For many years, the history of the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax was relatively non-tumultuous. Opened in 1942 by John Hampton — who hoped to use his personal collection of silent comedies to bring some joy to those struggling through the World War II years — it continued to operate well into the ’90s as the only remaining full-time silent cinema in the world. In 1997, tragedy brought its long run to a halt when then-owner Lawrence Austin was shot and killed at the location during an apparent robbery attempt.(Even sadder, his business partner was later implicated in the murder.) In the ensuing years, the theater was closed, sold and reopened, then only periodically screened silents while frequently being rented out for private events. Since 2006, however, the fabulous organization Cinefamily — dedicated to exhibiting “exceptional, distinctive, weird and wonderful” titles — has repurposed the Silent Movie Theatre as one of L.A.’s most unusual and appealing cinema treasures, with seating that includes premium-priced, plush seats; restored Art Deco fixtures and a nifty patio in the rear; and a superbly eclectic schedule of cult film favorites, filmmaker Q&As, television revival festivals and, yes, sometimes a good old-fashioned night of silent classics. 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Mid-City. (323) 655-2510, —Nicole Campos

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