Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Along Wilshire | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces | Theatres In Movies
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Las Palmas Theatre

1642 N. Las Palmas Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028
| map |

The Las Palmas Theatre has had a number of different lives since the 30s including stints as a legit theatre and movie house. It's now a music club. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007


Opened:  The building, originally a market, dates from 1927. It was remodeled in 1936 into a playhouse named the Hollywood Little Theatre. Joe Vogel, on Cinema Treasures, found a Daily Variety item noting that in June 1941 it was being called the Hollywood Troupers Theatre.

In 1943 it was branded Dante’s Troupers Theater for a run of about six months of the touring magic show "Sim Sala Bim" starring Dante (Harry Jansen).  By 1944 it had become the Playtime Theatre.  Sometime before 1947 it got the Las Palmas name.

Seating: Estimates range from 388 to 600

The delightful paper ephemera collection of Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr includes this ad for the revue "Insults of 1944" at the Playtime Theatre. The ad appeared in an issue of Playgoer magazine distributed at the Biltmore. Thanks, Eric!

The Las Palmas was a noted legit venue for many years. The Hume Cronyn production of Tennessee Williams' "Portrait of a Madonna" starring Jessica Tandy played at the theatre in the mid-40s. In 1946 the Actors Lab leased the Las Palmas for productions of "Volpone," "Awake and Sing," "Home of the Brave" (with Barbara Bel Geddes) and Gogol's "The Inspector General."

In 1947 the theatre got a remodel and was then briefly a film house. Ken McIntyre found a mention in an LA Times article dated May 10: "...Reopening Thursday night as a picture theater in a blaze of glory and lights, with any number of film celebrities present, and with handsome new decorations and freshly upholstered seats, Las Palmas is showing 'Nais,' a French-made film with English subtitles adapted from Emile Zola’s 'Nais Macoulin.' Stars present at the premier included Claudette Colbert, Charles Boyer, Denise Billincord, J. Carrol Naish, Marla Montez, Robert Stack and others."

Carol Channing made her west coast debut at the Las Palmas in the 1948 revue "Lend an Ear," directed by Gower Champion. The show, with words and music by Charles Gaynor, also featured Gene Nelson. It later moved to Broadway playing for 460 performances and led to Channing's casting in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding this L.A. Times ad for the show.

The program cover for "Lend An Ear," from the now-vanished site TheaterPrint.

The next show up at the Las Palmas was "Tongue in Cheek," not a success.  In 1951 Arthur Kennedy took over the house for a repertory season. In 1954 the show "That's Life" had a good run.

"The Billy Barnes Revue" played the theatre in 1958. The show, with music and lyrics by Barnes, featured Joyce Jameson, Bert Convy, and Ken Berry. The L.A. run was followed by a transfer to Off-Broadway, then to Broadway (for 87 performances), then another Off-Broadway run. In 1964 Barnes was back at the Las Palmas with "Billy Barnes' Hollywood."

Productions in 1968 included a run of the two one-acts "The Private Ear" and "The Public Eye."  The rock musical "Salvation" had a run c.1970.

The theatre  began running adult films in the early 1970's. By 1972 it was an automated gay porno house -- you'd put a $5 bill in the slot and go through a turnstyle. Matt Spero notes that when the theatre was running films in the 70s it was via rear projection with a booth set up onstage. There was a fire in March 1977 but the place was patched up and soon back in business.

L.A. Stage Co. was a tenant in the early 80s. "Pump Boys and Dinettes" had a good run in 1986 and 87. It was later used as a music club by a number of different operators.

The Las Palmas in the Movies:  Scott Favareille notes that the theatre is seen in the Carlos Tobalina film "Reflections in Love" (1971). A scene in front of the theatre with a crowd watching fire dancers perform gives us a look at the marquee advertising "I Am Curious Tahiti," another Tobalina film.

The theatre, along with many other Hollywood locations, is seen in "Angel" (New World Pictures, 1984). Thanks to Toomas Losin for this screenshot looking down the alley north of the theatre where a chase scene in the film ends. The shot is on his page Angel Filming Locations Part 1. The film stars Cliff Gorman, Susan Tyrrell, Dick Shawn and Rory Calhoun. Donna Wilkes is the 15 year old high school student by day, hooker by night. At the time of the shooting in the summer of 1983 the show at the theatre was "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You."

"Angel" also gives us looks at the Chinese, the Chinese Twin, the El Capitan (as the Paramount) Ritz (as the Pussycat), Vogue, Warner (as the Hollywood Pacific), Vine and Pantages theatres. See Angel Filming Locations Part 3 for lots of screenshots.

Don Soloson notes on Cinema Treasures that the Las Palmas appears in “The Hidden” (New Line Cinema, 1987) as the Harem Room where Claudia Christian works as a stripper. We get many shots up and down the street. The film, about an alien parasite infecting human bodies that then go on a crime spree in Los Angeles, also stars Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri.

Status: The theatre is now back in business (again) as a nightclub called Sound.

A 1951 Michael Ochs view of the Las Palmas at night. The photo is from Getty Images. It's also indexed on Google Images.

A mid-60s look down Las Palmas Ave. from Hollywood Blvd. It's a photo by Kolchak Ans that once appeared on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. Thanks to David Zornig for spotting it and including it on the Cinema Treasures page on the Las Palmas.

A photo of the theatre in the 70s thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Granola. It's on the site's page about the Las Palmas.

A 1982 photo taken when the L.A. Stage Co. was mounting their productions at the Las Palmas. Thanks to the amazing Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection for the photo. Also in the collection is a 1972 facade view.

Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this undated view of the Las Palmas on Photos of Los Angeles.

The theatre in 2005. Thanks to Ken Roe for his photo on Flickr.

Thanks to Toomas Losin for this 2006 photo, appearing on his web page Angel Filming Locations Part 3, about theatres appearing in the 1984 film "Angel." 

The marquee soffit in 2012. It's a Ken McIntyre photo on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

An entrance view with the building between tenants. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the 2012 post on Photos of Los Angeles.

The theatre as the Sound nightclub. It's a May 2016 Google Maps view. Head there for the interactive version.

More information: See the Las Palmas page on Cinema Treasures for lots of stories.

| back to topHollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide

No comments:

Post a Comment