Monday, June 27, 2022

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"The Prom"

The Imperial Theatre in New York City is seen in this shot from "The Prom" (Netflix, 2020). Many thanks to Mike Hume for this screenshot and all the others appearing here. For historic information and thousands of great photos of the many theatres he's explored in the L.A. area and elsewhere visit his Historic Theatre Photography site. 
Mike comments about this scene: "Keegan-Michael Key, playing school principal and Broadway theatre fan Tom Hawkins, approaches the exterior of the Imperial to attend a show starring Broadway star Dee Dee Allen, played by Meryl Streep. The brief shot is believed to have been shot on location in New York, with buildings enhanced using CGI."

Another Imperial view. The film, directed by Ryan Murphy, also stars Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, James Cordon, Tracey Ullman and Ariana DeBose. It's based on the Broadway show by Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin and Matthew Sklar. The cinematography was by Matthew Libatique. 

Entering the "Imperial." Mike Hume comments: "After approaching the theatre, Keegan-Michael Key enters, singing about his love of Broadway shows as he walks through the lobby. We’re actually in the grand lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre."

Another shot of the lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway. 

Yet another view. See the pages about the Los Angeles Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building and many photos. It opened in 1931 with the premiere of Chaplin's "City Lights."

Keegan-Michael Key heads into the auditorium. Mike Hume comments: "He sits in the audience and is mesmerized by Meryl Streep's character in the show at the Imperial. Except we’re in the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles."

Another shot in the aisle at the Palace. Mike notes that one clue that we're at the Palace is the mix of both red and green exit signs. 

Keegan-Michael Key in his seat. The Palace Theatre is at 630 S. Broadway, nearly across the street from the Los Angeles.

A view from onstage. Mike comments: "The tell-tale sign that we're at the Palace is the large oil painting just visible in the murkiness at the side of the proscenium."

A scene in the show at the "Imperial." Mike notes: "Shots of the show onstage appear to have been shot on location judging by this shot from the audience which looks like it was shot in the Palace Theatre."
A backstage view of the show Meryl Streep's character is in. See the pages about the Palace Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building and hundreds of photos. The theatre opened in 1911 as the Orpheum. 

Time for another show, "Eleanor! The Eleanor Roosevelt Musical." Mike Hume has the story: "It's the exterior of the Shubert Theatre in New York. This was a set created in Los Angeles' Arts District because permission for filming outside the real theatre in New York was denied. See a Page Six story about the set construction." 
Onstage during "Eleanor." Mike Hume comments: "Broadway stars Barry Glickman as Franklin D. Roosevelt (played by James Corden) and Dee Dee Allen as Eleanor Roosevelt (played by Meryl Streep) play their opening – and it will transpire closing – night on the stage of the Shubert in New York. However we’re actually in the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles."

Another Orpheum view, with the back of the main floor more colorfully lit than usual. The theatre, at 842 S. Broadway, is two blocks down the street from the Palace and Los Angeles theatres.  

Applause at the end of opening/closing night. 
In the trap room/green room under the stage for the opening night party. See the pages about the Orpheum Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of this 1926 vintage vaudeville house.

Thanks again to Mike Hume for the research and the screenshots. Don't miss the pages about the Los Angeles, Palace and Orpheum on the Historic Theatre Photography site.

On IMDb: "The Prom"

Sunday, June 26, 2022

"Bad Influence"

We get a look at the front of the La Tosca Theatre at 2930 S. Vermont Ave. when it's used as the facade of a nightclub in Curtis Hanson's "Bad Influence" (Triumph Releasing Corporation, 1990).

The film stars Rob Lowe, James Spader, Rosalyn Landor, Tony Maggio, Kathleen Wilhoite and Palmer Lee Todd. Karina Longworth has noted that this film, like another with Spader released the same year, involves sex, lies and videotapes. And the presence of Lowe is ironic given his problems with the sex tape issue.

The club interiors were shot elsewhere.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the La Tosca for more information about the theatre. It had opened in 1912 as the Photoplay. The building has been demolished.

