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Hawaii Theatre

5941 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
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Opened: May 6, 1940 with "Abe Lincoln in Illinois." Galston and Sutton Theatres was the initial operator.

Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality who spotted the opening night photo on eBay and included it in his Noirish LA post #29400.

Architect: Clarence G. Smale, along with theatre designer Carl Moeller, created an interesting environment with volcanos, waterfalls and more.

Seating: 1,106 seats -- all on one level.

In the mid 40s the theatre known as the Hawaii Music Hall. The Music Hall group also had what is still called the Music Hall in Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Music Hall (later renamed the Holly Theatre) and the Downtown Music Hall, now back to its original name, the Tower.

Status: Closed in July 1963 and gutted for use by the Salvation Army.



The lobby at the Hawaii. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute, one in a set of twelve that they index as Shulman's job #Lee-H. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Hoss C for finding the Shulman photos in the Getty collection. He has a selection of then on his Noirish post #37350. The Los Angeles Public Library also has a version of the photo.



A look at the upstairs lounge. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute, one in a set of twelve that they index as Shulman's job #Lee-H.  The Los Angeles Public Library also has a version of the photo.



The Nursery. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute.



Another Julius Shulman nursery photo. She's a little big for the playpen, don't you think? It's a 1940 view in the collection of the Getty Research Institute.



A peek into the auditorium. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute.



 The vista from the back of the house. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. The Los Angeles Public Library also has a version of it.



A 1940 look toward the screen from the house left cry room. It's a photo by Julius Shulman in the California State Library collection. It also appears in a set of twelve Hawaii Theatre photos in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. They index it as Shulman's job #Lee-H.



The house left wall.  It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute.



House left down front. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute



Take a look at that upholstery! It's a Julius Shulman photo of the rear of the auditorium that's in in the California State Library collection.  It also appears in a set of twelve Hawaii Theatre photos in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. They index it as Shulman's job #Lee-H.  The Los Angeles Public Library also has a version of the photo.

A cropped version of the photo above appeared with an article on theatre seating in the June 29, 1940 Modern Theatre section of Motion Picture Herald, available on Internet Archive. The caption noted:

"The new Hawaii theatre recently opened by Galston & Sutton Theatres in Hollywood. Seating is in two sections -- a forward and a rear loge section. The forward section is seated with Kroehler chairs having retracting seats; the loge section is seated with Heywood-Wakefield chairs. The aisle form is said to produce a slight stagger effect."



A closer look at the the rear of the auditorium. It's a 1940 Julius Schulman photo in the collection of the Getty Research Institute.  Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Hoss C for finding the Shulman photos in the Getty collection. He has a selection of then on his Noirish post #37350.



A 2010 view by Don Solosan of what's left of the front of the auditorium at the Hawaii Theatre. The photo was taken in conjunction with a Los Angeles Theatre Historical Foundation tour and appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A Don Solosan photo of the rear of the auditorium in 2010, appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page. Thanks, Don!



A rendering of the exterior from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A view taken shortly after the 1940 opening from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



The Hawaii Theatre playing "Mill On The Floss," released in the United States in November, 1939. It's a photo in the California State Library collection.  It also appears in a set of twelve Hawaii Theatre photos in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. They index it as Shulman's job #Lee-H.

Martin Pal, in his Noirish Los Angeles post #37385, comments on the display case on the far left: "It says 'Newspaper Raves welcome Hawaii Theatre' and shows clippings (not readable) of newspaper reviews of the theatre itself."



A look at the Hawaii during the 1940 run of "Rebecca" after it had picked up some awards. It was initially an April release. The photo is from the site Hollywood Historic Photos, displaying several thousand images from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.



A 1941 shot of the theatre running "Vivacious Lady" and "Convoy" after they had picked up some Academy Awards. "Vivacious Lady," released in 1938, had played its first run engagement at the Pantages.

Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting the photo and posting it on Photos of Los Angeles. It's from Gregory Paul Williams' wonderful 2005 book "The Story of Hollywood, An Illustrated History." It's available on Amazon and there's also a Google Books preview to browse.



"Enjoy the Unusual Photography Under the Hawaii's  Famous 'Black Light' Auditorium Illumination." Thanks to Sean Ault for spotting this November 1941 ad for "Citizen Kane" at the Hawaii. "Important: See It From The Start."



The Hawaii for the moveover run of "Citizen Kane" in 1941. The first-run engagement had been down the street at the El Capitan -- the last booking for the house (then a legit venue) before it closed to get remodeled into the Paramount. Along with renting the El Capitan, RKO put "Kane" into a theatre they owned downtown, the RKO Hillstreet. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.



"In person: the stand-ins of the Hollywood Stars." Thanks to Larry Harnisch and his blog The Daily Mirror for the 2012 story "Hellzapoppin Opens in Los Angeles." The article included this ad for the film's 1942 first run engagement at the Hawaii following the moveover run of "Citizen Kane." "Hellzapoppin" was the Hawaii's initial first run film.



A crime scene photo from 1943. The Hawaii, on the right, is running "Crime Doctor." What was going on in the middle of the street is a mystery. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



A detail from the 1943 LAPL photo.



A 1947 Burton Frasher postcard view looking west for his Frasher Foto Card series. Note the interesting changeable letter roof sign. The photo is from the Frasher collection at the Pomona Public Library and appears on Calisphere.

The Hawaii is running "The Chase" with Robert Cummings and Peter Lorre. The photo also appears in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection and Mr. Ethereal Reality has it on his Noirish Los Angeles post #29401.


 
A detail from the full Frasher image.



The dashboard view west toward the Hawaii c.1958. The roof sign is advertising "Around The World in 80 Days." This, of course, is not the first run engagement. That 70mm roadshow run opened at the Carthay Circle Theatre December 22, 1956.  Thanks to  Sean Ault for the photo from his collection.



Thanks to Maurice E. Ideses for this terrific 1959 view by Willy Rizzo looking west on Hollywood Blvd.  It was a post on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.



The Hawaii Theatre building after a slight renovation. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



A look west on Hollywood Blvd. The theatre marquee just beyond the three palm trees is the X Theatre, demolished in 2016. Photo: Google Maps - 2011

The Hawaii Theatre in the Movies:


We get a quick look at the Hawaii in the nine minute AMPAS/RKO 1948 short "Let's Go To The Movies," available on the Internet Archive. See the Theatres In Movies post for shots of other theatres featured in the film.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of interesting history.

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