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Idle Hour / Iris Theatre

6524 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 | map |

Opened: The stories are that the Idle Hour was opened by a Mr. P. Tabor as Hollywood's first movie theatre in late 1910 or early 1911. The second theatre to arrive in the neighborhood was the Hollywood Theatre in 1913.

Seating: 250

The first city directory listing is evidently the one in the 1912 edition showing the Idle Hour at 226 W. Hollywood Blvd. -- that's before the addresses got changed to the L.A. numbering system. It's still the Idle Hour in the 1913 directory but with the new numbering system in place the address had become 6524 Hollywood Blvd.

The location is on the south side of the street directly opposite Hudson Ave., which dead ends at Hollywood Blvd. The block for this location is bounded on the west by Schrader Blvd. and on the east by Wilcox Ave. 

The owner was already trying to sell the place in 1912. You could have had it for $800. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the ad for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.

In the 1914 city directory it's listed with the 6524 address but the business had been renamed the Iris Theatre. Thanks to Hollywood historian April Clemmer for spotting the 1913 and 1914 directory listings. Discussion of the theatre is one element of her superb Old Hollywood Walking Tour.

Two moves: The Iris moved in late 1914 or early 1915 to a storefront in the 6400 block on the north side of the street. See the separate page about that Iris Theatre location just east of the present Warner Theatre. In 1918 the Iris moved yet again to a purpose built structure on the south side of the street. See the page on that venue, in 1968 renamed the Fox Theatre

Status: The City Planning Department's ZIMAS database gives a 1915 date for the building currently on the 6524 Hollywood Blvd. site. But that date could just be the occasion of a big remodel and the building now there is perhaps the one that once housed the theatre.

The first location of the Idle Hour/Iris Theatre at 6524 Hollywood Blvd, now occupied by Stage Hollywood. Is this the building the theatre was in or one built in 1915? Unknown. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

A wider view looking east from the first Idle Hour/Iris location toward the third location, the theatre later renamed the Fox. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

Alternate stories: The 1910 or 1911 opening date for the Idle Hour comes from the great Bruce Torrence book "Hollywood: The 1st Hundred Years." But he has an address for it directly across on the north side of the street at 6525 Hollywood Blvd. and calls it the Idyl Hour. He mentions the later move down near the Warner but doesn't include the 6524 address, the location that we have three city directory listings for.

Gregory Paul Williams in his lovely book "The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History" says it opened in 1910. He spells it Idle Hour and puts it in a storefront at the N.E. Corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Hudson (basically the same location as Torrence's address). Williams, perhaps following Mr. Torrence, also does not mention the 6524 address. These two accounts are the only data points to surface supporting a location on the north side of the street at Hollywood and Hudson.

A third story about the initial location of the theatre is on the Cinema Treasures page on the Idyl Hour. Ken Roe says it was on the NE corner of Hollywood and Vine, near the current Pantages location. He doesn't list a source. 

The location on the N.E. corner of Hollywood and Hudson that Bruce Torrence and Gregory Paul Williams assert was the initial site of the Idyl Hour. Torrence's 6525 address would put it the vicinity of the center storefront of the current building. The easy assumption is that whatever was on this corner in 1910 has been demolished as ZIMAS gives 1920 as the year of construction. But parts of an earlier building may remain -- it does appear to be a mashup of construction over different periods. Photo: Bill Counter - 2010

Much later, the entrance to the Studio / Holly Theatre was at 6523 Hollywood Blvd., in the storefront to the right with the green awning.  It was retail space in the building before the theatre conversion in 1931 and it's retail once again. The building just to the east (6507-6521 Hollywood Blvd.) evidently dates from 1921.

Notes on the Hollywood Blvd. street renumbering:  In the old system (in 1912 and earlier city directories) the dividing point was Cahuenga Blvd. East of Cahuenga was E. Hollywood Blvd., west of Cahuenga was W. Hollywood Blvd. In both new and old systems even numbers were on the south side of the street, odd numbers on the north.

Hollywood National Bank, listed in 1911 as at 100 E. Hollywood Blvd. was listed in 1913 as 6400 Hollywood Blvd.

A building at 214 W. Hollywood Blvd. housing many tenants in 1911 (including a certain Ella M. Main) got listed as 6512 Hollywood Blvd. in 1913.

The Hollywood Library, listed at 133 E. Hollywood Blvd. in 1911, was listed as at Hollywood and Ivar in 1913 and at 6357 Hollywood Blvd. in 1915.

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