Los Angeles Theatre – Movie Palace – Located at 615 S. Broadway, the Los Angeles opened in 1931 for the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. It had a seating capacity just short of 2,000.
The theater was designed by S. Charles Lee and S. Tilden Norton in the French Baroque style, and was modeled on San Francisco’s Fox Theater. The Los Angeles included the latest technological features when it opened, including an electric monitor of available seats, blue neon floor lights, a restaurant, a children’s playroom, soundproof crying rooms, smoking room with built-in cigarette lighters, a walnut-paneled lounge with a secondary screen on which a periscope-like system of prisms relayed the film. The ladies’ powder room was lined with mirrors and vanities, and the toilet stalls were each done in a different kind of marble and each toilet bowl of a different pastel shade. In 1988, the Los Angeles Times called it “a movie house for the gods, even in its present dusty state.” Columnist Jack Smith wrote that the Los Angeles Theater was “palatial beyond the dreams of a prince” with a lobby that suggested “nothing less than the glory of Versailles."Aerosmith’s video for "Jaded” was filmed throughout the theater. It is owned by the Broadway Theatre Group, and continues to be used as a performing arts venue. Current capacity: 1,931.
In January 1931, the Los Angeles Theatre opened its doors after months of development, despite having been in danger at one point of being cancelled from going behind schedule and over budget. The opening of the theatre had been planned to coincide with the world premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s latest film, City Lights, and to ensure that the theatre would open in time, Chaplin ended up investing some of his own money into the project.
The opening of the Los Angeles Theatre is forever linked with the premiere of what many consider to be Chaplin’s greatest work. Yet despite this auspicious beginning, the Los Angeles Theatre proved too expensive to maintain. Within just three months of the theatre’s opening, its owner, exhibitor H. L. Gumbiner, was forced to file for bankruptcy. By the end of that same year, the theatre was closed, until it was later re-opened as a second-run movie theatre by William Fox, who had acquired the building in bankruptcy court.
Just to give you an idea of how elaborate this theater is, the second to last photos are the Men’s and Ladies bathrooms back then.
This is amoung the remaining 12 in the Los Angeles Broadway District.
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 225. The movie palace, designed by S. Charles Lee, opened on Broadway in downtown L.A. on January 30, 1931, with the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights.
Earlier today, the L.A. Conservancy announced its its 2012 Last Remaning Seats season schedule. Two film screenings will be held in the historic Los Angeles Theatre, shown here in a 1948 photograph from the USC Libraries’ Dick Whittington Photography Collection.