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Palace Theatre: history

630 S. Broadway Los Angeles CA 90014 | map |

More Palace Theatre pages: vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | ticket lobby | lobbies and lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | booth | backstage | basement support areas | office building |

Opened: The theatre opened June 26, 1911 as the Orpheum with two-a-day vaudeville. Many famous performers have appeared on the theatre's stage including Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Sarah Bernhardt (1913), the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields and Will Rogers. This is reported to be the oldest surviving theatre that was built for the Orpheum circuit.  Photo: Bill Counter

Phone: 213-629-2939  Website: | on Facebook | on Twitter

The Palace Theatre is now owned and operated by Broadway Theatre Group, Jason Rodriguez, General Manager. The firm also owns the Tower, State and Los Angeles Theatres. The initial developer of the project was the Orpheum Theatre and Realty Co., a subsidiary of the theatre circuit. The land it was on was leased for a term of 50 years.

This was the 3rd home for Orpheum Circuit vaudeville in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to the construction of this theatre, Orpheum had presented at the Grand Opera House on Main St. and at the Los Angeles Theatre on Spring St., a venue later known as the Lyceum. This house on Broadway was renamed the Broadway Palace when the circuit moved down the street to the present Orpheum Theatre in 1926. Later this theatre was known as the Fox Palace and, eventually, just as the Palace.

Architect: San Francisco based G. Albert Lansburgh designed this lovely French renaissance bonbon. Robert Brown Young and Son was the firm serving as the local associate architect and probably was responsible for the commercial spaces.

The polychrome terracotta facade, reported to be the first in Los Angeles, was executed by Gladding, McBean & Co. The four figures on the facade by Domingo Mora represent the muses of vaudeville: comedy, dance, song and music. The building was designed with fire safety in mind. There are 22 exits and one of the city's first sprinkler systems.

A young Mr. Lansburgh. It's a photo that appeared with the article "The New Orpheum Theater Building, Los Angeles" in the September 1911 issue of Architect and Engineer. The issue can be viewed on Internet Archive. Thanks to Mike Hume for finding the article. See the Palace page on his Historic Theatre Photography site for many of his fine photos.

Following the main Architect and Engineer article, Lansburgh adds "An Architect's Tribute to Domingo Mora," the artist who did the sculptural work on the project. The ceiling dome paintings were done by Domingo's elder son Francis Luis Mora. Domingo died in San Francisco in July 1911, shortly after the theatre's opening. His younger son Joseph Jacinto Mora had assisted on the project's sculptural work and later went on to do the exterior sculpture for the Million Dollar Theatre.

Lansburgh's model for the theatre. It's a photo Hillsman Wright acquired for the collection of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. Thanks to Mike Hume for making it available. 

Lansburgh had earlier designed the Orpheum that opened in 1909 in San Francisco, now demolished. His major surviving works in San Francisco include the Golden Gate Theatre (1922), the Warfield Theatre (1922) and the War Memorial Opera House (1932). Lansburgh would later design the RKO Hillstreet (1922) for the Orpheum circuit as well as the current Orpheum Theatre (1926) at 842 S. Broadway. His other work in Los Angeles includes the auditoriums of the El Capitan Theatre (1926), the Shrine Auditorium (1926) and the Wiltern Theatre (1931).

Lansburgh, with his name misspelled, talks about getting the theatre ready in this article from the June 3, 1911 L.A. Times. Clarence Drown was the initial manager. He got a bio in the June 11 issue of the Times where it was noted that he had been at the circuit's two previous Los Angeles locations, had been on the road managing Orpheum attractions and was, at the time of the opening, also VP and assistant general manager of the circuit as well as the west coast division manager.  

An article describing the wonders of the new theatre that appeared in the Long Beach Daily Telegram on June 6, 1911. Thanks to Ron Mahan for locating it. That bit about "a water curtain to throw a sheet of water in front of the asbestos" just meant that they had installed sprinkler heads around the top of the proscenium arch. 

