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Movies no more. The Hollywood Theatre is now a Guinness Museum. Photo: Bill Counter - 2010
Opened: December 20, 1913 as Hollywood's second theatre with the initial admission price of 10 cents. The facade was of white glazed brick with marble tile in the lobby. The auditorium featured Corinthian columns and a coffered ceiling. The owner of the project was H.L. Lewis. The Idle Hour had been the first theatre to open in Hollywood, in late 1910 or early 1911.
By 1950 Metropolitan Theatres was the operator. The Hollywood was later operated for years by Fox West Coast and its successor companies NGC and Mann Theatres. Frequently it was used as a moveover house from the Chinese. It was a grind operation for a while under NGC. Mann did a remodel in 1977 (including a 70mm installation) for a moveover of "Star Wars." "Blade Runner" also had a good run here in 1982.
Architects: Kremple and Erkes did the building originally. Evidently there was a minor remodel in 1927. S. Charles Lee and Clifford Balch (together?) supposedly did a renovation in 1936 and replaced the original white brick facade with a deco version. The signage currently on the building is from that remodel. Stories so far about who did 30s remodel work (and when) is sketchy and contradictory. On the Cinema Treasures site there's also a mention of Claud Beelman being involved in the remodel work, possibly just the interior, and they use 1938 as the date for that.
Seating: 750 at the end.
The Hollywood Theatre in the Movies:
The Harold Lloyd film "Luke's Movie Muddle" (Rolin Films, 1916) was shot at the Hollywood Theatre. In the seven minute film Lloyd plays a theatre owner who also has to usher and run the boxoffice as well as putting up with a sleepy projectionist. Also featured are Bebe Daniels and Snub Pollard. Hal Roach directed. See the Theatres In Movies post for more about the film.
The Hollywood appears near the end of "The Zodiac Killer" (Audubon Films, 1971). There are also shots of the Vogue, the New-View/Ritz and Warner.
Bruce Kimmel advises that exterior views of the Hollywood Theatre and the Music Box (as the Pix) appear in "The First Nudie Musical," (Paramount, 1976). The interiors were done at the Fox Venice. Mr. Kimmel was the writer for the film.
We get lots of low altitude shots on the boulevard including this view with the Hollywood across the street in David Winters' "Thrashin'" (Fries Entertainment, 1986). It's about two skateboard gangs battling for supremacy. The film features Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler and Pamela Gidley. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for the screenshot. See the Theatres In Movies post for shots of Grauman's Chinese, the Chinese Twin, and the El Capitan Theatre.
Status: Closed in 1991 and remodeled as a Guinness Book of Records museum. The marquee, vertical and some exterior detail are the only features remaining.
1914 - A look at the theatre running "Detective Craig's Coup," a 1914 release with Francis Carlyle, Pearl Sindelar and Jack Standing. The photo appears in the terrific book "Hollywood, The First 100 Years" by Bruce Torrence. Published by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1979, it's available on Amazon.
The book has many rare photos from Mr. Torrence's collection. Many (but not this one) are available for viewing and purchase at www.hollywoodphotographs.com. Torrence is the grandson of legendary Hollywood developer C.E. Toberman, who built the El Capitan, Egyptian and Chinese theatres, along with many other landmark buildings.
1915 - From the great Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection comes this view with the theatre down beyond the fence.
Also in the collection: another 1915 view | 1938 night view | 1972 exterior - "Rage" and Junior Bonner" | 1973 exterior - a premiere | 1977 remodel | 1977 exterior - post-remodel - "Star Wars" moveover | 1979 exterior - "King of the Gypsies" |
c.1915 - An early postcard view looking west toward Highland. It's from the collection of Hollywood Heritage. A blowup of the card is on display at the organization's DeLongpre Annex, 6411 Hollywood Blvd.
1924 - A nice look east on Hollywood Blvd. with the theatre on the right. We're running "Why Men Leave Home" with Lewis Stone. Thanks to Tommy Dangcil for the post on Vintage Los Angeles of the card from his collection. The photo appears in smaller format on the cover of his Arcadia Publishing book "Hollywood 1900-1950 in Vintage Postcards." The 2002 book, in their Postcard History Series, is available on Amazon. There's also a preview on Google Books.
