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Arcade Theatre: vintage exterior views

534 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90013 | map |

The Arcade Theatre pages:  history | vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobby areas | auditorium | stage | basement | office building |


1910 - An interesting view showing the top of the newly completed Pantages, which opened September 26. Just to the right we see the roof of Clune's Broadway (later renamed the Cameo) with the sign frame constructed but with no signage installed yet. It opened October 10. It's a C.C. Pierce photo from the California Historical Society that's on the USC Digital Library website, where you can use the slider to get a larger image and explore details.

Note the Philharmonic Auditorium over on the left at 5th and Olive. The large white building under construction is the Metropolitan Building at 5th and Broadway. Not to be confused with the later Metropolitan Theatre of 1923 which would be built at 6th and Hill.



c.1910 - This lovely view looking northeast was probably taken not much after the Pantages opened. The theatre is on the far right, a bit down from the top. That's Pershing Square (called Central Park at the time of the photo) on the left with the Philharmonic Auditorium in the upper left. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality for spotting the photo on eBay and including it on his Noirish post #2388.



c.1910 - A slice from the right edge of the previous photo with the Pantages up near the top. Down at the bottom it's a rare view of the Bandbox Theatre, 608 S. Hill St.



c. 1910 - A view looking south from 5th St. in the William M. McCarthy Photograph Collection in the California State Archives. We get a sliver of the Pantages over on the left. It's cataloged as Album 5, Photograph 283. The collection includes over 3,000 photos taken by William and his wife Grace all over the country from about 1905 until 1938. Included are 76 photos of Los Angeles.  Thanks to Kim Cooper and Richard Schave for posting about the newly digitized collection on their blog Esotouric.



1911 - A view north on Broadway toward the Pantages. At the right it's the Orpheum (now called the Palace) under construction. It's a Warren Dickerson photo in the collection of the L.A. County Natural History Museum. The building in the distance with the pointed roof is City Hall.



c.1911 - A look north on Broadway with the Orpheum/Palace, the Story Building (1909) and, up in the next block, the Pantages. The Orpheum here still has only one vertical which means the photo was taken sometime prior to October 1913. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



c. 1912 - A view north from the William M. McCarthy Photograph Collection in the State Archives.  It's cataloged as Album 7, Photograph 206. They date it as c.1915 but it's a bit earlier. In the lower right we see the Orpheum/Palace, 615 S. Broadway, and by late 1913 it had a vertical sign on the corner we see. 



1913 - A great view of the south side of the Pantages (including the stagehouse) that's part five of a six section panorama taken from a building at 6th & Hill. To the left of the Diamond Tires sign is a view of the Mercantile Place shopping alley between Broadway and Spring that predated the Arcade Building. It's a C.C. Pierce photo that's in the California Historical Society collection on the USC Digital Library website. The photos comprising the panorama also appear on Noirish Los Angeles post #1291 as part of a wonderful post by Ethereal Reality.



1913 - A G. Haven Bishop photo showing off the building's stud lighting that was taken September 1st for Southern California Edison. Note the elaborate roof sign on Clune's Broadway to the left of the Pantages. The photo is in the Huntington Digital Library collection where you can use the slider to get a larger image -- then you can pan around to explore details. Also see more of the So Cal Edison collection on the HDL site.



1913 - A detail of the entrance from the G. Haven Bishop photo. Note that lovely grille above the marquee. The awning on the south storefront (on the right) looks like it says "Pool Parlor," presumably in the basement. There's also a shoeshine stand. That bay also is the entrance to the office building. 



1913 - A fine mid-September look at the building from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Acts on the bill at the time included Lottie Mayer and the Diving Maidens, Tai Ling Sing, Johnny Singer, and Joseph Greenwood. Ms. Mayer got a nice writeup in the September 17 L.A. Times. She was still touring in the 1950s. She got a story in the June 23, 1956 issue of Billboard. It's on Google Books.



1915 - A wonderful view by G. Haven Bishop for the Southern California Edison Company. We're looking across the facades of the Superba (later the site of the Roxie), Clune's Broadway and the Pantages. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo in the Huntington Digital Library collection.



c.1915 - A view north toward the theatre from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. There's also a version of the photo from the California Historical Society in the USC Digital Library collection.  



c. 1915 - Day into night. This "Broadway By Night" postcard from Western Publishing is based on the daytime LAPL photo above. Thanks to John Vincenti for finding it for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



1916 - A terrific view north by G. Haven Bishop from the Huntington Digital Library collection. What we see on the corner this side of the Pantages is part of the shopping alley called Mercantile Place. It would be demolished for construction of the Arcade Building in 1923-24. About 140' down Mercantile Place there would have been a passage leading to the Pantages stage loading door.



