This page surveys 33 nickelodeons, mid-sized movie theatres, gaudy palaces, vaudeville and legitimate theatres on Broadway plus 3 located between Broadway and Hill. Some have survived, most have not. They all have interesting stories to tell. If you'd like to see how they were laid out block-by-block see the downtown theatres by address page. Names changed a lot. The downtown alphabetical list has all the alternate ones these venues went by at different times. Happy exploring!
-- Bill Counter
452 S. Broadway | map |
The 500 seat theatre was running by 1909, a conversion from retail space. The 1915 G. Haven Bishop photo is in the Huntington Library collection. The American ran until early 1926 when it and an adjoining building were demolished for the construction of the Chester Williams Building. For more information see the page about the American Theatre.
801 S. Broadway | map |
This 500 seat house on the 5th floor of Hamburger's Department Store ran movies, vaudeville, lectures and meetings of all kinds. The local censor board even used it for a while. It opened with the rest of the building in 1908 and fell into disuse after 1919. There's nothing of it left in the building. The postcard is from the Los Angeles Public Library. For more information see the page on the Arrow Theatre.
233 S. Broadway
The Music and Art Building opened in 1899 with a main hall seating 800 as well as several smaller halls, an art gallery, and many studio spaces. It was a venue for dramatic performances, chamber music and other events. The 1910 photo is a detail from one in the USC collection. A remnant of the four-story building is still on Broadway. For more information see the page on Blanchard Hall.
428 S. Broadway | map |
Joseph Corwin of Metropolitan Theatres opened the 400 seat house in 1925, a conversion from retail space in a 1907 building. The 1954 photo is from the Sean Ault collection. The building, now nicely renovated, is still on Broadway but the theatre was only open until 1988. For more information see the page about the Broadway Theatre.
528 S. Broadway | map |
What is now the Cameo opened in October 1910 as Clune's Broadway. It is a design by Alfred F. Rosenheim. Originally with 900 seats, it ended up with about 600 in later years, all on a single level. It closed as a film house in 1991 with the auditorium essentially unchanged since 1910. It's currently vacant after decades of retail in the lobby and storage in the auditorium. For more information and photos see the pages on the Cameo Theatre: history | exterior views | interior views
314 S. Broadway
The 562 seat Central was a c.1929 conversion from retail space in a building that perhaps dated from 1900. It was located just south of the Bradbury Building and survived into the mid 50s running as a triple feature grind house. The photo is a detail from a 1955 slide by Palmer Conner that's in the Huntington Library collection. Demolition was c.1960. For more information see the page on the Central Theatre.
320 S. Broadway | map |
This 350 seat theatre opened c.1927 as a conversion from retail space in a 1906 building. The photo was taken during LBJ's 1964 visit. Later in the 60s the theatre was renamed the Astro and ran Spanish language product. Before that it was a triple feature grind house. It closed in 1977 and the space is again used for retail. For more information see the page on the Cozy Theatre.
802 S. Broadway | map |
It opened as the Hyman Theatre in late 1910 with about 900 seats. The opening night photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. J.A. Quinn soon took it over and renamed it the Garrick. In the early 20s H.L. Gumbiner acquired the business and in 1927 replaced it with the Tower Theatre. See the page on the Garrick Theatre for more information.
744 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in January 1913 as the Morosco, a 1,300 seat legit house for producer Oliver Morosco. Morgan, Walls & Morgan designed the Garland Bldg. that it's part of with Alfred Rosenheim doing the theatre itself. The theatre reopened in July 2015 after a major refurbishment by new operator Erik Chol. The Globe is now a multipurpose space for music, theatrical events and films. It had closed as a film theatre in 1986. For more information see the Globe pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobby areas | recent auditorium views | earlier auditorium views | attic | backstage | basement | garland building |
La Petite Theatre
508 S. Broadway | map |
This 150 seat nickelodeon opened around 1907 and ran until early 1912 when the building it was in got demolished for construction of a new building on the southeast corner of 5th and Broadway. This was one of many small houses operated by Billy Clune and Charles Bockover's Southwest Amusement Co. Later it was called the Art Theatre. See the page on the La Petite for more information.
615 S. Broadway | map |
S. Charles Lee designed this French Baroque fantasia, considered by many to be the grandest movie palace on Broadway. The opening was January 30, 1931 with Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein in attendance for Chaplin's "City Lights." Current seating capacity is 1,937. Photo by Hunter Kerhart. It's currently closed except for film shoots, tours and special events including occasional film screenings. For more information and hundreds of photos visit the Los Angeles Theatre pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | entrance | grand lobby | inner lobby - main floor | lobby - 1st balcony level | basement - intermediate lounge | basement - main lounge | ladies room and nursery | men's room | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | stage | booth | retail and support areas |
845 S. Broadway
This 1,700 seat two-balcony legit house opened in 1908 as Hamburger's Majestic with Oliver Morosco as the first lessee. The 1913 photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library. It occasionally ran films and gradually slid downhill with burlesque at the end. Demolition was in 1933 so the site could become a parking lot. For more information see the page about the Majestic Theatre.
