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Lux Theatre

827 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012 | map |

Opening: This little theatre on the north side of the street between Flower and Figueroa opened in late 1913 or early 1914. The c.1965 photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

In the 1914 city directory L.C. Myer is listed as the proprietor. It was first operated as the Bear Theatre then by 1916 became the Rose. It's listed as the Rose in the 1917, 1918 and 1919 city directories. 

Seating: 500

Architects: Robert Farquhar Train and Robert Edmund Williams of the firm Train and Williams. The building owners were Herbert I. Gouge and C.L. Chandler.

The project was announced in August 1913 with the appearance of this drawing in the L.A. Times. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating this for a comment on a 2020 thread about the theatre on the private Facebook group Photos of Los Angeles. It also appeared as a 2022 repost.  
A March 20, 1914 ad as the Bear Theatre running chapter 5 of the "Adventures of Kathlyn" serial.  Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating this as well as many other items on the page for a 2023 thread about the Lux for the Facebook group Photos of Los Angeles.  

A November 16, 1914 ad for the Bear. "The Spellbound Multitude" chapter was an April release. They were advertising the same chapter again in a February 1915 ad.

That's 3rd St. running from left to right on this Baist 1914 Real Estate Survey Map from Historic Map Works. The second street in from the left is Figueroa. The Lux is there on the north side of the street, the second lot in. The Tunnel Theatre is on the south side of the street a block to the east, opposite Cinnabar St.

It was called the Rose Theatre at the time of this 1916 rental by the Women's Westside Republican Club. 


A May 1918 ad for the Rose. "How Molly Malone Made Good" was a 1915 film.

Another 1918 ad for the theatre as the Rose, listed with other theatres in the "west" part of town. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating it."The Guilt of Silence" was a May release.
The Rose headed this column of ads for "Suburban" theatres in 1922.  
By 1928 it was known as the Rex and had a bit of a career running westerns. 

Times were tough for the Rex in 1930 when Mary Ayers and Louise Quitsch took over the house and started calling it the Glad Tidings Temple.  

Evidently the Glad Tidings name wasn't a winner. Here it was back to being called the Rex in this 1931 ad for Don and Charlotte from Seattle. 

Closing up the revival business in 1931, for the time being anyway.  Thanks to Ken McIntyre for all his research.

By 1939 it was known as the Lux. Robert Rotstan and his wife bought the theatre in 1945. Luis Torres was running it in November 1946. It then had a brief fling as the Anita in 1947 before going back to the Lux name.

It was operated in the 50s by Harold Wenzler, who at various times also ran the Granada on Temple St., the Daly in Lincoln Heights, the Roxy in Glendale and the Oaks Theatre in Pasadena. Before operating his own theatres Wenzler had a long career as a theatre PR guy with clients including Sid Grauman.

Closing: The date is unknown but it was sometime prior to 1956.

Status: The Lux was demolished as part of the Bunker Hill redevelopment project. It was still around perhaps as late as 1967. The Bunker Hill Towers apartment complex now occupies the site.

More exterior views:

A c.1957 look at the Lux by Leonard Nadel that's in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. The Getty has an extensive collection of Mr. Nadel's photos from 1916 to 1990, with emphasis on those relating to land use and redevelopment projects such as in the Bunker Hill area.

This photo is in a group of photos of CRA projects 1948-98. Also see more Leonard Nadel photos in the Getty's collection. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor  HossC for unearthing the photo and including it in his Noirish post #28729.

A sad photo of the Lux in 1964 from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

The Lux and the hotel to its east can be seen in this 1964 photo from Dick Whittington Studio that's in the USC Digital Library collection. 

A detail from the 1964 Dick Whittington photo.

A June 1965 vista looking northeast across the waste of the Bunker Hill leveling project with everything smoothed out except the Lux and the adjoining building. The image is from a Kodachrome slide by Palmer Connor that's in the Huntington Library collection.

In the background that's the Department of Water and Power Building (1965) at the center of the photo, the Stanley Apartment Hotel at 210 S. Flower St. and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (1964).

A detail from the Palmer Connor slide.

A September 1965 Palmer Connor photo looking west along 3rd. The Lux, still with its marquee, was among the last buildings in the area to be cleared.  The photo is in the Huntington Library collection.

The side of the hotel  building east of the Lux in 1965. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.

A 1965 marquee detail. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. 

A lonely 1965 view looking west by William Reagh. The Lux is gone but the hotel building that was to its east remains. The Lux is a parking lot. The photo is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

The site of the Lux. We're looking at the north side of 3rd St. with Figueroa off to the left. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

Looking east from the Lux site toward the 3rd St. Tunnel. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018
The Lux Theatre in the Movies:

Sterling Hayden stops at a pawn shop west of the closed Lux Theatre (on the right) in Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" (United Artists, 1956). The posters we see for Lenny Bruce with a burlesque show aren't for the Lux -- they're for the Gayety Club in Hollywood. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for shots showing a bit of the former Tunnel Theatre, the Warner Hollywood and the Iris/Fox theatres.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Lux Theatre for some more history. Tovangar2's Noirish Los Angeles post #10900 has more photos of the area.

See the page on the Tunnel Theatre for a few more photos of the area. It was a block east of the Lux at 712 W. 3rd St., near the west portal of the 3rd St. tunnel.  

This September 15, 1912 Times article outlined the progress Globe Amusement Co. was making in building up their circuit. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating this as well as many other Globe items for a Facebook thread on Ken's Movie Page

But that five-story theatre-plus-apartments project on W. 3rd St. near Figueroa was never built. The 9th and Georgia house appears to be the venue later known as the Georgia Theatre. See the page about the Globe #3, the Echo Park house later known as the Holly Theatre, for more about the circuit's various locations.

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1 comment:

  1. thank you to share the existence of this place