Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
| Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood/Brentwood | Along the Coast | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Downtown: Main Street and theatres farther east

The DTLA survey pages: theatre district overview | Hill St. and farther west | Broadway theatres | Spring St. theatres | Main St. and farther east | 

Sorry to give you the runaround. Yes, within a couple months this page will have the full listing of all the theatres, both surviving and vanished, on Main St. and the downtown streets farther east.

At the moment, that complete survey page is still on the older "Historic Los Angeles Theatres - Downtown" site. Currently there are about 10 theatres missing from this new version of the page. One more click will get you to the Main St. page on that older site:

https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/main-street-theatres


Main Street was awash in nickelodeons and early legit theaters that converted to movie operation during the first decade of the twentieth century. And, of course, it was home to two legendary burlesque theatres, the Follies and the Burbank, as welll as several others that tried that policy. 
Even after Broadway became the Los Angeles movie palace row in the 1910s and 20s, the theatres on Main continued to prosper.

Most of these buildings don't qualify as palaces, and many of them were around for only a few years. But Main Street represents the densest concentration of downtown Los Angeles theatres. Of all of these historic movie and legit theatres, the Regent is the only survivor as a performance venue.

In addition to the 60 or so theatres that were on Main at various times, there were a few scattered east of Main, with the densest concentrations on 1st and 5th streets. The territory covered on this page goes from around the Plaza on the north, east to the river, and as far south as the I-10 freeway.

To see how the theatres were arrayed block-by-block see the downtown theatres by address page. Many of the theatres went under different names at various times. The downtown theatres alphabetical list includes those alternate names.


Burbank Theatre
548 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in 1893, a project of dentist David Burbank, also known for that little town in the Valley. It was a design by Chicago theatre architect James M. Wood with Robert Brown Young finishing the project. It went through many operators running legit drama and musicals, vaudeville and burlesque. In 1952 the team that had been running the Follies took it over, renaming it the New Follies. The image is from the 1959 Samuel Fuller film "The Crimson Kimomo." Demolition was in 1974. For more information see the page on the Burbank Theatre. It's an old version -- a new one will be along in a couple of months. 

114 Court St.  | map |

It opened in 1890 as the Tivoli Theatre. Soon as the New Vienna Buffet, a combo restaurant and entertainment venue, it got a sordid reputation for the kind of entertainment that was happening in the private boxes. In 1902 it became the Cineograph with films and vaudeville. Later it was the Chinese Theatre. This block of Court between Main and Spring vanished during construction of City Hall. For more information see the page about the Cineograph Theatre.

Clune's Theatre
453 S. Main St. and 107 W. 5th St. | map |

This 1,000 seat theatre was opened May 15, 1909 by pioneer exhibitor and filmmaker Billy Clune. The 1912 photo by G. Haven Bishop is in the Huntington Library collection. Clune only had a five year lease on the land. He made lots of money but the theatre came down in 1914 for construction of one of the Rosslyn Hotel buildings. For more information see the page on Clune's Theatre

Crystal Theatre
247 S. Main St. | map |

This nickelodeon opened perhaps in late 1910 and was running at least into 1912. The assumption is that the building at that housed the Crystal is still there just north of the Downtown Independent. The current tenants are the club The Smell and a bar called New Jalisco. For more information see the page on the Crystal Theatre

Denver Theatre
238 S. Main St. | map |

It was running as the Manhattan Theatre from 1910 to 1913 and is in the 1914 city directory as the Denver Theatre. The LAPD motor pool parking garage is now on the site. For a bit more information see the page on the Denver Theatre

Dohs Theatre
166 N. Main St. | map |

Well, we don't even know what the name of this nickelodeon was. It had three proprietors from 1911 to 1913, the first of which was William Dohs, so he gets the honors. It was in the U.S. Hotel building, in that storefront on the right with the white trim. We're two decades too late to see the theatre in this c.1938 Dick Whittington photo from the USC collection. The building came down in 1939. For more information see the page on Dohs Theatre

Dorkel Theatre
1015 E. 7th St. | map |

This 400 seater opened in 1915 or a bit earlier, first called the Merryland. It was on the north side of the street about 4 1/2 blocks east of San Pedro St. Thanks to Charmaine Zoe for finding the 1930 trade magazine photo. At the time it was still running silent films plus occasional vaudeville. It ran through 1932 and then evidently was dormant through 1937. It was called the Columbia in 1938 and 1939 and the Dorkel beginning in 1940. Closing date is unknown. There's now a warehouse on the site. For more information see the page on the Dorkel Theatre

Downtown Independent
251 S. Main St. | map |

This 222 seat house opened in 2007 as new construction except for reusing the sidewalls and part of the roof structure of the 1925 vintage Linda Lea Theatre. Called the ImaginAsian when it opened, it soon morphed into a home for indie films, documentaries and cult favorites. For more information see the page on the Linda Lea / Downtown Independent.

