The poor Roxie Theatre has been standing on its last leg for a while now. For the last few years we’ve fawned (and cried) over the now-derelict Art Deco facade. We have seen vintage photos, and the interior was, admittedly, nothing spectacular. The seats and the ticket booth had been torn out years ago, and last we heard the auditorium was full of merchandise boxes and rubble from the shops that occupied the lobby. Never ones to turn down an opportunity to shoot the interior of a movie palace, we waited for our chance to get in. A few months ago, we received a tip that the retail space was being worked on (aka swapmeet expansion) so we ran over to check it out. After pleading with the construction crew, we ran up the stairs in the back of the lobby to see the auditorium.
Grauman’s Metropolitan first opened its doors on January 26, 1923. Built shortly after the Million Dollar and the Egyptian Theatres, Sid Grauman spared no expense in creating what would be the largest theatre in all of Southern California.
With a seating capacity of 3,387 seats, the auditorium was enormous. It was the second largest theatre to be built in the West, only behind the Fox Theater in San Francisco, which amazingly had 4,651 seats. The next largest theatre in Los Angeles was the RKO Hillstreet (downtown) with 2,890 seats, which met the same fate of demolition as the two aforementioned movie houses.