Culver City memories

posted by Michael Zoldessy on May 25, 2007 at 8:45 am

Just found this site today.

I worked at the Palms Theater in Los Angeles in 1975-79, and then 1982-85.

Also worked at the Culver from 1975-79.

Didn’t work for Stone or Allen, but they still owned the property, and one of them still lived across the street (above the bike shop?) and came in occasionally for a free movie.

After the last showing, we used to play poker in the lobby. Last hand was at sunrise, big winner bought breakfast for everyone. Big stakes too; nickel, dime, quarter. If you bet a quarter and were raised three times, that you meant you were in for at least a buck. Since I made $2/hour, that was big.

Storage space was extremely limited, so that extra cups, popcorn containers, etc. had to be stored backscreen. Sometimes you had to go back there during a movie, and you had to be sure not to shine your flashlight at the screen.

Smokers were easy to spot. If it was tobacco, you shined the light on them. If it was herb, you pretended not to notice.

In terms of architecture, Palms was really nothing special, but it did have very loyal customers, the best popcorn, and fantastic phone messages.

Shalom, bubala! Ciao, baby!! I used to say that. Stone and Allen were very creative on the tapes, after that it was less so.

When I worked at the Culver, it had been butchered into three studios. It still had some of its original elegance, but you had to look real hard. It has been thankfully restored by Sony. I believe it is called the Kirk Douglas Theater, but it still says Culver on the facade.

I remember attending matinees at the Meralta as a kid, sitting in the balcony, but I never worked there. Meralta was one block from the Culver, next to City Hall.

I’m returning to Culver City next month, staying at the Culver Theater. Haven’t decided if I’m going to stay in the John Wayne Suite, Clark Gable Suite, or the Marilyn Monroe Suite.

Also used to go to the Loyola in Westchester near LAX.

Spent a lot of time at all of the Westwood Theaters, but only the Fox and Bruin made an impression on me.

On one trip to Westwood saw OJ and Nicole. Since this about 1978 they probably weren’t even married yet.

David Unruhe

Auburn, California

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