El Rodeo Theatre
807 E. 5th St.  | map |

The 350 seat house opened in 1911 a block west of the Southern Pacific depot on Central Ave. It was around until 1918 or so when it evidently succumbed to an expansion project of the hotel on the corner of E. 5th and Stanford Ave. For more information see the page on the El Rodeo Theatre

262 S. Main St. | map |

Opened in April 1902 by Thomas Tally, this was L.A.'s first real movie theatre. In 1903 vaudeville was added and the theatre became the Lyric. Under other operators it ran until about 1912, later known as Glockner's Automatic Theatre. In this c.1910 California Historical Society photo the theatre is on the far left. For more information see the page on the Electric Theatre.

Empire Theatre
128 E. 3rd St.  | map |

This legit theatre opened around 1905 and soon was supplementing its stock company shows with films and illustrated songs. In 1909 it became the Unique Theatre after being taken over by a team that had operated earlier theatres under that name. It got the Empire name back in 1910 but evidently closed that year. The image is a detail from a c.1909 map by Birds Eye Publishing from the Library of Congress. The building became a garage and was later demolished. For more information see the page on the Empire Theatre.

Estella Theatre
515 N. Main St. | map |

It opened as the Metropolitan sometime around 1911 and became the Estella (or Teatro Estella) in the early 20s. It was on the west side of Main a bit south of the Plaza church. Thanks to Sean Ault for finding the photo in a 1924 issue of the Pacific Electric Magazine. It was running until around 1930 and then became retail space. The building is gone. For more information see the page on the Estella Theatre

Federal Theatre
300 N. Main St. | map |

It opened sometime around 1913 with an H.G. Bailance as proprietor. The location was on the northeast corner of Main and the now-vanished Commercial St. An equivalent location now is halfway between Temple and Aliso streets. The last city directory listing for it was in 1917. For more information see the page about the Federal Theatre

Follies Theatre
337 S. Main St. | map |

This 1,240 seat legit house opened in 1904 as the Belasco, a design of Abraham Edelman. Later it was a vaudeville house called the Republic and in 1919 went to burlesque as the Follies. The image is from the 1974 film "Uptown Saturday Night." The theatre was demolished two months before the film was released. For more information see the page about the Follies Theatre

Fuji Kan Theatre
324 E. 1st St. | map |

This Japanese film house opened in 1925 and closed during World War II when the owners were sent to the camps. In 1945 a Chinese operator reopened it as the Linda Lea in what had become a largely African-American neighborhood. In 1955 it was reclaimed by the previous Japanese owners and became the Kinema, running until 1963. The 1939 photo was taken for the Works Progress Administration. For more information see the page on the Fuji Kan.

Galway Theatre
514 S. Main St. | map |

The 350 seat theatre opened in the 1950s in what had been retail space in the 1905 vintage Leonide Hotel building. Already in the early 60s it was having trouble getting its license renewed due to the kind of films it was showing. Its career ended in the late 80s as a triple feature porno house. The image is from the 1979 film "The Clonus Horror." For more information see the page about the Galway Theatre

Garden Theatre
1221 S. San Pedro St.  | map |

This short-lived theatre was running in 1914 but 1916 was its last city directory listing. The site, on the west side of the street between 12th and Pico, is now a parking lot. For a bit more data see the page about the Garden Theatre

Gayety Theatre
523 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in 1905 as the Novelty with 1,200 seats. Thanks to Nathan Marsak for the construction photo. Later it was known as the Peoples, Olympic, Century, Alphin, Omar and Moon before ending up as the Gayety by 1938. Sometimes the house ran vaudeville or burlesque in addition to films. It ran into the mid 50s. For more information see the page on the Gayety Theatre

