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Hitching Post Theatre

6262 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
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Opened:  As the Tele-View Theatre perhaps in the summer of 1939.  The theatre didn't make it into the 1939 city directory.  It was a remodel of an existing building.


The first data point we have for the theatre is this June 1939 ad in the L.A. Times. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the find -- it's down at the bottom of a much larger ad for "Maisie" that he posted on Photos of Los Angeles.

In late 1940 they weren't running newsreels but rather foreign films and advertising the theatre as the Tele View Revival. In 1941 it was renamed the Hitching Post. An L.A. Times article from January 20, 1941 located by Mr. McIntyre noted:

"Hollywood's only western theater will open Friday night when the Hitching Post, formerly the Tele-View, holds a colorful pioneer parade and premiere, in which stars of the western screen will participate. The name Tele-View will again be used in conjunction with newsreels at the News-View Theater. The Hitching Post, located at Hollywood and Vine, has signed contracts with Republic and other western producers for their pictures. Friday night's opening will be 'Melody Ranch,' starring Gene Autry, Ann Miller, Jimmy Durante and Barbara Allen."

"Melody Ranch" was a November 1940 release. As the Hitching Post, it ran double feature westerns. You had to check your cap gun in the lobby. The News-View Theatre mentioned in the article that was becoming an operation of the Tele-View chain was just up the street -- a theatre later known as the New-View and the Ritz.

In the 1942 city directory, it's just listed as the Western Theatre. This was one of at least three theatres that were called Hitching Post. Others were in Santa Monica (renamed the Riviera in 1950) and Beverly Hills (renamed the Beverly Canon in 1947). 

A Boxoffice magazine article in the December 7, 1946 issue stated that there were five Hitching Post Theatres including venues in Pasadena and Long Beach. A search of city directories comes up with nothing in either city. Long Beach did have a theatre devoted, for a time anyway, to westerns called the Wigwam (later renamed the Victor) but that era was long before the Hitching Post chain.

These theatres were operated by ABC Theatres, a local circuit owned by Buddy Adler, Horace Boos and Gregory Carter -- no relation to the later national circuit known as ABC Paramount. In November 1949 this one in Hollywood got rebranded as an art house called the Paris and reopened with the British film "Passport to Pimlico."

Seating: Estimates range from 350 to 400.

Status: It lasted into the 50's and has been demolished. It's now part of the the site of the W Hotel development. The entrance to the Red Line station is about where the Hitching Post was.



D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish are attending a premiere at the Pantages c.1940. The Tele-View is seen across the street. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo.



A 1941 photo showing the first version of the Hitching Post's marquee. Thanks to Martin Turnbull, the author of the "Garden of Allah" novels, for the photo. He has it on his entertaining "Hollywood Places - F to O" page. You have to look down under the Ls -- he calls it the "Little Hitching Post."

Mr. Turnbull also has a blog post about the Hitching Post with the same photo. It also appears on page 225 of "The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History" by Gregory Paul Williams. That page appears in the Google Books preview for the book.



A lovely 1943 look across the street at the Hitching Post -- here with a newer marquee. The main feature is "Canyon City." Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the post on Photos of Los Angeles.

The photo also appears in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photographs Collection. A cropped version appears on page 70 of the Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. There's a preview to browse on Google Books.


A great 1946 postcard with "Heading West" and Thunder Town" at the Hitching Post.  Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality found it on eBay and had it on his Noirish post #7262. Versions have also appeared on Facebook from Jon Haimowitz on Vintage Los Angeles and Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles.



A detail from the 1946 card. Thanks to Bill Sasser for posting this scan of the card on Cinema Treasures.



An elegant shot from Christmas season 1946 that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection showing the Hitching Post's marquee on the left. They're running "Rainbow Over Texas" with Roy Rogers. At the Pantages: "The Jolson Story."



A detail from the 1946 LAPL photo.



 A 1948 photo of the theatre from the amazing Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photographs Collection.

  

A view of the marquee during the 1950 Academy Awards when the theatre was called the Paris. The awards were right across the street at the Pantages.  Photo: Los Angeles Public Library



A 1951 photo taken during the Academy Awards at the Pantages. It's a Herald Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Note that the theatre's facade got extended upward a bit compared to the early 40s photos.



Another 1951 Herald Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection taken during the Academy Awards.



A September 1951 Herald Examiner photo in the USC Digital Library collection. The occasion is a firemen's parade on Hollywood Blvd. At the Paris that week you could see Merle Oberon in "Queen of the Damned." Here, even as the Paris, the letters "HP" are still evident above the marquee.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of stories.  The USC Digital Library has a 1936 photo from the California Historical Society showing this stretch of the block before the arrival of the Hitching Post. The building at the time was a used car dealer.

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