On IMDb: "Bad Influence"

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


We get a look at the marquee of the Gordon Theatre, 614 N. La Brea Ave., in "Partners" (Paramount, 1982). Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. He notes: "The marquee connection is that both 'La Cage aux Folles II' and 'Partners' were written by Francis Veber."

The film, directed by James Burrows, stars Ryan O'Neal, John Hurt and Kenneth McMillan. The story involves a straight detective investigating murders of gay men.

The Gordon was later known as the Showcase after a Cineplex Odeon remodel. See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Showcase Theatre for photos and history.

On IMDb: "Partners"

"Walking the Edge"

There's a good shot of the Gordon Theatre, 614 N. La Brea Ave., in "Walking the Edge" (Empire Pictures, 1985). It was shot in 1983. The film, directed by Norbert Meisel, stars Nancy Kwan and Robert Forster. It's a tale of an L.A. taxi driver who picks up a fare who is intent on executing a revenge mission that would involve her suicide. 

Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film. The Gordon was later known as the Showcase after a Cineplex Odeon remodel. See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Showcase Theatre for photos and history.

On IMDb: "Walking the Edge"

Saturday, May 28, 2022

"Wild Guitar"

The Egyptian Theatre is seen 2:38 into Dennis Ray Steckler's "Wild Guitar" (Fairway International, 1962). We also get views of the Chinese and the Pantages. The full film is available on YouTube. Arch Hall, Jr. and Nancy Czar star. 

See the pages on the Egyptian, Grauman's Chinese and the Pantages on the Los Angeles Theatres site for the history of these Hollywood showplaces and many, many photos. 

 On IMDb: "Wild Guitar"

Sunday, May 22, 2022

"Change of Habit"

We spend some time on Main St. in "Change of Habit" (Universal, 1969). In this shot we're looking south toward 6th and behind Mary Tyler Moore we see part of the "Burlesk" lettering on the vertical sign at the Burbank Theatre, 548 S. Main St.

The film, directed by William A. Graham, also stars Elvis Presley, Barbara McNair, Jane Elliott and Ed Asner. The cinematography was by Russell Metty. Thanks to Sean Ault for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot.

See the page about the Burbank Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. This theatre had quite a career as a legit venue, burlesque house and occasional film theatre. It opened in 1893 and was demolished in 1974. 

A promotional shot appearing on IMDb. That "Theatre" vertical we see is for the Galway Theatre, 514 S. Main St. See the Galway Theatre page on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about the venue. 

On IMDb: "Change of Habit

Monday, May 9, 2022

"Pretty Woman"

It's dusk and we get a fine look down at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd, during the opening credits of Garry Marshall's "Pretty Woman" (Buena Vista / Touchstone, 1990). The film features Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo and Ralph Bellamy. The cinematography was by Charles Minsky. 

Richard Gere is lost trying to get to his hotel in Beverly Hills and ends up in Hollywood where we get a view of one of the dragon marquees at Mann's Chinese, 6925 Hollywood Blvd. 

He stops to ask some streetwalkers for directions and Julia offers to help. Here we're looking east from Las Palmas toward the Vogue theatre, 6675 Hollywood Blvd. She lives in an apartment building just up Las Palmas that we see later in the film. 

We get a partial view of the Egyptian across the street at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. By this time it was a triplex operation with two smaller theatres added in a nearby building. "Field of Dreams" was running in the big house. 

In a later visit to Hollywood Blvd. we get this shot looking west. In the background it's the Mann Chinese Twin, 6915 Hollywood Blvd. 

The film ends with Richard and Julia on the fire escape of her apartment building on Las Palmas. On the right we're looking toward Hollywood Blvd. and there's a look at the screen end of the Vogue Theatre.

See the pages on the Los Angeles Theatres site about the Pantages, the Chinese, the Chinese Twin, the Vogue and the Egyptian for a history of these Hollywood theatres and many, many photos.   

