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Turnabout Theatre

716 N. La Cienega Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069
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The courtyard and entrance of the Turnabout Theatre. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo. 

Opened: The Turnabout Theatre was open between 1941 and 1956. The first half of a show was an adult marionette comic drama, usually revolving around themes of current interest. The seats flipped around for the second half facing the other end of the room where there was a stage for a musical revue.


"The only theatre of its kind in the world." Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr for this 1944 Playgoer magazine ad for the theatre.
 


A 1945 L.A. Times ad that included the Turnabout. It was a post from from Kliph Nesteroff on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
 
Performers of note included the Yale Puppeteers, Harry Burnett, Forman Brown, Richard Brandon and Elsa Lanchester. Previously Burnett and Brown had set up shop in the 30s on Olvera St. at the 80 seat Teatro Torito. 

Seating: 180. The seats were reupholstered Red Car seats that could be flipped to face either direction. They were all given dual names like "Salt & Pepper, "Sugar & Spice," "Man & Woman."



A look at the seating chart -- with the humorous names of the seats. Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr for this item.

Status: The 1941 vintage building is still there, although now with non-theatrical tenants.



On the live stage looking toward the puppet stage at the opposite end of the room. Yes, those are fake spectators in the dummy box on the right. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A fine illustration of the double ended action at the Turnabout. Again thanks to Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr. It's one of many treasures in his Paper Ephemera album. And don't miss his equally wonderful 400+ item Los Angeles Theatres set.

More Information: The Turnabout Theatre archive is included in the collections of the Los Angeles Public Library. You can search the archive or, for an overview, take the virtual tour.

 Wikipedia has a short article on the theatre. The L.A. Times ran a story about the theatre on the occasion of the 1993 death of co-founder Harry Burnett.

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