This article giving a big preview of the new theatre's features, including "strange combinations" and "new lighting effects," appeared in the Times on June 14. Thanks to Mike Hume you can also see this as a PDF.

The L.A. Times ad for June 27 showing the theatre's first week bill. Although it wasn't Orpheum policy to run feature films, short films were part of the first program, here advertised as "Daylight Pictures." Theatre historian Ed Kelsey notes that the booth was at the rear of the 1st balcony, a smaller booth than the one currently in that location. 

The 17 piece "Symphony Orchestra" was led by Abraham Frankum Frankenstein, who had been the Orpheum's music director in Los Angeles since 1898. A 1913 composition, with lyricist F.B. Silverwood (yes, the clothing store operator), was "I Love You California," declared the State Song in 1951. See a Jewish Museum of the American West page for more about Frankenstein. The June 16, 1912 issue of the Times ran an article about him.

In a lengthy Times article on June 27th that reviewed the opening, Julian Johnson noted that in the "club-like" smoking room "a slave dispensed cigarettes." Upstairs "the ladies packed their exquisite French foyer-boudoir almost to suffocation." As far as the show, he noted: "The were flowers, but no stopping of the show for speeches or the customary tiresome 'inaugural ceremonies.' The Orpheum, as its habit is, simply gave a 'show.'" Thanks to Mike Hume for finding this and other Times items. See a PDF via his site of the full article: "New Orpheum's Bright Birth is Sudden Blaze of Tungsten Glory."

A first floor plan of the building from the September 1911 issue of Architect and Engineer. It's on Internet Archive. On the Broadway end of the building the office building lobby and elevators are at the upper left, on the south end of the building. In the upper right note the lobby area for the 2nd balcony, also serving as an exit passageway for north exits from the theatre. It's now retail space. Both north and south passageways are 10' wide. The article noted that the theatre's lot is 150' wide and 122' deep. Cost of the building was $350,000.

Seating: Currently 1,068 with the 2nd balcony not in use. The theatre's website gives a main floor capacity of 608 with seating for 460 in the balcony. No seat is farther than 80 feet from the stage. The seating got rehabbed as part of the 2011 restoration. On the main floor, several rows are missing at the front. The orchestra pit is covered.

Originally it was touted as 2,200. A perhaps more realistic total is the number 1,956 that appears on the theatre's website with a breakdown of 774 on the main floor, 389 in the 1st balcony, 645 in the  2nd balcony, and 148 in the boxes. 1,956 is also the number that appeared in a 1910 L.A. Times article announcing the project. After a Fox remodel in late 1929 that included removal of the boxes, the L.A. Times reported, perhaps with a bit of puffery, that the capacity would be 2,250.

The 2nd Balcony, aka The Gallery: The 2nd balcony seats were cheaper but the area was not racially segregated. The cheapest seats in the upper section were actually benches, still in place. There were conventional theatre seats below the crossaisle, a section called the Family Circle. The 2nd balcony has its own restrooms and an upstairs lobby -- really just a corridor. While terrific for vaudeville, this balcony is less desirable for film viewing and hasn't been used since the 1930s.

The boxoffice for the 2nd balcony was in a small lobby at the north end of the facade, later converted to retail space after use of the balcony was discontinued. A dedicated set of interior stairs went up from there with no access to other areas of the theatre, typical of two balcony theatre construction at the time. These stairs are now blocked below the 2nd floor and all the side exits on the north side of the theatre now go to the alley (through what had been stage space) rather than to Broadway. 

Another set of stairs for 2nd balcony exit use is off the office building lobby, on the south side of the building. There's a third set of stairs leading from the front of the house right side of the 2nd balcony straight down to the alley. Access is also possible using the fire escapes. Or via a firedoor at the top of the first balcony near the booth. That gets you into the second floor of the office building where the theatre's offices once were. From there you have access to the the stairwell coming up from behind the office building lobby. In Bob Poole's 2011 L.A. Times story about restoration work, Shahram Deljani announced plans at that time to "flip it" and make the second balcony a V.I.P. area. But it's still unused.

