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The Empire is seen in this detail from a 1928 Dick Whittington Studio photo looking east on Pico from Hoover. The photo is in the USC Digital Library collection. The full height facade we see here was later sheared off a bit.
Opened: 1914 or 1915. In the 1915 city directory it's listed under theatres as Cate & Swann at 2127 W. Pico. The building is located on the north side of the street between Alvarado and Hoover.
In the 1917, 1918 and 1921 directories the address is 2131 W. Pico. The listing as the Empire Theatre in the 1922, 1923 and 1929 directories is with the address as 2129 W. Pico. In 1926 and 1927 it's back to 2131.
In the mid 60s the theatre became the Fiesta Theatre and was running films and occasional live performances under that name into the mid 80s.
Status: The building survives and is currently in use as a church with retail in the spaces on either side of the lobby.
The full 1928 Dick Whittington Studio photo.
A late 50s view looking east from the Sean Ault collection. The Empire is over on the left. Thanks, Sean!
Another 50s shot from Sean Ault. The poor theatre is hiding behind the back of the trolley.
A 1962 look at the Empire's facade from the Bill Gabel collection. The feature is "The World's Greatest Sinner" written, directed, and starring Timothy Carey. The photo appears on Cinema Treasures.
A perhaps 70s photo looking west from Alvarado. The Empire's marquee is just below the "walk" sign. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo.
A 1992 view. The theatre, as the Fiesta, is on the right. Thanks to Sean Ault for finding the photo.
A 2003 photo from the Sean Ault collection.
Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this 2007 look at the premises.
The entrance to the former Empire/Fiesta Theatre. Photo: Google Maps - 2009
The rear of the Empire is at the center of this 2011 Google Maps shot.
More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Empire for research by Bill Gabel and other contributors. Joe Vogel notes that the building dates from 1914 with a possible expansion or major renovation in 1922.
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