I hadn’t been to the Million Dollar Theater for a long time. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street Part IV in this theater years ago. I remember I wasn’t really interested in seeing the movie but I was interested in seeing the theater so I went.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is responsible for a series of events called The Last Remaining Seats. They go to different theaters on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles and show classic films. Once again I wanted to see the theater but the movie this time was better. It was Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO from 1960.
Here’s a view from Hill Street looking at the back of the building. I like that arcade! A.C. Martin was the architect.
There were offices above the theater originally. Now, they’re apartments. They must have great views. William Mulholland evidently had an office in this building. Mulholland was essential in bringing water to Southern California.
This is a side entrance for tenants. It’s amazing.
Standing on the sidewalk and looking up.
A bison head.
A longhead steer skull.
An eagle directly above the side entrance.
The front entrance to the Million Dollar Theater. The building is located at 307 S. Broadway.
This is from Architectural Digest 1922 (there is no month indicated). 2 Interesting things: the building is called the Edison Building and the theater is just called Grauman’s. Click on the exterior picture to see it.
The theater’s grand opening was February 1, 1918. The first film shown was The Silent Man starring William S. Hart. This is an old press photograph.
Corner decoration on the 2nd story.
These statues run across the front of the building above the marquee.
She’s playing a harp, I think.
This is from the sidewalk.
View from across the street. I don’t know what it is but I like it even though I find it kind of scary. I did a little research. It might be THOTH. The Egyptian God of Knowledge.
He’s supposed to be comedy and tragedy but he looks pretty sinister no matter which mask he’s wearing.
This jester is on the 3rd Street side of the building. (Where the tenant entrance is.)
She’s also on the 3rd Street side of the building. She reminds me of my niece.
It’s a rather large building. I couldn’t get the entire building with my Kodak Easyshare camera.
This is the medallion at the very top in the center.
The Botanica on the north side. This is where the Owl Drug Store is in the Architectural Digest exterior photo. Notice on the window the red words Tempio Santa Muerte. Here is a Wikipedia link to Santa Muerte.
That’s Sid. This photograph is from a book called Hollywood’s Master Showman: The Legendary Sid Grauman by Charles Beardsley. It’s a wonderful book and has tons of information on Grauman’s Million Dollar, Metropolitan, Egyptian and Chinese Theaters. Beardsley did a lot of research for this book and he did a great job.
This is the four page program they handed out at the event.
This is from the program. There’s a brief history of the Million Dollar on this page and a photo of the stage taken with the house lights on. The photos are by Annie Laskey and Stephen Russo. Russo also has a book called The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown.
This is at the top of the proscenium. It’s called Tragedy Triumphant. It was designed and modeled by Wm. L. Woollett.
This very small lobby is underwhelming to me. I had to remind myself that this theater was built before the huge movie palaces of the 1920s. Eventually, I concluded I was wrong. I was looking at a journal called Marquee from 2002 and it had an article on the Million Dollar Theater. That article had old photographs of a large mural that once graced the lobby. That mural is no longer present. They must have remodeled the lobby sometime in the 1940s or 1950s and lowered the ceiling.
The theater, which holds 2,400 people, was sold out for this event and took place on a hot day in June. The theater is not air-conditioned. As a result, they opened all the fire doors to let some air in. When I was walking around the balcony area I stepped out onto the fire escape and took this picture.
This is the standard photo that’s used when an article is written about the Million Dollar Theater. Notice the grill work behind the original marquee. That’s no longer there. It’s been cemented over. (Image courtesy Beardsley’s book.)
Here’s the ticket booth. It looks like it’s from the 1940s. Very streamlined.
This is a Million Dollar Theater program from 1920 for another William S. Hart movie called The Toll Gate. I think it’s very cool. I had never seen one before I bought it. That’s the building floating within the proscenium.
The Million Dollar on a postcard.
In October of 2015 I was going through some journals and found these images of the Million Dollar.
It’s an advertisement but a great image of the Million Dollar. On the right side of the picture in the back is a “neon?” sign with Grauman’s name on top of a genie lamp.
What I would like to find is images of the lobby’s interior.
My book The Odd Fellows was released on December 16, 2013.
- Grauman’s theater Los Angeles. (1918, August). The Architect, 16(2), 18-20.