Gem Theatre
649 S. Main St.  | map |

This 250 seat palace ran from 1912 until 1925. In this detail from a c.1924 UCB Bancroft Library photo it's hiding behind the pole in the center. It was the 5th storefront north of 7th on the west side of the street. The Board of Trade / SB Main apartments are now on the site. For more information see the page on the Gem Theatre

Globe Theatre
202 E. 5th St. | map |

The 600 seat Globe opened in 1908, one of a string of houses operated by the short-lived Globe Amusement Co. The theatre's signage is in the lower center in this detail from a 1911 G. Haven Bishop photo in the Huntington Library collection. In 1916 the theatre became the Jewel but didn't last long. In 1917 the building became a bus depot and survived until the 80s for many other uses. For more information see the page on the Globe Theatre

Grand Opera House
110 S. Main St. | map |

This two-balcony house seating around 1,600 opened in 1884, a design by Ezra F. Kysor and Octavius Morgan. It was a project of Ozro W. Childs and also known as Childs Opera House. From 1894 to 1903 it was L.A.'s first Orpheum. The 1920s photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library. In the 30s it was a vaudeville and film house called Teatro Mexico. Demolition was in 1936. For more information see the page on the Grand Opera House

Happy Hour Theatre
125 S. Main St. | map |

From about 1906 until around 1914 Thomas W. Johns was running a business at this location. Perhaps it started with peep show machines and then evolved into a real theatre. Starting with the 1910 city directory it's listed as the Happy Hour Theatre. For more information see the page about the Happy Hour

Hippodrome Theatre
320 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in 1911 with vaudeville and films as the 1,450 seat Adolphus Theatre and reopened in 1913 as the Hippodrome after a remodel that added a 700 seat balcony. The auditorium was on the site of an 1880s Panorama building with the entrance through a building that survived from that era. Thanks to Sean Ault for the 1946 photo. The auditorium was demolished in 1952 with the building in front surviving until 1984. For more information see the page about the Hippodrome Theatre

Hollander Theatre
115 E. 1st St.  | map |

Well, it's unknown what the name of the theatre even was. The 1911 city directory had a listing under "moving picture theaters" for Oscar Hollander at this address. It was on the north side of the street between Main St. and Los Angeles St. Evidently Oscar didn't stick around. His premises got churched and became the Apostolic Faith Rescue Mission. See the page on the Hollander Theatre for a recent photo of the site. 

Hub Theatre
1007 S. Central Ave. | map |

This 500 seat theatre a block south of Olympic once served a lively neighborhood, especially when the Southern Pacific depot was nearby. The 1947 view is a detail from a photo in the Sean Ault collection. Once called the New Age Theatre, it was the Hub from 1925 onward and ran into the early 1950s. It's now a parking lot. For more information see the page on the Hub Theatre

Idylwild Theatre
2361 E. 9th St. | map |

It opened around 1912 on the north side of the street at Santa Fe Ave. This section of E. 9th is now called E. Olympic Blvd. An ad in 1914 noted: "Change of programme daily E. 9th St & Santa Fe - This is a picture house not a vaudeville show." 1917 was the theatre's last city directory listing. The building it was in has been demolished with newer buildings now on the site. There isn't much, but see the page about the Idylwild Theatre for a bit more information. 

International Theatre
230 E. 1st St.  | map |

This house catering to a Japanese clientele opened around 1908 and lasted until about 1917. It was in a three story building that still survives, although now cut down to a single story. It's been retail and restaurant space for over a hundred years. Thanks to Gerald Sato for finding the 1910 photo. For more information see the page on the International Theatre.

Jade Theatre
315 S. Main St.  | map |

It was running in 1908 as the Wonderland Theatre and got replaced with a new building designed by A. C. Martin in 1910. The 1912 photo by G. Haven Bishop is in the Huntington Library collection. It was renamed the Jade around 1937 and was running into the 1950s. The site is now part of the Reagan California State Office Building. For more information see the page on the Jade Theatre

Lark Theatre
613 S. Main St. | map |

This little house opened around 1923 and ran until 1939 when it was demolished to become a bus loading area. It was on the west side of the street just south of 6th, opposite the Pacific Electric Building. The c.1937 photo by Herman Schultheis is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. For more information see the page on the Lark Theatre

Liberty Theatre
266 S. Main St. | map |

This 540 seat nickelodeon was a design by Albert C. Martin dating from 1910. It survived until 1929 when the city decided to get rid of a jog on 3rd St. at Main. The Liberty's building was sheared off in a strange shape that made it unusable as a theatre. This 1929 photo comes from the City Engineering Department. For more information see the page about the Liberty Theatre.

