For film enthusiasts, the high point in "Down To Earth" (Columbia, 1947), an otherwise dreary film, is driving east on 8th St. past the RKO Hillstreet where another Hayworth film, "Gilda" is playing. We see the theatre (and other downtown L.A. nighttime sights) out the back window of her taxi via a process shot.
The eleven minutes of background footage that Columbia shot in 1946 is a great tour of a vanished civilization -- and much more interesting than the completed Hayworth film. The footage is on Internet Archive as "Downtown Los Angeles Streets - 1946." Internet Archive also has another link to the footage. It also appears as a post on the site Ultra Swank.
A look back at the RKO Hillstreet, 8th & Hill, as we continue east on 8th. See our page on the RKO Hillstreet Theatre for many photos. It was built in 1922 by the Orpheum circuit, a design of G. Albert Lansburgh. Sadly, it was demolished in the 60s.
The Hillstreet receding into the distance. That's a bit of the Olympic Theatre marquee on the right.
A bit more of the Olympic appearing as we get closer to Broadway.
About as much of the Olympic Theatre, 313 W. 8th St., as we're going to see on this pass.
A quick look at the 8th St. side of the Tower Theatre building after crossing Broadway. The newsstand was on the extreme end of the building -- that's the alley at the left. We also get a look at 7th St.
Another look at the Olympic marquee in the "Down To Earth" footage on a return trip heading west on 8th. The marquee at the time was a much flashier confection than the one on the theatre in the 70s and beyond. See the Olympic Theatre pages on the Los Angeles Theatres site for many photos of the building. It's still there on 8th but now used for retail.
Later there are quick looks at all the theatres on the east side of Broadway including the Orpheum, Tower Theatre (again) and the Globe. In the shot above it's the Tower (at the time called the Music Hall) and the Rialto Theatre beyond.
Also: Nicole Wonders has taken the 11 minutes of footage and done a modern trip through downtown Los Angeles on the same streets for a time travel comparison. Check it out on YouTube:
| part one | part two | part three |
Thanks to Hillsman Wright of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation for sending the link to this time travel adventure our way.
On IMDb: "Down To Earth"