Fonda Theatre

6126 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 76 - 94 of 94 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2005 at 7:08 pm

The Los Angeles Times records the date on which this theater re-opened as the Guild as February 2nd, 1945.

trooperboots on January 8, 2005 at 1:03 am

I found a marvelous photo of a pre-1938 Music Box Theater when it was the home of the Lux Radio Broadcasts prior to moving to the CBS Radio Playhouse on Vine Street (now the Ricardo Montalban Theater)…..

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 1, 2005 at 7:50 am

This opened as the 980 seat capacity Carter DeHaven Music Box Theatre on 20th October 1926. It was designed by noted theatre architects Octavious Morgan, J.A. Walls and Stiles O. Clements in a Spanish Colonial style.

Initially it was used for staging elaborate musical revues in which artists such as Fanny Brice starred in productions designed to rival the ‘Zeigfeld Follies’. After the show, theatregoers could mingle with the stars and dance and watch cabaret shows in an open-air room located above the theatre’s main entrance. This room was also a well known ‘speakeasy’ serving alcohol during the prohibition era. Within a year the theatre had become a drama playhouse and productions included Clark Gable starring in “Chicago” and Bella Lugosi starring in “Dracula” following on from his first big screen success in that role.

In 1936 it became a radio studio theatre and artists such as Mae West, Al Jolson, Joan Crawford, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper and Jean Harlow all graced the stage, broadcasting dramas as ‘The Lux Radio Theatre’. This possibly only lasted until 1938 as CBS had then taken over the former Vine St Theatre (now the Ricardo Montalban Theatre) and broadcasts of ‘The Lux Radio Theatre continued from there. The Music Box Theatre was most likely 'dark’ until it returned to legitimate stage use briefly in the early 1940’s when, again known as the Music Box Theatre, a production of “Life With Father” had an extensive run in 1942. Again, the theatre possibly had another ‘dark’ period.

It became a full time movie theatre known as the Guild Theater from February 1945 when Fox West Coast Theatres took control and it was re-modelled in the foyer areas to an Art Deco Moderne design, which included a stylish pavement mounted pay-box. Cladding was put on the facade of the theatre hiding the original Spanish style decorations and the auditorium was given the ‘Skouras’ style treatment that many Fox West Coast Theatres were given at this time. It later became the Fox Theatre, showing first run movies.

A later change of management in the mid-1950’s altered the name to Pix Theater (the Fox name was transfered to the former Iris Theatre further West on Hollywood Blvd) and a spectacular neon display was mounted on the new marquee and vertical sign. Many ‘Sneak Previews’ were held at the Pix and in 1975 the premier of “Jaws” was held here, followed in 1976 by the premier of “Rocky”. But this was a last gasp as it briefly went over to screening Spanish language movies and closed as a full time move theatre in 1977, after which it lay empty and un-used for many years.

In March 1985 it re-opened as the Henry Fonda Theatre, a legitimate theatre with a production of “Twelve Angry Men” and it came under the management of Nederlander Theatres. Many Broadway productions have played here in recent years including “Driving Miss Daisy”, Glengary Glen Ross", “Lend Me A Tenor” and “Nunsense”. It has also been used for concerts by Marianne Faithful, Cyndi Lauper, Ray Davies and Adam Ant, among many others to numerous to name.

The current seating capacity is 863 and in June 2002 it was getting started on an on-going restoration which has now brought many of the original architectural features back into sight. The former open-air cabaret room has been restored back into use again and serves as a reception area. The theatre now thrives on a mixed diet of concerts, live performances and special events. The current lessee’s hope to eventually remove the cladding on the front of the theatre and reveal and restore the original Spanish style facade.

veyoung52 on November 25, 2004 at 5:07 pm

Is this the New Fox that housed a moveover engagement of “Windjammer” in CineMiracle beginning in late 1958 after that 3-panel film left the Chinese?

JakeM on October 7, 2004 at 8:32 am

I saw a rock show (The Hives) here in august of 2004 and was really impressed. Very nice, well managed and beautiful. They have a rooftop lounge with a bar, and the balcony still has the seats. I will definately go back and I urge anyone who wants to see a rock show in a great converted movie house to check out the Music Box.

MagicLantern on September 22, 2004 at 1:56 pm

What was the address of the X Theatre?

