Capitol Theatre

340 S. Spring Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 49 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 25, 2018 at 11:30 pm

The February 5, 1911, issue of the Los Angeles Herald had an item about this theater in a page six article about current construction projects:

“Frank L. Stiff, plans for a moving picture theater to be built at 340 South Spring street for Quinn & McLean. It will have tile entrance, ornamental plaster front, composition roof, metal lath, plumbing and electric wiring. The cost will be about $3OOO.”
Although the item didn’t say so,this must have been a remodeling of the house that had opened in 1903 as Waldeck’s Casino. Not even in 1911 could $3,000 build an entirely new theater in downtown Los Angeles.

The promoters, Quinn & McLean, must have been John A. Quinn and G. H. McLean (or McLain, as his name sometimes appears) who had already operated or were still operating the Ideal, the Bijou, and the Banner Theatre.

A. M. Edelman was the original architect for the Casino Theatre, as noted in the August 9, 1903, issue of the Sunday Herald:

“Casino Theater company, 346 and 348 South Spring street, two-story brick theater and museum, $25,000; A. M. Edelman, architect; Earl T. Low, contractor.”

BradyWestwater on September 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I recently obtained photo by G. A. Kessler – the official photographer of Sullivan and Considine’s Los Angeles Theatre at 340 S. Spring and if I ever get a decent camera I will post it. But I will be showing it and other items concerning Spring Street at this Thursday’s Art Walk and the following night’s Fashion Night Out – Friday September 10th, 2010 6 – 10 PM – at the Continental Building at 4th and Spring.

kencmcintyre on November 15, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Nope. An article on 5/16/02 puts the Unique at 456 S. Spring:

kencmcintyre on November 15, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Here is a very early article in the LA Times, dated 12/23/01. Possibly another aka for this theater:

vokoban on November 9, 2007 at 11:04 am

I don’t know….I think Kermit was a bastard child. Luckily, he made his way in the world.

vokoban on November 9, 2007 at 10:54 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing ‘Fiddle Dee Dee’, but for my money I’d probably choose Ferry, The Human Frog over at the Broadway.

kencmcintyre on October 29, 2007 at 9:59 am

Polar bears at the Empress in 1916:

kencmcintyre on October 28, 2007 at 7:50 pm

Here is a May 1911 ad from the LA Times:

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 1:18 pm

They had to have a lot of different names to escape the Hoodoo curse.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Here are a few things I’m moving over from the Cozy page….

(May 5, 1907)
Mary A. Jauch to John Rebman, alterations to Hotchkiss Theater, $5100.

(June 3, 1907)
The little Hotchkiss theater is scarcely large enough to pay in such vaudeville as the syndicate proposes to establish. The new theater being planned by Adolph Ramish and Philip Wilson, on the site of the Panorama building, is for melodrama. John Blackwood will be the manager, and his policy is outlined.

(April 17, 1920)
See Edward K. Earle, of the Angelus Spiritualist Temple, in his wonderful demonstrations of Independent Slate Writing, Sealed Questions Answered, etc., April 17, 18, 19 and 20.
NOVEL THEATER, 338 S. Spring St.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 1:12 pm

I wonder if these are the same theaters….both articles are on the same page of the same day:

(Dec. 7, 1924)
The Mexican National Band from Durango will give a concert this afternoon at the Teatro Capitolio, Spring street, near Fourth, the Spanish-language playhouse recently instituted here. Members of the Capitolio company, which includes Spanish and Mexican actors, dancers and singers, will assist in the program…….

Detective Lieutenant Cullen left yesterday for San Antonio to bring back to this city Walter Albright, 21 years of age, of Monterey Park, indicted her for the embezzlement of $1120 from the Capitol Theater, 338 South Spring street, where he was employeed.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm

I guess Gore’s Capitol Theater should be added to the list of names…

(May 23, 1921)
Ed Armstrong’s Baby Dolls in “The Fountain of Youth.”

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 1:01 pm

It definitely became the Capitol in 1921….maybe they installed that organ then also. Some of the words are illegible…I put * to replace.