1916 - A detail from the G. Haven Bishop photo. A fire escape was later added to this side of the building to provide a second exit from the office building floors. 



1916 - A dazzling view of "The Great White Way" from Cezar Del Valle's collection. The "Vaudeville" vertical on the right is all we get of 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.



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. 1920 - A fine look down Mercantile Place from Spring St. toward Broadway. If we were to walk down about 180' and take a right, we'd be at the Arcade Theatre stage door. The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

Mercantile Place was a 1904 project connecting Broadway and Spring designed by Alfred Rosenheim, later to do the Cameo Theatre and the Globe Theatre. In 1923 Mercantile Place was demolished and the Arcade Building began construction. See Noirish Los Angeles contributor Tovangar2's very nice Noirish post #21963 for a history of the Mercantile Place lot. Also see the   fine Broadway Arcade article on Wikipedia.



c.1921 - A photo by Martin Behrman looking south toward the Pantages. Note the Examiner offices in the building at the left, now known as the Jewelry Trades Building. 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. The larger building beyond is the Story building. The photo is in the California State Library collection, their item #01386300.

Pantages had moved to his new theatre at 7th & Hill in 1920, a venue later called the Warner Downtown. For a short period of time he operated both houses until the Dalton Brothers took over the Broadway house. They also had the Follies Theatre at 337 S. Main St.



c.1921 - A postcard that's based on the photo above by Martin Behrman. Thanks to Nathan Marsak for including it in his Noirish Los Angeles post #1162. Also see another version of the card from the collection of Cezar Del Valle.



1921 or 1922 - A view looking south showing the building with a "Dalton's Theatre" sign painted on the side as well as redone vertical signs saying "Dalton's" and "Broadway." The Superba roof sign doesn't yet say "Tait's Coffee Shop," a conversion that happened in 1922. Beyond Dalton's, note that we still have Mercantile Place as the Arcade Building hasn't yet begun construction. It would open in 1924. The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



c.1924 - A view north across Dalton's Broadway. Next door it's Clune's Broadway, here seen as the Cameo after its renaming by new proprietor H.L. Gumbiner. What had been the Superba Theatre beyond the Cameo is here seen as Tait's Coffee Shop. In 1931 the building would be demolished for construction of the Roxie Theatre. The image is a detail from the first of four photos by Mott Studios of the Arcade Building, seen here on the far right. The set is in the California State Library collection, their item #01535357.



c. 1925 - Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for this great card from his collection. There's also a version of it with slightly different coloring in Elizabeth Fuller's terrific Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr.



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 - A view looking south with the Dalton's vertical signs off the building. It's been renamed the Arcade Theatre. Note the Dalton's signage still on the side of the building with some of the Pantages text visible: "Unrivaled Vaudeville - American & European Artists." It's a California Historical Society collection photo on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1928 - Looking south toward 5th & Broadway. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



1929 - A view of the Arcade marquee by Keystone Photo Service that ended up in the Examiner collection. It's on the USC Digital Library website.



1929 - A detail from the photo by Keystone Photo Service.



early 1930s - A view looking south on Broadway from 5th with the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade Theatres. Although there's still a Dalton's sign on the side of the building, the theatre had been called the Arcade since 1928. The Roxie had opened in November 1931, the last of the Broadway show palaces to debut. On the far left note that the Examiner sign is off the Title Guarantee Building, here renamed the Jewelry Trades Building. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1930s - A view north across the facade of the Arcade Building on the right toward the readerboard of the Arcade Theatre. Yes, above the readerboard the lettering just says "Theatre." It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



1935 - A look at the theatre's entrance after the S. Charles Lee remodel and new triangular marquee installation. "Car 99" was a 1935 release, "The Lost Squadron" came out in 1932. The photo appeared five years later with "The All Important Meaning of Magnetism Out In Front," an article in the May 25, 1940 issue of Boxoffice on sprucing up theatre facades. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for finding the article and photo. The writer evidently thought the theatre was inside a shopping arcade. His copy:

"Arcade in Midst of Strong Competition - So common on the main streets of large cities, the arcade-type of theatre entrance must make the most of plentiful light, color and motion in display. The Arcade Theatre in Los Angeles is a striking example of what may be done in this sort of situation. Its marquee dominates its surroundings as a result of brilliant neonized effects and day-bright soffit lamping. Ample program display is also heightened by clear-cut silhouette letters and interior-illuminated display cases. For facing, gleaming structural glass in colors of suntan, tropic green and jade effectively surrounds the entire arcade-type lobby. S. Charles Lee, architect, designed the project."



