Capitol Theatre

340 S. Spring Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 49 of 49 comments

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 7:52 am

From looking at the map above, this must have been on the ground floor beneath the billiard hall:

(May 24, 1905)
French Dinner a specialty; five courses, wine and black coffee included.
Family Entrance Casino Theater Lobby
346 South Spring Street.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 7:48 am

A resolution?

(March 5, 1905)
Morganstern’s contract with the Casino Theater Company was signed yesterday, transferring to the Broadway manager the sole control of the Spring-street playhouse. Thus endeth a six months' squabble and a constant reign of internal turmoil and actorial-managerial strife, which has kept up almost continually since the death of J.E. Waldeck. The possession of the Casino has been Morganstern’s objective point for more than half a year, during which time people have laughed at him, taunted him with his failure to secure the lease, and have predicted that he never would achieve his end. But Morganstern kept at it, and now the laugh is his. Morganstern’s shows will commence playing the theater one week from tomorrow night. This week the house will be renovated and partially remodelled.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 7:42 am

Sounds like it would have been stressful to see a show here with all of this nonsense going on….

(Feb. 26, 1905)
No sooner had Judge Trask rendered a decision in the attachment proceeding arising out of the suit begun by D.R. Weller against Oliver Morosco and H.C. Wyatt for possession of the Casino Theater, than hostilities broke out in a new place. The law firm of Jones & Weller in behalf of the Casino Theater Company, began a new injunction suit against Morosco and Wyatt, to have the courts declare that the contract under which the defendants have held possession of the theater is terminated. This contract was entered into on April 30 last year, but for the reason that on February 14 and 15 last the defendants closed the house, the plaintiff claims that it had the right-which it now exercises-to elect that the contract should terminate. Incidentally, too, it is charged that the defendants have received moneys in connection with the theater for which no accounting has been made, that they have not paid all the expenses of conducting the house, and have allowed the place to fall into a dilapidated condition. To cap these complaints it is alleged that Oliver Morosco is insolvent, and that no adequate relief can be obtainted if the court should refuse to issue the injunction prayed for. Judge Trask signed the injunction restraining the defendants from entering the Casino Theater building or in any way interfering with it, pending the adjudication of the new difficulty created. Jacob Adloff and John Hauerwaas qualified on the bond for $2500 necessary before the injunction could issue. This instrument went into force last night at midnight.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 7:30 am

I wonder if the organ that Lost Memory was talking about was installed in this theater in 1921. It was most likely called the Capitol then.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 4:47 pm

The Mason must have opened a little before the Casino from this blurb above…

At the brilliant opening of this pretty little playhouse on South Spring street last evening the four hundred of Los Angeles were strongly represented. Not since the opening of the Mason Operahouse has there been a theatrical event so much of a “function,” per se…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 12, 2007 at 3:36 pm

The design probably relied mostly on the brightly colored frescoes on walls and ceiling.

Still, the Casino must have seemed surprisingly old fashioned to audiences within a short time of the theatre’s opening. It was only two years later that the 2700 seat Temple Auditorium opened, with its large balcony cantilevered 27 feet from the back wall. The Casino’s whole auditorium was only 60 by 72 feet.

Even more devastating to the Casino’s prestige must have been the opening in 1903 of the Mason Opera House: This auditorium photo is from the 1950s, but the balcony structure was unchanged from the 1903 design. And here’s an artist’s conception of the view from the Mason’s dress circle on its opening in 1903.

The Casino was decidedly outclassed from the beginning.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 2:40 pm

It looks so plain inside…maybe those are clouds painted on the walls. I wouldn’t want to sit behind one of those support poles. If that is truly the Casino then the photo must be from 1903-1906 or thereabouts.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 12, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Of course we mustn’t forget this undated photo of the audience at the Casino Theatre from the L.A. library collection.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 2:31 pm

I think Ken mc posted this somewhere but here it is again for this page…you can see the theater at the left where it says Hotchkiss…

View link

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Actually 1921 would be just about the right time. It was called the Novel Theater for a short time but the last reference I can find with that name is 1920, so the Capitol might have been the next name. I still haven’t found the name capitol before 1924 but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t called that earlier. Here’s a list of the names for this place so far…I’m sure it will expand:

