Opened: 1925 as the Marcal Theatre. The name was a contraction of the 2 owner's names - Mark Hansen and Alice Calhoun. It was never a prime Hollywood venue but cobbled together interesting programs of revivals and overlooked titles. The 1935 photo of the theatre running "The Mighty Barnum" is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
After the original owners were out of the picture it was operated for decades by Fox West Coast. Later Pacific Theatres ran it as a grindhouse. At some point along the line it got renamed the World Theatre.
The Marcal in the Movies: In "Destination Murder" (RKO, 1950) we see the theatre running a revival double bill of "Flight Lieutenant" (1942) and "Corregidor" (1943). Thanks to Jack Tillmany for the information on this one. He notes that the filming was done during the first week of December 1949 and the Marcal's booker must have thought this was an appropriate "commemoration" of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
Status: The theatre closed in the summer of 1986 and was gutted for other use. The facade was stripped off. Looking at the present exterior you'd never guess that it was a theatre. Since 2013 or so the building has been used as a nightclub. It was initially called Create. It's now called Academy LA. Thanks to T.J. Pierce for the club data.
A 1926 entrance view with the theatre running "The Broken Gate." The photo is in the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. The photo was an illustration to show off the work by Winter Iron Works that had been designed by William Young.
A 1932 look at the ticket lobby from Dick Whittington Studio that's in the USC Digital Library collection.
A peek into the lobby. It's a 1932 Dick Whittington Studio photo in the USC Digital Library collection.
Back out toward the street. It's a 1932 Dick Whittington Studio photo in the USC Digital Library collection.
A rare look at the auditorium. It's one of over 800 images in the great book "The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History" by Gregory Paul Williams, available on Amazon. This photo is on page 160. There's a preview of the book to browse on Google Books.
More exterior views:
On the marquee in this view is "City Lights." Chaplin himself evidently picked the Marcal for the film's Hollywood run. "City Lights" had opened downtown at the Los Angeles Theatre, where it was the initial film for the theatre when it opened in January 1931. It's a photo that appears on page 224 of "The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History" by Gregory Paul Williams.
A night view c.1937 of the market that later became the X Theatre. Note the view of the Marcal Theatre's vertical sign on the left. It's a Herman Schultheis photo from the Los Angeles Public Library.
A c.1937 facade view with the Marcal running "Godless Girl" and "American Madness" when the theatre was on a revival policy. The photo appears in the great 2008 Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres In Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. Most of the photos in the book are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives. There's a preview you can browse on Google Books.
A 1971 view east on Hollywood Blvd. at the World Theatre -- and the X Theatre beyond, here with the two halves of the X called the Adam and Eve. The photo is from the amazing Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection.
Again thanks to the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection for this 1972 photo that was taken when the World was a 99 cent admission triple-feature grindhouse.
A 1977 shot looking west at the X Theatre and onward down Hollywood Blvd.toward the World Theatre. Thanks to Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar DelValle for the photo. His theatre adventures can be found on his Theatre Talks blog as well as on Facebook.
The World vertical in 1978. Thanks to Meredith Lee for the photo. She was there on a USC film project. Her three photos appear on Cinema Treasures.
A 1978 marquee photo from Meredith Lee.
A 1978 lobby view. Again, thanks to Meredith Lee for the photo.
A 1979 view discovered by Ken McIntyre for the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. Thanks, Ken!
The World Theatre in 1982, running as a grindhouse operated by Pacific Theatres. It's part of the American Classic Images collection. Also on the American Classics site: World and X Theatre - 1983 | night view - 1983 |
The now unrecognizable building in a 2010 view. Photo: Bill Counter
More Information: Lots of recollections of the World's days as a grindhouse are on the Cinema Treasures page about the theatre.
Nearby: The X Theatre
| back to top | Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical list | L.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | welcome and site navigation guide |