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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.
The Hollywood was 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.
An early look at the theatre. We're 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.
From the great Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection comes this 1915 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" |
A nice look east on Hollywood Blvd. in 1924. The Hollywood Theatre is 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.
A rare late view prior to the facade remodel. We're running "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town," an April 1936 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.
Another 1936 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.
A 1938 night view showing off the new marquee. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
Another 1938 shot. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
A c.1938 marquee soffit photo. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
A 1938 view with the Hollywood running "The Cowboy and the Lady" with Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
Another 1938 Christmas angle shot. Photo: Herman Schultheis, Los Angeles Public Library
A 1938 look east on Hollywood Blvd. from Highland. Ken McIntyre found the photo for his Photos of Los Angeles collection on Facebook.
A late 30s view looking east on Hollywood Blvd. The Hollywood is hiding over on the right side. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library.
A 1939 Dick Whittington Studio night view from the USC Archives. That's the Hollywood over on the right. It's in the USC Digital Library collection.
A 1940 Christmas time 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.
From the UCLA S. Charles Lee Papers Collection here's a 1942 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.
Bobby Cole found this superb 1943 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.
A 1945 Christmas look east on Hollywood Blvd. added by Ken McIntyre to the enormous Photos of Los Angeles collection on Facebook. Thanks, Ken!
A cool 1946 Christmas season view looking east with the Hollywood Theatre at the right. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
A photo looking west on Hollywood Blvd. during Christmas season 1946 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.
Thanks to Alison Martino for this noirish Christmas view that she dates as 1947. It was a post on her Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
A great Corbis Archive look at the Hollywood Theatre marquee during the run of the 1950 release "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.
Thanks to Mike Martini Baker for this Christmas 1950 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.
A 1950 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.
A 1951 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.
A Julius Shulman photo looking east on Hollywood Blvd. toward Highland in 1952. 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.
A detail from Mr. Shulman's 1952 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.
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.
A colorful 50s 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.
A 1957 look at the front of the Hollywood from Hollywood Historic Photos.
A wider version of the 1957 shot from Hollywood Historic Photos. Visit the site to browse more Hollywood theatre photos from Bison Archives.
A 50s view looking east toward the Hollywood Theatre. Ken McIntyre added it to the Photos of Los Angeles collection.
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 where he dates it as 1961. 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.
Thanks to Martin Pal for this 60s 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.
Looking west in 1966 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.
Another 1966 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.
A 1973 snapshot of the Hollywood Theatre marquee. It's from the Richard Wojcik collection on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.
A nice 1973 view of the Hollywood's neon from the now-vanished Flickr account of Douglas 606.
Another 1973 photo from Douglas 606, this time looking east.
The vista east on Hollywood Blvd. from Highland in 1975. 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.
A view of the Hollywood while closed prior to its 1977 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.
A 1978 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.
A photo by Edward Colver of of the 1980 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.
Another opening 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.
A look at the neon in 1984 during the Hollywood Christmas parade. It's from the Richard Wojcik collection on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.
Thanks to Sean Ault for this great c.1987 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.
A 1988 view looking west. "Nightfall" was an April release. Thanks to Monique Rardin Richardson for posting the photo on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
A colorful undated view, perhaps in the 90s, looking southeast. 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.
A view west in 2007. Photo: Bill Counter
East on Hollywood Blvd. in 2009. It's a view from Google Maps.
Thanks to Brandon Tyler Williams for his great 2017 photo 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.