127 S. Broadway | map |
The 1,600 seat two-balcony house opened in 1903 as the Mason Opera House. It was for decades a leading venue for touring Broadway shows, opera and other events. In 1937 it was taken over by Frank Fouce who ran it until the 1955 closing as a Spanish language film and vaudeville venue. The photo is from the California State Library collection. The theatre was demolished in 1956 for construction of a State office building. For more information see the page about the Mason Theatre.
323 W. 6th St., 536 S. Hill St. and 553 S. Broadway | map |
This 3,600 seat monster, the largest movie house in Los Angeles, opened January 26, 1923 as Grauman's Metropolitan. Sid sold his downtown holdings in 1923 and in 1929 it was renamed the Paramount. The building was designed by George Bergstrom with the theatre by William Lee Woollett. It was demolished in 1962. This photo of the Broadway entrance comes from the Theatre Historical Society. For more information about this great building here are the pages: history | exterior views | Broadway entrance | lobby areas | auditorium | stage | projection booth |
307 S. Broadway | map |
The theatre opened February 1, 1918 as Grauman's Million Dollar due to its reported cost. Albert C. Martin designed the building with William Lee Woollett as the theatre architect. The seating capacity initially was 2,345. Currently it's closed except for occasional film shoots, special events and film screenings. For more information see the Million Dollar pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | ticket lobbies | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | orchestra pit | basement areas |
838 S. Broadway | map |
This 900 seat house opened in 1913 as the Woodley Theatre. The 1915 photo by G. Haven Bishop is from the Huntington Library. After being called the Riviera and the Victory, Mack Sennett got it in 1920. After a Spanish style re-do, it reopened as the Mission. It was demolished in early 1925 to make way for construction of the Orpheum. For more information see the page on the Mission Theatre.
313 W. 8th St. | map |
It opened in 1927 as Bard's 8th St. Theatre. In the early 1930s it also had an additional entrance at 757 S. Broadway through the Merritt Bldg. The architect for the 600 seat house was Lewis A. Smith, doing a remodel of a 1917 restaurant building. It closed as a theatre around 1997 and has been used storage and retail since then. For more information and photos see the Olympic Theatre pages: history + exterior views | interior views |
446 1/2 S. Broadway | map |
This 5 cent house opened in 1907 or a bit earlier, first run by John Freeman. Later Robert W. Woodley had it. He also had another Broadway house called Woodley's, later renamed the Mission. After closing this Optic in 1910 he opened another one on Main St. The theatre is on the right in this detail from a 1907 USC Digital Library photo. For more information see the page on the Optic Theatre.
842 S. Broadway | map |
This Orpheum opened in 1926, a move down the street for the circuit from their previous home at what is now called the Palace Theatre. G. Albert Lansburgh designed the theatre, currently with 1,976 seats. It's alive and in great shape as the home of concerts, film shoots and occasional film screenings. For more information and many photos: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | lofts |
630 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in 1911 as the Orpheum and became the Palace in 1926. The two balcony house is a design of G. Albert Lansburgh with Robert Brown Young and Son as associate architects. Originally with 1,956 seats, it currently seats 1,068 on main floor and first balcony. The theatre unveiled a $1 million restoration to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2011. Palace bookings include concerts, film shoots, occasional film screenings and special events. For more information see the Palace Theatre pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | ticket lobby | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | basement support areas | office building |
318 W. 7th St. | map |
The Palace, a half block west of Broadway, was a conversion of a building dating from 1910. It opened in 1916 and ran until 1921. The 633 seat house was a new location for the Palace of Pictures that had been on Broadway since 1910. The c.1920 photo is a detail from one in the USC Digital Library. When the lease expired in 1921 the space was occupied by retail tenants, a use it retains today. For more information see the page on the Palace Theatre.
Palace of Pictures
642 S. Broadway | map |
In 1914 this was a conversion from retail space in the Forrester Building, still on Broadway just south of the current Palace Theatre. The operation moved to larger quarters on 7th St. in 1916 dropping the "of Pictures" from the name and just becoming the Palace in the new location. For more information see the page on the Palace of Pictures.
518 S. Broadway | map |
Pioneer exhibitor John A. Quinn opened this 700 seat house in 1914. In 1919 Universal took over the management. The theatre was converted into a restaurant in 1922. The Roxie Theatre is now on the site. The 1915 image is a detail from a photo by G. Haven Bishop in the Huntington Library collection. For more information see the page about Quinn's Superba.
