Mission Theatre

838 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90003

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rivest266 on September 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Reopened as Sennett on November 18th, 1917. Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 1, 2011 at 4:28 am

The May 14, 1913, issue of American Architect and Architecture had a brief item which must have been about this house:

“Los Angeles—Architects Train & Williams, Exchange Bldg., have prepared plans for a 2-story brick store and theater building to be erected on Broadway between Eighth and Ninth Sts., for F. W. Woodley, manager of the Optic Theater. Cost, $25,000.”
Train & Williams also designed Tally’s Broadway Theatre across the street, opened in 1909, and the Hyman (Garrick) Theatre, up the block at the corner of 8th Street. All three of the theaters on this block that the firm designed had been demolished by the end of the 1920s.

kencmcintyre on November 12, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Here is an LA Times ad from January 16, 1914:

kencmcintyre on October 30, 2007 at 8:43 am

This is a 1919 ad. I think the address is 838 S. Broadway:

kencmcintyre on October 30, 2007 at 8:37 am

Here is a December 1918 ad from the LA Times:

vokoban on October 25, 2007 at 7:21 am

That makes sense….I still can’t find anything about the actual demolition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm

As the term “improvements” refers to any structures, pavements, landscaping, etc. which are on a piece of property, the phrase “improved with” in the article only means that the Mission Theatre and the parking lot (interesting that they call it a parking station) were on the property where the Orpheum was to be built.

vokoban on October 24, 2007 at 10:27 am

I’m trying to find a demolition date but the wording in this article is confusing….I don’t understand what ‘improved with’ means:

(Dec. 2, 1924)
Work on what is to be the largest and finest theater in the Orpheum chain of showhouses will be started withing the next thirty days at 838 South Broadway at a cost in excess of $1,000,000, it was announced yesterday by Joe Toplitzky, representative for the building syndicate. Bids for the contstruction of the building will be accepted in about three weeks when working plans by Architect G. Albert Langsburg will be completed. Present plans provide for the erection of a twelve-story and basement structure, Class A and of steel frame and reinforced concrete construction, with an auditorium to seat 2300 persons. The site, with a frontage of 138 feet on Broadway and a depth of 148 feet to an alley, is now improved with the Mission Theater and a parking station.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 8, 2007 at 5:30 pm

This 1917 photo shows a glimpse of Tally’s Broadway Theatre, 833 S. Broadway, at far left. The Mission, at 840 S. Broadway, would have been across the street and down a bit. It probably occupied the oblong brick building adjacent to the primitive parking lot at lower left. I’m still unable to find a photo of the fronts of the buildings on the east side of that block of Broadway during the pre-Orpheum period.

kencmcintyre on June 9, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Listed at 840 S. Broadway in the early 20s, per the LA Times.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2005 at 9:59 pm

ken mc: I don’t know if this particular movie is available on DVD. There are a couple of DVD compilations of Lloyd’s movies available, but I don’t think that “Safety Last” is among those included. I’ve heard that a Harold Lloyd boxed set, with about a dozen features and many shorts, is due out in November, from New Line Home Video, and this movie may be included in that collection. I haven’t been able to find details about it, though.

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2005 at 8:15 pm

I looked for Safety Last on Netflix with no luck. Does anyone know how to rent this film?
Incidentally, I believe that the Susan Hayward film “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” has some scenes that were filmed around Fifth and Main downtown.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 23, 2004 at 11:18 am

I will talk with friends who may know the answer, when I am in LA in January.

The Harold Lloyd film “Safety Last” was filmed downtown and the Majestic Theatre can be briefly spotted if you know where to look, as can the roof sign on the California Theatre. The famous Zig-Zag Moderne styled Eastern-Columbia Building was built in 1930 on the site of the Majestic Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2004 at 7:47 am

It was most remarkable, especially considering the fact that Sennett spent $100,000 dollars on the remodeling. That was enough to build three or four good-sized suburban theaters in those days.

This has led me to wonder if maybe some disaster befell the Mission. Maybe it was destroyed by a fire, as was not unusual for early 20th century theaters. I wish I had access to the old newspaper files in Los Angeles, but living in a rather isolated community, I’m limited to the few resources available online.

But if the Mission was not destroyed or severely damaged by some mishap, then the syndicate which built the Orpheum must have paid a bundle for that site.

I am also wondering if there might be a glimpse of the mission or the Victory to be had in some of the old movies shot in downtown in those years. I know that the Majestic, which I think was just across Broadway, can be seen in at least one Harold Lloyd movie. It seems a likely possibility.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 23, 2004 at 6:14 am

It certainly didn’t ‘remain long’, as the Orpheum Theatre opened on 15th February 1926 and I presume it must have taken at least a year to demolish the Mission Theater and construct the new Orpheum.