Designed by architect S. Charles Lee, the Los Angeles Theatre was the last and most extravagant of the ornate movie palaces built on Broadway between 1911 and 1931. The 2,000-seat movie palace features an opulent French Baroque interior that was reportedly modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. No expense was spared on the lavish decor, which included crystal chandeliers, marble, gold leaf, silk damask wall coverings, walnut paneling and a crystal and marble fountain in the upper lobby. The main lobby features a 50-foot ceiling, chandeliers and a grand staircase. Together, the main lobby and basement lounges could accommodate 2,000 people waiting for the next showing.
The Los Angeles Theatre opened Jan. 30, 1931 with the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, City Lights. Chaplin reportedly helped finance the completion of the theatre’s construction so it could open in time for the City Lights premiere. Chaplin’s special guests at the opening were Albert Einstein and his wife, Elsa.
The Los Angeles Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 1979 and designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #225 in August 1979.