Historic Echo Park
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Christina Carano

I'm a resident of Echo Park who is very curious about the history of 2139 Sunset Blvd., the theater building that just recently put up a "for lease" sign. Any info or direction would be greatly appreciated.

--Best, Christina Carano
EPHS Moderator

The building at 2139-2141 Sunset Blvd. was built in 1914 to serve as a movie theater. On the original building permit, the architect is listed as the Alfred Grayson (sp? it's handwritten) Co. The builder was J. Louie Pancoast, who was located down the street at 2121 Sunset Blvd, while the developer lived on nearby Reservoir Street.

     The theater was known as the Ramona Theater for roughly half a century before going through a series of name and format changes.The theater was modernized and reopened in 1966 under the name Studio One and with the mission of showing German-language cinema (the debut was a screening of Die Fledermaus!). By the early 1980s, the name had been Latinized into Estudio 1, a venue for double features (one photo has it offering Mad Max and A Force of One on the same night!).
      The theater was completely closed by the mid-1990s. Around 1998, a member of the Lotito family -- which has owned the building and much of the block for at least 75 years -- decided to rip out the theater seats, make the theater floor level as part of a renovation to seek new tenants. But the buiding has remained empty. 
     In its earliest years, the Ramona was one of two Echo Park theaters. The other stood at 1624 Sunset Blvd and now houses the Gualupana Market, across from the old Pioneer Market building. It started as the Globe Theater in 1912 and later became the Hollyway Theater. By the 1950s, the Hollyway had been converted into a branch of Citizen's  Bank.
Tony Gatto
AM interested in seeking info for the rental of this space at 2139 Sunset Blvd in Echo Park---can anyone help?
Thanks, Tony
Reply to LAGatto@pacbell.net
any idea whats going on with the theatre. a while back i walked by and there were people working inside. i always wished it would reopen as a theatre or as a club like the echo or the smell. so anyone have an update?
Does anyone have images of the facade throughout the years? I am trying to figure out when the marquee was installed. It does not look like it was an original 1914 piece.
Darrell Urbien

You might be able to check the permits down at Building and Safety - sometimes there are drawings attached.

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