Majestic Theatre

845 South Broadway / Los Angeles


Majestic Theatre, c.1915
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The Majestic seated 1700 and opened November 23, 1908 with a Shubert production of The Land of Nod

The Land of Nod, a musical fantasy in a prologue and two acts by Adams and Hough,
with music by Joseph Howard, will be the attraction at the Lyceum Saturday.
The production is under the management of the Kork Company and comies here fresh from
Broadway where it scored one of the greatest successes of any musical comedy in New York.
One of the principal reasons why "The Land of Nod" has been so unusually successful is
on account of its decidedly unique character creations and the novelty and picturesqueness
of the play, The prologue shows a beautiful garden of flowers where children are at play.
Little "Bonnie" falls asleep beneath a rose bush, and the change of scene to the first
act discloses her in "The Land of Nod."

(review of same touring company from Cornell Daily Sun, March 1908)


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The Majestic (originally designed by Edelman & Barnett for M.A. Hamburger - and called "Asher Hamburgerís Majestic Theatre" although Oliver Morosco held the lease) was home to many of the national touring musical and dramatic productions.

The Majestic saw its share of sad stories: One night in 1913, as Lon Chaney, Sr. was onstage performing, his wife Cleva ran to the wings and attempted suicide by ingesting mercury bichloride. She lived, but was never able to sing again. Lon Sr. immediately cut her out of his life, telling Lon Jr. that she had not survived the poison.

Around 1914 and 1915 Major Film Manufacturing Co. had the lease on the building, although it's not known if they had any involvement with the theatre management. The theatre occasionally did show movies, but was largely a theatre operation. A merger with the Orange Grove in 1926 was the turning point. From 1926 to 1932 live shows, probably more like burlesque, caused a series of raids citing violations of the city indecent show ordinances. It marked a sad, slow final curtain for the mighty Majestic.

In 1933, after entertaining Los Angeles for a quarter century, the theater where Ramon Navarro worked his first job as an usher was demolished to make a parking lot. Today the site at 845 S. Broadway is a 3-story garage.

- (L) Majestic Theatre entrance - (R) Marquee


Here's the most famous picture of the Majestic Theatre:
Harold Lloyd in Safety Last (1923) with the Majestic behind him.


References:

Historic Los Angeles Downtown Theatres

Cornell University Library

Cinema Tresures ("The Majestic Theatre-gone but not forgotten" - Examiner Neighborhoods / July 9, 2010 / by jeremy triggs)


Programs available from this theatre:

  • Captain Applejack (1924)


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