On IMDb: "Pretty Woman"

Friday, May 6, 2022


Sally Field and Michael Caine leave a screening of "Otello" at the Los Feliz Theatre, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., in "Surrender" (Warner Bros., 1987). It's a comedy directed by Jerry Belson about a writer who's pretending to be poor so he'll know any women he meets aren't just after his money. The cinematography was by Juan Ruiz Anchía.

Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. Head to the Los Feliz Theatre page on the Los Angeles Theatres site for information about this 1935 vintage house, a design by Clifford A. Balch.

On IMDb: "Surrender"

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"

Near the end of "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" (Lionsgate, 2022) we get lovely views of the ceiling of a theatre where the premiere is being held for a film written by "Nicholas Cage" and his collaborator played by Pedro Pascal. It's probably somewhere in Hungary or Croatia. But when we the cut to the back of the auditorium to finish the scene we're at the Orpheum, 842 S. Broadway. 

Tom Gormican directed the film, also featuring Tiffany Haddish, Neal Patrick Harris, Sharon Horgan, Lily Sheen and Alessandra Mastronardi. The cinematography was by Nigel Bluck. 

Visit the pages about the Orpheum Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with hundreds of photos.  

On IMDb: "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

"The New Centurions"

George C. Scott, Stacy Keach and Jane Alexander star in Richard Fleischer's film adaptation of the Joseph Wambaugh novel "The New Centurions" (Columbia, 1972). The cinematography was by Ralph Woolsey. 

In this shot we see the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, in the middle of a wild ride through various neighborhoods with Stacy hanging on to the outside of a car while the angry woman driving tries everything she can do to shake him off.  On the marquee: "The Telephone Book" (1971) and "Baby Love" (1969). 

See the pages about the Los Angeles Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building and many photos.

On IMDb: "The New Centurions"

Monday, March 21, 2022

"Body Double"

The plot for our leading man to be a witness to a murder in Brian De Palma's "Body Double" (Columbia, 1984) begins at the Callboard Theatre, 8451 Melrose Place. 

Aspiring actor Craig Wasson is the dupe. He just caught his girlfriend in bed with another guy. It's her apartment so he needs a place to stay. Gregg Henry offers him a chance to house sit at the Chemosphere House -- and watch interesting action of a neighbor lady through a telescope. Melanie Griffith and Deborah Shelton are the two female leads. The cinematography was by Stephen H. Burum.   
Craig begins to understand that he's been set up by Gregg to witness a murder when watching TV and he sees a promo for the film "Holly Does Hollywood" starring Melanie Griffith's character Holly Body. He sees Melanie doing the same moves that he's seen her double rehearsing in the apartment through the telescope. Holly's film is having its "World Premiere" at the X Theatre, 5959 Hollywood Blvd.

A view of the theatre on the TV promo. Thanks to Tommy Bernard for spotting it in the film and getting this screenshot. See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the X Theatre for a bit of history and a few photos.

On IMDb: "Body Double"

Wednesday, March 16, 2022


When we first see Annie Girardot 30 minutes into Franco Rossi's "Smog" (Titanus/Gala Film Distributors, 1962) she's turning onto Wilshire Blvd. from Orange Dr. and we get a quick look at the Four Star Theatre, 5112 Wilshire. 

She turns east in her Thunderbird and we get a better look at the readerboard advertising Luchino Visconti's "Rocco and His Brothers." A comment from IMDb: "Girardot and another star of 'Smog,' Renato Salvatori, met while making 'Rocco and His Brothers' and were married by the time they made this film together." 

In the next block we get a look at the stagehouse of the Ritz Theatre at 5214 Wilshire. 

We get part of the building's facade but cut to a shot of Annie adjusting the radio before we can see what's on the Ritz marquee. But the theatre was dark at the time of the filming. 