A 1913 ad in the Times. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating it. Sarah Bernhardt's engagement was a big event with lots of luggage, scenery and props. The March 1, 1913 issue of the L.A. Evening Express had an article about her arrival in town headed "Sarah Bernhardt Due To Arrive Monday."

The July 26, 1915 program. The show that week featured Nazimova in "War Brides" and Joe Cook. The cover appeared in a post on the Palace Theatre Facebook page.

An Orpheum Circuit program in the collection of Gary Leonard. Thanks to Gary and the Palace Theatre for the photo. It appeared in a post on the Palace Theatre Facebook page.

The last performance as the Orpheum was the evening of February 14, 1926. The new Orpheum Theatre down the street opened the next evening. On February 20 this theatre that had been the Orpheum reopened as the Broadway Palace. It was still being run by the Orpheum circuit but now with feature films and less prestigious vaudeville acts, programming much like the "Junior Orpheum" format at their Hillstreet Theatre, a house that they had opened in 1922.

An article in the July 14, 1926 L.A. Times announced that the format would be downgraded to films only, lower admission prices, and four changes a week. Orpheum continued to run the Palace into the fall of 1928. 

"Orpheum Loses Lemon." The Variety issue of August 15, 1928 had the story:

"Pacific Amusement Co., headed by Harry Strere [sic], who operates the Rialto (downtown) and is also interested in the Forum, is taking over the Palace (Orpheum circuit) Oct. 1, relieving the vaude circuit of one of its biggest liabilities on the Pacific coast. A grind policy of pictures will be in effect. Principal Pictures Corp. (Sol Lesser and Mike Rosenberg) owns a small block of stock in Pacific Amusement Co. Palace was formerly the Orpheum, where the circuit shows were played prior to the opening of the new Orpheum several years ago."

The Times had the news in "Forum's Owners Lease Broadway Palace Theater," a September 20 story where they noted that the lease was an eight year deal with the Orpheum circuit. "Broadway Theater in Lease Deal," a September 30 Times story, revealed that the total lease cost was approximately $1,000,000 and another member of the Srere clan, George, was also involved. In mid-October the team announced that the grind film policy was being upgraded and they would be offering instead a first-run film along with a musical comedy on stage. In an October 16 Times story partner Gus A. Metzger was quoted as saying they had selected a chorus which "will be among the most beautiful ever assembled on a Los Angeles stage." A tab version of the Ziegfeld musical "Sally" was scheduled for November 2, 1928 along with the film "The Matinee Idol." A November 20 story titled "Palace's Policy Rated Success" noted that they were shattering attendance records and that "Irene" would be next on the stage.  

Minority partners Sol Lesser and Mike Rosenberg's Principal Pictures Corp., later known as Principal Theatres and Principal Theatres of America, had its fingers in everything. Lesser was long involved with the West Coast Theatres circuit. Around 1927 Principal took over the Arcade Theatre for a short spell. In 1933 they were one of the partners in the reopening of the Orpheum. The last remaining theatre in the circuit is the Music Box/Fonda, now owned by Leslie Blumberg, a descendant of Mike Rosenberg. Cinema Treasures has a list of 34 theatres once operated by Principal. Leslie puts the count as once being closer to 60.

As Variety noted, Harry Srere had operated the Rialto in the late 20s. In addition, he and Gus A. Metzger also had an interest in the Forum Theatre. The Srere and Metzger regime at the Palace was over in less than a year when William Fox came calling in 1929 and took over the lease. The duo went on to be the lessees of the Fairfax in 1930 and the Roxie in 1931.


The Fox West Coast circuit, formerly West Coast Theatres, rebranded the house as the Fox Palace. This September 18, 1929 Times article located by Mike Hume announced the takeover. They ran the house for a couple of weeks and then, on October 6, shut it down for ten days for what they billed as a complete overhaul. One major change was removal of the boxes and installing murals in flat panels that were created.