William on September 22, 2004 at 1:54 pm

I think just did. The X Theatre was located just east of the old World Theatre (aka: Marcal). It was a storefront twin theatre, not a old theatre that turned into porn operation.

MagicLantern on September 22, 2004 at 1:40 pm

Will someone please settle the “which theatre was the X Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard” debate once and for all?

scottfavareille on September 22, 2004 at 1:38 pm

The X theater was a twin theater known as the X 1 & 2. It was operated by Carlos Tobalina, who started his career doing softcore fare before going into hardcore XXX in the 1970’s. Tobalina also ran the “luxurious Mayan” theater during its days as an adult theater. Shots of the X(ticket booth and poster cases) can be seen in the 1981 “documentary” called Exhausted. (This was the film that inspired PT Anderson’s 1997 film Boogie Nights.)

I think the X may have been a “storefront” theater instead of an old theater that converted into an “adults only” or porno format. (For those who are familiar with the history of porn theaters, many in the Pussycat and Mitchell Brothers chains were old theaters who converted into a porn format.)

RobertR on September 22, 2004 at 12:44 pm

When the photo post is working again I have a great picture I took of The Pix marquee. Someone should also post a listing for The X who knows more about that theatre.

MagicLantern on September 22, 2004 at 12:28 pm

The address of this cinema is 6126 Hollywood Boulevard.

Trolleyguy on September 13, 2004 at 4:04 pm

Odd note. I was watching “My Favorite Year” (1982) on AMC today and in one scene, supposedly on Broadway in New York, they pass a movie theater called the “Music Box.” The film was primarily shot in New York, but I cannot find any reference to a Music Box Theater in New York on this site.

It’s possible that this was a set on the backlot of a Hollywood studio. Any one know?


NeilShattuc on April 3, 2004 at 11:09 am

I am trying to remember when the theater open up. I know it was the Guild in 1947 as I saw film Ivy there with Joan Fontain

cnichols on February 3, 2004 at 1:02 pm

They use both names
The ads say something like “The Music Box at the Henry Fonda” or something like that.

bruceanthony on November 6, 2003 at 2:32 pm

I saw Cat Ballou in the Pix theatre in 1965. I remember the Pix for its spectacular Neon Marquee. I wish the new owners will restore neon to the marquee of this theatre. A tacky plastic vertical marquee was put up for one of our greatest actors Henry Fonda who deserved better. Brucec

William on January 14, 2003 at 9:20 am

The vertical sign still says The Henry Fonda Theatre. But they are working on restoring the theatre’s auditorium. I have had a few calls about photos to the original auditorium from the new operators. The new name is The Music Box, which is the original name.

CinemAFuchs on September 15, 2002 at 12:40 pm

If you’ve noticed work being done on the facade of the Henry Fonda Theatre lately, it’s not for the premiere of a new production but for the introduction of a new special event space. Restaurant owner and event planner, Thad Smith (Blue Palm) has leased the Henry Fonda and is currently in the midst of Phase I of a multi-million dollar renovation of the historic 1927 building.

The theatre, which has sat empty since it played host to “Tony & Tina’s Wedding” last year, has long been in need of a makeover. When Smith went through it, he found the once elegant rooftop garden had been overrun by pigeons, the theatre walls were peeling and mirrors were cracked. He and his team are now working carefully to return the theatre to its former grandeur.

Along the way, Smith has made some amazing finds. While redoing the theatre’s interior, Smith noticed part of the wall seemed hollow. He tore it out, revealing a long-hidden VIP box where wealthy patrons would be seated. He also discovered original wood floors in the veranda of the rooftop garden club and old lighting fixtures stored away that will be reinstalled.

While several preservation groups have concerns that the theatre will no longer function as a live performance space (the seats are being removed) and that restoration will not be accurate, Smith assures the community that he is doing what he can to breathe new life into a great old building that he cares deeply about. All changes are cosmetic, he says, and he is working from historical materials to ensure authenticity. Look for the new Henry Fonda to open in the fall.

(Information courtesy of the Hollywood Entertainment District BidBiz Newsletter.

Bill H
Bill H on August 7, 2002 at 6:46 pm

This Spanish Colonial style theater opened on October 18, 1926. Architects were Morgan, Walls, & Clements.