Linda Lea Theatre
251 S. Main St. | map |

It opened as the Arrow in 1925 was later the Azteca, the Aztec, and the Civic before becoming the Linda Lea in the early 1950s. Formats have included Hollywood product, Spanish language films and stage shows, burlesque, Chinese films, and a long run with Japanese films. The 1939 photo by Dick Whittington is in the USC collection. It closed in the mid-80s and was mostly demolished in 2007 to become what is now the Downtown Independent. For more information see the page on the Linda Lea / Downtown Independent

Little Tokyo Cinemas
333 S. Alameda St., 3rd floor | map |

This 400 seat twin opened in 1987 as a Japanese language film house in what was then Little Tokyo Square, now called Little Tokyo Galleria. It's a big complex on the southwest corner of 3rd and Alameda. It's unknown how long the theatres operated. For more information see the page on the Little Tokyo Cinemas.  

Main Theatre
438 S. Main St. | map |

This was conversion of retail space into a porno operation that ran in the 70s and 80s. Here we've caught the "Grand Opening" in a c.1978 photo by William E. Ault. The location was in the Canadian Building, a 1909 structure by Parkinson and Bergstrom that's still on the southeast corner of Winston and Main. For more information see the page about the Main Theatre

Mandarin Theatre
323 Jackson St. | map - approximate |

It was running as a Chinese drama venue in the mid-1920s. The block of Jackson where it was has vanished to redevelopment. It was east of San Pedro St. and north of 1st. See the page on the Mandarin Theatre for a map and what little data there is. 

Merced Theatre
420 N. Main St. | map |

The Merced opened January 30, 1871, the oldest surviving theatre building in Los Angeles. The 400 seat theatre was designed by Ezra F. Kysor. It closed as a theatrical venue on New Year's Day 1877. Now owned by the City of Los Angeles,  it's planned that the building will be the home for the city's public access television channel. For more information see the page on the Merced Theatre.

Metropolitan Theatre
257 E. 5th St. | map |

It was running at least in 1908 and 1909. It didn't make it into the 1910 city directory. The building survives as retail space. It's on the north side of the street just west of the corner of 5th and Wall. By 1911 the Metropolitan name had moved to 515 N. Main, a theatre later called the Estella. For more information see the page on the Metropolitan Theatre

Miller's Theatre
842 S. Main St.  | map |

It opened in 1913 on the east side of Main just north of 9th with a 100' lobby through a hotel building. The image is from a 1915 photo by G. Haven Bishop in the Huntington collection. In 1919 it was Ray's Garden Theatre. It was sold in 1924 to Loew's and later known as the Triangle and the Roosevelt. Closing was around 1941. The site is now a parking lot. For more information see the page on Miller's Theatre.

Mott's Hall
133 S. Main St. | map |

The hall, also known as Armory Hall, was opened in 1886 by T.D. Mott above his market. It was a noted venue both as an exhibit hall as well as for theatrical performances. From 1890 to 1894 the Chamber of Commerce had it. In 1895 it became a vaudeville theatre. The c.1905 photo is from the Natural History Museum's collection. For more information see the page on Mott's Hall

Muse Theatre
417 S. Main St. | map |

This 400 seat nickelodeon was open by 1925 and lasted into the early 50s. In the 40s it was running burlesque shows. The photo is a detail of the closed theatre by Palmer Connor that's in the Huntington Library collection. It was on the west side of the street opposite Winston St. There's now a parking garage on the site. For more information see the page on the Muse Theatre

Nickel Theatre
255 S. Main St. | map |

This 250 seat house was opened in the summer of 1906 by C.M. Bockoven. Billy Clune soon joined him as partner in the firm that became Southwest Amusement Co. The theatre was later known as the Union, the New York and the Western. It called it quits around 1916. For more information see the page about the Nickel Theatre.

