Central Theatre

314 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Here is a zoomable version of the photo Nathan linked to.

Nathan on May 6, 2014 at 1:18 am

Here’s an image of the Central from one of the recently-uploaded Palmer Conner collection online at the Huntington. March 10, 1955: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5489/14120931334_3cb5a43c54_b.jpg

drb on February 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm

That 1973 photo was 354 S. Broadway, not 314. That’s one of the two that burned down in Feb. 2007, exposing their original façades that were hidden behind a late-‘70s remodel.

A thread at the L.A. ModCom preservation board, http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=8572, has before and after photos of that building, and the L.A. Times article about the fire.

You can see the Cozy and the empty spot where the Central was in the background of another early ‘70s photo from that thread illustrating where the fire was.
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2008 at 7:38 pm

The Central Theatre is listed at this address in the 1929 Los Angeles City Directory. I don’t have access to any earlier directories, so that’s the earliest I can confirm that it was open.

missmelbatoast on October 22, 2008 at 10:18 am

The Central Theatre can clearly be seen in the 1933 movie ‘FOOTLIGHT PARADE’, starring James Cagney, Ruby Keeler, & Joan Blondell.
In this film chorus girls change costumes in buses while traveling from theatre to theatre, and pass by the Central and Million Dollar.

kencmcintyre on March 5, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Perhaps it was on the other side of Broadway. I know there was a caption originally, but I would have to dig through the site to find it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I’m now wondering where that building with the arched windows was (or is) located. It looks familiar, but I can’t quite place it.

kencmcintyre on March 5, 2008 at 8:11 pm

OK, Joe, I’ll buy that. The theater was around in 1955, but gone by 1960, apparently.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Ken: The 1973 picture is not the Central’s building. It has arched windows on the top floor, while the Central’s building had square-topped windows. Also, the building to the left of it is too low to be the 5-floor Bradbury Building, and the building to the right has a light well on the side, which the Cozy’s building didn’t have. The State library probably mislabeled this photo.

kencmcintyre on March 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm

OK, there’s some contradiction there between my two comments, but I think the 1973 building is in fact the Central theater location. I can’t explain the 1960 photo.

kencmcintyre on March 5, 2008 at 7:21 pm

This 1973 photo shows the theater building, sans theater:
View link

The Central can be seen to the north of the Cozy in this 1955 photo:

kencmcintyre on August 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

The Central was already gone by 1960, according to this LOC photo:

kencmcintyre on July 11, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Note the predecessor to the Million Dollar on the left.

kencmcintyre on July 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

It doesn’t seem like anyone ever wanted to shoot the east side of Broadway south of the Bradbury building. This 1918 photo is one of the few I found, but no theater is in evidence:

kencmcintyre on July 6, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Here is an article from the LA Times dated 7/6/42. I was glad to see that the projectionist did not get flambeed this time as they seem to have when the film would routinely explode, compelling them to leap from the projection booth.


Cool, quick action of a theater manager yesterday averted a possible panic among 450 spectators at the Central Theater, 314 S. Broadway, when a small fire sent clouds of smoke billowing through the auditorium. Manager Louis Levine stepped up to the stage and announced to the audience that there was no danger and the patrons filed out of the theater in an orderly fashion.

kencmcintyre on June 3, 2007 at 9:22 am

Featured on 1/22/50: “Chicago Deadline” and “Roughshod”. Phone number was MU9-2851.

kencmcintyre on May 3, 2007 at 4:02 am

So the original building was demolished some time before 1968.

reluctantpopstar on May 3, 2007 at 3:02 am

Yes, that is not the original building. If you exit the Bradbury from the back exit, heading into Biddy Mason Park, you can see the back of this building at 314. It’s a smooth wall of concrete cinder blocks with absolutely no ornmentation at all. Dates from the 1970’s at the earliest, probably later.

kencmcintyre on February 5, 2007 at 10:16 am

Status should be closed/demolished.

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2007 at 5:20 pm

OK, dialing the wayback machine to 1940, you will see Joe’s building at 314:

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2007 at 4:07 pm

This is a 1968 photo. As Joe accurately recalls, there is a parking lot where the building at 314 S. Broadway stands today. Ergo, the current building is not the theater.

kencmcintyre on January 15, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I actually asked my wife that when I was taking the picture yesterday. We agreed that it vaguely looked like a theater but that it was probably not the original building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 15, 2007 at 3:21 pm

kenmc: Either the building has had two floors lopped off its top, or that is a different building than the one the Central was in. I’m inclined to think its a different building. I have a vague memory of a parking lot being on that site in the 1960s. I have another vague memory of a scene in the movie “Chinatown” when Jake is fetching his car from a parking lot and we see the Million Dollar Theatre in the background across the street.

You can see the Central’s marquee (through a haze of smoke) in the picture I linked to last October from the CT Cozy Theatre page.

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2006 at 10:05 am

Here is a map circa 1950 that shows the Central and Cozy theaters on Broadway: