Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hyman Theatre, 802 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Opened: December 1910
Seating Capacity: 1,000 (Moving Picture World)
Proprietor: Arthur S. Hyman
Architects: Train & Williams ("aided by Mr. Hyman's suggestions"-Moving Picture World)

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, April 22, 1911:

"Los Angeles' newest and most elaborate picture palace is named after Mr. Arthur S. Hyman, president and general manager of the Hyman Circuit of Vaudeville and Moving Picture Theaters, the Western Amusement Company, Western Film Exchange and other theatrical and amusement enterprises."

"Mr. Hyman has the unique distinction of being the only man to ever open two pretentious theaters in the same city within a period of only seven days between opening dates. This occurred when the College, costing $35,000, and the Hyman, costing in excess of $45,000, were completed." 

"The Hyman, seating a thousand, is the largest, as well as the most sumptuously equipped and luxurious of the city's moving picture theaters."

"It covers a ground space of  50x175. The exterior of the building is decorated with pure white plaster. The foyer has the usual tile floor and is wainscoted in select white Italian marble to a height of  eight feet. The ceiling of the foyer is in plaster decorated with plaster brackets between which are gold-leafed 'H.T.'  monograms of pleasing design. The box office, also in marble, is more commodious than the usual box office. The foyer doors leading into the lobby are of mahogany, with brass wearing plates.
"The lobby of the Hyman is a symphony of luxury. The wainscot paneling and other woodwork is constructed of Juana Costa mahogany of selected grain, which has been given the dull finish. The well-padded lobby carpet is of green velvet brussels. The lobby is well equipped with mirrors, a feature that the women patrons appreciate. Opening off the lobby are retiring rooms for both men and women, and a stairway leading to the operating room and to Mr. Hyman's luxurious office in the front of the building. The draperies leading into the foyer and into the auditorium are of silk velour, the inner facing green, and the outer facing wine colored, with "H.T." monograms in white leather."

"The mahogany opera chairs are roomy and are upholstered in red leather. Two six-foot aisles permit the handling of capacity audiences without unnecessary crowding, The aisles are carpeted in green velvet brussles matching the lobby carpet. The ceiling and side wall decorations in the popular Art Noveau effect, are very pleasing. Two large leaded art glass skylights adorn the ceiling, which is beamed, and from it are hung leaded art glass lanterns. The side lights of the auditorium are also lanterns, but of a smaller size.
"The stage is 24x30, and and is well equipped with scenery by the Ernest Flagg Scenic Company, and contains comfortable dressing rooms for the actors and actresses employed in vaudeville turns.
"The operating room is large, finely equipped, well ventilated and thoroughly fireproofed. Two Model B. Edison Projectoscopes are used, together with a dissolver and a spot light. Two competent operators, under the direction of L. M. Nelson, chief electrician and chief operator of the circuit, are always on duty. Projection is faultless.
"The policy of the theater is to run high class vaudeville specialties interspersed with first-run Licensed pictures.
"The seven-piece orchestra is under the direction of Miss Bessie B. Hardy. The orchestra play the specialties in a way that leaves little to be desired. Miss Hardy also shows careful discrimination in her choice of incidental music to accompany the pictures."

"The theatre opened during the the December holidays and has played to excellent business ever since. For the first month or so Independent pictures were run, then Mr. Hyman decided to run both vaudeville and pictures. On March 1st the house changed their service to Licensed."


 For more on the Hyman Theatre

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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