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Warner Hollywood: booth and attic

6433 Hollywood Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA 90028  | map |

Pages about the Warner Hollywood: an overview | street views 1927 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | main lobby | basement lounge | upper lobby areas | recent auditorium views | vintage auditorium views | stage | stage basement | other basement areas | booth and attic |

The original booth at the top of the balcony has been used in several ways over the years. When the theatre was equipped for Cinerama in 1953, three new booths were constructed on the main floor. For the first Cinerama film, "This is Cinerama," a projector in the upstairs booth ran the small-format prologue before the curtains opened wide. And there was always the famous 30 minute "breakdown" reel (largely of Lowell Thomas talking about various things) ready to play in case of a film break or sync problems with the three downstairs machines.

During a big remodel by Stanley Warner in 1961 the three Cinerama booths got pulled out and a new booth was built downstairs. It was equipped with  35/70mm Norelco AAIIs, Ashcraft Super Cinex lamps, and an Ampex 6-4-1 sound system.  Later two additional booths were built on the main floor (up on stilts) for a second Cinerama installation. The center booth survived and later got Century JJ2 machines replacing the Norelcos. See the page of recent auditorium views for several photos of the main floor booth.

When the theatre was triplexed in 1978 the upstairs booth was used once again -- this time for the two balcony theatres.


The Warner booth in 1928 or early 1929. It's a photo from the Motion Picture News issue of February 2, 1929. Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner notes that we have Standard Simplex projectors with Ashcraft model 600 lamps.

While we have soundheads for both sound-on-film as well as turntables for Vitaphone disc reproduction, they didn't use the earlier model Western Electric Univeral Base for this installation. The 1929 photo was part of an article, available on Internet Archive: "Do We Need Standards of Projection Booth Design? Well Rather!"

A lovely late 20s or early 30s view of the Warner's booth showing off their Western Electric amps and other gear. Thanks to John Conning at the website Moviemice for the photo.

And thanks to Kurt Wahlner for finding these two vintage views.  While he has an avid interest in all worthy Los Angeles movie palaces, most of his energies are devoted to research on the Chinese. Visit his monumental

The Frank Adam Electric Co. publication "Electrical Data on Three Major Theatres" noted that: "All wiring, even on the picture machines, is concealed, and switches are not mounted on the machines. The equipment of the projection booth includes three projection machines with Vitaphone attachments, a triple dissolver, three spotlights and three floodlights. The switchboard and the control panels are of Frank Adam manufacture. The operator has complete control of any projection machine from any of the four control panels. The dousers on the triple dissolver are also controlled from all of the panels. The current to every lamp in the booth is remote controlled." 

In the upper balcony level lobby: the stairs up to the booth. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The back wall of the booth. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

A view along the front wall. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

A front wall detail. The blue enclosures are Xetron house light dimmers added for the upstairs theatres. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Behind the booth: motor for the lobby elevator. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Behind the booth: ballast resistors. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

From the booth one can get out on the roof. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

On the roof looking southeast. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The view down from the top of the vertical sign. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the photo. Visit the Photos of Los Angeles page on Facebook that he curates.

From the upper balcony lobby house left we have access to the passageway toward the main ceiling cove. We're looking toward the proscenium. The cove wraps around the front and two sides of the auditorium.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

We're following the main ceiling cove along house left. It's a three color lighting scheme. The wireway has receptacles for the 500W floods (here missing) that were used to hit the middle of the dome. The strip light illuminated the perimeter with 100 W bulbs and red, blue and amber glass roundels. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Main ceiling cove: out in space along house left. We're looking toward the proscenium. At the left we see the ornamental plaster once visible from balcony seats. On the right a wall added when the balcony was twinned. The screen and speaker area for the west theatre are behind the added wall. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Main ceiling cove: a striplight detail as we turn to head along above the proscenium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Main ceiling cove: above the proscenium -- looking toward house right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

Main ceiling cove: above the house right side of the proscenium. A slight change in elevation via the ladder is necessary to continue around along the house right side of the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

The Frank Adam Electric Co. publication "Electrical Data on Three Major Theatres" discusses the auditorium lighting: "The illumination of the auditorium is in three colors, obtained principally from concealed cove lights and floodlights. A mammoth dome forms the main ceiling. This dome is 112 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep. The cove lights extending around the dome consist of 498 100-watt units, each with porcelain enameled steel reflector and natural colored glass diffusing lens. The illumination from these lighting units extends approximately one sixth of the way across the dome.

"The remainder of the dome is illuminated by 500-watt floodlights, 108 in number, each equipped with the colored glass diffusing lenses previously mentioned. Even distribution of illumination in the dome is obtained from the floodlights because the light rays extend about three-fourths of the way across the dome.  Thus the overlapping light rays from all directions assure even intensity of illumination.

"The cove recess is sixteen inches deep. The lighting troughs are supported as shown in the accompanying illustration. The floodlights are suspended from a 2-inch iron pipe with adjustable clamps and are connected to standard receptacles, thus permitting them to be disconnected for replacement of lamps and cleaning.

"An enclosed walkway or pasasageway completely encircles the dome. This walk is 4 1/2 feet wide and 8 feet high and is securely fastened to the framework of the building. The floor is composed of a checkered steel plate, and thewalls and ceiling are of furred plaster construction. hus at any time, even during a performance, the electrician is enabled to replace burned out lamps without the discomforts usually encountered when only a plank walk is installed with a series of small handholes in the ceiling for replacement of lamps. This feature of the building was designed by Mr. Arthur F. Buss, Consulting Engineer on the job. A detail of the features just enumerated is reproduced below."

The Frank Adam publication also dealt with the Mosque in Richmond and the Stanley Theatre in Jersey City. It was in the collection of Lyman Brenneman and reprinted by the Theatre Historical Society in 1973. Thanks to Bob Foreman for making it available. His Vintage Theatre Catalogs site has a number of interesting items including a post of a Frank Adam/Major catalog from 1922 and a post of a 1952 Frank Adam catalog along with photos of earlier installations.

Main ceiling cove: the access corridor house right. Nothing serious -- just a few hollow tile blocks knocked loose by the 1994 earthquake. The debris is from the wall that separates the side of the  auditorium (at the rear) from the corridor forward to the ceiling lighting cove.On this side, access is via a door at the last row of seats house right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012.

Attic house right rear of the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012 

Another house right rear attic view. The wood ladder is in the corridor to the lighting cove. Beyond are rooms off the mid balcony level lobby house right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

About the Warner Hollywood:
| an overview | street views 1927 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | main lobby | basement lounge | upper lobby areas | recent auditorium views | vintage auditorium views | stage | stage basement | other basement areas | back to top - booth and attic | all warner hollywood posts |

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 |  

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