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Photography

October 2009

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Friday, October 23, 2009 Far Out

Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.

It's bizarre

    The Million Dollar was the first movie house built by entrepreneur Sid Grauman. Grauman was later responsible for Grauman's Egyptian Theatre and Grauman's Chinese Theater, both on Hollywood Boulevard, and was partly responsible for the entertainment district shifting from downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood in the mid-1920s. Sculptor Joseph Mora did the elaborate and surprising exterior ornament, including bursts of lavish Churrigueresque decoration, multiple statues, longhorn skulls and other odd features. The auditorium architect was William L. Woollett, and the designer of the twelve-story tower was Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr. The office building long housed the original headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

It was built in 1917 at 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles when films were silent and was the first of the real movie palaces. But when Hollywood became the center of everything it was abandoned, then served as the home of a Spanish-speaking church for a few years, and then shut down. But the office building above it was recently renovated and converted to residential space it went condo. And the theater wouldn't die. In February 2008, the Million Dollar was re-opened, showing live Spanish theater, and now there are plans to begin screening major motion picture premieres here.

The exterior ornamentation is the thing, the work of Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947), who famously lived with the Hopi for two years and has been called the "Renaissance Man of the West." The exterior of the Million Dollar appeared prominently in the film Blade Runner they needed bizarre. And as for the Hopi stuff, you might remember Aldous Huxley the British guy who wrote Brave New World and so on. He lived in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963, up here in the Hollywood Hills. He was also big on the Hopi see his Doors of Perception (1954), detailing his experiences when taking mescaline and being all Hopi. This exterior may be the visual result of mescaline.

And of course Jim Morrison was a bug Huxley fan, quoting him all the time, and naming his group The Doors. It all comes together somehow. And people still stop dead in their tracks on South Broadway and mutter, "Far out, man!"

Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.
Exterior of the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, from 1917 - exterior design, Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora (1876-1947) - on a twelve-story tower designed by the Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin, Sr.

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the "fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back to this site.

Technical Note:

These photographs were taken with a Nikon D200 the lenses used were AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or AF Nikkor 70-300 mm telephoto.  The high-resolution photography here was modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0 software.

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All text and photos unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 - Alan M. Pavlik 

[October 2009] [Smog Angels] [The Music Scene] [Serious Halloween] [Formal White] [Quite Odd] [A Proper Garden] [For the Z-Boys] [Beach Colors] [Beach Places] [Street Signs] [A Walk Street] [Beach Birds] [Cocktail Hour] [Playing the Dead] [Wilshire 1929] [Effectively Legal] [Rats!] [The Molten Meteor] [On the Bench] [Color Contrasts] [Odd Messiah] [La La Shoes] [Another Shoot] [Value Statements] [A Dark Day] [Hollywood Rain] [Art Deco Lives] [Unsettling] [Postindustrial LA] [Hot Pink] [An Odd World] [For Halloween] [Swine Flu] [No Explanation] [At the Palladium] [Marilyn Forever] [Imperial City] [On Broadway] [Far Out] [Odd Friday] [All Eyes] [October Mums] [Floral Popcorn] [Full On Autumn] [Hollywood on Fire] [Hollywood on Fire (2)] [Hollywood on Fire (3)] [Dead Presidents] [Sky and Flames] [Big Faces] [Missing New York] [Hollywood Critters] [Everyone Welcome] [Fishing Fleet] [Bay Birds] [To the Lighthouse] [Local Portraiture] [Empty Lot Art] [My Town] [Late Roses] [Quite Odd]