1936 - A rare late view prior to the facade remodel. We're running "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town," an April release with Jean Arthur and Gary Cooper. The photo appears in the terrific book "Hollywood, The First 100 Years" by Bruce Torrence. Published by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1979, it's available on Amazon.
1936 - A view looking east taken during the run of "Mr. Deeds." Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the photo, a post of his on Photos of Los Angeles.
1938 - A night view showing off the new marquee. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
1938 - Another look at the new marquee. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
c.1938 - A marquee soffit snapshot. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
1938 - A view with the Hollywood running "The Cowboy and the Lady" with Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
1938 - Another Christmas angle shot. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
1938 - A look east on Hollywood Blvd. from Highland. Ken McIntyre found the photo for his Photos of Los Angeles collection on Facebook.
late 1930s - Looking east on Hollywood Blvd. The Hollywood is hiding over on the right side. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library.
1939 - A Dick Whittington Studio photo from the USC Archives. That's the Hollywood over on the right. It's in the USC Digital Library collection.
1940 - A Christmastime look east on the Boulevard by Herman Schultheis. The Hollywood is playing "The Howards of Virginia" with Cary Grant. The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
1942 - From the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection here's a view of Lee's 1936 facade that had replaced the original version. This week: "My Gal Sal" with Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. The photo appears on Calisphere.
1943 - Bobby Cole found this superb shot looking east on Hollywood Blvd. We get the Hollywood Theatre on the right and, beyond the Christie Hotel, a glimpse of the Egyptian Theatre vertical. Thanks to Bobby for posting it on the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page.
1945 - A Christmas look east on Hollywood Blvd. added by Ken McIntyre to the enormous Photos of Los Angeles collection on Facebook. Thanks, Ken!
1946 - A cool Christmas season view looking east with the Hollywood Theatre at the right. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
1946 - A photo looking west on Hollywood Blvd. during Christmas season added to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page by Alison Martino. We miss the Egyptian (it would be just off to the left) but get a glimpse of the Hollywood Theatre vertical farther down the street on the left. And farther down there's the tower atop the El Capitan.
1947 - Thanks to Alison Martino for this noirish Christmas view. It was a post on her Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
1950 - A great Corbis Archive look at the Hollywood Theatre marquee during the run of "Pagan Love Song" with Esther Williams and Howard Keel. Ken McIntyre dug it out of the archive and had it as a post on Photos of Los Angeles.
1950 - Thanks to Mike Martini Baker for this Christmas view. The Hollywood is running "Mister 880" with Burt Lancaster along with "Three Secrets." It was a post on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern. The photo has also appeared on the SoCal Historic Architecture Facebook page.
1950 - A Life photo looking east gives us the Vogue on the left with the towers of the Warner beyond. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Tourmaline for spotting the shot in the Life collection -- it's in the Noirish post #35733 along with other Hollywood views.
1951 - A Life magazine view looking west on Hollywood Blvd. Note that, among other theatres, we get a glimpse of the Vogue neon on the right and the Hollywood on the left. The Hotel Drake you see here was earlier the Hotel Christie. Later it was the Hollywood Inn. The building is now part of Scientology's many holdings in Hollywood.
Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting the shot above in the Life collection and posting it on Photos of Los Angeles. On the same Facebook page Bill Gabel also has added another version. You can
also find it on Tourmaline's Noirish Los Angeles post #35733.
1952 - A Julius Shulman photo looking east on Hollywood Blvd. toward Highland. He was out photographing various branch offices for Bank of America. It was his Job #1268, consisting of three photos -- this one above plus views up and down Highland. The photos are in the collection of the Getty Research Institute where they also have a few more Shulman photos -- like about 3,000.
1952 - A detail from Mr. Shulman's photo. Coffee Dan's has moved in next door to the theatre. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Hoss C for finding the shot in the Getty collection. It's part of his Noirish post #31044.
