Strand Theatre

4409 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90037

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres

Architects: Woodbury C. Pennell

Nearby Theaters

Opened by West Coast Theatres on August 18, 1921 with Charles Ray in “Scrap Iron”. The Strand Theatre was one of many theatres that was located on South Broadway in the South Central area in Los Angeles. The Strand Theatre was still open in 1957.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 12, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Listed at 4407 S. Broadway in the 1939 city directory.

kencmcintyre on July 7, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Advertised at 4411 in 1933. Maybe there were wheels on the bottom of the theater.

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2007 at 1:20 pm

Where ever it was, it’s not there now. There’s a store on the corner of 44th & Broadway and after that an empty lot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2007 at 9:22 pm

The plans for the Strand Theatre were announced in Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of March 18, 1921. The location given was the corner of Moneta (now Broadway) and Vernon. The owner was named as Ed Colter, the architect as William C. Penell. The building was described as a two story brick theatre, store and market. It was listed as the Strand Theatre, at 4409 S. Moneta Avenue, in the 1923 City Directory.

The theatre’s peripatetic front door suggests that Penell may have studied architecture at Hogwarts Academy, but this is only speculation.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

To correct my comment immediately above, the architects name is spelled Pennell. The only other theatre of his design that I know of is the Fairfax. Though Pennell is cited multiple times in the California Index as the partner of prolific theatre architect L.A. Smith during the year 1920, I can’t confirm that there were any built theatres on which they collaborated. They were hired to design a large theatre on 6th Street in San Pedro in 1920, but this project seems to have remained unbuilt. I’ve never found any reference indicating that Smith had anything to do with the design of the Strand, built in 1921. the Pennell-Smith partnership was apparently brief.

The City Planning Department’s information for the parcel on which the Strand was located is a bit vague. The assessor’s report includes the address 4401-4413 S. Broadway and 316-336 W. Vernon, and claims there are five buildings on the property, but it gives the date of construction (1921) and size (29,017 sq.ft.) of only one of them. The 2004 urban areas view photo at TerraServer shows five distinct rooftops arranged in an “L” shape along the two streets. There’s no indication which of the buildings is the one surviving from 1921, but odds are that it was part of Pennell’s original design.

The 1921 news report I cited in the comment above did say that the project was to be built on the corner of Vernon and Moneta (Broadway.) The arrangement of the buildings currently on the property suggest that the theatre’s auditorium probably stood inside the “L”, where a parking lot is now located. I can’t tell from the satellite view whether or not the former theatre entrance was in the part of the building surviving from 1921.

kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Here is part of an LA Times article dated 9/12/28:

Police were still searching late yesterday for the asserted partner of James Pattey, 18 years of age. Pattey was captured earlier in the day in the frustration of what police reported was an attempt to hold up officials of the Strand Theater, 4409 South Broadway. Pattey said, according to police, that his “pal” was the one who planned the hold-up and that he met him in a local poil hall.

H.L. Cass, theater janitor, said he was held up by Pattey and his partner and bound hand and foot. When the two went to the front of the theater to wait for the manager, S.C. Mohl, Cass was able to loosen the bonds enough to allow him to walk out of the rear and notify the police.

docchapel on June 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm

This theater was never a favorite of mine, and even then seemed to just be holding on. It was a rough house and pretty rowdy. The snack bar was even limited with no fountain, and drinks were served via a machine in the lobby. It was a little out of my neighborhood, and my Dad had to take me and he only took me there once.

docchapel on June 1, 2015 at 4:01 pm

As long as we’re on neighborhood theaters, what was the theater at the corner of Slauson on Vermont? Can’t remember the name but did get into the booth once and was surprised they were running a full Brinkert House. Never saw that before.

And then does anyone remember the “Bill Robinson” or “Lincoln” Theaters on Central Avenue? I worked the Bill Robinson Booth for a brief period, but never got into the Lincoln. And let’s not forget the “5th Avenue” and “the Academy” in Inglewood. Both Inglewood buildings are still there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm

docchapel: The theater at Slauson and Vermont must have been the Temple. This is a link to the Temple’s page. Be sure to also click on the “view all comments” link.

This link reaches the Lincoln Theatre page. It also has additional comments, plus several photos you can reach by clicking the “Photos” link in the box just above the theater photo on the main page.

There might have been two theaters called the Bill Robinson on Central Avenue. We have only one of them listed: Here is the link. It was listed at 4219 S. Central (the former Tivoli Theatre) in the Film Daily Yearbook of 1941. In 1950 the Bill Robinson was being advertised as being at 4319 S. Central (possibly the former Casino Theatre, once listed at 4317 Central) so the name might have been moved during the 1940s. We just don’t know for sure.

docchapel on August 8, 2016 at 3:21 am

I don’t remember more than one Bill Robinson Theater. I used to walk by there everyday from 1961 through 1964 going to and from Thomas Jefferson High School down the street at 41st and Hooper. The Theater was close to a diner opposite it on Central called the “Nickle Spot,” famous for their chicken sandwiches.

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