The story that appeared in the Times on October 6, 1929 detailing, with some puffery, the renovation by Fox West Coast. Thanks again to Mike Hume for the research.  The theatre reopened October 16 with the King Vidor sound film "Hallelujah" on a two-a-day reserved seat policy.

An opening day article in the Times noted that the event would be broadcast due to the "Widespread interest in all parts of the Far West in the spectacular opening." Bandleader Benny Rubin was the MC, introducing stars to the radio audience as they came through the ticket lobby. The article noted that "practically every star of prominence in the film colony and stage world not engaged in thespian activities tonight will attend.."

The cover for the October 1929 "Hallelujah" program. 
The inside pages. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating this for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 

This item about "They Had to See Paris" in the November 26, 1929 issue of the Times makes no mention of a two-a-day schedule or reserved seats policy. Thanks to Javier Gonzalez for locating this. "The Song Writers' Revue" was a 20 minute short.   

A section of a 1931 insurance map from the Los Angeles Public Library showing the theatre and identifying it as the Broadway Palace Building. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for the photo.

By 1936 Fox West Coast had bailed out and the Palace was a second run house operated by Downtown Broadway Theatres, Inc., a firm later known as Metropolitan Theatres. In 1939 it became a newsreel theatre known as both the News Palace and the Palace Newsreel Theatre. A September 14 Times article located by Michelle Jacobson was headlined "Palace Theater Will Become Newsreel House" and noted:

"For years an outstanding landmark to Los Angeles theatregoers, the Palace Theater... is to adopt the same policy as the Newsreel Theatre [later renamed the Globe] in answer to an ever-increasing demand of persons wanting to see in dramatic sound pictures the feverish pulsebeat of nations at war. Next Wednesday the new newsreel house will become officially known as the News Palace Theater and the feature pictures that formerly played there will be transferred to the Los Angeles Theater. The newest in sound picture equipment will be installed in the News Palace, which is also to be equipped with sound-television apparatus, which sometime in the near future will be in extensive operation."

 A typical ad noted that the program consisted of "Latest News Reels and Short Subjects." The vertical signs were temporarily covered to say "Newsreels" but the newsreel policy was inconsistent. By 1941 they were sometimes running features again and then advertising it as just the Palace. In December 1943, as the News-Palace, a typical ad read "Two Hour Show - Latest News & Shorts." By November 1945, when signs could be lit again, the verticals again said "Palace" and no mention of newsreels.

The theatre was back with Fox West Coast management later in the 40s, operated in conjunction with Principal Theatres of America. After some big first run engagements such as "Best Years of Our Lives" in 1946 it was back to newsreels, at least that was the programming in 1949. It had a fine run as a grindhouse after its first run and newsreel days were over. Metropolitan ended up with it (again) after Fox, like the other major circuits, left downtown. 

It was sold to downtown developer Tom Gilmore in 2000. The Times had the news in a February 8 story located by Michelle Jacobson that was headlined "Developer Plans To Breathe Life Into Historic Palace Theater." The article noted that the developer, already busy with several adaptive reuse projects on Spring St. in what had been dubbed the "Old Bank District," planned to continue to offer first-run films while also adding live shows at the Palace. Gilmore moved his offices into the building.

Closing: The Palace closed as a film house later in 2000. A December 2 Times story headed "Playing the Palace" noted that the Praxis Project, a dance company, would be doing an engagement at the theatre. But ultimately Gilmore didn't have any luck making the building financially viable.

The Palace has been owned since 2004 by the Delijani family. They also own the Los Angeles, State and Tower theatres. It's operated by their Broadway Theatre Group with Shahram Delijani heading the firm.

The facade received significant cleaning and repair in 2007. A condo development was proposed for the vacant office floors of the building in 2007. Curbed L.A. reported: "On the heels of that $40 million "Bringing Back Broadway" campaign, applications have been filed to create condominiums in two Broadway theater buildings...the office tower of the Palace Theatre and the Fox office tower of the Los Angeles Theater." No action was pursued regarding those plans.

The theatre unveiled $1 million in  restoration work to celebrate its 100th birthday on June 26, 2011 with screenings of "Sunset Boulevard." See a PDF of "Theater's makeover for a century," a June 27, 1911 L.A. Times story about the reopening. Thanks to Mike Hume for posting it. 

In 2013 the Delijanis applied for liquor licenses and use permits for their four theatres that would have, for operational purposes, designated the four buildings as a single complex. A number of separate club, theatre, and restaurant spaces were envisioned in each of the buildings. See Richard Guzman's May 28 L.A. Downtown News story for a rundown of what they were proposing. The liquor licenses obtained in 2013 were later surrendered as the theatres didn't get the kitchen facilities installed that were a condition of their issuance. Later a kitchen was installed in the Palace basement.

The Hotel Project Behind the Palace: In 2015 a slender hotel was proposed for the lot behind the Palace, at 633 S. Spring. The alley would have been maintained but it would have made access to the theatre for loading a show more difficult. Urbanize L.A. had an October 2015 story, including a site plan. It was a followup to their June 2015 story. There's also a Department of City Planning initial study pdf to look at. Thanks to Torr Leonard for spotting the information. Also see an October 2015 L.A. Curbed story "First Look at the Skinny 28 Story Hotel..." The project architect was Adam Sokol.

Urbanize L.A. had a January 2017 story: "Proposed Spring Street Hotel Adds Parking." Curbed L.A. also had a January story "26-story hotel once called 'Lizard In'..." The schedule was for groundbreaking in the 2nd quarter of 2017 and an opening in 2019. But nothing happened. The site is still a parking lot.

A site plan for the skinny hotel from Urbanize L.A

A Spring St. view to the rear of the Palace from the October 2015 Urbanize story.

Status: The theatre currently is a rental house used for theatrical productions, concerts, film shoots, and occasional film screenings. In recent years the theatre has sometimes been advertised as the Downtown Palace

The Palace in the Movies: The interior of the Palace has been used for many films, videos and commercials due to its lovely period feel.

Anjanette Comer takes a rapid run by the Palace in a sequence beginning 1:47 into Tony Richardson's "The Loved One" (MGM, 1965). The film also features Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Rod Steiger, Dana Andrews, Milton Berle, James Coburn, John Gielgud and Tab Hunter. Haskell Wexler was the cinematographer. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for some Hollywood shots as well as a reflected view of the Los Angeles Theatre. 

We get a look north in 1972 at the Palace and the Los Angeles in footage added for the European theatrical release of Steven Spielberg's 1971 TV movie "Duel." The Palace is running "The Possession of Joel Delaney," a May 1972 release, along with "Rosemary's Baby" from 1968. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting the theatres and getting the screenshot and thanks to Shawn Dudley for deciphering the top title on the marquee. See the Theatres in Movies post for a view a moment later a bit closer to the Los Angeles.  

It's all set in New York but we see a bit of the Palace as the end credits roll in Joseph Sargent's TV movie "Hustling" (Lillian Gallo/Filmways, 1975). Journalist Lee Remick is doing a story about who benefits financially from prostitution in Manhattan. Also starring are Jill Clayburgh, Alex Rocco and Burt Young. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for more views of the Palace as well as shots of the Tower, Los Angeles and State. Thanks to Sean Ault for spotting the theatres in the film. 
A shot from Elaine May's "Mikey and Nicky" (Paramount, 1976). The mob drama features Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Rose Arrick, Carol Grace, William Hickey, Ned Beatty and Sanford Meisner. The principal cinematography was by Bernie Abramson. Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film and getting screenshot. He notes: "The film was shot in 1973 and 1974 but released in 1976. My city sleuthing detected that the triple bill on the marquee played the week of January 18, 1974. That's the back of Ned Beatty's head in silhouette. Also note that here downtown L.A. is doubling for Philadelphia, where the film is set."