1953 - A classic Hollywood postcard from the Steven Otto collection. He notes: "Hollywood Blvd. in 1953, judging from the double feature at the Hollywood Theater (‘Salome’ and ‘The Girl Next Door’). The radio towers atop Warner Bros.Theater spell CINERAMA in yellow neon." Thanks, Steven! He had it as a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. A different version of the card appears in Eric Lynxwiler's Paper Ephemera set on Flickr.
1950s - A colorful postcard view looking east on Hollywood Blvd. Note the Hollywood Theatre vertical on the right and the Vogue Theatre signage in the center of the image.The card is one that appeared as part of the collection of the now-vanished website Yesterday LA.
1957 - A look at the front of the Hollywood from Hollywood Historic Photos.
1957 - A wider version of the shot from Hollywood Historic Photos. Visit the site to browse more Hollywood theatre photos from Bison Archives.
1950s - A view looking east toward the Hollywood Theatre. Ken McIntyre added it to the Photos of Los Angeles collection.
1961 - A look east from Highland along Hollywood Blvd. The Hollywood is running "Vera Cruz" with Gary Cooper -- a reissue It's on Photos of Los Angeles from Ken McIntyre. The photo also appears on Vintage Los Angeles and it's also part of Ethereal Reality's Noirish Los Angeles post #5198, an extensive survey of the use of banners across L.A.'s streets.
1960s - Thanks to Martin Pal for this shot from Vicky Valentine's collection looking east from Highland Ave. Martin shared it on his Noirish Los Angeles post #33734. Thanks also to Hoss C for his post #33735 where he had done some color correction for us.
1966 - Looking west past the Egyptian toward the Hollywood Theatre and Highland Ave. In the distance there's the tower of the El Capitan building. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the photo on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.
1966 - Another vista looking west toward Hollywood and Highland found by Ken McIntyre for the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. Note the black hulk of the El Capitan beyond.
1973 - A snapshot of the Hollywood Theatre marquee. It's from the Richard Wojcik collection on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.
1973 - A nice view of the Hollywood's neon from the now-vanished Flickr account of Douglas 606.
1973 - Another photo from Douglas 606, this time looking east.
1975 - The vista east on Hollywood Blvd. from Highland. In this photo discovered by Ken McIntyre for the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page the Hollywood Theatre is at the lower right with the Egyptian up the street.
1977 - A view of the Hollywood while closed for its remodel. It's a Gary Graver photo. He was a filmmaker and cinematographer who took many photos of theatres. More can be seen on You Tube in "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo. Wikipedia has an article about Mr. Graver.
1977 - "Suspiria," an August release is playing. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
1978 - A look at the theatre (and a lovely RTD bus) during the run of "Grease." The photo was added to the Photos of Los Angeles page by Robert Juzefski. Note the facade's new paint job from the 1977 remodel.
1980 - A photo by Edward Colver of a midnight showing of Penelope Spheeris' "The Decline of Western Civilization" at the Hollywood. She says LAPD's Darryl Gates asked her to never show the film in Los Angeles again.
1980 - Another premiere night photo by Mr. Colver. The two photos and an article by Ms. Spheeris about the making of " The Decline of Western Civilization" appear on the website This Long Century.
1984 - A look at the neon during the Hollywood Christmas parade. It's from the Richard Wojcik collection on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.
c.1987 - Thanks to Sean Ault for this great shot of the side of the building with its original 1913 signage once again exposed. The building formerly housing Coffee Dan's had been demolished and the McDonald's that was to replace it hadn't yet been started.
1988 - A view looking west. "Nightfall" was an April release. Thanks to Monique Rardin Richardson for posting the photo on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
c.2006 - A colorful view looking southeast. Glen Norman notes that it's the summer of 2005 or later as the streetlights got their current twin drop configuration then. The cross street is Highland. Note the blue Hollywood Theatre sign sticking up above a palm tree. The theatre was already the Guinness Museum when the photo was taken. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting the shot on Photos of Los Angeles.
2007 - A view west. Photo: Bill Counter
2009 - East on the Boulevard. It's a view from Google Maps.
2017 - Thanks to Brandon Tyler Williams for his great photo appearing on Photos of Los Angeles. We're looking down on the Hollywood and Highland intersection with the Hollywood Theatre building over on the left.
More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of comments.
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