Waldeck’s Casino [1903-1904]
Casino [1904-1906?]
Hotchkiss [1906-1909?]
Los Angeles Theatre [1909 City Directory]
Loewe’s Empress [1915 City Directory]
Quinn’s Empress [1916 City Directory]
Empress [1916 City Directory]
Novel [1920 City Directory]
Capitol [1925 City Directory]
Waxman’s Capitol

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 12, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Lost Memory: I don’t think that the 1924 Casino Theatre on Central Avenue has been added to Cinema Treasures yet. It was the second of two Central Avenue Theatres which were renamed for dancer Bill Robinson, the first having been the former Tivoli Theatre, one block north of the Casino. Apparently, the Bill Robinson name was moved from the former Tivoli at Central and 42nd to the former Casino at Central and 43rd sometime in the 1940s. Both the 1921 Tivoli and the 1924 Casino were designed by architect L.A. Smith.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Trouble, Trouble…..

(Feb. 19, 1905)


The Casino Theater, continual object of managerial ructions, is now kept open by its lessees by force of arms. Six men, stationed yesterday in various parts of the building, prevent the directorate from putting obstacles in the way of open-house maintenance. The guard is kept up day and night, while a small cannon, stationed menacingly in front, bears the audaciouos legend-“We Open Sunday Night with a Boom!” D.R. Weller, secretary and treasurer of the Casino directorate, has long objected, with some others, to a vaudeville show in the house. Wyatt and Morosco, the lessees, state that a vaudeville entertainment pays better at present than any other attraction, and accordingly under the direction of Aliskey of San Francisco, that class of amusement has held the boards for some time. Alfred J. Morganstern and others have been ‘figuring" on the house from time comparatively immemorial, and rumors of a c hange in the active management have been rife of late-have been published, republished and as repeatedly contradicted. Messrs. Wyatt and Morosco, the lessees, state that their rent has been tendered for the current month, according to contract, and that, being refused, it was placed in the First National bank, where the Casino directors can call for it at any time. The guard established yesterday is to prevent the actual closing of the theater by the representatives of the theater by the representatives of the owners. Going down to open for daily business, the Wyatt-Morosco employees found the doors locked and padlocked. They broke the padlocks and threw them away. Then Charles Eyton of the Burbnk, heading a few lusty youths, took up his stand near the door to watch results. Another attempt was soon made to enter the theater and oust the present tenants. “Pass into this building, and you’ve got me to lick first!” shouted Eyton, and the directors’ following, knowing Eyton’s prowess as a boxer, gracefully desisted. The guards will remain on duty night and day: and the formidable little cannon, placed in front, announces to the world a reopening tonight under the same old management. A lawsuit probably will be brought to settle the matter, as it is understood that several charges (including even misappropriation of funds) have been passed and counter-passed in the heated controversy between the theatrical men and the owners. It was announced that the closing last week was “to repair a leaky roof.”

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 1:29 pm

(Feb. 3, 1905)

Negotiations for the transfer of the South Spring-street playhouse pending.

It is reported on reliable authority that Alfred J. Morganstern is negotiating for the purchase of the Casino Theater to add to his string of playhouses. It has been talked for some time that efforts were being made to buy out the Casino company. It was believed that John Fisher of San Francisco, who recently sold the Fisher Operahouse in that city, was after the Casino. He has been in Los Angeles several days looking over the field. A deal is pending.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 1:22 pm

This is the start of a long history of trouble and hoodoo at this theater…..

(May 7, 1904)
Never having recovered from exposure when he was found half dead in a canon back of Santa Monica, last Sunday, Jacob E. Waldeck died yesterday afternoon at his home, No. 1703 Flower street. Since Sunday Mr. Waldeck had only been able to recognize his friends at intervals. Since 5 o'clock yesterday morning he had been unconscious. Death came yesterday about 4 o'clock. Mr. Waldeck was manager of the Casino Theater, the financing of which indirectly caused his death. He was and Elk and a Mason. He was born forty-four years ago in Frankfort-on-the-Main, and came to this country while a youth. He settled in San Francisco, where he engaged in the wholesale mercantile business. About fifteen years ago he moved to Los Angeles and opened a stationery store. Six or seven years ago he bacame assistant treasurer of the Orpheum, at that time under the management of Rush Bronson. In a short time he became treasurer of the house, which position he resigned to open the Casino last December. He leaves a wido and three little boys. He had any number of friends. Many theatrical men called last night to express their condolences to the family. If Waldeck had a fault as a theatrical manager, it was his delightful generosity. He wanted to let everybody in free to his theater, and couldn’t bear to take their money. Among the newspaper men he was the most popular manager who ever had a house here. The funeral will take place Sunday afternoon, but no details have been arranged.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Lost Memory…..I think you’re right in that there most likely wouldn’t have been an organ installed here initially since they had a full orchestra and it was mostly vaudeville. Maybe it had one later when they showed movies, but I haven’t seen any evidence yet.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 1:08 pm

I haven’t heard of a sandbagging for a long time….

