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The Mayan Theater opened in August 1927 as a legitimate theater.

Leon Hefflin Sr. rented out the Mayan Theater downtown Los Angeles to produce the Sweet N' Hot, "Greatest Negro All Star Musical to Hit Coast." His business partner was Curtis Mosby, and the featured performer was Dorothy Dandridge.[1] The show had a run of eleven weeks and was reported as going to New York.[2] It closed to rave reviews and was covered by 20 different newspapers all over the country.

In the 1980s, the theater showed pornographic films.[3]

The theater has been a location in many films, including Sally of the Scandals,[4] The Bodyguard, Save the Tiger, Unlawful Entry, Rock 'n' Roll High School, and A Night at the Roxbury.

In 1990, the Mayan Theater, with most of its lavish ornament intact, became a nightclub and music venue. It is designated as a Historic Cultural Monument.[5]

Architecture and designEdit

Designed by Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Walls & Clements, the façade of the Mayan Theater includes stylized pre-Columbian patterns and figures designed by sculptor Francisco Cornejo. This was his major work.

The Mayan Theater is a prototypical example of the many excessively ornate exotic revival-style theaters of the late 1920s, Mayan Revival in this case. The well-preserved lobby is called "The Hall of Feathered Serpents," the auditorium includes a chandelier based on the Aztec calendar stone, and the original fire curtain included images of Mayan jungles and temples.

Photo galleryEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Reed, Tom (1992). The Black music history of Los Angeles, its roots: 50 years in Black music: a classical pictorial history of Los Angeles Black music of the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's: photographic essays that define the people, the artistry and their contributions to the wonderful world of entertainment (1st, limited ed.). Los Angeles: Black Accent on L.A. Press. ISBN 978-0963290861. OCLC 28801394.
  2. ^ "Sweet 'N Hot Revue Is Heading for New York Stage" Headliner The California Eagle April 6, 1944.
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times movie advertisements in the Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ "Studio Briefs". Motion Picture News: 442. February 11, 1928.
  5. ^ "Mayan". Cinema Treasures. Cinema Treasures, LLC. Retrieved 4 January 2013.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Mayan Theater at Wikimedia Commons