Novelty Theatre
136 S. Main St. | map |

It opened around 1912 and kept the Novelty name at least until 1939. In the early 40s it was called the Chinese Theatre and then the Liberty. As the latter it ran exploitation films in the 40s and then Mexican product. The c.1937 photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library. The Caltrans building is now on the site. For more information see the page about the Novelty Theatre

Olvera St. Theatre
W-10 Olvera St. / 620 N. Main St. | map |

It opened in 1930 as the Leo Carillo Theatre, named after the film star. Originally featuring live performances, by the mid-30s it had become the Olvera St. Theatre featuring puppet shows. The photo is from the El Pueblo Historical Monument collection. The space evidently ran as a theatre into the 50s and is now used for retail. For more information see the page on the Olvera St. Theatre

Optic Theatre
533 S. Main St.  | map |

This 700 seat house was opened in 1911 by Robert W. Woodley who had an earlier Optic on Broadway as well as several other ventures. Late in life it was a four feature grindhouse. Thanks to Sean Ault for the c.1945 photo. The theatre was demolished in the 1980s. There's now a parking garage on the site. For more information see the page about the Optic Theatre

Pacific Electric Club Theatre
627 S. Los Angeles St. | map |

The club was in a five story building that still survives just south of the Pacific Electric Building. It was later also known as the Pacific Electric Auditorium. It's unknown when that use was discontinued. For a photo and some news stories see the page about the Pacific Electric Club Theatre.

Pearl Theatre
414 E. 1st St. | map |

It opened sometime around 1909 and went through several proprietors before showing up with the Pearl name in the 1914 city directory. It was on the south side of the street between Central Ave. and Alameda St. Perhaps 1916 was the end. It's not in the 1917 or 1918 city directories. See the page on the Pearl Theatre for a bit more data. 

People's Amphitheater
N. Main St. near 1st  | map - approximate |

This venue was open in 1893 with Charles Doyle as proprietor. In an L.A. Times ad they were promising "3 Shows in One - Stage! Ring! Aerial!" See the People's Amphitheatre page for the ad. Other than that, nothing more is known. "Have You Seen Giovanni's Marvelous Trained Birds?"

Picture Theatre
545 S. Main St. | map |

This 250 seat house opened sometime around 1907. It's in the city directories from that year onward with a number of different proprietors. The 1910 photo is from the AMPAS Tom B'hend-Preston Kaufmann Collection. It ran at least into 1926. The building it was in was demolished sometime before 1931. A parking garage is now on the site. For more information see the page on the Picture Theatre

Playo Theatre
349 N. Main St. | map |

This 250 seat house opened in late 1906 as the Nickel Theatre, the second venture of Southwest Amusement, a partnership of C.M. Bockoven and Billy Clune. It was across the street from the Baker Block, on the west side of Main between Temple and Arcadia. It was called the Playo in 1907 and is listed as the Plaza in the 1908 city directory. It's not in the 1909 edition. The 300 block is long gone. The site is about where Aliso St. now is is along the south edge of the 101. For more information see the page on the Playo Theatre

Plaza Theatre
224 N. Main St.  | map |

It opened sometime around 1925 as the Gay Theatre. The location was in the middle of the block on the east side of the street between Market and Commercial, just a few doors north of the Roosevelt Theatre. From about 1927 through 1930 it was called the Plaza Theatre. The site was about where the north side of Temple St. is now. There's a page started for the Plaza but there isn't any more data. Several other theatres were calling themselves the Plaza at various times. See the downtown alphabetical / alternate name list for links to them. 

Princess Theatre
121 W. 1st St. | map |

This house for stock companies, vaudeville and films located a half block west of Main opened in 1905 as Fischer's Theatre. The image is a detail from a 1912 photo by G. Haven Bishop in the Huntington Library collection. It was running into the mid 20s. Its site is now part of the park area south of City Hall. For more information see the page about the Princess Theatre.

Principal Theatre
433 N. Main St. | map |

It started around 1911 as the Plaza Theatre with the entrance through the Moreno Hotel building at Main and Republic. Later it was the Metropolitan before becoming the Principal around 1923, featuring films plus Spanish language stage shows. The c.1924 photo is from the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library. Closing was sometime around 1930. For more information see the page on the Principal Theatre

Progressive Theatre
320 E. 1st St.  | map |

The Progressive Theatre was in the 1911 city directory. In the 1913 directory this address is listed as the Tivoli Theatre. The location was on the south side of the street just east of San Pedro St. The closing date is unknown. It's not in the 1914 city directory. The building has been demolished. The site is now a parking lot. There's a page started for the Progressive but no more data at this time. 