The Palace marquee is used in the opening credits of "Coming Attractions" (Cinema Finance Associates, 1978). Ira Miller directed the film, retitled "Loose Shoes" for a 1982 reissue. It's a comedy structured as a series of skits and trailers. Featured are Bill Murray, Buddy Hackett, Royce D. Applegate, Lewis Arquette, Tom Baker and Dorothy Van. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for marquee shots of the Whittier, Wiltern, La Reina, Orpheum and Rivoli in Long Beach. The Gilmore Drive-In is seen at the film's end.

The marquee of the Palace is seen in Gregory Nava's "El Norte" (Cinecom Pictures, 1984). It's a story of Guatemalan immigrants coming to the United States in search of a better life. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting the theatre in the film. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a screenshot.

Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long write a hit film called "An American Romance" that shows up as playing the theatre in "Irreconcilable Differences" (Warner Bros., 1984). Drew Barrymore plays their kid, who's in court asking to be emancipated from them and their endless fighting. Charles Shyer directed with cinematography by William A. Fraker. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the Rialto, Globe, Orpheum and La Reina theatres from the film.

A stripper played by Claudia Christian goes on a rampage and takes a wild drive by the Palace's wildly flashing marquee in “The Hidden” (New Line Cinema, 1987). Her body has, of course, been taken over by an alien creature. Jack Sholder directed the film starring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for views of other theatres seen in the film including the Westlake, Las Palmas, Pantages and the United Artists. 

We get a look at the Palace in the cruise down Broadway during the opening credits of Dennis Hopper's "Colors" (Orion, 1988). We also see the Million Dollar, the Broadway and the State. The credits are the best part. You don't need to see the rest of the film. Check out the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the other theatres.

The 5th floor loft is seen as a New York apartment in Oliver Stone's "The Doors" (TriStar Pictures, 1991). The film stars Val Kilmer, Kathleen Quinlan, Meg Ryan and Kyle MacLachlan. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several Orpheum views from the film. 

Art news update! A new mural design to replace the dreary Heinsbergen creation. Chris Young and Joan Severance are discussing it in this shot from "The Runestone" (Hyperion Pictures, 1991), a fun romp about Fenrir, a wolf from Norse mythology on the loose in Manhattan. The film also stars Peter Riegert, Tim Ryan, William Hickey, Mitchell Laurence and Donald Hotton. Willard Carroll directed. Misha Suslov did the cinematography. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for spotting the theatre and getting the screenshots. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for 14 more Palace views.

The Palace fills in as a number of different theatres in the 1993 TV movie version of "Gypsy" with Bette Midler. Here Cynthia Gibb as Gypsy is on the runway at the Diamond Burlesque in Detroit. Thanks to Mike Hume for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post on "Gypsy" for more Palace shots from the film as well as views of the State and the Orpheum.

The setting for the apartment of Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore) is in the Palace's 5th floor loft space in Joel and Ethan Coen's "The Big Lebowski" (Polygram, 1998). When the dude (Jeff Bridges) comes to visit we get a view of the Los Angeles Theatre out the windows. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several more views of the Palace seen in the film.

We get a murky look at the loading door of the Palace as the entrance to Club Silencio in David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive (Universal, 2001). Thanks to Jonathan Raines for the screenshot. When we go inside we're at the Tower Theatre. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for more views of the back of the Palace as well as many shots of the Tower from the film.  
Bill Condon's film "Dreamgirls" (Dreamworks, 2006) used the Palace extensively. The proscenium boxes seen here are a set piece constructed for the film -- the actual ones were removed decades ago and replaced by murals. The film stars BeyoncĂ©, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose and Sharon Leal. The cinematography was by Tobias A. Schliessler. It's based on the Broadway musical with book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Kreiger. See the Historic L.A.Theatres in Movies post for over 50 additional shots of theatres seen in the film including the Orpheum and the Tower. 

In Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" (Touchstone/Warner Bros., 2006) we get several scenes using the interior of the Palace. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine. We also spend lots of time in the Tower, Los Angeles and Belasco theatres. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for more screenshots from the film.

