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Vintage movie palaces

Members of a a 50-person bus tour of five Los Angeles-area historic theaters leave the bus at the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena. (Annie Wells, Los Angeles Times)
Jeremy Willis, Manager of the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena, addresses members of a 50-person bus tour of five Los Angeles-area historic theaters. (Annie Wells / LAT)
South Pasadena’s Rialto dates to 1925. Landmark’s plan to make it a five-screen venue in the ‘90s stalled. (Rick Meyer / LAT)
Detail next to the stage in the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena. (Annie Wells, Los Angeles Times)
The 1925 Rialto theater in South Pasadena has a grand lobby but is in disrepair. “They need a benefactor,” says one visitor. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Members of the League of Historic American Theaters tour the 1925 Glendale Alex theater. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Exterior of Wiltern Theatre on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. (Ken Hively / LAT)
Refurbishment of the Wiltern Theatre in 2002. Photo of interior looking towards stage. (Ken Hively / LAT)
Exterior of Graumans Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The ceiling of the renovated Egyptian Theater. (PM¥Paul Morse, Los Angeles Times)
The forecourt of the Egyptian Theatre, with paintings and pharaoh’s head, is conceived as an extension of life on the street and lobby inside. (Paul Morse / LAT)
Paintings and sphinxes at the newly renovated Egyptian Theater along Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. (Paul Morse / LAT)
Marquee of the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles. (Gary Friedman / LAT)
The balcony at the restored Orpheum Theatre with the ornate walls and ceilings in downtown Los Angeles.The restoration of the Orpheum is seen as a flicker of hope for what was once one of the great theater districts. In the 1930s, L.A.'s Broadway was comparable with that other Broadway in New York. (Alexander Gallardo / LAT)
Shirley Obert plays the theater organ at the Orpheum in downtown Los Angeles as John Koerber cleans the area. The organ is the only one of its kind still in operation at its original location on the west coast. It was installed in 1928. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
The late-afternoon sun glints off the marquee of the Palace Theatre on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, built in 1911. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The Palace Theatre is flanked by retail stores along downtown Los Angeles’ historic Broadway Theatre District. The Palace opened in 1911 and is the oldest remaining theater of the Orpheum Theatre chain, which once had movie houses across the United States. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The Nuart, which was built in the 1930s, went through a number of incarnations before it was purchased by Landmark Theater Corp. in 1974. Its stately neon marquee shines over Santa Monica Boulevard just west of the San Diego Freeway. (Robert Gauthier / LAT)
Pacific Theatres bought the Warner Hollywood in the 1970s. It was shut to the public in 1994 on safety concerns over the Northridge quake and subway tunneling. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The ornate lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre is typical of the grand old movie houses in downtown Los Angeles’ Broadway Theatre District. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The ornate interior of the Los Angeles Theatre. When the venue opened in 1931, guests included Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
The exterior neon sign at the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd (Lori Shepler / LAT)
Rob Richards, house organist at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, in a pre-"Pirates” show. (Béatrice de Géa / LAT)
The very ornate El Capitan theater in Hollywood. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)