Regal Theatre
323 S. Main St.  | map |

Opened in 1894 as the Turn Halle, the auditorium in the building was soon operating as the Star Theatre. Later it was known as the Hecla, the New Star, the Bijou, the Theatre Royal and the Regal. It became a gym in 1919. The c.1932 Anton Wagner photo is from the California Historical Society. The building was demolished in 1951 after a fire. For more information see the page about the Regal Theatre.  

Regent Theatre
448 S. Main St. | map |

This is the second theatre on the site, opening as the National in February 1914 and closing in 2000. It reopened in 2014 as a music venue and restaurant after a big remodel. This is the last remaining historic movie theatre on Main St. The photo is by Sean Ault. For more information see the Regent Theatre pages: history + exterior views | interior views

Republic Theatre
629 1/2 S. Main St. | map |

It was running from 1923 until about 1925. The Republic was on the west side of the street mid-block between 6th and 7th. The building it was in has been demolished, like almost everything else on that side of the block. For more information see the page on the Republic Theatre

Rex Theatre
324 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in late 1911 or early 1912 on the east side of the street in the south storefront of the Adolphus / Hippodrome Theatre building mid-block between 3rd and 4th. Bert Lustig, who also had the National (where the Regent now is) operated the theatre. The Rex is in the 1912, 1913 and 1914 city directories but not 1915. The building has been demolished, along with everything else on the east side of the street between 3rd and 4th. For more information see the page on the Rex Theatre

Roosevelt Theatre
212 N. Main St. | map - approximate |

It opened around 1911, initially called the Electric Theatre. The building it was in dated from the 1890s. In the 1930s it was a home for Spanish language films. By 1942 it was the Roosevelt. It ran Chinese films beginning in 1950. The image is a shot from Andre de Toth's 1954 film "Crime Wave." Demolition was c.1955. For more information see the page on the Roosevelt Theatre

Rosslyn Theatre
431 S. Main St.  | map |

This 350 seat house opened around 1925 in the original c.1890 four story Rosslyn Hotel Building. We're looking south toward 5th St. in this detail from a 1954 photo by Palmer Connor that's in the Huntington Library collection. It survived into the mid-1950s but there's now a parking garage on the site. For more information see the page about the Rosslyn Theatre

Rounder Theatre
510 S. Main St. | map |

It opened sometime around 1910 in the Rennie Hotel building on the east side of the street just south of 5th. Arthur Hyman was running it in 1911. Later in 1911 it was advertised for sale. Maybe that was the end. The building got a big makeover in 2014 and now houses a social services agency. For more information see the page about the Rounder Theatre

San Fernando Theatre
618 San Fernando St./Upper Main St. | map |

It was a bit northwest of the Plaza and running with operators who were arrested in 1907 for having kids under 14 in the theatre, illegal at the time under city ordinance. The name San Fernando is mythical as research has not yet revealed the actual name of the theatre. It was in a storefront in the 1886 vintage Sentous Block, here seen in a Palmer Conner / Huntington Library photo taken before the building's 1957 demolition. For more information on the building and the theatre see the page about the San Fernando Theatre.

Sanchez Hall
Calle de los Negroes  | map - approximate |

It opened around 1841, a block southeast of the Plaza. It was reputed to be about the only two story structure in town at the time. The hall was a major venue for parties, traveling shows and musical events. One writer in 1842 described it as being "painted out in the most comical style with priests, bishops, saints, horses and other animals -- the effect is really astonishing." It evidently survived into the 1870s. The block later got absorbed, more or less, into an extension of N. Los Angeles St., now numbered as the 400 block. For more information see the page on Sanchez Hall.

Sherman Theatre
518 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in late 1915 or early 1916, its name an homage to the general. It was on the east side of the street between 5th and 6th. 1919 might have been the end for it as it's not in the city directory that year. The current building on the site dates from 1923. For more information see the page on the Sherman Theatre

Spidora Theatre
224 E. 5th St.  | map |

How's that for a name? All we know is that it's in the 1917 city directory with Harry Black, Earl Greenbaum and M.E. Golden listed as the operators. It was on the south side of the street between Los Angeles St. and Maple Ave. Whatever building the theatre was in has been demolished. The current building on the site dates from 1989. A page has been started for the Spidora Theatre but no other information has yet emerged.

Star Theatre
529 S. Main St.  | map |

It opened around 1914 called the Portola. Later it was known as the Virginia before becoming the Star around 1930. The 1936 photo is by Alfred Eisenstaedt. It was running until at least 1951 and sat there maybe fifteen years after closing. There's now a monster parking garage on the site. For more information see the page about the Star Theatre.

