Follies Theatre

337 S. Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Showing 1 - 25 of 70 comments

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on August 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

kencmcintyre on May 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Here is a nice view of the Follies:

kencmcintyre on May 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Any time. This theater is one of my favorites.

lynnsally on February 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Thank you for this information! I am working on a biography of Dixie Evans, The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque. The Follies Theatre was the first burlesque theatre she performed at (around 1952) and she discusses some of the acts that were there. Seeing images helps me contextualize her stories. Thanks again!

kencmcintyre on November 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Here is the USC photo from the teens that I posted a while ago:

kencmcintyre on November 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Here is part of an article about the demolition dated 5/31/74:

The end, when it came this weekend, was mercifully swift. A few well-aimed wrecking balls and the tottering old Follies Theater at 327 S. Main St. fell in upon itself like the collapsing star it was.

Built originally as the Belasco Theater and opened in 1904 as the Los Angeles home of the celebrated Belasco Stock Co., the landmark managed to cling to an aura of respectability only for little more than a decade. But as the theater district moved south, the Belasco name was withdrawn to be used on another theater in the 900 block of S. Hill St. and the Main St. house became forever more a home of burlesque.

From World War II on, it was a downhill slide for the musty old theater, as burlesque went the way of vaudeville and both were replaced with cheap skin flicks. The Follies was raided, closed and then reopened half a dozen times before it was finally abandoned to the bulldozers. The old Follies, the last burlesque house in Los Angeles, will fulfill its destiny as just another parking lot.

kencmcintyre on May 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Here is a November 1966 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm

And later on, in June 1942:

Follies Theater, Famed Maker of Stars, Closes
Main St. Burlesque House, Los Angeles Landmark,
Loses Fight to Hold City License

The whistling and shouting stopped last night at 337 S. Main St. The funny men took one last wallop at each other with their rubber bladders and stretched their ridiculous baggy pants in a final futile gesture. The girls wriggled from left to writhe across the runway and dropped their undermost veil with a farewell air. When the curtain dropped, the bald heads in the front row filed solemnly out, and the place was empty once more.

Backstage the dressing rooms were full of 80 burlesque people-80. The cheeks of scant-clad chorus girls were tear-streaked with mascara. “Well, it’s been 17 years”, said T.V. Dalton, the operator. On these same boards-when it was the Belasco-trod many a star-to-be. Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau, W.C. Fields, Hobart Bosworth, Henry B. Walthall, Edmunde Breese, Paderewski, even, and Schumann-Heink.

And then burlesque and slapstick comedy and strip-tease. But last Friday in Superior Court, Dalton was denied an appeal from an order of the Police Commission suspending his license, and was given until last night to end his show. So last night they closed the Follies Theater, for good.

kencmcintyre on February 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Here is part of an April 1940 article from the LA Times:

Theater Case Vote Deferred
Police Board Postpones Action on Follies Pending
Resurrection of Ordinance

Deferring action on the application of the Follies Theater, 337 S. Main St., for transfer of its permit to Marvin Lee Harrison from Charles A. King, the Police Commission yesterday directed that an investigation be made to find out what the Council has done with the proposed ordinance giving it more power to regulate such shows.

King took over the theater after it had been closed as the result of arrests more than six months ago. “I’d like to know what became of that ordinance, which was going to give us the right to regulate such shows”, said President Harry Bodkin. “I recall that there was a great outcry against it, that it would give the Board power to set up a ‘censorship’ of all shows, including motion pictures.”

“It seems to me that Councilman Nelson was going to help put the measure through the Council. Its only purpose was to allow us to stop lewd performances and use of bootleg and indecent film without requiring convictions before we could do anything.”

kencmcintyre on November 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Betty Rowland appeared at the Follies in April 1942, according to this LA Times ad:

kencmcintyre on November 14, 2008 at 12:39 am

Here is a screen shot from “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974):

kencmcintyre on August 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm

No, I was too busy fleeing for cover.

vokoban on August 1, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Hi…did you get to see inside? I wonder if they’ve done anything yet in there.

kencmcintyre on August 1, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Welcome back! I was in front of the Regent during the quake the other day. Thanks for the maps.

vokoban on August 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I forgot to say that if you want to access the large detailed views of the images you have to first hit the ‘All Sizes’ button on each map page. It will then give you a choice of many sizes to view the image.

vokoban on August 1, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I finally uploaded the posters I created for Mainly Main. You can download the original file if you want to see the details, but you can probably see them pretty good if you just hit the ‘original’ button on each individual map page. I believe the Follies is on map 4.

Here’s the link:

View link

Ziggy on August 1, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I might wait with “bated” breath. “Baited” breath would be someone with worms in their mouth.

JGKlein on August 1, 2008 at 1:44 am

OOPS! That was my very, VERY first attempt at making a comment on … I think something went askew with copying and pasting the URL. Sorry about that. Try the one immediately below. I just know the world is waiting with baited breath to see the blurb for burlesque babes “Betty Rowland, the Red Headed Ball of Fire” and “Carrie Finnell the Great” in the show at the New Follies starting on July 30, 1938, “She Had To Give Up”. I won’t give up on copying and pasting my first URL into a comment until the world has the chance to see this gem. Click this link to try to see it:

View link

P.S. – Ken Mc, for some reason, the direct link you copied and pasted …

… leads to an ad for a double feature of “Marihuana – Weed With Roots in Hell” and “How to Undress In Front of Your Husband”. That’s not what I intended to link. Now how in the devil did THAT happen?!? Do you think the spirits of those burlesque queens are having a little fun with me on my first comment on!? Are those burlesque queens currently in the hereafter smoking joints and bending double laughing about that little prank they just pulled? After all, if anyone should know how to undress … and the tag line in the ad for that Carrie Finnell says “She’s a riot!” I’ll just BET she is. :)

kencmcintyre on July 31, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Jeff, I had a little trouble with that link, so I copied it here. Hope you don’t mind:

JGKlein on July 31, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Here is a link to an ad for a burlesque show at the New Follies that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 30, 1938. I always enjoy the ballyhoo that goes into the selling of any show. In this ad, Betty Rowland is billed as “the Red Headed Ball of Fire”. Enjoy.


kencmcintyre on May 2, 2008 at 8:52 pm

There is a drawing on this page which shows Main Street and the Belasco: