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Ricardo Montalban Theatre

Ricardo Montalban Theatre

First Opened: 19th January 1927 (92 years ago)

Former Names: Vine St Theatre, CBS Radio Playhouse, Huntington Hartford Theatre, James A. Doolittle Theatre

Website: www.themontalban.com Open website in new window

Telephone: (323) 871-2420 Call (323) 871-2420

Address: 1615 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028 Show address in Google Maps (new window)


The Montalban opened in January 1927 as The Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre and the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood. The early 1930s saw it run as a cinema for a few years before becoming the CBS Radio Playhouse – and home of the Al Jolson show – in 1936.

CBS Radio hosted the long-running anthology series “Lux Radio Theatre” at The Montalban featuring Cecil B. DeMille as producer and host for many years. In the 1950s the theatre was sold by CBS to Huntington Hartford and reverted to being a legitimate venue, with the inaugural production featuring Helen Hayes in “What Every Woman Knows” written by J. M. Barrie (of “Peter Pan” fame).

James Dolittle owned the theatre from the mid-1960s until it was acquired roughly 20 years later by UCLA. The theatre remained dark until 1999 when the Ricardo Montalban Foundation bought the building with the vision of providing inspiration and training for emerging artists in the Hispanic community and thus enabling them to mainstream into the performing arts and the broader entertainment industry. Reopened in 2004 The Montalban now runs a variety of film festivals, rentals and the hugely successful rooftop cinema club.

The theatre’s façade underwent a remodel in the 1950s but has since been restored to more closely match its original 1927 appearance with signature triple windows. The interior has been redecorated many times, most notably during the theatre’s 1950s modernization, and as such little remains of the original interior design.

First established in 2015, the Rooftop Cinema Club utilizes the theatre’s roof as an open-air movie theatre, with a large projection screen in place on the stagehouse’s fly tower wall. Warm summer evenings screening classic movies, coupled with artisan eats and craft beverages, have proven very popular with Los Angeles movie-goers.

 How do I visit the Ricardo Montalban Theatre?

As of May 2017 The Montalban does not offer theatre tours. Instead you may wish to check out the theatre’s events calendar Link opens in new window or attend a screening at The Rooftop Cinema Club Link opens in new window.

 Further Reading


 Technical Information

Flying System
Flying System Counterweight System (wire guide)
Linesets 47 linesets (4-line), last lineset (47) currently inoperable
General Information
Balcony Overhang Row I (i.e. between H and J) of Orchestra
Seating Capacity 950 (originally 1,200)
Dimmers 96 @ 2.4kW 20A (Stage Pin connectors) located DSR
Fixtures 17 @ Source 4 Ellipsoidals; 21 @ Chauvet Pro Colorado 1-Quad Tour Zoom; 12 @ S4 PAR
Movie Projection
Center Stage Screen 42ft x 22ft
Center Stage Screen (rear projection) 38ft x 28ft
DCP System NEC 2000-C Full Screen 18,000 Lumen DCP System (large main screen only)
Left Side Screen 14ft 6in x 10ft 6in (4:3 aspect ratio)
Projectors 3 @ Canon WUX 6000 Projectors 2K resolution with Standard Lens; 1 @ Canon RS-IL02LZ Long Focus Zoom Lens 1.54-2.4; 1 @ Canon RS-IL02WZ Short Focus Zoom Lens 1.00-1.54
Right Side Screen 14ft 6in x 10ft 6in (4:3 aspect ratio)
Stage Dimensions
Center Line to SL Wall 33ft
Center Line to SR Pin Rail 32ft
House Curtain to Rear Wall 34ft
Proscenium Height 24ft 10in
Proscenium Width 38ft
Historic Photos & Documents

Historic files shown here may be subject to copyright; review our “Fair Use” statement here.

 Photos of the Ricardo Montalban Theatre



Exterior and Public Areas

Photographs copyright © 2002-2019 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com unless otherwise noted.
Text copyright © 2017-2019 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com.
For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here.

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