Star Theatre
100 block of E. 5th St.  | map - approximate |

It was running as a high class film house in 1911. "Il Trovatore" was one booking. Evidently there was also a bit of Socialism thrown into the mix when, for awhile anyway, it was running pro-labor films. It may not have survived beyond 1911. For more information see the page about the Star Theatre

Stearns Hall
SE corner N. Main St. and Arcadia St. | map |

Abel Stearns had an old adobe and kept adding on to it. In 1858 he opened part of it for traveling minstrel shows and both Spanish and English language drama. This c.1870 photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection looks north toward the Pico House. Much of the low-rise stuff beyond the Bella Union is the Stearns compound. The hall ran until perhaps 1875. The Baker Block then rose on the site. See the page about Stearns Hall for more information. 

137 S. Main St. | map | -- also additional locations

Thomas Tally got into the phonograph business on Spring St. in 1895, graduated to coin operated movie machines, and then started projecting films on a screen. This Main St. location was opened in 1899 and after Tally's exit continued with other operators until 1901 or so. For more information see the page about the various Tally's Phonograph and Vitascope Parlor locations.

Teatro Alarcon
Arcadia St. & Calle de los Negros  | map - approximate |

Antonio F. Coronel opened the 300 seat theatre on July 4, 1848 as an addition to his house. It sported a proscenium with a drop curtain and a good supply of scenery. The Alarcon was active as a spot for Spanish and English language drama presented by traveling troupes through the 1860s and 70s. The c.1870 California State Library photo looks north on Calle de los Negros with Coronel's adobe on the left. For more information see the page about the Teatro Alarcon.

Teatro Hidalgo
373 N. Main St. | map |

The theatre, a home for Mexican films, vaudeville and legit productions opened on the west side of the street in 1912. The pre-opening photo is from the El Pueblo Monument Photo Collection. It was running into the mid-1930s. Later the whole side of the block it was on was demolished for construction of the 101. For more information and photos see the page about the Teatro Hidalgo.

Teatro Torito
W-12 Olvera St. / 622 N. Main St. | map |

It opened as a puppet theatre in 1930 in the 1877 vintage Sepulveda House. In this postcard looking north there's the Olvera end of two buildings used as theatres. The one nearest us with the "Theatre" signage visible was the Olvera St. Theatre. Beyond, there's the back end of the Sepulveda House where the Torito was. For more information see the page on the Teatro Torito.

Temple Theatre
155 N. Main St., 158 N. Spring St. | map |

The theatre was on the second floor of the Market House, a building built in 1859 by John Temple to house a public market on the ground floor. It was later a City Hall and then County Courthouse. The c.1879 Main St. photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The site is now under City Hall. For more information see the page about the Temple Theatre.

Union Theatre
[address not known]

From 1852 to 1854, Don Vincente Guerrero directed Spanish language drama in his Union Theatre for performances on Saturdays and Sundays. It gets a mention on page 19 of the 1983 book "Mexican American Theatre: then and now" edited by Nicolas Kanellos. The page is included in the book's preview on Google Books. No additional data has surfaced. 

Victor Theatre
1718 S. Main St. | map |

It opened in 1912 as the Globe Theatre and by 1914 had become the Royal. The 755 seat house got a re-do in 1938 and emerged as the Victor. Thanks to Lou Rugani for finding the 1942 photo. Closing date is unknown but it's long gone. The site is under the 10 freeway. For more information see the page about the Victor Theatre

Wood's Opera House
410 N. Main St.  | map |

Showman Colonel J.H. Wood opened the venue in 1876. He soon was bankrupt. When it reopened it was called the Our Club Theatre, also known as the Club Theatre. Again it didn't have a long life. But the building stuck around way into the 40s. In this c.1948 Arnold Hylen photo the building closest to us was once Wood's. For more information see the page about Wood's Opera House.


Main Street Mysteries:


An unidentified Los Angeles nickelodeon. Don't you love that moose head as decor? The Bison Archives photo from the Marc Wanamaker collection appears on page 238 of Jan Olsson's "Los Angeles Before Hollywood: Journalism and American Film Culture, 1905-1915." The book is available from Amazon or as a free pdf from the National Library of Sweden. The caption notes that the film they're advertising was released July 15, 1911.

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