(May 15, 1921)
The velvet curtains on the stage of Gore’s Capitol Theater on Spring street will rise today upon Ed Armstong’s famous musical comedy organization. From now on the home of the famous baby dolls is to be this intimate playhouse. No money has been spared in making the Capitol one of the most comfortable and prettiest theaters in Los Angeles. The interior suit the taste of the most discriminating, and Ed Armstrong’s first production, “The Love Nest,” tuneful and gay musical comedy will receive its first showing under the most auspicious circumstances. All the famous favorites who have for so many weeks displayed the talents and grace on the stage at the Burbank will be seen at the Capitol henceforth. The cast in “The Love Nest” includes Manny Ki*** Irene Brooks, Billie Riddle and of course all the Armstrong Baby Dolls.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 12:45 pm

I don’t think this place was called Biola Hall for long….

(March 1, 1919)
(Old Empress Theater, 338 South Spring Street.)
ADDRESS: Rev. James B. Ely, of Philadelphia: “The Soldier’s Soul.”

kencmcintyre on September 13, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Oh come on. It’s way to early in the morning to be reading these depressing stories.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 12:41 pm

This is starting to sound like the Jerry Springer show…..

(July 24, 1907)
A complaint charging Thomas Jefferson White, a well-known theatrical manager, with non-support of his wife was filed yesterday in Justice Chamber’s court and a special fund is being raised by attorneys to bring the wayward husband back from San Diego. White is the adopted son of Mrs. Jauch, formerly Mrs. Hotchkiss, formerly Mrs. Mooney, owner of the Hotchkiss Theater. Last season during a visit of the German comedians, Kolb and Dill, in Los Angeles, White acted as manager for both the company and the showhouse and at that time met Miss Fib Whitesides, a chorus girl, with whom he is now alleged to be living at San Diego. Mrs. White was too ill to appear at the Police Station yesterday and a relative went before Prosecuting Attorney Ford and swore out the complaint for White’s arrest. It was found that he could not be arrested by local officers because there is no fund set aside for the transportation of prisoners on misdemeanor charges. In view of the desperate circumstances of the case, Attorney Ford started a fund to bring back the accused man. Attorneys about the Police Station and a number of those interested in the case have promised donations so that the warrant can be served in San Diego. Whie, after his first wife secured a divorce from him six years ago, began to pay attention to a pretty young woman who lived at his mother’s home. Mrs. Hotchkiss favored the match and a wedding resulted. They lived happily for five years. White seemed to care a great deal for his wife and their little girl. Then came the Kolb and Dill show and with it the pretty chorus girl with her wealth of golden curly hair and her big gray eyes. Mrs. White, in a little Arizona town, began to receive postal cards instead of letters from her husband and then even these ceased. Last January, a second little girl was born to Mrs. White. She wired her husband of the important event and asked for a little money. She said yesterday that White promised to send the money, but did not. When she returned to Los Angeles, the Kolb and Dill company, with its show girls had left for San Francisco. But one remained, the same little golden-haired girl who had kicked in the front row. When the Hotchkiss Theater failed, White left for San Diego. Mrs White has not heard from him since the time she received the note after the birth of her baby to the present time. The care of the two little girls, one very young, fell to her. She lived at her aunt’s home and tried to keep the wolf from the door. Then the baby became ill. That was last May. The tiny youngster sobbed out its little life with the heart-broken little woman bending over it. She wrote to White and received no reply. He had never seen the little one. From a time, several month prior to the baby’s birth until after its death, he had not been to his home. Mrs. White asked for money to bury the little one. She received none. Then she returned to her aunt’s home and collapsed. She is there now in a critical condition and with only her aunt’s meager income to save her from being sent to the County Hospital.

kencmcintyre on September 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Yikes. Maybe they were putting them up in the Westminster.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm

You do that Hoodoo so well……

(July 23, 1906)
Falls Under Street Car Wheels and is Seriously Injured—Series of Misfortunes has Visited Men Connected With Management of Ill-Fated Playhouse.
The left leg of Don A. Chick, manager of the Hotchkiss Theater, was amputated just below the knee yesterday morning as the result of injuries received in a fall from a car on Main street about midnight. From the hospital he was removed to his home, No. 2226 South Main street. Mr. Chick is the ninth victim of a “hoodoo” that is supposed to hover over the Hotchkiss, formerly the Casino Theater. Peculiar fatality has attached to the management of this house ever since its opening. Prosperity has attended some of its seasons, but the heads of the establishment have always suffered, in one way or another, after their connection with the house. The Hotchkiss was reopened yesterday, after a week’s idleness. On Saturday night Chick worked late at his office, in the theater building, and left about midnight to go to his home. Passing around on Main street, he waited in front of the Star Theater for some time and finally, seeing a car coming his way, made a try for the front step. Mr. Chick is past the sprightliness of youth, is large and heavy. He missed the platform and the next instant the front truck ground his leg to a pulp. The first manager of the theater was the man for whom it was built, Jacob Waldeck. The burlesque season, which was his opening feature, was splendidly inaugurated, but soon his finances became involved, and though he made the most stenuous efforts to meet all obligations, he became hopelessly in debt. He wandered off one day into a lonely canyon, receiving exposure from which he died. His salaried associate in the management was Arthur A. Lotte, who soon failed and abandoned the management entirely. Messrs. Morosco and Wyatt, successful in their own playhouses, took this one upon a co-partnership basis, and ran it together for a number of months. They, too, gave it up. Alfred J. Morganstern, a San Francisco lawyer, who had had an almost startling triumph in the amalgamation of vaudevill houses in Southern California, next took over the Casino as his chief theater. Then the gigantic bubble of the outside circuit bursted. Morganstern took in Rube Welch, and the two managed the place together. After a series of sensational stage plays, and the facing of numerous creditors' allegations, both Mr. Welch and Mr. Morganstern faded suddenly from sight. Edward F. Seamans, manager of the Olympic Opera Company, took hold of the theater for a second time last winter. With him was associated T. Jeff White, foster son of Mrs. Mary A. Hotchkiss, owner of the theater and the ground on which it stands. Mr. White’s recent fights in high finance have furnished town gossip for a week or two. After the exodus of White, Seamans remained only a few days. He said he had found trouble enough. In justice to the present staff it should be said that the Kolb and Dill engagement has been an entire success, as far as attraction and financial returns have been concerned. Both attaches and players avow that they will stand by Chick and “see him through.”

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 11:53 am

Casino exit stage left….enter Hotchkiss.

(Dec. 28, 1905)
Has the Casino Theater lease changed hands? This question was concerning local theater managers yesterday, when the report gained credence that Mrs. M.A. Hotchkiss, owner of the property on which the Casino Theater building stands, had taken over the lease for her son, Jeff White. For more than a year it has been known that the Casino has not been paying large dividends, and A.L. Morganstern, manager of the theater, has had a stupendous task on his hands. The playhouse, though centrally located, has apparently possessed a hoodoo which cannot be raised. The building was erected at a cost of $40,000. Light opera was played then vaudevill, but the house steadily lost money. About a year ago, when the affairs of the theater first began to be shaky, Mrs. Emma A. Summers, the oil queen of Los Angeles, went on the bond of Morganstern, the manager, and for a time the playhouse did a good business. Mrs. Summers severed all connection with Morganstern and the theater company yesterday morning. Recently there has been a desire on the part of the company to sell and negoitiations have been in progress with several of the local managers. W.C. Wyatt, E.A. Fisher and several others have made offers for the desired lease. The report that it was sold yesterday came from reliable parties. Mrs. Hotchkiss, however, denied having purchased the lease. She admitted that negotiations are in progress, and said the house will be conducted by Jeff White in the event of the lease coming into her hands. Jeff White, for whom the lease is said to have been purchased, expects to start next week with a company in charge of Rube Welsh, on a tour of Arizona. He declared he knew nothing of the purchase of the theater lease.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 11:31 am

I think Emma Summers went to SF and grabbed him by the ear and dragged him back to LA:

(July 20, 1905)
Alfred J. Morganstern, manager of the Casino Theater, returned to his post of duty at the Casino office yesterday morning. Morganstern says that the theater is running with the usual force in the usual way. Mrs. Emma Summers, the oil queen who has come into public notice as an amusement magnate, returned from San Francisco with Mr. Morganstern. She says that the financial clouds have cleared away.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 11:22 am

Everyone seems to blame the poor Casino for their troubles…..

