Mayfair Theatre

214 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Unfavorite 11 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 50 of 77 comments

gugenheim84 on March 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Love your update details Don, they close the miles between Santa Monica and Seattle.

DonSolosan on March 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Just got back from taking pictures of the Mayfair; too bad it’s a grey, overcast day. Right this instant, the fencing and plywood barrier that they put up after the earthquake is down. You can see everything down to the terrazzo sidewalk. No telling how long this will last…

Someone with a large format camera was taking photos to document the building. A couple of guys who are working on restoring the facade were looking around. Lots of interest from passersby on the building.

DonSolosan on March 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

By the way, the description above mentions the Mayfair as “one of four theaters in downtown Santa Monica (Fox Criterion, The El Miro, The Hitching Post, Majestic).”

Doesn’t Laemmle’s count?

DonSolosan on March 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

A photo of the Mayfair is in the Santa Monica Daily Press today.

There’s an article and photo of the NuWilshire rehab on the front page. I’m on my way over now to see if I can get some photos of the Mayfair; it’s the first time the facade has been visible since I moved to Santa Monica.

kencmcintyre on March 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Reminds me of the Warner Theater in Atlantic City-first they knocked down the building but kept the facade, then they knocked down the facade and put up a fake facade that looked like the old one, sort of.

gugenheim84 on March 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm


Thank God someone’s paying attention! Thank you so much for taking the time to inform us, I’m greatly looking forward to seeing your photos.

I only wish I were there to pick up some memento, the “Majestic” ranks high in my childhood memories from the early 50’s. Yes, it was small and off of the main avenue, but it presented great movies on their second run. It’s where I first saw GWTW, Titanic, African Queen and War of the Worlds! I remember during intermissions I studied its ornate interior, the mysterious box seats with its maroon velvet drapes that no one ever occupied and the two bas relief faces that stared down from the proscenium high above the stage; Drama & Comedy.

Fortunately, I never entered the Majestic during its downhill slide. After it failed as a music hall in the 70’s, I understand
that its decomposing began in earnest and the earthquake proved to be the final knell. I’m glad to hear that the beautiful façade is being preserved—its better than nothing.

GWaterman on March 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Having problems posting, so I’ll continue. The guys said the building was damaged and dangerous, even the facade, but they were committed to salvaging at least that. The stagehouse has been swathed in blue tarps for several years; today they were removing them and revealing huge gaping holes at the top of the walls. I have some photos, and will go take more tomorrow if I can.

GWaterman on March 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I haven’t really been following what’s going on with this theatre, but I know they’ve been debating over future use. Took some photos of it in February. Walked by it today and the scaffolding was down, there was a chain link fence across the front, but the face of the building was exposed. I could see the old “Alumni Bar” sign and entry on the right, and the old “Box Office” sign on the left of the marquee. You could see the underside of the marquee with its recessed can light fixtures (probably dating from the 70’s.) You could see a pigeon-poop-stained poster case with the remains of a poster for a movie titled “The Wild Wild West.” The guys behind the fence said they were salvaging the facade but demolishing the rest of the building.

kencmcintyre on January 1, 2009 at 10:47 am

Part of an LA Times article dated 11/30/54:

A couple of determined women, one a theater cashier and the other a waitress, brought a one-man robbery spree to an ignominious halt in Santa Monica last night. The waitress added the crushing blow when she took the man’s gun away from him.

Booked at Santa Monica jail for investigation of armed robbery was David Ott, 25, of Ocean Park, who told police he tried two robberies, armed with a cap pistol, because he lost his job last week and wanted his wife and baby to have a good Christmas.

Detectives said the first holdup try occurred at the Majestic Theater, 214 Santa Monica Boulevard, when a man pointed a gun at the cashier, Miss Nancy Pollock, 16, and told her to put all the money in a paper bag. She looked over her shoulder and then replied, “Just a minute. Here comes the manager”. The would-be bandit then ran away.

About an hour later and a block away a man answering the same description ordered a cup of coffee in the Broadway Steak House at 119 Broadway, then poked a pistol across the counter at the waitress, Mrs. Claire Irene Ray, 24, and again demanded that all the money be put into a paper bag.

Mrs. Ray said she tried to stall him by saying she’d go out back to get a bag, but he told her “never mind” and put some money on the counter. “When he looked down at the money, I grabbed the gun”, she told police. “He let go of the gun, snatched up a roll of nickels and ran”.

DonSolosan on December 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, the Mayfair is ready to be turned into…

— have you guessed it? —

… a facade!

Yes, like the Criterion and El Miro theaters before it, like the Llo-Da-Mar bowling alley, and soon, the NuWilshire theater, the Mayfair’s front is to be preserved while behind it is constructed a modern monstrosity of 38 apartment units, ground floor retail, and underground parking. Santa Monica will continue its winning streak of destroying history in favor of ever-increasing density.

The lawyer representing the property owner is quoted as saying, “It’s a good example of adaptive reuse of a landmark property where landmarking doesn’t impede responsible redevelopment of the site.” I interpret this to mean “we’re throwing the public a bone here, now get out of our way.”

Interestingly, Carol Lemlein, president of the Santa Monica Conservancy, is quoted that “It’s a difficult compromise but at the same time it still gives us a sense of history in a way that certain other buildings where the facade appears to have been pasted onto a modern building (don’t). Those are called ‘Walls of Shame’ by people in preservation.” Well, I imagine she should know, since that seems to be all that happens in this city.

badmerlot on June 22, 2008 at 10:02 pm

I used to work there in the mid 80’s as a cook in the restaurant which was on the second floor. The window just to the left of the marquee (second floor) is a kitchen. We only did about 60 dinners a night on the weekends. During the week it was pretty dead.

At that time the Mayfair was running plays. The restaurant, which was called The Strand was placed in the space that used to be the projection room. There was enough room for a small bar and a dozen tables. The place had red velvet wallpaper and lots of 8x10s on the wallâ€"just what you’d expect.

There’s a bunch of pictures of the outside but I’m not sure how many people saw the inside before the earthquake. It was absolutely amazing in there; a real turn of the century gem. It’s horrible for me to think of just the facade being saved. I’ll be so bummed if this turns into office space with retail downstairs. I wish the city could chip in to bring it back to life. I just don’t understand why it’s been sitting for 14 years.

Save the Mayfair!

gugenheim84 on March 8, 2008 at 8:10 am

Thank you L.M. for the big crisp photo, it was taken in the afternoon—I know because I grew up in W.L.A. Wonderful memories from the 50’s watching Titanic, Beau Brummel, War of the Worlds even a re-issued G.W.T.W. We can never have too many good memories, thanks again.

MagicLantern on February 22, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Also, there’s a DVD of that performance that came out in 2001, if anyone’s curious as to the inside of the theatre at that point in time. On the DVD cover it says “Filmed and recorded live at the Mayfair Theatre, Santa Monica, California – may it rest in peace.”

MagicLantern on February 22, 2008 at 11:33 pm

The Dead Can Dance “Toward the Within” album was recorded here sometime in 1994, so they were hosting live events at least until then.

Greenpoint on December 16, 2007 at 2:56 pm

I remember watching that Northridge earthquake on tv.Any chance that they are reinforcing the foudation?

cupcake on August 27, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Sorry the year was 1960-1961 for Frank Williams at the Majestic in Santa Monica.

cupcake on August 27, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Does anyone have any information on a Frank Williams, he was the assistant manager for the Majestic in Santa Monica.

johnsheahan on August 25, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Hey guys, I’m visting from London and walked past the Mayfair theatre a couple of days ago. I too was amazed to see such a beautiful jem of a theatre in such a sorry state. Seems to me like I’m not the only person to feel this way. And I just can’t help thinking with such a collective wish to see it restored why not start it here?

stinger on July 15, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for the info ExVeniceRube.

Does anyone know the current status of the theater’s future?

krube on July 15, 2007 at 2:53 pm

In fact, forgot to mention, it was the show’s pilot.

krube on July 15, 2007 at 2:24 pm

A great 1974 episode of the Rockford Files “Backlash of the Hunter” (second of a two part series) shows Jim Rockford alluding a follower in there, and shows extensive views of the bar, and hall – there was a small animal circus act performing in there; great shot in both episodes of the front marquee.

gugenheim84 on April 11, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Lost Memory – Thank you for posting that outstanding, extra large and crystal clear photo of the old Majestic. She’ll be 100 yrs old in 2012 (only 5 years from now). It’s a shame Santa Monica (or all of L.A. for that matter) doesn’t understood the lure of a preserved artifact/structure; that brings the old back to remember and the young to discover the beauty and grace that once was. I pray that I’m wrong, but like so many old landmarks in L.A., I have a feeling this grand old theater will be replaced by an urgently needed high-end sports bar.

Nadja on April 10, 2007 at 10:29 am

I would like to sell the actual Program (prop?) given to the
actors/extras sitting in the Mayfair Theater during the dance
sequence in the film Young Frankenstein. I am not sure if the
Program is visable in the film or not.