(Feb 24, 1904)
Within thirty feet of a crowded street where pedestrians were passing along by the score and at a time when the slightest outcry would have resulted in bringing help, M.B. Godsey, an employee of the Casino Theater, was sandbagged and robbed by two highwaymen last evening. The robbery was committed in the driveway between the old Downey residence on South Main street, adjoining the Van Nuys Hotel and the building of the Morgan Oyster Company……..At the Casino Theater it is not unusual for the employees to enter from the rear, and to do this it is necessary for them to pass along the driveway on Main street, and climb a fence on the old Downey place……

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 12:32 pm

(Dec. 23, 1903)
WALDECK’S CASINO THEATER-J.E. Waldeck, Mgr. 344 S. Spring St.
Success-A veritable triumph, tonight and all week-matinees today, saturday and sunday-extra matinee christmas day. season of Weber & Fields' Musical Burlesques
Regular Prices-25c, 35c, 50c and 75c.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 12:26 pm

(Dec. 22, 1903)
CASINO. In the Casino Theater, Jacob Waldeck is filling a traditional long-felt want with a bright, clean, well-acted burlesque show. At the brilliant opening of this pretty little playhouse on South Spring street last evening the four hundred of Los Angeles were strongly represented. Not since the opening of the Mason Operahouse has there been a theatrical event so much of a “function,” per se…….The Casino Theater has been prettily decorated, cardinal tints prevailing in the scheme. The orchestra, which is a very full one, does ample justice to the music.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm

I guess the opening would be Dec. 21, 1903:

(Dec. 03, 1903)
THE CASINO-And now Manager Jacob Waldeck proposes to start a circuit of theaters. If the amusement boom keeps up along its present lines much longer, Los Angeles must become known as a sort or theatrical center. The Casino Theater has just signed its attractions, and positve date for opening is set for Monday evening, December 21. The house will play Weber & Fields shows, on engagement of thirty weeks having been entered into. Heading the Waldeck organization will be well-known Tom Pearrse and Edith Mason, Rice and Cady, and last-but not least, Barney Bernard. Bernard has been playing at Fischer’s in San Francisco, for a long time, and has made a great hit with northern audiences. There was hot rivalry with some of t he bigger circuits to secure a contract with Bernard. A chorus of thirty-two individuals is being trained daily in San Francisco, and for the opening night the Waldeck stage will have all the people upon it that it can comfortably hold. The orchestra will be larger than that of any theater outside the Mason Operahouse. For the opening bill the choice lies between “Pousse Cafe,” and Weber & Fields' New York success of recent months, “Whirly-Twirly.” Among other things, the Casino is unique in its many features of amusement. These vary from a penny peepshow on the sidewalk to one of the finest billiard rooms in the Southwest, above the stairs. Yesterday the contractors began to lay the heavy green carpet upon the floor of this apartment, and to bring in its black-oak furniture. Admirable in lighting effects, with a special skylight for each table, there are promised all the conveniences necessary for record-breaking billiard playing. Just off this parlor opens a tiny roof garden, which will certainly be a convenience in hot weater. A similar promenade runs from the balcony of the Casino Theater. Inside the auditorium of the theater itself the last touches of decoration are being placed. The wall are frescoed in a scheme in which cardinal and blue predominate. Seats are just ready to be put in, and the finishing up of the building is only a matter of days. The last touch-the painting of scenery-is going on rapidly in the stage loft. After he has once establilshed his theater in Los Angeles Jacob Waldeck proposes to take the Casino Theater Company outside this city and establish in like manner similar houses at any point in the entire Southwest at which he may find and opening.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 11:58 am

This place sounds fun….