Looking into the auditorium at the Palace with John C. Reilly onstage in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (Columbia, 2007). The film is in color but for this sequence director Jake Kasdan went for a 60s grainy TV news look. The film also used the Variety Arts, the Warner Grand and the Shrine Auditorium. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of those theatres from the film.

Dennis Dugan's film "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" (Sony Pictures, 2008) is set in New York. But when we go to the big Hacky Sack competition they use the exterior of the Palace. The film features Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Dina Doron, Shelley Berman, Chris Rock and Mariah Carey. The cinematography was by Michael Barrett. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a closer marquee shot from the film. The interiors were done elsewhere.

We get a nighttime view looking south on Broadway in Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer" (Fox Searchlight, 2009). The film stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the film we also get to go to the movies at the Million Dollar. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for three shots at the Million Dollar.

We get lots of Los Angeles (as parts of Gotham) in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" (Warner Bros., 2012). Included is this shot of the west side of the 600 block of S. Broadway and the Palace's marquee advertising "Grand Reopening." See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot of filming in front of the Los Angeles Theatre.

The Palace is featured in Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" (Fox Searchlight, 2012) with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. In this photo by Don Kelsen we see the Palace doubling for the DeMille Theatre in New York where "Psycho" premiered in 1960. The photo appeared with an October 2012 L.A. Times story by Richard Verrier. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for another Palace photo and several of the Orpheum, used as the United Artists in Chicago for the "North By Northwest" premiere in 1959.

The Palace plays some anonymous theatre on the road for the "My Boy Friend's Back" number with The Angels in Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" (Warner Bros., 2014). The film also uses the Belasco and Orpheum theatres. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for some shots at those two theatres.

We see lots of the Palace in "Whiplash" (Sony Classics, 2014). It's a film revolving around a music conservatory in New York. Here Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are in the basement for a scene outside a practice room. There are exterior and lobby views when Miles and his father go to a movie, a scene on the 5th floor used as a band room and shots in the ticket lobby as a nightclub. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for eleven more Palace shots as well as five views of the Orpheum doubling for Carnegie Hall at the end of the film. 

We get a quick backstage and basement tour of the Palace as Mark Wahlberg heads to a subterranean gambling den in "The Gambler" (Paramount, 2014). The film, directed by Rupert Wyatt, also stars Brie Larson, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Anthony Kelley, George Kennedy, Alvin Ing and Michael Kenneth Williams. The cinematography was by Greig Fraser. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for seven more shots at the Palace plus views in the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Spring as well as brief looks at the Los Angeles, Tower Theatre and Warner Downtown. 

Christian Bale and Brian Dennehy (playing Bale's father) spend a lot of time inside and on the roof of the Palace Theatre in Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups" (Broad Green Pictures, 2015). It's never made clear what business his father was in and whether or not the theatre building was one of his properties. In this shot Dennehy is raving about his life while strutting the Palace stage, with some fog for effect. In addition to many scenes in the Palace, the film also has brief views of the Los Angeles, Warner Downtown, State and Wiltern theatres. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for more shots from the film.

For a movie about a cat, we see quite a few theatres in Peter Atencio's "Keanu" (Warner/New Line, 2016). After escaping from a drug-related shootout in Boyle Heights our eponymous cat checks out the L.A. River, walks across one of the bridges, and is seen here strolling across Broadway. The Palace is down in the next block. We also get views of the Los Angeles Theatre, the Vine Theatre and the Cinerama Dome. See the  Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for more shots from the film.
The Palace is standing in for New York's Imperial Theatre in Ryan Murphy's "The Prom" (Netflix, 2020). The Los Angeles is used for the lobby and the Orpheum is used for scenes at New York's Shubert. Keegan-Michael Key, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and James Cordon star. Matthew Libatique did the cinematography. Thanks to Mike Hume for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for 15 more shots from the film.  

