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Tunnel Theatre

712 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90071 | map |

Opening: It was running in 1914. An exact opening date is unknown. It's in the 1914, 1915 and 1916 city directories. It was on the south side of the street (at Cinnabar) just west of the west portal of the 3rd St. tunnel. Hope St. was on the top of the tunnel. 

On the Baist 1914 Real Estate Survey Map the site shows as a theatre. That's 3rd St. running from left to right. The Tunnel Theatre is on the south side of the street, opposite Cinnabar St. Also on the map a block west and on the north side of the street is the Lux Theatre.

Seating: 245

Closing: It was gone as a theatre by 1921.

On the Baist 1921 Real Estate Survey Map the theatre building is shown as a garage. It's there just a bit left of center.

Status: It's been demolished. The site is right near the west lip of the 3rd St. Tunnel, which has now been extended a bit farther west than in its previous incarnation. Now just west of the tunnel is the loading entrance of the 333 S. Hope Tower / Bank of America Plaza, built in 1974. They're using a 716 W. 3rd St. address.

The Tunnel Theatre in the Movies:

The Tunnel Theatre had been long closed but we get a glimpse of the building (then a garage) in Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" (United Artists, 1956). The arch seen in the lower left had once been the theatre's entrance. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the Lux Theatre (another block west on 3rd) and the Warner Hollywood from the film.

Looking down from the top of the 3rd St. tunnel, we get a view of the garage that had been the theatre in Roger Corman's "A Bucket of Blood" (American International, 1959). The theatre's entrance was once that big arch in the facade of the building at the bottom center of the frame. Thanks to GS Jansen for the screenshot on Flickr. It's in his "Bunker Hill in Movies" album.

More views of the area:

A 1932 photo looking east toward the tunnel from 3rd & Beaudry. The grade had just been lowered and the street widened from 60' to 80.' It's a California Historical Society photo in the USC Digital Library collection.

A 30s look toward the tunnel that Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality found in the USC Digital Library collection. Thanks to Noirish contributor Tovangar2 for including it, as well as other photos of the area, in Noirish post #10900.

A 1940 photo from the top of the tunnel by William Reagh that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The former theatre building is on the left, just this side of the West Hotel.

A June 1944 L.A.Times photo. The Lux Theatre in the 800 block would have been just off to the left. Thanks to James J. Chun for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.

A 1949 photo by Max Yavno from "The Los Angeles Book," Houghton Mifflin, 1950. It was co-authored by Lee Shippy. The theatre would have been on the right just past the vertical sign saying "Hotel." Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Tovangar2 for including the photo in Noirish post #10900.

A view east in a late 50s photo of unknown provenance.

Looking east toward the tunnel from Flower St. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The Tunnel Theatre at 712 W. 3rd St. was most likely where that first bay outside the tunnel now is. In the rebuild of the area, the tunnel was extended a bit farther west. The loading entrance for 333 S. Hope / Bank of America Plaza is using a 716 W. 3rd address. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Tunnel Theatre for some speculations about the theatre and links to photos of the area.

Nearby: A block farther west on the other side of the street was the Lux Theatre.

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