(Oct. 12, 1903)
Museum, Theater and Billiard Rooms in One House.
New Spring-street Amusement Resort Coming Rapidly to Competion. Carload of “Eden Musee” Material Soon to Arrive.
This week will se the arrival of more than a carload of wax figures for Waldeck’s new “Eden Musee,” located in the building of the new Casino Theater, just north of the big Hellman structure at Fourth and Spring streets. In amusement enterprises here the Eden Musee will be new, and will have the same attractions as a similar place in New York City. In fact, these models and scenic accessories now on the way come direct from New York. With them comes a corps of artists, modelers and sculptors, who will install the Los Angeles establishment. When finished, it wil be thrown open, its proprietors allege, as one of the most original and comlplete establishments of its kind on the Pacific Coast. The principal material of the place will be its wax figures and models, all of life size, properly set as to lights and surroundings. Representations are of eminent men, a group of the world’s rulers, and statuary groups. The home of the Casino Theater company, in connection with the Eden Musee, is also rushing along toward completion. The auditorium of the new house will be 60 by 72 feet in size, and will seat comfortably 1200 persons. There will be one balcony and six boxes, all of these on the lower floor. An orchestra about the size of the present Orpheum orchestra will furnish the music. The opening will be about December 1. The dimensions of the stage are even larger than those of the Orpheum, being 27 feet deep, with a width of 60 feet. There will be facilities for the latest contrivances and manipulations in the realm of stageland, according to the manager, and the house will at least not want for mechanical means wherewith to produce effects. The Casino theater will be run principally with vaudeville entertainment, but it is the idea of Manager Waldeck to branch out into other things as soon as he finds opportunity and time. For instance, he believes what is very evidently true, that one of the greatest demands in the amusement line is for a continued season of ight opera at popular prices. Rightly managed, this would doubtless prove a great success here. There have been organizations in the local field, and there are now, which aspire to professionalism. A comic opera run, with a cast of average fairness and mountings in taste and keeping, although not necessarily sumptuous, would be almost sure to pay. Contrary to the custom in most resorts of these prices, smoking will not be allowed, and no liquor will be sold on the premises. Waldeck intends to profit by the hotel trade, and says that he secured his location with that end in view. Performances will be given every day in the year, and already considerable booking has been done in the north. The present promoter says that he is backed by no circuit, and, while maybe friendly with other concerns, depends on no syndicate for attractions. It is avowed an independent undertaking of purely local interest in every way. “The Eden Musee and the theater will not be my only drawing cards for public patronage,” said Manager Waldeck last evening. “On the upper floor of my building I am planning to place the finest billiard parlor in the city.” Yet there are still other things which will be placed in this three-ring performance on Spring street. Moving-picture machines, the kind that usually operate with a nickel attachment, will be put in, but the appliances will work for a penny. There will be other things, too, and more will be added each month, says the proprietor. The organization of the Casino Theater Company, as completed, is as follows: President and general manager, J.E. Waldeck; vice-president, Maj. J.W.F. Diss; secretary, R.R. Weller; treasurer, C. Modini-Wood. The directors are M.C. Adler, C. Modini-Wood, W.R. Weller and Otto Sweet. There is a paid-up capital of $50,000.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 11:32 am

The start of this theater should be listed as 1903 with the architect as A.M. Edelman:

(July 19, 1903)
Casino Theater Building.
The contract for erecting the single-story brick theater building that is to be put up for the Casino Theater Company, on the east side of Spring street, between Third and Fourth streets, after plans of Architect A.M. Edelman, has been let to Earl F. Low, for $23,250. It is to be finished within ninety working days from July 15.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 11:26 am

Here are the first and last appearances of the Casino Theater on Central Ave….I don’t know if it’s listed under another later name.

(March 10, 1914)
4309 Central Ave.
M. GORE :: Proprietor

(Aug. 31, 1924)
CASINO THEATER, 4311 So. Central Ave.
Aug. 31-Sept. 6-James Cruze Production, “The Covered Wagon.”

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 10:57 am

I think this would have been called the Capitol Theater by 1924. However, I was just looking up things on the Casino and there was one on Central Avenue in the 20’s.

vokoban on September 12, 2007 at 9:39 am

Here is a 1906 Sanborn map overlaid on a current satellite map showing this theater. Nos. 11, 12 & 13 are the various entrances over the years.

View link