- On View
- Gift Shop
Photograph by Sean Teegarden
The beautiful Union Theatre has had many incarnations over the years; in addition to being a movie and playhouse, it has hosted church meetings as well as serving, appropriately enough, as a meeting hall for the Tile Layers Union Local #18.
The theatre was built as a cinema in 1915. Using building and remodel records in addition to city directories, we have been able to piece together a timeline of the Union's history, and are on a continuing mission to uncover images and stories of this great neighborhood theatre. The theatre has had many different proprietors and names during the years it served as an entertainment venue, including being a part of the Fairyland chain of Southern California film theatres from 1915-1926.
In 1935, former screen vamp Louise Glaum opened an acting school and playhouse here, calling it Louise Glaum’s Little Theater at Union Square. Then in 1939, it was reconfigured back into a film venue, the Union, and operated under that name until it closed in 1953.
For a time in the 1970s, while serving as the headquarters for the Tile Layers, a student from nearby USC operated an after-hours weekly film series, showing cult and underground films and Saturday cartoon matinees for the neighborhood children. This K-Bel Theatre Film Society operated until 1975.
The Velaslavasay Panorama and Gardens hopes to preserve and prolong the magic of this historic place, and provide the public with quality entertainment while continuing to refurbish and improve our grand home.