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Historic Theatre Photography

This website is a gathering place for all the photos and information I have pulled together on the various theatres and movie palaces I've been lucky enough to visit and/or work in. It's not meant to replace the great work done by others with similar websites, rather it focuses on my own photography and presents that along with the information I have about each theatre.

I hope you find this website interesting, and if you have a theatre you'd like me to photograph I'd love for you to get in touch.

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Select a different region: Chicago | Los Angeles: Downtown | Los Angeles: LA County | United Kingdom

Los Angeles: Hollywood

TCL Chinese Theatre

The 1927 TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood was Sid Grauman’s second Hollywood movie palace following the opening of his Egyptian Theatre in 1922, just down the street on Hollywood Boulevard. The Chinese Theatre has likely hosted the largest number of movie premieres of any venue in the world, having been a favorite since its hosting of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The King Of Kings” in May 1927.

Earl Carroll Theatre

The Earl Carroll Theatre opened in late 1938 as an “entertainment palace” dinner theatre, or supper club, located in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. Earl Carroll, a Broadway impresario nicknamed “the Troubadour of the Nude”, had already operated a similarly themed theatre in New York from 1922 to 1932, and both theatres sported the phrase “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world” over their respective entrances.

Egyptian Theatre

Built in the early 1920s by Sid Grauman, this movie palace was the site of the first-ever Hollywood movie premiere when it showcased “Robin Hood” in October 1922. The theatre was designed by architect firm Meyer & Holler and was originally planned to be hispanic in nature – hence the Spanish-style roof tiles above the exterior entrance – however was restyled in Revival-Egyptian likely due to public fascination with Egyptian archeology typified by Howard Carter in 1922.

El Capitan Theatre

The El Capitan opened in mid-1926, dubbed as “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama”, and was the brainchild of producer and entertainer Charles Toberman. Toberman envisaged Hollywood as a new theatrical and entertainment district for Los Angeles and played an integral part in key developments including the Roosevelt Hotel, Grauman’s Egyptian and Chinese theatres, and the Masonic Temple (now the El Capitan Entertainment Center hosting “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”).

Hollywood Pacific Theatre

Opened in 1928 as the Warner Brothers Hollywood and seating just short of 2,800, this was the largest theatre of its day in Hollywood. Architect G. Albert Lansburgh cleverly maximized the available space by orienting the oval-shaped auditorium and the stage at 45 degrees to the building’s rectangular footprint.

Pantages Theatre

The Pantages was the United States’ first Art Deco theatre, completed in June 1930. No expense was spared on its opulent interior. For a time the theatre was owned by Howard Hughes who maintained his personal offices above the theatre. It is now owned and managed by the Nederlander Organization and was extensively refurbished 1999-2000. The theatre now brings Broadway hits to the Los Angeles and wider Southern California audiences.

Ricardo Montalban Theatre

The Montalban opened in January 1927 as The Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre and the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood. The early 1930s saw it run as a cinema for a few years before becoming the CBS Radio Playhouse – and home of the Al Jolson show – in 1936.

Vista Theatre

The Vista, a single-screen neighborhood movie theatre, opened on 9th October 1923. Originally called Bard’s Hollywood Theatre, opening night consisted of some vaudeville acts and a screening of “Tips” starring Baby Peggy, who made an in-person appearance in for the sell-out crowd of 900.

All images copyright © 2002-2018 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com. For licensing and/or re-use contact me here.

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