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 of historic L.A. Theatres!  In addition to this 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 until the end 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 Historic L.A. 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.



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 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 Historic 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. 

Globe Theatre: vintage exterior views

More Globe Theatre pages: history - still on the old site | recent exterior views | lobby areas | recent auditorium views | earlier auditorium views | attic | backstage | basement | garland building |


1912 - At the left of the photo, the framing is going up for the Garland Building. In the gulch to the right of that we're at the back of the 2nd balcony. It will get a lower roof than the rest of the auditorium off to the right. The space between the tops and bottoms of the trusses will become the attic. Below is the formwork for the front section of the 2nd balcony.

The photo, taken from the building just south of the theatre, appeared with a survey of the work of architects Morgan, Walls & Morgan in the January 1921 issue of Architect and Engineer. It's on Internet Archive. Thanks to Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel for finding the photo.



1912 - The exterior toward the end of construction. Photo: Architect and Engineer - January 1921. Also on the page is a construction view at the back of the main floor.



1913 - The theatre opened as the Morosco on January 6. We get this small view of the entrance in the May 1913 issue of The West Coast Magazine. It's part of an article called "Los Angeles - A City" where Oliver Morosco talks about his new theatre. The issue is on Google Books.



1913 - A photo by C.C. Pierce looking north from 8th St. that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. At the time of the photo there hadn't been any vertical signs installed.



1913 - An early card looking north on Broadway from Brent Dickerson's "Later Around Broadway and 8th" chapter of his great "A Visit to Old Los Angeles" tour. He also has several other sections about Broadway, nicely illustrated with vintage postcards and photos. Details are on the site's index page. A version of the card, along with recent views, appears on Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality's Noirish post #16179.

The card gives us a bit of the Garrick Theatre in the lower center. In 1927 that would be the site for the Tower Theatre. The white Los Angeles Investment Co. Building on the corner, designed by Ernest McConnell, rose in 1912 and would be renamed the Chapman Building in 1920. It's now loft apartments. The Garland Building / Morosco Theatre is beyond.



1913 - A view of the new building from the Los Angeles Public Library Security Pacific collection. Note the two vertical signs.



1913 - Up in the Hamburger Department Store Building, later to become the May Co., looking north. It's a C.C. Pierce photo from the California Historical Society in the USC Digital Archives collection where they date it June 1.



1913 - A detail from the June 1 C.C. Pierce photo. Down the street we get a glimpse of the Orpheum (now the Palace), the Pantages (now the Arcade Theatre) and the tower of the old City Hall.



c.1913 - Another a C.C. Pierce photo taken from the Hamburger Bldg. It's from the California Historical Society collection and appears on the USC Digital Archives website.



1913 - An October view of the Garrick Theatre (later the site of the Tower), the stud-lit Los Angeles Investment Co. Building, and the Morosco Theatre beyond. It's a G. Haven Bishop photo for Southern California Edison Company that's in the Huntington Digital Library collection.



1913 - A detail from the G. Haven Bishop image.



c.1915 - An early postcard of the theatre from the collection of Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar Del Valle. Check out his Theatre Talks website or the Brooklyn Theatre Index Facebook page to see what he's been exploring lately.



c.1915 - This is the photo that the postcard above was based on. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.  



c. 1915 - A postcard from the collection Penny Postcards From California. Thanks to Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel for finding it.



late 1920s - Up on the roof of the Hamburger Building. The Morosco has a new vertical sign installation -- but only one this time around. Up the street we can see the Palace Theatre, until 1926 called the Orpheum. It's a photo in the USC Digital Library collection. They also have a similar shot that shows more of the Hamburger roof garden.



late 1920s - A detail from the previous photo in case you want to check out the new vertical.



late 1920s - Another detail from the USC photo giving us a closer look at the marquee. The lovely original Morosco lettering on the edge of the marquee got changed out for a more generic font and a readerboard was added above. "The Wasp's Nest Now Playing." At the time of the photo the theatre was still running as a legit playhouse.



1929 - A Christmas season Dick Whittington Studio photo. On the right we get the theatre, newly renamed the President. Henry Duffy, operator of a string of legit houses up and down the coast, had renamed the theatre. But his circuit fell apart around 1930. The photo is in the USC Digital Library collection.



1929 - A detail from the previous Dick Whittington photo giving us a closer look at the theatre's revamped vertical sign. Note we still have the original 1913 marquee but with the letters on the edge changed out to read President.



1929 - A wider Christmas view north toward 8th from the Dick Whittington Studio. On the right we get a bit of the Rialto marquee followed by the Tower and the Morosco/President. Over on the left in the distance there's Loew's State and the vertical for the Broadway entrance of the Paramount Theatre, formerly the Metropolitan. The photo is on the USC Digital Archives website, part of a set of 7 photos surveying downtown decorations that year. Thanks to Stephen Russo for finding the photos in the USC collection.



1931 - This great postcard shows the new marquee of the President Theatre in the left foreground. Here the house has gone to movies, running "Street Scene" with Sylvia Sidney, an August 1931 release. The card is from the collection of Gerald DeLuca on Photobucket. Mr. DeLuca also has an interesting collection of theatre photos in his Cinemas Album.

