Tower Theatre | Los Angeles Conservancy
Tower Theatre photo
Photo by Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy

Tower Theatre

The Tower Theatre, at S. Broadway and W. 8th Street, was commissioned by H.L. Gumbiner, who would later also build the Los Angeles Theatre in 1931. It was the first theater designed by architect S. Charles Lee.

Seating 900 on a tiny site, it was designed in Renaissance Revival style with innovative French, Spanish, Moorish, and Italian elements all executed in terra-cotta. Its interior was modeled after the Paris Opera House. Its exterior features a prominent clock tower, the very top of which was removed after an earthquake.

It opened in 1927 with the silent film The Gingham Girl starring Lois Wilson and George K. Arthur. The Tower was the first filmhouse in Los Angeles to be wired for talking pictures, and it was the location of the sneak preview and Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros.' revolutionary part-talking The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson.

In 1950, the theatre began a successful period of running only newsreels, aptly taking on the name, Newsreel Theatre. That signage can still be faintly seen on the north and east sides of the building. It also served as a general-run theatre under the name Music Hall Downtown.

In 1965, the theatre was renamed the Tower Theatre. During the 1990s, the Tower became a popular location for film production, including the Warner Bros. film, Mambo Kings

Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/Los Angeles Conservancy

Warner Grand Theatre

The Warner Grand Theatre features a Classical Moderne façade and an ornate Art Deco interior.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/Los Angeles Conservancy

Palace Theatre

The Palace opened in 1911 as the third home of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit in Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest theatres in Los Angeles and the oldest remaining original Orpheum theatre in the U.S.