Broadway Theatre District Los Angeles – 12 MAR 2010

The Historic Theatre District of Los Angeles runs along S Broadway from 3rd to 9th Street. Most of the structures were built between 1910 - 1932, progressing from vaudeville theatres, to silent films (with live music from elaborate organs), to the talkies, movie theaters. Most of them had grand exteriors with extravagant interiors displaying the ostentatiousness of the period.
Roxie - 518 S Broadway, open in 1931, built on the site of Quinn's Superba Theatre, was the last theatre to open on Broadway in November of that year. It was created to handle live stage performances along with movies and closed in 1989. Cameo - 528 S Broadway, opened as Clune's Broadway, a nickelodeon, in 1910. In 1924, it was remolded and became the Cameo. When it closed in 1991 it was known as LA's oldest continuous movie theater.
Here's a public domain image of it's original look:
Los Angeles - 615 S Broadway, built in 1931, it was the last movie palace built on Broadway. Open in 1932 with the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, which had a live orchestra performing the soundtrack. (The film was well received, even though all of Hollywood had switched to sound films in 1929.) This French Baroque style theatre had a ballroom, restaurant, nursery and barbar shop on the lower level. The very spectacular 50' ceiling, main lobby is complete with crystal chandeliers, marble, gold leaf, silk damask wall coverings, walnut paneling and a crystal fountain at the head of the grand staircase. There were two crying rooms on the mezzanine level, marble in the restrooms and a periscope system in the basement lounge in order to view the movie. But the most unusual feature is the main stage curtain that has an incredible 3-D scene of French royalty with stuffed clothing and human hair wigs. This link will take you to a 3-D gallery:
Palace - 630 S Broadway, built in 1911, renamed the Palace in 1926.
It is the oldest remaining theatre in the world that was part of Orpheum Circuit, Inc.
There are several 3-D statues along the outside.
Loew's State - 703 S Broadway, Spanish Renaissance built in 1921. The Gumm Sisters (Judy Garland) performed on its' vaudeville stage.
Globe - 744 S Broadway, originally call the Morosco Theatre. When it opened in January 1913, it was the first legitimate playhouse on LA's Broadway St vaudeville row. The name changed to President in 1928; when it was converted to motion pictures in 1930, it became the Newsreel Theatre and finally the Globe in 1948.
Tower - 802 S Broadway, opened in 1927 with the silent film The Gingham Girl but it was the first movie palace in downtown LA wired for sound. Claim to fame: sneak preview location for The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialouge.
Olympic - 313 W 8th St, opened in 1927 as Bard's 8th Street Theatre; it became the Olympic in 1932 in honor of LA's first Games.
Rialto - 812 S Broadway, built as a nickelodeon in 1917 it was Quinn's Rialto. Bought by Sid in 1919, it became Grauman's Rialto. The original Greek revival pedimented facade was torn down in the 30's to create Broadways's longest marquee.
Orpheum - 842 s Broadway, in 1926 this French Gothic fairytale structure became the four and final home of the Orpheum Circuit vaudeville chain in Los Angeles. Fully restored theatre, its' "Might Wurlitzer" is the last great theatre organ remaining on Broadway.
I really like this back view.
Million Dollar - 307 S Broadway, opened in 1918, it launched Sid Grauman's career as a film showman in Los Angeles. Claim to fame: LA's first movie palace.
It's Churrigueresque exterior has some wonderful 3-D statues.
Rob review's the Million Dollar Theatre history.
Elaborate murals made with real gold paint and real gold leaf were hidden from sight after one of its' early remodel jobs. Check out the Youtube videos on the hidden architecture: