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Ramona Theatre

2139 Sunset Blvd. Echo Park (Los Angeles), CA 90026 | map

Opened: The Ramona was built in 1914. The location is three blocks west of Glendale Blvd. Thanks to the prolific German photographer Martin for the photo on his great site You-Are-Here.  He also has a second shot taken from a bit to the east

In the 1915 and 1916 city directories it's listed as the Creation Theatre. In 1917 it's the Sunset. It's called Mitchell's Theatre in the 1919 directory and in 1925 and 1929 it's listed as the Garden Theatre. Then for a long period it was the Ramona Theatre.

An article on Blogging L.A. reported that it became the Studio 1 in 1966 with the intent of showing German films -- "Die Fledermaus" was the opener. It soon ran conventional Hollywood product. In the early 70s it was the HK Studio Theatre. By the 80s it had become Estudio 1 and was showing Spanish language (or Spanish subtitled) films.

Seating: 500

Architect: Alfred Grayson was the architect. Cinema Treasures contributor Lost Memory came up with the information that the builder was J. Louis Pancoast, who had an office down the street.

Status: Nothing remains of the building's theatrical past except the marquee. It was gutted when converted for retail use. After years as a store and then a period of being vacant, the building now houses a restaurant, Mohawk Bend. The name derives from the fact that the venue is just east of a bend in Sunset at Mohawk St.

The Garden / Ramona Theatre in the Movies: 

Silent film detective John Bengtson spotted "Garden Theatre" on a side wall in Echo Park in the sixteen minute film "Standing Pat" (FBO, 1928). He notes: "During this scene, traveling west along Sunset towards the fire station at Mohawk Bend visible to the left, you can see the east side of the Ramona Theater, known at the time as the Garden Theater."

The film stars the "Ton of Fun," the trio of obese comedians Frank"'Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard "Fat" Karr, and Kewpie Ross. Thanks to John for the screenshot. Keep up with his latest explorations via the Silent Locations blog "Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)."

More photos 1982 - 2017:

A 1982 photo of the theatre operating as the Estudio 1 from the American Classic Images collection. 

A Gary Graver photo of the theatre taken during one of its transition periods, perhaps the late 80s. More of his theatre photos can be seen on YouTube in "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2." Thanks to his son Sean Graver for use of the photo.

A lovely shot of the vacant theatre from Emma R. on Flickr.

The converted theatre as the Mohawk Bend Restaurant. Photo: Bill Counter - 2011

Looking west at the bend. The next intersection is Mohawk St. Photo: Google Maps - 2017

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the theatre, which they list as the Studio 1. Cinema Tour has several 2003 exterior photos by Bob Meza. See the 2010 LA Eater story about the conversion to a restaurant, "Inside the gutted Ramona Theatre."

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