(July 15, 1905)
Making Trouble for Newest of the Magnates.
Morganstern in Deep Hole as Result of Losses.
Mrs. Summers the Angel Who Carries Him Through.
Theatrical men believe in hoodoos. They say that they have a right to point to the ill-fated Casino Theater here as an example. After wrecking the life of J.E. Waldeck, its founder, the Casino drove its company to financial loss, took money out of the pockets of Edward F. Seamans, proved anything but a paving investment to Managers Wyatt and Morosco, and at last, according to facts which came to light yesterday, has nearly upset the business of Alfred J. Morganster, its last lessee. Morganstern is the soldier of fortune among local managers. By some he is styled the theatrical adventurer of the town, because of his daring and his pioneering in fields not previously exploited. A few days ago Mr. Morganstern turned the theater temporarily over to Rube Welch, his assistant manager, and himself went to San Francisco on the advice of Mrs. Emma Summers, who as his business backer, has been the real exploiter of the Broadway and Casino theaters in this city, and other theaters in towns near by. According to the statements of the manager, the treasurer and Mrs. Summers, the theater has again turned its box office balance slightly on the profit side, and will be enabled, by careful mangagement, to pull out of the deep indebtedness into which it has plunged itself during he last two or three months. Morganstern for a year has been in a sense the most unique figure in Los Angeles theatrical circles. He attempted things only on a gigantic scale. He would not manage a single vaudeville playhouse, but a circuit of them, reaching half-way across the West. He was successful in an unusal measure for awhile, but a long and unfortunate contract, into which he entered concerning his San Bernadino house, is said to have started the tide against him. Morganstern took the Casino Theater and played against tradition. Nobody believed he could make it go; he believed he would break a record for success. And, indeed, so he might, had not an apparent fate been dead against him from the start. The trouble with Morganstern was that he played too expensive a show. His expenses during the past two months have averaged-so it is said-about $1400 or $1500 a week, while intake was not $1200. Mrs. Summers, who is the magnate of them all when it comes to financiering, has been for the past week virtual mistress of both theaters, and says that with expenses properly cut, they have cleared more than $300 from the Casino alone. So the Casino is not a bankrupt thing, after all. Inspection of the house at the matinee and evening performances yesterday showed a well-filled auditorium. Mrs. Morganstern said last evening that her husband had nearly concluded the business that called him to San Francisco, and would be back in Los Angeles either today or Monday-probably Monday. Rube Welch, acting manager, said yesterday afternoon: “Mr. Morganstern’s outside ventures handicapped him fearfully, and he has been unable to run this show profitably, partly on account of them. "His debts were against him, but they were honest ones. When he went away he gave me all his statements and accounts. That’s proof of his desire to do the right thing. I have been getting the accounts into shape, and when he comes back, as he certainly will, he will be able to handle the house with profit.” Said Mrs. Summers: “Nobody has any doubt of Mr. Morganstern’s honesty, and I, as one who has had a large and frequent business dealings with him, would be the last to cast any aspersion on it. The substance of the matter is this: In his work Mr. Morganstern has made enemies, quite naturally and has contracted big debts, which, with the failure of some smaller ventures, have all combined to seriously embarrass him at the present moment. The Casino is again on the up-grade, and is making money for us all. I have just received a telegram from him, saying that he has finished his San Francisco business, and will come down tomorrow or Monday. If anyone hints that he doesn’t intend to come back, they lie!” According to Welch, no change in the policy of the theater will be made. On the paper now out Welch is named as director of amusements.

vokoban on September 13, 2007 at 10:57 am

Firecrackers are fun!

(July 5, 1905)
O.W. Dunham’s gallantry when a pretty girl asked him to light a giant firecracker for her on Spring street, landed him in the Police Station last night. Dunham, who is a real estate dealer with an office in the Currier Building, was standing in front of the Casino Theater when a stunning creature beamed upon him and asked for a light from his cigar as she produced three giant crackers. Dunham was accommodating and touched the fire to the fuses while the woman held the crackers until they began sizzling and then threw them in the street. Patrolman Hone stopped the fun by arresting Dunham but the woman escaped.