Our male lead in the film, Enrico Maria Salerno, is an Italian attorney and we follow his adventures during a layover on a trip to Mexico to deal with the divorce of a client. Beginning with LAX, of course, we get views of many L.A. area locations including a visit to Pasadena, a scene at some oil wells of Culver City, several visits to the Stahl House, we go bowling at the Hollywood Legion Lanes bowling alley and take a ride down Hollywood Boulevard. 

In a drive west we get a look at the Hollywood Theatre at Hollywood and Highland. Well, we almost get a look at the marquee. It's the mess of lights seen inside the steering wheel. 

Bruce Kimmel comments about the shoot, done sometime in the fall of 1961: 

"'Rocco' opened on September 20 at the Four-Star and played at least six weeks there, so hard to pinpoint when this was shot exactly. If it was that first two weeks then 'Guns of Navarone' was at the Hollywood. As to the Ritz, it was closed. It closed after the run of 'Scent of Mystery' in May of 1960. By that time, it wasn't a Fox West Coast theater anymore and was listed in the Independent Theaters section, which means Mike Todd, Jr. himself four-walled its run there, which given the huge flop it was, ran almost four months there."

Production designer Aldo Capuano once commented that the title didn't refer to the dirty air in Los Angeles but rather to the haze in the brains of the many Italians that the attorney meets during his wanderings.  The Cinematography was by Ted D. McCord. And it's actually quite nice. The images seen here were taken from a poor DVD.

See the pages about the Four Star, the Ritz and the Hollywood Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about these show places. 

A poster appearing on a page about the film on the site Shock Cinema. There's a similar poster on the "Smog" page of the site Letterboxd.

While the film got a UK release, it evidently didn't play anywhere in the US until a screening at LACMA's Bing Theatre years later. The Getty screened the film in 2013. The Getty Research Institute website has a page with notes prepared for that screening: 

"The laconic and moody 'Smog' (1962, 35 mm, 88 min.) is a little-known film from director Franco Rossi that presents a compelling outsider's perspective, following Italian attorney Vittorio Ciocchetti (Enrico Maria Salerno) through two days in the City of Angels. Stumbling upon several expatriates from his homeland, Ciocchetti is shown the vast and enigmatic city through their eyes, from Los Angeles International Airport and Pierre Koenig's Stahl Residence (both newly built) to the oil wells of Culver City. Ciocchetti's encounters reveal a stark contrast between the liberated lifestyle of midcentury Los Angeles and the struggles of postwar Italy.

"Rossi's depiction of Los Angeles is unique, devoid of sensationalism, and true to the city's eclectic mix of landscapes, cultures, social strata, and peculiar vocations. Smog was the first European film with the majority of its footage shot in Los Angeles, and Rossi and his screenwriters spent three months of preproduction absorbing the city's atmosphere. Shooting included several significant locations, particularly newly built architectural experiments, that do not appear in the final film. However, these omitted scenes are referenced in various reviews from the 1960s and '70s, which detail different iterations of the film, title, and credit changes as well as stalled international distribution deals..."

UCLA's Billy Wilder Theatre screened it in March 2022.

On IMDb: "Smog"   

A lobby card appearing on IMDb. 

A poster from IMDb.

Friday, February 25, 2022

"Sunset Boulevard"

A bit over four minutes into Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" (Paramount, 1950) screenwriter William Holden gets his car out of hiding behind Rudy's shoe shine stand. The repo boys have already paid him a visit and are looking for the car. In the distance we see the side of the Warner Hollywood and its two roof towers. The lot is just north of the Hollywood Playhouse, 1735 Vine St. Beyond the corner of Rudy's are two of the Playhouse's dressing room windows. 

More of the Hollywood Playhouse is seen as Holden pulls out of the lot. We're looking south toward Hollywood Blvd. The roof sign of the Brown Derby can be seen beyond the intersection. The theatre had opened as a legit venue in 1927 and got renamed the El Capitan in 1942. At the time of the filming it was in use as a TV studio. The building is now a music club called Avalon. 

