The Cameo Theatre pages: history | exterior views | interior views
1910 - A terrific look at Clune's Broadway. Note the "Daily Matinees" signage on the side of the Pantages Theatre (later renamed the Arcade) at the right. Thanks to Joe Vogel for finding the photo for Cinema Treasures. He notes that the theatre looks newly completed, with For Rent signs still on the windows of the north storefront and the upstairs offices.
This photo also makes an appearance with Allen Ellenberger's Hollywoodland article about the proprietor: "Unsung Film Pioneer: William H. Clune; theater and film producer." Another very early photo of the theatre appears with a February 11, 1911 Moving Picture World article.
c.1910 - An early postcard look at Clune's Broadway with the famous signage atop the facade. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for finding the card on eBay.
c.1910 - A card giving us a look at look at the ticket lobby from Cezar Del Valle's collection. See what he's been exploring lately on his Theatre Talks website and his Brooklyn Theatre Index page on Facebook. The photo the card is based on appears with a February 11, 1911 Moving Picture World article.
1913 - The Cameo and its neighbor the Pantages. It had also opened in 1910. Note the new extensions upward on the Cameo roof sign to include a digital clock. It's a G. Haven Bishop photo taken for Southern California Edison that's in the Huntington Digital Library collection.
1913 - A detail from the G. Haven Bishop photo.
1913 - An even closer look at the facade and its impressive stud lighting.
1915 - A wonderful view of the Superba (opened in 1914), Clune's Broadway and the Pantages. It's a G. Haven Bishop photo for Southern California Edison Company that's in the collection of the Huntington Digital Library. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding it.
1915 - A detail of Clune's from the previous photo.
1916 - G. Haven Bishop came back the following year for this terrific view from the south. On the right note the shopping alley known as Mercantile Place, later the site of the Arcade Building. The photo is on the Huntington Digital Library website where you can zoom in to look at details.
1916 - A detail of the three theatres from the G. Haven Bishop photo. Note that the Clune's roof sign now says "The Place" in addition to "The Time."
1916 - A dazzling view of "The Great White Way" from Cezar Del Valle's collection. The "Vaudeville" vertical on the right is on the Pantages. The card bears a 1916 copyright date. Thanks, Cezar! A version of the card with slightly different coloring is on Brent C. Dickerson's A Visit to Old Los Angeles. See his great Broadway Tour Part 3 for many other vintage views. The card also appears on the Facebook page Bizarre Los Angeles.
c.1918 - A terrific view north along the facades of the Pantages, Clune's and Superba. At the Superba note that Quinn's name is off the roof sign. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
1919 - Clune's running "It Pays To Advertise" with Bryant Washburn. The photo appears in the 2008 Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. It's available from Amazon.
Most of the rare photos in the book are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives. There's a preview of the book on Google Books that includes page 21 where this photo appears. The photo is also online in the AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection.
1920 - A dazzling view of the Superba, Clune's and the Pantages. It's a photo by Underwood & Underwood in the New York Times Archive. It's on Wikimedia Commons.
c. 1921 - Looking south from 5th St. Thanks to Cezar Del Valle for sharing another great card from his collection. Another way to see what he's been investigating is on his Theatre Talks blog. Also see a version of the card from Nathan Marsak's collection included in his Noirish Los Angeles post #1162. The postcard is based on a Martin Behrman photo that's in the California State Library collection, their item #001386300.
Note that the "Quinn's" portion of the Superba roof sign was taken down. Quinn was out for awhile c.1915 then took over the business again. In 1919 he was out for good after he turned the operation over to Universal's Carl Laemmle. Down the block from the Pantages the enlarged Silverwood's Department Store can be seen on the NE corner of 6th and Broadway. It opened in 1921.
1924 - A trade magazine photo showing a stunt with a stagecoach for promoting "Pioneer Trails," a November 1923 release. Cullen Davis, the film's star, is the driver with co-stars Bertram Grassby, Otis Harlan and Alice Calhoun along for the ride. Thanks to Dallas Movie Theaters for finding the photo for the Cinema Treasures page about the Cameo.
c.1924 - Our first look at the theatre after being renamed the Cameo by new operators. It's a detail from the first of four photos of the Arcade Building in a set by Mott Studios from the California State Library collection, their item #001535357.