A fine shot looking south on Broadway from "Annette" (Amazon, 2021). It's a film by Leos Carax starring Marion Cotillard as an opera singer and Adam Driver as a stand up comedian. That's him on the bike. They have a two year old daughter, Annette, with a curious gift that upends their lives. The film features music and screenplay by Sparks and cinematography by Caroline Champetier. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for views of the Royal Theatre, the Orpheum and Disney Hall from the film. 

Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz comes out the back door of Ciro's in Aaron Sorkin's film "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon, 2021). We're in the south exit passage -- note the "Stage Door" sign on the left wall. Thanks to David Saffer for spotting this. Nicole Kidman plays Lucy. The film also features J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox and Clark Gregg. The cinematography was by Jeff Cronenweth. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for two nightclub shots that used the Queen's Salon on the Queen Mary. 

The bare Palace stage is seen as the home of the L.A. Actor's Studio in 1952 and later for a New York reading of an Arthur Miller play in Andrew Dominik's "Blonde" (Netflix, 2022). It's a fictionalized version of Marilyn Monroe's life based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel. The film stars Ana de Armas, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for two shots at the Los Angeles and more discussion.  

Robert DeNiro plays a retired World War I general giving a speech at a New York veterans reunion in David O. Russell's "Amsterdam" (20th Century Studios, 2022). The story is about wealthy industrialists trying to subvert the democratic process and put someone in charge more like Mussolini. Starring are Christian Bale, John David Washington, Margot Robbie, Zoe Saldana, Anya Taylor-Joy, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Rami Malek, Chris Rock and Taylor Swift. Cinematography was by Emmanuel Lubezki. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for five more shots at the Palace as well as three views of the Los Angeles Theatre's basement lounge doubling as a mortuary.

The auditorium of the Palace is used for a premiere in "Fool's Paradise" (Lionsgate, 2023). A man unable to speak is dumped downtown because there's no money to pay for treatment in a psych hospital. He's picked up because he's a plausible double for an alcoholic movie star. The film features Charlie Day, Adrien Brody, Jason Sudeikis, Kate Beckinsale, Ken Jeong, Ray Liotta, Edie Falco and Jason Bateman. Mr. Day wrote and directed. The cinematography was by Nico Aguilar. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of two other theatres used for the same premiere: the exterior of the Village Theatre and the lobby of the Los Angeles.  

The Palace on TV shows and Video: The interiors for the 1983 Michael Jackson video "Thriller" were filmed at the Palace. The Rialto in South Pasadena was seen as the exterior.

We see a lot of the Palace in Weird Al Yankovic's 2014 video "Tacky." We start on the 5th floor fire escape, move into the loft, and go down the elevator into the theatre. It's on YouTube.

The Palace appears in episode one of "Feud: Bette and Joan" (FX, 2017). Later in the series it's back (as we see here) with a fancy movie theatre marquee morphed on to it yet it's supposed to be New York's Martin Beck Theatre, a legit house. Interestingly, G. Albert Lansburgh designed both the Beck and the Palace. Thanks to Mike Hume for spotting it -- and for the screenshot.

More information: The Cinema Treasures page on the Palace has lots of historical data and photos. The Cinema Tour Palace Theatre page has a brief history and some 2003 exterior and ticket lobby photos by Adam Martin.

Will Campbell's 2009 Saturday Matinee blog post includes 66 photos from a 2009 LAHTF tour. They're on his Palace Flickr set as well. Check out Brent Dickerson's Broadway Tour Part 3 on the Cal State Long Beach website. This part of his tour includes Tally's, Clune's, the Orpheum / Palace and several others. It's one of many great adventures in this series curated by Brent. Details are on the site's index page.

The Facebook photo album by Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles has many nice photos of the Palace, including many seldom seen nooks and crannies. The set also includes the Tower and the Los Angeles. Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret post on the Palace "Downtown LA's Palace Theatre, Restored (But Not Completely)" details her adventures via many photos taken on a 2012 LAHTF "all-about" tour.

Mike Hume's Historic Theatre Photography site has a terrific page on the Palace. Check out the L.A. Conservancy page on the Palace.

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