A moment later as the camera pans to the left we get a look at the top of the Pantages Theatre's vertical sign on the far left. Holden is headed to the Paramount lot in an attempt to sell a story. Later after a visit to Schwab's Drugstore and a car chase with the repo guys he pulls into the driveway of Gloria Swanson's mansion. Thanks to Chuck Snyder for spotting the Playhouse in the film. He posted a screenshot as a comment on a post about the theatre by Douglas West on the Mid Century Modern Facebook page.  

The film was written by Wilder along with Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman, Jr. Also starring are Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Jack Webb and Fred Clark. The cinematography was by John F. Seitz.

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages about the Hollywood Playhouse, the Warner Hollywood and the Pantages for the history of these theatres and many, many photos.   

On IMDb: "Sunset Boulevard"

Thursday, February 24, 2022

"Hollywood Boulevard"

An aspiring starlet played by Candice Rialson hits Hollywood and, of course, visits Grauman's Chinese near the beginning of "Hollywood Boulevard." (New World Pictures, 1976). The film about "the street where starlets are made" features Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, Jonathan Kaplan and Godzina. Direction was by Joe Dante and Allan Arkush. Jamie Anderson did the cinematography.

We get a quick drive by the Pussycat Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd. as part of Candice's first film job. Well, she thinks it's a film job. She's actually been recruited to be a getaway driver in a bank robbery. The theatre, at 7734 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, began its life as a neighborhood house called the Monica.   

We get this great triple feature on the marquee of the Gilmore Drive-In at 41:20 into the film. Our stars have been involved in making one of the films and this is the premiere -- and possibly only showing. Thanks to Benny Ballejo for posting the shot on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.   
Another fine marquee shot a moment later. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for posting this one on Photos of Los Angeles

A little altercation in the booth during the film's sequence at the drive-in. The Gilmore was on 3rd St. east of Fairfax. The Grove shopping mall is now on the site.

See the pages about Grauman's Chinese, the Monica/Pussycat Theatre and the Gilmore Drive-In on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of these venues.

On IMDb: "Hollywood Boulevard"    The entire epic is available for free viewing on the site Tubi.

"InAPPropriate Comedy"

We get a quick look at the front of the Million Dollar Theatre, 3rd and Broadway, in "InAPPropriate Comedy" (Freestyle Releasing, 2013). The film is structured as a series of not-very-funny skits with icons for each shown on a screen as different apps that get selected by the finger of an unseen person. The title of this one, "The Porno Review," is seen on the marquee. 

It's a skit styled after the Siskel and Ebert format except they're reviewing porno films. Yes, this is as close as we get to a view of a theatre interior. Here we have Michelle Rodriguez, Rob Schneider and Jonathan Spencer.

Performers in other skits include Lindsay Lohan and Adrien Brody. The film was directed by Vince Offer. Ken Barrows did the cinematography.

See the pages about the Million Dollar Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the 1918 vintage movie palace along with many photos. 

On IMDb: "InAPPropriate Comedy"

Monday, February 14, 2022

"Second Chorus"

We have a scene at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4400 Wilshire Blvd., toward the end of "Second Chorus" (Paramount, 1940). Fred Astaire is in the spotlight at the left. He's coming onstage to take the baton from Artie Shaw for a number where he'll both dance and conduct. And pretend to play a trumpet. 
A shot off right before Fred goes onstage -- but not one done at the Ebell. Fred is calling the hotel to see where a fellow horn player is. But Burgess Meredith is fast asleep. He's been given some sleeping pills.  
Fred's number is well received by the crowd in the Ebell's balcony. 

Paulette Goddard offstage right with Artie Shaw. Again it's a shot not done at the Ebell. Paulette is working as Artie's secretary and booker. And she's the love interest for both Fred and Burgess. Also featured are Charles Butterworth, Frank Melton and Jimmy Conlin. H.C. Potter directed. The cinematography was by Theodor Sparkuhl.

See the page about the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the building along with many photos. The Ebell is very much alive with a variety of bookings.  

On IMDb: "Second Chorus"