollywood | Westwood and Brentwood | Santa Monica and Venice | [more] Los Angeles movie palaces | the main alphabetical list | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | theatres in movies | LA Theatres on facebook | contact info | welcome and site navigation guide |