The marquee of the Broadway entrance for the short-lived Bard's 8th St. Theatre (later renamed the Olympic) is in the classical white Merritt Building at the right. The Majestic Theatre, demolished in 1933, is down the street on the right, just before the turquoise Eastern Columbia building.  



1936 - A Dick Whittington view looking down on the President Theatre marquee. The vertical sign has been removed from the building. It's a photo in the USC Digital Archives collection. It also makes an appearance on Noirish Los Angeles contributor Mdiederi's Noirish post #2745. On the far right that's a slice of the Tower Theatre's vertical.



1936 - A Detail from the previous Dick Whittington photo. The end panel reads "Robert Taylor Features" with a banner beneath for "The Gorgeous Hussy" (released in August 1936). That title and Joan Crawford, his co-star in "Hussy" appears on the front. The rest is unreadable.



c.1937 - Looking north from 8th toward the President Theatre. It's a Herman Schultheis photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1938 - Looking down the canyon of Broadway toward the President Theatre. Down at 8th, we get a bit of the Tower Theatre. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for finding this one in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1939 - Looking north on Spring at 8th St. in a Dick Whittington photo. Note the newly painted "Newsreel Theatre" signage on the back of what formerly was the President Theatre. The photo is in the USC Digital Library collection.



1940 - Looking south from Bullock's toward the Garland Building and Newsreel Theatre, here still with the old boxy marquee it had from the President days. At the State: "The Man I Married," an August release. The photo is in the USC Digital Archives collection.



c.1940 - We're looking north from 8th with the theatre, here called the Newsreel, on the right. On the program is a March of Time newsreel, a series that began in 1935. The photo, taken by Bob Plunkett, is from the James Rojas collection and appears in an album from the Metro Library and Archive on Flickr. Thanks to Stephen Russo for spotting it. Michelle Gerdes also found it for a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



c.1941 - An entrance view acquired from Bay Area theatre historian Jack Tillmany that's now in the Tom B'hend - Preston Kaufmann Collection, part of the AMPAS Margaret Herrick Digital Library Collections.



1942 - A 4th of July parade up Broadway -- note the "Newsreel" signage on the theatre above its new triangular marquee. It's a Herald Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1945 - A photo by Harry E. Surerus that was once in the collection of Tony Heinsbergen. Thanks to Tom Ohmer for finding this one in the AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection. The photo has mad appearances on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles and with a May 2014 Curbed L.A. article.



1940s - A fine view north on Broadway from 8th with a look at the theatre as the Newsreel.  The photo from Nathan Marsak Collection appears on page 48 of "Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles, 1925-1960," the terrific 2016 book from Angel City Press by Tom Zimmerman and Eric Lynxwiler. It's available on Amazon or direct from Angel City.

Articles about the book have appeared on Curbed L.A., the website for Los Angeles magazine, the L.A. Daily News website, LAist, the KCRW blog and the website CityLab. Thanks to Sean Ault for spotting the photo. Details from the photo have also appeared on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



1948 - A Times photo on Calisphere from the UCLA L.A. Times Photographic Archives. Looking south we see the vertical of the Tower Theatre, at the time of the photo called the Music Hall. The photo's copy: "PROTEST -- Marching along Broadway in drizzle, members of Costa Rican colony in Los Angeles parade in protest against government at home which they charge is Communist-dominated. In center of front row carrying a placard is Ezequiel Gutierrez Ross, who headed the demonstrators. Beside him is his son, Edgar Gutierrez, 18."



1955 - In this sad view north we see the theatre renamed the Globe running "Wichita," a July 1955 release with Joel McCrea. The Newsreel format and the neon letters that had been above the readerboards were moved half a block south to the Tower Theatre. It's a photo by Vivian Maier that appears in the book "Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows" by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams. Thanks to Don Goldberg for spotting the photo.

From the Amazon blurb on the book: "Presenting her breathtaking photographs alongside revealing interviews with those who knew her best, this volume is the first attempt to put Vivian Maier's work in context and create a moving portrait of her as an artist. Though she created more than 120,000 negatives during her lifetime, only a few were ever seen by others." Also see VivianMaier.com.



1960s - A Dick Whittington Studios photo in the USC Digital Library collection.



1960s - "3 Top Hits." It's a detail from the Dick Whittington photo.



1971 - The Globe as a Spanish language film house running "Chico Ramos." Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.



1972 - A view looking south on Broadway from the Sean Ault collection. The Globe has "El Rey de Acapulco" as their main feature.



1972 - A photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. 



1976 - The Globe is all dressed up as a burlesque theatre for the Peter Hyams film "Peeper" (20th Century Fox). Private eye Michael Caine is in the distance running to the theatre to rescue Natalie Wood from a kidnapper. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for more shots from the film.



1980 - A photo from the American Classic Images collection. 



1983 - A nice night view in the American Classic Images collection. Look at that great neon work on the front.   



1985 - An entrance view from an unknown photographer. The theatre closed at the end of 1986.



c.1995 - The heatre's entrance repurposed for retail use. The photo is one of many fine views on the Broadway Theater Tour page from Grace Market Research.


| 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 | Along the Coast | [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 |