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Star Theatre

5544 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
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Opened: The first version of the Apollo Theatre opened in 1916 or earlier. It's in the 1916 city directory. The location was just west of Western Ave., between Western and St. Andrews Place.

A replacement building was planned in 1919 to be erected nearby, east of Wilton Pl. Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel found an article in the November 8, 1919 issue of the paper Holly Leaves, available on Google Books, that discussed the plans of architect C.S. Albright for the new theatre. Although this project didn't happen, Albright did get to do the replacement building a year later on the site of the original Apollo.

Architect: C.S. Albright designed the second Apollo building in 1920. Joe Vogel found this item in the August 11, 1920 issue of Builder and Engineering News:

“Contract Awarded. THEATRE AND STORE, Cost, $40,000 -- HOLLYWOOD, Los Angeles Co. Cal. Hollywood Blvd. near St. Andrews. Two-story brick theatre and store building, 50x174. Owner- Hollywood Theatres. Inc. Architect— C. S. Albright. 5910 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.”

The second Apollo opened early in 1921. Again thanks to Joe Vogel for the research. He found this item in the February 9, 1921 issue of  The Film Daily:

"Los Angeles — The new Apollo on Hollywood Blvd., which will be about the last word in elegance among residential district picture houses, will open shortly with a pre-release of the latest Christie special comedy, ‘Hey, Rube,’ featuring Bobby Vernon, as one of the features."

Seating: 600

West Coast Theatres leased it starting sometime in 1921. In the 1922 and 1923 city directories it's listed as the New Apollo. After West Coast became part of the William Fox empire it was called the Fox Apollo.

In later years it was an "adult art" theatre as the Apollo Art. In the 70's it was a grindhouse called the Star Theatre charging 49 cents admission, later up to 99 cents before 7pm.

Mark Valen comments: "I worked for Shan Sayles when he owned the Star, the Nuart and the Mayfair in Santa Monica. We would play double features for 99 cents. Always had to be sure to get enough rolls of pennies from the bank on Friday afternoons to supply the weekend. Folks got angry if they didn't get their change."

Status: Closed in 1975, gutted by fire in 1976 and demolished soon after.

A 1946 view of the interior in the  Los Angeles Public Library collection. Evidently it remained little changed until the theatre's demise.

An Anton Wagner photo c.1932 looking east on Hollywood Blvd. with the Apollo over on the right. It's on the website of the California Historical Society.

Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for the find. He has it on his Noirish post #37351. He notes that the hotel building in the center of the photo (still there) is the former St. Francis Hotel.

A detail from Mr. Wagner's photo. They're running "Blondie of the Follies" with Robert Montgomery, a September 1932 release. Anton Wagner took hundreds of photos of the L.A. area in 1932 and 1933 for a thesis topic having to do with the way the area's topology influenced the character of its inhabitants.

An undated Life Magazine boxoffice photo. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for finding it in the collection. He's got it, with other Life views on his Noirish post #40455.  It's on Google/Life Images where you can browse the Life Photo Archive.

 The theatre in 1945. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.

A 1973 view from the extraordinary Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. Also in Mr. Torrence's archive are a 1945 facade view (also in the LAPL collection),  a 1972 facade view looking west  and a 1973 facade shot taken straight on.

The end of the Star in 1975. The photo is on Calisphere from the UCLA L.A. Times Photographic Archive.

More Information: Fond frequenters of the Star tell their tales on the Cinema Treasures page.

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