What had been the Superba Theatre beyond the Cameo is here seen as Tait's Coffee Shop, a conversion done in 1922. In 1931 the building would be demolished for construction of the Roxie Theatre. The end of the Cameo's marquee reads "Price of..." Perhaps it's the 1924 release "The Price of a Party" or the 1925 release "The Price of Pleasure." On the right Pantages had moved out in 1920 and the theatre later renamed the Arcade is here seen as Dalton's.
c. 1925 - Thanks to Brian McCray for this card from his extensive collection, appearing as a post on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles. Note that the circle of the Cameo's roof sign acquired some lettering in the middle. There's also a version of this card with different coloring in Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. The Examiner is in that white building down at the end of the block at 5th. It's now known as the Jewelry Trades Building.
mid-20s - Looking north from 6th St. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
1928 - The Huntington Digital Library has a shot looking north from 6th but there's a streetcar in the way so the only thing to see is a bit of the Clune's roof sign.
1930 - A look at the remodeled entrance with the boxoffice moved out to the sidewalk. The theatre is running "Lightnin'" with Will Rogers. Thanks to D. Sedman for finding the trade magazine photo for the Cinema Treasures page about the Cameo.
early 1930s - Looking south on Broadway with the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade theatres on the left. Note that the Arcade Theatre (renamed in 1928) still has a Dalton's sign on the side of the building but the verticals have been removed. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.
1934 - A great view of the Cameo and Roxie with hot rods on parade. Here we're still using the original milk glass letters on both marquees. At the Cameo it's Two Big Features plus the "3 Little Pigs" Disney cartoon. Kay Francis is billed on the bottom line on the south end of the Roxie marquee. Scott Santoro suggests that the top line might read L (for Leslie) Howard advertising the film "British Agent."
Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting the shot on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. Stephen Russo notes that it was taken in February 1934. The parade was to promote a race at L.A. Municipal Airport Speedway. 17 years later it made the cover of the March 1951 issue of Hot Rod magazine. That cover using the image is on Photos of Los Angeles.
1938 - A Dick Whittington Studio view looking south with the Cameo and the Arcade Theatres visible behind a Shriners parade. The photo is in the USC Digital Library collection.
1938 - A detail from the Dick Whittington photo. At the Cameo it's "The Bad Man of Brimstone," a December 1937 release along with Franchot Tone in "Love is a Headache" from January 1938. The Arcade has "The Last Outpost" from 1935 with "Thrill of a Lifetime," a December 1937 release.
1939 - A wonderful Dick Whittington Studio view of the Cameo and Roxie from the USC Digital Library collection. On the marquee at the Cameo are "Trade Winds" and "Algiers," both 1938 releases.
1939 - A detail from the Dick Whittington photo.
1941 - A sad day for the Cameo. Note that "All Sarong Show" at the Arcade. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.
1955 - A view looking north on Broadway at the Cameo and the Roxie from the Metro Transportation Library and Archive on Flickr. It's in their Downtown Los Angeles set. It looks like the Cameo is getting some marquee work done. The Roxie is running Jane Russell's "Underwater."
1958 - A great shot looking look north on Broadway. Thanks to Richard Wojcik for sharing the photo.
1958 - Thanks to Sean Ault for sharing this lovely photo from his collection.
1958 - A detail from Sean's photo. At the Cameo it's a reissue of "The Bad and the Beautiful," a 1952 release with Kirk and Lana, along with "Comanche" from 1958. The Roxie has "Best of the Year": "God's Little Acre" and "High School Confidential!"
1963 - A nice look at the front of the Cameo's marquee with the little stars lit with red and blue lamps. The titles will remain mysteries. At the Roxie it was "Young Guns of Texas" with James Mitchum, Alana Ladd, Jody
McCrea and Chill Wills along with "The Day Mars
Invaded Earth" and some film with "Suspense" in the title. Thanks to
Sean Ault for locating the photo.
1967 - A photo from the 2008 Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker. It's available from Amazon. There's a preview of the book on Google Books that includes page 22 where this photo appears. There's a slightly wider version of the photo on page 20.