It opened in 1917 as Quinn's Rialto. Oliver P. Dennis designed the building, a rare early example of a stadium-style theatre layout. In 1919 Sid Grauman got it and after a remodel it was called Grauman's Rialto. Originally it had 1,000 seats, down to 840 in later years. It closed as a theatre in 1987 with the lobby then used for retail. The building reopened in December 2013 as an Urban Outfitters store with a wonderful restoration of the marquee. The 2014 photo is by Hunter Kerhart. For more information and photos see the Rialto Theatre pages: history + exterior views | interior views
518 S. Broadway | map |
The Roxie opened on November 25, 1931. It was the last of the Broadway theaters to open -- and is the only one in the art deco style. The 1,600 seat theatre is a design by John M. Cooper. It was built with a stage that never got any use. It's been closed since 1989. Retail is currently in the lobby and the adjoining storefronts. For more information see the Roxie pages: history + vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | interior views
246 S. Broadway | map |
This 300 seater was running by 1907. In 1908 it had a fling presenting sound pictures using the Gaumont Chronophone process. Thanks to Tony Pepper for the 1908 photo. Arthur Hyman ran the house for awhile and in 1910 it was called the Cecil Theatre. Closing was in 1913 or a bit earlier. The building has been demolished. For more information see the page about the Royal Theatre.
703 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in November 1921 as Loew's State and for decades was a major showcase for MGM product. It's a design by two San Francisco-based firms, Weeks & Day and Reid Brothers. With 2,119 seats, it has the largest capacity on Broadway. The photo is by Hunter Kerhart. It closed as a film house in 1997 and was a church for 20 years. It's now being brought back to life as a theatre by the Delijani family's Broadway Theatre Group. For more information and many photos see the State Theatre pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | ticket lobby | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | basement cafeteria |
614 S. Broadway
This 750 seat house opened in 1914. and got a big remodel in 1920. The 1921 photo taken during the run of "Never Weaken" appeared in Exhibitors Trade Review. The theatre building was demolished for construction of the Desmond's department store building in 1923. For more information see the page about the Symphony Theatre.
Tally's New Broadway
554 S. Broadway | map |
The 600 seat theatre opened with vaudeville and films as the Broadway in December 1903, a project of San Francisco lawyer Alfred Morgenstern. The vaudeville was booked by David and Sid Grauman, also based in San Francisco. Thomas Tally got it in 1905 and rebranded it as Tally's New Broadway. The house only ran until 1910 when Tally moved down the street to 833 S. Broadway and this theatre was gutted for an expansion of Silverwood's department store. The 1910 photo is from the USC Digital Library collection. For more information see the page about Tally's New Broadway.
833 S. Broadway | map |
This 900 seat house opened in 1910, reportedly after a construction time of 30 days. Boasting the "Finest pipe organ in the world," it survived until the May Co. did a southern expansion of their building in 1929. This 1916 photo is in the California State Library collection. For more information and photos see the page on Tally's Broadway.
802 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in 1927, S. Charles Lee's first theatre design. It sat 906 on a lot only 50' wide. The interior is intact except for no seats on the main floor as they were removed for a film shoot long ago. It's been used in recent decades for many film shoots as well as occasional concerts and special events. It's now an Apple store. See the Tower Theatre pages for lots of photos and details: history | earlier exterior views | recent exterior views | lobby areas | lounges + basement support areas | earlier auditorium views | recent auditorium views | organ chambers | booth level | attic | roof | tower |
629 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in 1902 or 1903 as a vaudeville house under the management of of Flora E. Hentz and John U. Zallee. Films were later added to the programs. The theatre ran until late 1909 when the team moved to another location on 3rd St. The building the theatre was in got replaced by a new structure in 1910. For more information see the page about the Unique Theatre.
United Artists / Theatre at Ace Hotel
933 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in 1927 as the only west coast design of noted Detroit-based theatre architect C. Howard Crane. The local firm of Walker & Eisen designed the office building. Originally it had 2,214 seats. After decades as a church it reopened in 2014 as an adjunct to the Ace Hotel in the former office spaces of the building. For more information and hundreds of photos see the United Artists Theatre pages: history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | outer lobby | inner lobby | lounges | upper lobby areas | earlier auditorium views | recent auditorium views | projection | stage and stage basement | other basement areas | attic | office building/hotel interiors | roof |
430 S. Broadway | map |
It opened in February 1908 as a combination moving picture theatre, music hall, waxworks and exhibit venue modeled on New York's Eden Musee. It didn't last long. The building, a 1906 design of Morgan & Walls that was initially a department store, is still on Broadway. For more information see the page about Wonderland.
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