Garnett Theatre

554 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Tally's New Broadway Theatre

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Garnett Theatre

Originally operated by Thomas L. Tally and named Tally’s New Broadway Theatre by 1914. He also operated Tally’s Electric Theatre’s on South Spring Street and South Main Street.

The building currently on the site appears to have been errected in the 1920’s and has the Broadway Jewelry Mart at its street level.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2005 at 5:54 pm

Here is a picture (from the L.A. Public Library collection) of the Garnett Theatre, taken about 1909, when it was still called Tally’s New Broadway.

kencmcintyre on October 3, 2006 at 4:01 pm

The USC archive has the same photo as Joe posted above, but with more detail:

reluctantpopstar on May 2, 2007 at 11:05 pm

The Elden Hotel, to the left of the theatre, is still there.

I believe it was built in 1893. It currently has stores on the ground floor and the top two floors are not occupied. It was recently (2006) repainted and looks a little better.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 2, 2007 at 7:57 pm

LM: The Silent Era source is mistaken. They have conflated the actual Tally’s New Broadway (this theatre, later called the Garnett) at 554 S. Broadway with Tally’s Broadway Theatre at 833 S. Broadway. That was the one demolished in 1929 to make way for the expansion of the May Company southward from its original 8th and Broadway building.

The Garnett has also been demolished, of course, but I’m not sure in what year. It was replaced by the Silverwood’s store, which was there by 1913 (at least if the L.A. Library is right about the date of this photo from their collection.) I believe ScottS is probably correct about the 1893 construction date of the Elden Hotel. The building complex along Mercantile Place which adjoined the hotel property on the north (and was eventually replaced by the Arcade Building) dated from about that same time.

nickb on January 13, 2008 at 1:08 pm

So had anyone found an opening date for this theatre? It must be sometime between 1902, when Tally opened his Electric Theatre on Spring St, and 1909, when he traded this site in for the site at 833 (the Broadway Theatre).

I’m wondering if this was the first movie theatre on Broadway?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm

We haven’t pinned down the opening year for the Garnett/Tally’s New Broadway yet. From this photograph at the USC Archives we can see that the theatre pre-dated the Story Building on the SE corner of 6th and Broadway, on which construction began in 1908.

This theatre definitely predates the oldest surviving theatre on Broadway, the Cameo, which opened in 1910 as Clune’s Broadway. As far as Tally’s being the first movie theatre built on Broadway, it’s quite possible, though it’s also possible that a storefront nickelodeon or two opened earlier.

The large version of the ca.1909 photo of the theatre linked by kenmc on Oct. 6 2006 has moved. It’s here now. Noting the decoration along the top of the structure, it appears that Tally’s and Silverwood’s shared the same building. Silverwood’s at first occupied only a corner spot, and eventually expanded to occupy the entire building (ca.1913). By the 1920s they were in the multi-story building which remains on that site today.

nickb on January 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Tally’s second Broadway at 833 also predates Clune’s: it opened in May 1910, versus October for the Clune’s…

drb on January 31, 2009 at 7:13 pm

The 1909 photo moved again, and is now here:
View link

and the side view, just past Silverwood’s, is now here:
View link

Were there two identical roof signs between this and the Tally’s Broadway, or was it moved from one location to the other?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 19, 2010 at 3:53 am

The Los Angeles Herald of May 4, 1910, ran an article about the expansion of Silverwood’s clothing store into the space previously occupied by the Garnett Theatre. Demolition of the theater’s interior had begun the day before the article was published. Though no mention was made of when the theater had closed, it most likely operated to within days of the start of the conversion, if not the day before. Space on Broadway was never left vacant for long on in those days.

HughMN on December 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

The Tally family has photographs with penciled notations to the effect that the “New Broadway” was located at “6th and Broadway” and was operated from 1906 to 1910. If it was demolished in May of 1910, then I don’t know when it would have been called the “Garnett.” Has anyone searched newspapers for advertisements with that name?

Tally opened “Tally’s Broadway” theater AFTER the “New Broadway,” between 8th and 9th streets. Tally family papers identify “Tally’s Broadway” as having been run by Tally from 1910 to 1920. Sometime between 1910 and 1920 Tally evidently purchased or converted several other theaters in the Los Angeles area, both downtown and also some neighborhood houses. His office was, for a time, on Sunset Blvd.

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