1970 - A telephoto shot looking north by Joseph Fadler. The marquee up on the right is of the Broadway Theatre, 428 S. Broadway. On the left note that the Million Dollar still has its vertical sign. Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal reality found the photo for his Noirish post #44508. Thanks to Hunter Kerhart for spotting it.
1977 - Thanks to the Roxie Theatre Facebook page for this lovely shot.
1978 - A Tom Zimmerman photo from the California State Library collection, their item #001385555. Thanks, Tom!
1979 - A look at the glamorous "Open All Night" Cameo. Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo. It was taken by his grandfather William E. Ault.
1979 - Another shot by William E. Ault. Thanks to Sean Ault for the use of the photo.
1980 - A detail from a photo in the American Classic Images collection.
1980 - The view north at the three theatres from American Classic Images.
1980 - A closer look from the American Classic Images collection.
c.1980 - A shot of the boxoffice by Ave Pildas from the 1980 book "Movie Palaces: Survivors of an Elegant Era" with photos by Mr. Pildas and text by Lucinda Smith. It's available on Amazon.
1981 - A great picture by Anne Knudsen of the Cameo in its quadruple feature grindhouse days. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
1983 - A look north at the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie from the American Classic Images collection.
1983 - Looking south at the "triplets." It's a photo on the American Classic Images website.
1983 - Another photo from the American Classic Images collection.
1983 - Thanks to John Rice for his photo, a post on the Roxie page of Cinema Treasures.
1984 - A fine view located by Cinema Treasures contributor Scotty A. for a post on that site's page about the Cameo Theatre.
1987 - A Herald-Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
1989 - Thanks to Bill Gabel for this view posted on the Roxie page on Cinema Treasures. Note that the Roxie has closed.
c. 1995 - The theatre lobby repurposed for retail. The Cameo had closed in 1991. It's a photo appearing on the fine Broadway Theater Tour page of the Grace Market Research website.
c.1999 - A photo by Gary Leonard from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
c.1999 - A sad marquee detail. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding it.
2007 - An early morning view. Photo: Bill Counter
2007 - A marquee detail. At the time, some of the lights still worked. Photo: Bill Counter
2010 - Looking north on Broadway. Photo: Bill Counter
2011 - Another look at the Cameo lettering. Thanks to Joël Huxtable for his photo.
2012 - The Cameo with its neighbors on the 500 block. We're looking north. Photo: Bill Counter
2012 - The "triplets" from the north. Photo: Bill Counter
2016 - The view from a fire escape. The street was closed for setup of the "Night on Broadway." The building on the far right is the Arcade Building. All four are owned by Joe Hellen. Thanks to Hunter Kerhart for his photo, originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page. Keep up with Hunter's recent explorations: on Facebook | HunterKerhart.com | on Flickr
2016 - A closer look at the Cameo from across the street. At the time of the photo the "Now Leasing" billboard was advertising loft rentals in the Arcade Building. Photo: Bill Counter
2018 - At the advanced age of 108, the Cameo still occasionally promotes the film business. Photo: Bill Counter
2018 - Checking out the wares of the electronics store in the lobby. Photo: Bill Counter
2020 - All closed up in May during the virus lockdown. Photo: Yasmin Elming
2020 - A look over toward the Roxie. Photo: Yasmin Elming
2020 - A detail of cornice and pigeon. Photo: Yasmin Elming. Thanks, Yasmin!
Up on top:
2011 - On the roof of the Cameo looking toward the billboard. That's the auditorium and office building of the Arcade Theatre on the left. Photo: Bill Counter
2011 - On the roof of the Cameo looking toward Broadway. Note the bulging roofline of the balcony end of the Roxie Theatre and the back of the Roxie's sign. Photo: Bill Counter
2018 - A view southwest across the Roxie and Cameo roofs to the side of the Arcade Theatre office building and the Arcade Building. Thanks to Hunter Kerhart for the photo.
Around the back:
2007 - A view from Spring Street. The Arcade/Pantages is at left (beige), the Cameo (brick) is in the middle with no stagehouse. The corner of the Roxie (unpainted concrete) is at the right. The driveway at the lower left goes to parking in the basement of the Arcade Building. Photo: Bill Counter
2012 - A closer look at the seismic retrofit work on the back of the Cameo. Photo: Bill Counter
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