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 above. The Arcade has "Thrill of a Lifetime," a December 1937 release, along with "The Last Outpost" from 1935. Too bad it's not a night view. It looks like they've added neon up on the 3rd floor. 



1948 - A Bettman Archives photo from Corbis/Getty Images taken in June during Truman's visit to Los Angeles. Playing at the Arcade that week: "Nobody Lives Forever" (1946) with John Garfield and "Million Dollar Kid" (1944) with the East Side Kids.  The photo has made appearances on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles and on Noirish Los Angeles as part of post #3768 by GS Jansen.



1948 - A classy view looking north on Broadway toward the Arcade Building and the Arcade, Cameo, and Roxie theatres. Thanks to Laura DeMarco for finding the photo for a post on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles. It seems to have vanished from there. It also popped up on Photos of Los Angeles where Vincent Paterno's sharp eyesight let him advise us that the Arcade is playing Dick Powell's "Station West," an October release, along with a revival of "Little Caesar" from 1931.



1955 - A view taken by Chris Shaw. It's included with many other lovely photos of Los Angeles taken the same year in a post on the site Serendipitism. Many thanks to Nathan Marsak for spotting the post. "Night and the City" was a 1950 release. The one sheet is for "Westward the Women," a 1951 release with Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel.



1958 - Thanks to Richard Wojcik for this great photo from his collection.    



 
1961 - Shoppers with the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade theatres beyond. It's a William Reagh photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
 
 

c.1963 - A look north from 6th with a bit of the Arcade Theatre on the right. They've got their Keno game on the marquee but aren't bothering with film titles. Thanks to Sean Ault for sharing the photo from his collection. 

 
 
c.1964 - Another view from 6th. The streetcar tracks and wires are gone. Service had ended in March 1963. Thanks to Sean Ault for locating the photo. 
 
 
 
c.1965 - A fine view of the east side of the block with Keno on the Arcade's marquee. Thanks to Sean Ault for finding 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 20 where this photo appears.



1972 - The Arcade running "Villa Rides" (1968), "Boxcar Bertha" (1972) and "The Oblong Box" (1969) ... plus Keno every night at 8 pm! Yes, they would stop right in the middle of a film for the Keno game. It's a photo by William Reagh in the California State Library collection, item #01383429.

Note that at this time the south bay of the building (right) included a jewelry store as well as the office building entrance. Later storefront use of the space occupied the full width of the bay after the upper building floors were abandoned. Also note the dentist's sign, here with the neon still on it. He was on the 2nd floor. And we get a good view of the restaurant in the north storefront. 



1977 - Thanks to a Facebook page about the Roxie Theatre for this lovely shot.



1977 - A photo by Tom Sitton that's in the LA County Natural History Museum collection. Thanks to Mike Hume/Historic Theatre Photography for finding it on the National Park Service website. It appears with a 42 page photo gallery that accompanied the 1978 application to get the Broadway Theatre and Commercial District listed on the National Register.



1979 - A photo from the Sean Ault collection.



1979 - A detail from the previous photo. Thanks, Sean!



1980 - Looking south at the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade. It's a detail from a photo in the American Classic Images collection.



1980 - The view north at the three theatres from American Classic Images.



1983 - Thanks to John Rice for his photo, a post on the Roxie page of Cinema Treasures.



1983 - A parade view from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.  



1983 - A detail from a photo in the American Classic Images collection.



1983 - A fine shot of the three theatres from the American Classic Images collection.



1983 - Another view from American Classic Images. The site also has another daytime view taken at the same time.



1983 - A look north at the Arcade, Cameo and Roxie from the American Classic Images collection. 



1991 - The Roxie had died but two of the three theatres were still in business. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo.



1991 - A photo by cinematographer Gary Graver (1938-2006). More theatre views by Graver can be seen in two compilations on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2."



c.1993 - A view by Gary Graver of the three closed theatres. The Roxie closed in 1989, the Cameo in 1991 and the Arcade in 1992. Thanks to Sean Graver for the use of the photos.



c.1995 - A look at the Arcade with the lobby used as retail space. The photo appears on the fine Broadway Theater Tour page on the website of Grace Market Research.

The Arcade Theatre pages:  historyback to top - vintage exterior views | recent exterior views | lobby areas | auditorium | stage | basement | office building |

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