Optic Theatre

533 S. Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Previous Names: Woodley's Optic

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Optic Theatre

One of many independent theatres in the S. Main Street section of downtown Los Angeles, this old 700-seat movie house was situated next to the Art Theatre and across the street from the Burbank Theatre. The Optic Theatre was opened by August 1915. It was equipped with a Murray M. Harris 2 manual organ which was opened by organist J. Whaley Ford. It was listed as operating in the 1926 edition of Film Daily Yearbook.

It was still open in 1979. In its last years, it ran a grind policy of four films and was open all night until about 4-5 in the morning.

Now a parking lot has taken the place of all three of these theatres.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 89 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm

My USC links have all changed again, too, so here’s the current link to the wide view of the original Optic Theatre on Broadway (located at lower right of the photo.) There is also this cropped version with the Optic in close-up.

Note that just up the street the Broadway Central Building, later to become the location of the Broadway Theatre, is under construction.

kencmcintyre on April 28, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Here is a nice view of the Optic in the late 1930s. The Star is next door. There is another theater a bit north.

kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Here is Woodley’s Optic, circa late 1930s:

itscjsspot on September 10, 2010 at 12:14 am

I believe the Optic as well as the Regent, Liberty, Lyceum and Kinema Theaters were all part of the West Coast Theater Chain operated by the Gore Brothers – Mike and Abe. All of their brothers and family were made managers of theaters. From the LA Times, December 11, 1920, Herman Gore is being sued for divorce by his wife of 16 days, Ruth. “She declares he earns $110. a week as Manager for Optic and Regent Theaters; also that he has an interest in the new Ambassador Theater being built in Hollywo0d, and the Liberty, Lyceum, Kinema Theaters.

cinecityposters on July 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I believe that it is The Optic that is shown in the opening credits of The Rockford Files. They are showing Point Blank. Seems like a Jim Rockford kind of neighborhood.

DavidZornig on December 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Just caught a glimpse of the Optic in a 1981 episode of “Hill Street Blues” titled “Hearts and Minds”.

Tracy on December 7, 2018 at 7:02 am

Add Starsky and Hutch to the list of shows with the theater in the background. Season 1, “The Bait.” 1975

tsar on December 3, 2020 at 5:44 am

In a 1979 episode of the White Shadow the character of Abner Goldstein is seen walking out of the Optic after seeing the film Lenore Loves Louisville

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on December 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm
    1. Fischer’s Optic Theater was open prior to August 1915, when the Fischer took it over and installed a $10,000 pipe organ, played by organist J. Whaley Ford. I’ll post photos of an article and an advertisement.
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