The marquee of Echo Park’s long awaited Mohawk Bend restaurant currently reads “Opening Soon Very Soon.” But at one time, the marquee overlooking the 2100 block of Sunset Boulevard promoted films shown inside a theater that opened nearly a century ago when the nearby Edendale studios were churning out silent films. The Sunset Boulevard theater clad in an exterior of white, glazed brick had been known by different names over the decades – The Creation; HK Studio, The Ramona and finally Studio One. Except for a brief life as a German art-house cinema, the Echo Park theater appealed to a mass audience with Hollywood hits and budget prices. The movie house closed for good in the mid 1980s, with Studio One showing “Running Man” and “Dirty Dancing” in December 1987, according to advertising in the L.A. Times. No other ads for Studio One could be found after that date.
About a decade after the theater stopped showing films, the interior was gutted, the seats removed and the sloping floor flattened to attract new tenants that never came until construction of the Mohawk Bend restaurant began about a year ago. The small movie house appeared to face numerous struggles long before it closed. A 1927 L.A. Times ad announced that the theater – including a “costly” Robert Morton pipe organ – were being auctioned off. Three years later, the theater, a “talkie,” was offered up for sale for $2,500.
In the 1966, the theater owners attempted to appeal to the art house crowed by showing German films. But the Studio One Deutsches Lichtspielhausan did not seem to last very long after screening its inaugural film, “Die Fledermaus.” By 1971 the Studio One was selling “All seats 49 cents ALWAYS!!!” and showing films like “Lovers and other Strangers” and “Diary of a Mad Housewife.”
The Ramona and Studio One may have been relatively modest affairs but they won many loyal fans over the decades. In a comment posted on the History Bulletin Board of HistoricEchoPark.org, Sandra Ponce recalls childhood visits:
I sure do remember the “Studio One”! It used to be called “The Ramona” way back when I saw “A Hard Days Night – starring the Beatles” there in the 60″s.
My family and I lived on Douglas St, Bellevue Ave and finally ended up on Laveta Terr (my parents still live there). On Saturdays myself and the other kids in the neighborhood would walk to the Ramona and literally spend all day at the movies watching the same movie over and over! We paid 25 cents to get into the movies.
The Ramona was of one of two Echo Park movie houses that operated on Sunset Boulevard. The other, The Globe Theater, opened in 1912 at 1624 Sunset Blvd. and eventually changed its name to The Hollyway, according to HistoricEchoPark.org. That building that once housed The Hollyway is now La Guadalupana market.