Monday, May 14, 2007

Broadway 'Then & Now'

After posting so many Main Street 'then & now' images that are depressing for the most part, I thought I'd post a view of Broadway that is still fairly intact when compared with the vintage photo. The original photo is from 1928. 'Glorious Betsy' was showing at The Tower and a few doors down Harold Lloyd's 'Speedy' was showing at the Rialto. The Orpheum is down a way but its marquee is blocked by a street car. From what I can see, most of this block is intact. Of course, the top of the tower is gone and the marquees have been replaced, but at least the wrecking ball hasn't done its duty.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Street With No Name Or The Theater With No Name?

I can't remember who alerted me, but someone on CinemaTreasures said that there was a shot of the Regent Theater in the movie from 1948 called 'The Street With No Name'. I now know this is true but I can't find the original posting. Anyway, the person was correct. I bought the DVD and created screen shots to prove the fact. It was a little sad that they used Main street in Los Angeles for 'skid row' in a fictional town called 'Center City' for an FBI propaganda film. The film is now marketed as a 'film noir' movie and I have to admit that there are a few 'noir' moments. However, from the opening credits and narration with the J. Edgar Hoover teletype confirmation, to the end with the same, this is not a 'noir' film as a whole. For our purposes, however, it does document a part of Main street that might have been forgotten. What I don't know is how much 'dolling up' the movie company did for the movie. It looks pretty gritty, strange for 1948, which mostly used studios and sets, but this is most definitely Main street in downtown Los Angeles. Finding the Regent Theater was easy but what I was interested in was across the street. The Rosslyn Theater is much more elusive. I have one and only one photo of the Rosslyn as a theater. In this movie, unless I am very confused, the Rosslyn has been converted to something called 'Joyland Penny Arcade'. I've tried to compare it with the one genuine photo of the Rosslyn and there is an establishment next door to the south with a sign that reads, 'Money To Loan'. In the movie there is an establishment with the same wording but a different design. The problem is that there is a business in between that only says Coca-Cola and a few other things. The screen shot that is below shows both but I don't know if they turned the facade of the Rosslyn into a hotel for the plot of the movie or if the 'Money To Loan' business moved down one address north. Any information would be appreciated.

Above are the screen shots from this movie of the Regent Theater and the Canadian Building which would be just south of Winston & Main on the east side of the street. The shot below is before the camera panned over which shows the 'penny arcade' that could be the Rosslyn. The other scenario that I thought of is that the sign that says 'Coast 5-10' could be the Rosslyn and that the movie company created the facade for the movie. I can't imagine that the space was actually converted to a cheap hotel. Again, if anyone knows, I would appreciate any information.

This is an actual photo of the Rosslyn Theater courtesy of the USC Digital Archives which they claim to be c.1930-1949:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Regent Theater Photos-April 24 HTC Meeting

On April 24th HTC had its quarterly meeting at the Regent Theater. The theater is located at 448 S. Main. We were told that it was being restored and converted to a live music/performance venue and might even have a bar or lounge upstairs above the lobby. This is great news since this is the only theater surviving on Main street since the almost complete demolition of the Linda Lea. Here are some photos I took of the lobby, upstairs above the lobby, and the auditorium. The seats have been removed, but the floor still has the original slope.

Click here for the Cinema Treasures page on the Regent Theater for more information.

Main Street 'Then & Now'

Here are a few 'then & now' photos I've taken over the past few weeks. The Historic Theater Committee had a field day in April to document the state of theaters that existed on Main & Spring. It was a great success and at the same time I was able to take some photos using historic photos as reference to show a comparison to Main street as it exists today. Most of the original source photos come from either the Los Angeles Public Library or the USC Digital Archives. I tried to go to the same spot and line everything up as close as possible to illustrate the changes that have occurred on Main Street through the years. Fortunately, many buildings survive. However, there are many parking lots along Main Street now. From looking at these photos it is obvious how alive this street once was and hopefully will be again someday. Clicking on the photo will open a large version. Please feel free to leave comments and share information especially if you know that theaters existed in any of the photos.

6th & Main Showing Burbank Theater

The first image shows Main street looking south from just north of 6th in 1918 and as it looks today. The second image is looking east at the Burbank Theater from the west side of Main. This shot is from the 1970's and the parking lot today. As you can tell, the theater was remodelled with a deco look at some point and by the time this photo was taken had turned into a 'Burlesk' house.

Here is the Cinema Treasures page for the Burbank Theater:
Burbank Theater

Main Between 6th & 7th Looking West: c.1940-2007

The five cent coffee and Dave's Music Box are now a parking lot.

5th & Main Looking W: 1930-2007

Main & Winston Looking South: c.1940's-2007

This shot is taken from about halfway between 4th & 5th on Main looking south. In the old photo you can make out the Rosslyn Theater at the far right.

This is the one and only actual movie listing or mention of a theater at this address that I have been able to find (LA Times):

(Sept. 5, 1926)
Rosslyn-431 So. Main St. Sept. 6,7-"Miss Bluebeard;" Sept. 8,9, 10-"Tiger Love;" Sept. 11-"Say It

Here is the Cinema Treasures page on the Rosslyn Theater:
Rosslyn Theater

5th & Main Looking E: 1973-2007

4th & Main Looking W: c.1920's-2007

4th & Main NE Corner: c.1900-2007

This corner was occupied by the Westminster Hotel which was demolished in 1960. Now an enormous parking lot takes its place.

4th & Main Looking N: 1905-2007

2nd & Main Looking NW: 2007-1931

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los angeles, ca, United States
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