Wednesday, June 17, 2009

LA's Historic Movie Palaces

In five days, I managed to visit three different historic movie palaces in Los Angeles - The Los Angeles Theatre, The Million Dollar Theatre, and the El Capitan. I hadn't planned on this at all, but I don't regret any of the time spent for a second.

I first ventured off to my second round of Last Remaining Seats - watching "Cabaret" with my friend Lark. As per usual it began with a line wrapped around the corner. She had never visited one and, of course, the Los Angeles Theatre being my favorite, I had to immediately show her the ballroom, the awesome bathroom, and the children's play room. Then we sat down to our seats to admire the elaborate theatre inside before the show began. In addition to a humorous promo for "A Streetcar Named Desire", "Cabaret" co-star Michael York introduced the show and provided us with amusing tidbits of information. Do you remember the part where his character drops the slice of cake on Liza Minelli's Sally Bowles? Total well-played accident. We followed up the show with a meal at Pete's - per looking at our options from "Nights on the Town" flier. (See my previous Last Remaining Seats Post with more info on "Nights...").

Special Note: By the way, tickets are still available for tonight's June 17th performance of Macunaima at the Million Dollar Theatre.

Speaking of the Million Dollar Theatre, I had never been there until last Saturday when I won tickets to "The Magic of Tony Curtis". Upon arriving, there was a line outside the door and classic cars and people in costume next to the theatre. The theatre is one of the first movie palaces built in the US and is across the street from the Bradbury Building. It was built by Sid Grauman (Do you know Grauman's Chinese Theater? Yeah, that Grauman.). My friend Katie and I were at the theatre for the screening of "Houdini" which included magician Curtis Lovell performing a "Houdini" water stunt and an appearance by Tony Curtis himself. Tony Curtis said, "I'm glad to be alive in Los Angeles." I say, "Me too!"

And while "Houdini" and "Cabaret" are classic films that bring an extra flair to the historic movie palace, my third movie - Pixar's "UP" - seems a very unlikely candidate for that kind of setting. But if you venture out to the historic movie palaces of Hollywood - that's exactly the opportunities that are provided. One of the most well known is The El Capitan Theatre, which not only feature Disney's latest flicks, but also a pre-show of organ music a la Disney which fit more for the adult-age crowd who knew more of the songs and a "What Time Is It?" medley of music that fit the more "High School Musical" generation in the seats.

But whether one's experiencing movies old or new, in Downtown LA's Broadway or in Hollywood, there's something about historic movie palaces that call out to Los Angeles being home. Maybe it's the image that Los Angeles can't - and why should it? - shake of glitz and glamour and movies. A legacy like ours seems to deserve so many beautiful homes reflecting the history that so many people know of this place. I can't help but believe that part of that knowing of LA history and legacy is sitting in those historic movie palaces and enjoying not just a movie, but the location itself at the same time.

-Charity Tran


Hollyood office space said...

Seeing a movie at these historic theaters is truly an experience worth the time and effort. I've always love the El Capitan's atmosphere and the history of the Chineese, bu t try and get out to the smaller theaters as well like the Vista in Los Feliz. These historic landmarks remind me of the history and glamour of Hollywood.

Los angeles Lofts said...

this is a great historic theater. i remember seeing the lion king here as a kid. a really special place