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La Petite Theatre

1434 3rd St. Santa Monica, CA 90401 | map |

The La Petite Theatre was running in 1907 and 1908 with both vaudeville and films using an address of 227 3rd St. This was a downtown Santa Monica address but we've since had a bit of street renumbering. The assumption is that 227 later became 1434 3rd St. The location was on the block between the streets now called Santa Monica Blvd. and Broadway.

The La Petite name was one used by Southwest Amusement Co. for many locations around the Los Angeles area. The Santa Monica Outlook mentions the 227 3rd St. location in various stories from March 1907 through January, 1908.  An Ocean Park location with the La Petite name opened in the Ocean Park Auditorium Building in 1908.

The Outlook frequently ran lists of advertisers. In July 1908, for example, there's are listings for both the "La Petite, Third" and the "La Petite, Venice of America." The assumption is that the "Venice" location was actually the Ocean Park theatre.

The Santa Monica Outlook of February 9, 1909 mentions that the "little 3rd St. playhouse" was packed to capacity the previous night.

By March, 1909 the 3rd St. La Petite was listing an address of 1434 3rd St.

When the Southwest Amusement Co. broke up, most of the theatres were sold off to independent operators and most of them changed their names. The Santa Monica Outlook of June 14, 1909 ran a story about the La Petite Theatre at 1434 3rd St. changing hands. A.S. Hall and M. H. Wyman were the new proprietors. After a remodel, the new owners called it the Dreamland Theatre.

Sometime in 1909 or 1910 it became the Lyric Theatre. The July 5, 1910 Outlook had an article noting that Fred J. House was selling the theatre to a Mr. O.E. Loudy. The Outlook on December 2, 1910 again ran an article about a sale. Mr. Loudy was selling to an unnamed buyer. In 1911 the ads noted that the management was "O'Brien and Shamafelt."

As the Lyric it continued running movies and vaudeville into 1914. They ran lots of ads in the Santa Monica Outlook and evidently everybody knew where it was as the ads always said only "3rd Street." The listings in the 1911 and 1913/14 directories have it as the Lyric at 1434 3rd St. In the 1913-14 city directory the Lyric is listed with an Alfred Benson as manager.

The Outlook ran a front page story January 29, 1913 with the headline "Close Call In Lyric Theatre." It was a tale of an officer getting nudged, his revolver falling to the floor and discharging. The theatre suffered "an ugly hole in wall and ceiling" and a female patron got shot in the leg. Officers henceforth will have to check their firearms at the boxoffice.

Closing: The date is unknown. It seems to have been subdivided and converted to retail by 1919. In the 1919-20 city directory 1432 3rd St. is listed as a bakery, 1426 is listed as a market. The building was later demolished.

More Information: See  a few more tidbits included in Joe Vogel's research appearing on the Cinema Treasures page about the La Petite in Ocean Park.

See the page here on this site about the La Petite Theatre on Broadway in downtown L.A. for a discussion of other La Petite locations. 

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