The Cameo Theatre pages: history | exterior views | interior views
The lobby as a retail space:
Looking in from the street. The original boxoffice was about where the "h2o" mat is on the floor. Above the mat, look at the remnant of a wall that's on the line of the entrance doors. It was once a vaulted ceiling in the area between the entrance doors and the street where we see the fluorescent fixtures in the photo. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018
The lobby as seen from just inside the line of the original entrance doors. The guitars are on the wall where the doors separating the lobby from the auditorium once were. On the far right of the image is a curtained entrance into the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018
At the rear of the auditorium in space later enclosed for added lobby area. The auditorium is to the left through the curtains. The partition at the right was added to seal off the auditorium from the retail area. Photo: Bill Counter - 2010
The stairs to the booth and ladies lounge. The doorway at the left is to a storage area that had been carved out of the back of the auditorium house right when the theatre was still operating. Photo: Bill Counter - 2020
Vintage auditorium views:
An early view of the proscenium and the little "singer's balconies" on either side. Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for sharing the card from his collection. A version of it can also be seen as part of the Broadway Part 3 tour in Brent C. Dickerson's "A Visit to Old Los Angeles" on the website of Cal State Long Beach.
The painting on the curtain is of the harbor at Avalon, Catalina Island. The musicians' locker and lounge rooms were under the stage. Original seating capacity was 900. The photo the card was based on appears with a February 11, 1911 Moving Picture World article, which also gives an extensive description of the theatre. It's on Internet Archive.
A postcard look at the rear of the house. Note the raised loge section at the very back. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for sharing the card from her collection. There's a black and white version on Councilman Jose Huizar's "Bringing Back Broadway" set on Flickr.
An article in the February 11, 1911 Moving Picture World noted that the original equipment included "three Edengraph projectoscopes and two stereopticons." The article is on Internet Archive.
A photo of the Cameo's projection booth that appeared in the December 23, 1911 Moving Picture World. Note the open front switchboard on the booth's front wall. They had already replaced the Edengraph projectors. With the photo is a letter sent by Frank Chartrand, chief operator at the theatre:
"...Have seen several pictures of operating rooms but none equal to our own. It is up to date in every respect. Every convenience possible is employed, even to toilet and wash room. We have two Hallberg motor-generator sets supplying current from 110 volt D. C. circuit, three Motiograph machines, two being in use, alternating to avoid any wait between pictures. We also have dissolver, cyclopticon for rain, snow, fire and cloud effects, color wheel and spotlight.
"Picture is 25 x 22, projected 110 feet. Can pull 30 to 50 amperes, but only use 32 to 35 on account of having a very bright screen. The switchboard shown in one of the pictures, was built by Mr. Loper, our manager, who is an electrician of note. It is the best of its kind I have seen for some time. We can throw over from generator to rheostat or vice versa, without any stop. We also have a motor re-wind and many other conveniences. Size of room is 18 x 22 feet by 22 in height. House seats about 990, has nine-piece orchestra. Show runs 11 A.M. to 11:30 P.M.'"
Part of the reply from the Moving Picture World editors:
"It certainly is a pleasure to look at that room. It is, of course, larger than is really necessary but that is a mighty good fault and one not often found. Lack of space obliged me to trim top and bottom of photo so realization of the height (22 ft.) is lost.” I must correct you as to size of picture. If it is 25 feet wide it would be 18 3/4 high. Height is approximately 3/4 of width, you know." Thanks to Brooklyn-based theatre historian Cezar del Valle for finding the 1911 article for a Theatre Talks post.
An article in the July 10, 1915 Moving Picture World ran with the heading "One of the Popular Photoplay Houses of Los Angeles." Regarding the booth they noted that the equipment had been changed yet again: "...There is a spacious projection room in the Broadway. In size it is about 15 by 20, with a 17-foot ceiling. The throw is 112 feet. Two Powers 6A machines and a double dissolver constitute the chief features of the equipment. A third projector is to be added. In the roof is a big skylight -- it must be at least 5 1/2 by 6 feet at the base -- for ventilation in summer."
A July 20, 1924 article in the L.A. Times that discussed the renovations prior to the theatre's reopening as the Cameo noted that the projection booth would be widened.
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