AKA: El Capitan Theatre #2, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA; Hollywood Palace Theater, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - saloons

Designers: Gogerty and Weyl, Architects (firm); Henry L. Gogerty (architect); Carl Jules Weyl Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1926-1927

2 stories

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1735 North Vine Street
Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90028-5248

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The Hollywood Playhouse stood near Hollywood Boulevard and North Vine Street.


This versatile theatrical space has been known under several names and owned by two radio/television networks, first for radio by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and later, as a television studio for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). It became a nightclub during the 1970s.

Building History

The "Hollywood Playhouse" opened 01/24/1927, one of Hollywood's most elegant venues for theatrical productions, designed by the Los Angeles firm of Gogerty and Weyl, Architects. Gogerty and Weyl produced a variety of commercial work in Hollywood during the 1920s. In the 1930s, the building housed the WPA Federal Theatre, and at about this time, it was a location for the CBS Radio Network's shows, "Baby Snooks" and "My Favorite Husband" starring Lucille Ball.

Subsequently, in the 1940s and 1950s, as the "El Capitan Theatre" occupied the space; here the television shows "Queen for a Day,""This Is Your Life," and "The Colgate Comedy Hour," were produced. On 09/23/1952, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower's Vice-Presidential candidate during the election of 1952, broadcast his "Checkers Speech" from the El Capitan Theatre #2. This campaign speech was designed to defuse allegations of financial improprities against Nixon and to paint him as a down-to-earth and honest politician.

The venue was renamed in 1963 to the "Jerry Lewis Theatre" as it hosted Lewis's ABC television variety show. ABC then renamed the theatre the Hollywood Palace and filmed the show, "Hollywood Palace" there. it functioned as an ABC studio in the 1960s and 1970s, and became the setting for the "Merv Griffin Show." During the 1965-1966 and in the mid-1970s, the ghastly "Lawrence Welk Show," an ABC staple, was also filmed here. The theatre was selected in 1965-1966 to tape the Welk show because it was the only one ABC had access to that was capable of color production. It was also the first West Coast venue for the Beatles in 1964.

In its next incarnation, entrepreneurs opened the Hollywood Palace, a leading Hollywood night club during the 1970s and 1980s; The Avalon Club, owned by John Lyon and Steve Adelman, was in operation as of 03/03/2004; Lyon and Adelman operated Avalon clubs in Boston and New York in 2004; interior design was done by CAN Resources of New York.

Building Notes

Its exterior featured fanciful Churrigueresque ornamentation, not strictly reproducing Spanish or Mexican prototypes. David Naylor in his book American Picture Palaces (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1981), p. 218, mistakenly referred to the designers of this building as "Fogerty and Weil."

The building was included in the National Register of Historic Places' Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District drawn up in the early 1980s.

An escutcheon at the center top of the pediment read "HPH" for Hollywood Playhouse.

PCAD id: 1766