Carthay Circle Theatre

6316 San Vicente Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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Showing 101 - 125 of 128 comments

dispar on October 28, 2005 at 6:12 am

By the way: Thanks to CHRISTIAN & TC (above) for those great Carthay Circle photos and the Hollywood posters web site.

dispar on October 28, 2005 at 5:22 am

I lived just down the street from the Carthay Circle on Robertson and Pico from 1979 – 1987. While I attended many movies in beautiful old Los Angeles theatres (like Grauman’s Chinese, the El Ray, El Capitan, etc..)I always regretted that I could not view a movie at this famous landmark. I often drove past this location while commuting to work and wondered what it would have been like.

And now the Los Feliz Brown Derby and the Ambassador Hotel will be demolished. LA still has little regards for its architectural history.

By the way, the best book I have ever read about Hollywood/ Entertainment buildings and locations is Richard Alleman’s HOLLYWOOD: THE MOVIE LOVER’S GUIDE (recently updated this year). Highly recommended (even though I don’t beleive that it mentions the Carthay Circle).

kbp619 on October 27, 2005 at 1:22 pm

I grew up in Carthay Circle on Moore Drive. My father bought several of the bricks from the wreckage of the theatre (at a dime each) and used them to redo our courtyard. I wasn’t around when the theatre existed.

William on September 21, 2005 at 6:44 am

Here the seating breakdown for the Carthay Circle Theatre for the first three decades. According to original box office seating charts.

Main Floor:
Loges 364
General 632
Total: 996

Mezzanine Loge: 242
Mezzanine Balcony: 280
Total: 522

Grand Total for Theatre 1518 seats.

William on June 2, 2005 at 9:47 am

Here is a list of features that played the theatre during the first 5 years of operation.

“The Volga Boatman” DeMille Pictures (Opened the theatre)
“Bardelys the Magnificent” MGM
“What Price Glory” Fox

“Seventh Heaven” Fox
“Loves of Carmen” Fox

“Sunrise” Fox
“Four Sons” Fox
“Street Angel” Fox
“Fazil” Fox
“Lilac Time” First National
“Interference” Paramount (1st All Talking Film)

“The Barker” First National
“The Divine Lady” First National
“The Iron Mask” UA
“The Black Watch” Fox
“Four Devils” Fox
“Dynamite” MGM
“They Had to See Paris” Fox
“Rio Rita” RKO

“Devil May Care” MGM
“Happy Days” Fox (First Grandeur Film)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” Universal

teecee on June 1, 2005 at 12:09 pm

“Movie Premiere” print for sale at this link:
View link

Coate on April 26, 2005 at 10:21 pm

70mm engagements at the Carthay Circle:

Source: View link

Title (Premiere Date)
RSE = Reserved Seat Engagement

Around The World In Eighty Days (Dec. 22, 1956; RSE)
Porgy And Bess (July 15, 1959; RSE)
Can-Can (Mar. 10, 1960; RSE)
The Alamo (Oct. 26, 1960; RSE)
El Cid (Dec. 18, 1961; RSE)
The Agony And The Ecstasy (Oct. 20, 1965; RSE)
The Shoes Of The Fisherman (Nov. 15, 1968; RSE)

Re-Issue/Second Run/Move-Over/Return Engagements include:
The Sound Of Music (1966; RSE)
Gone With The Wind (1967; RSE)

muxloek on April 26, 2005 at 12:26 pm

When I was 10 or 12, my grandparents took me to “Around the World in 80 Days” at the Carthay Circle. This was an era that will not be seen again. I was a goggle-eyed kid, amazed at everything. Everyone wore wore suits and hats. The women’s hats had netting that extended in front of their eyes. Bright red beads were stuck randomly in the netting. I tried to imagine what it was like to look through that.

They wore furs with snarling animal heads still attached. The carpeting seemed a foot thick. Massive chandeliers adorned the ceilings. An usher in a sharp uniform led us to our seats.

That was my only visit. In a few years, I left LA. In the mid-80s I returned to LA and asked around about the Carthay Circle. Most people had never heard of it. I worked in an undistinguished office building near Wilshire and San Vicente. There was something familiar about the area. I noticed the name Carthay here and there. An elderly lady took regular walks by my office building. One day, I stopped her. “Was the Carthay Circle Theatre around here?” I asked. “This is where it was,” she replied. “They knocked it down to put up this building.” “That’s a shame,” I said. “It was losing money,” she said, “so they tore it down.”

I bought a photo of the theatre and posted it at my desk. “What’s that?” co-workers would ask. “That’s the Carthay Circle Theatre. It used to be on this site. They replaced it with the building we’re in now.” There were shrugs, blank looks, never an expression of dismay or disappointment. A great landmark is as easily discarded as a pair of worn-out shoes.

unihikid on April 7, 2005 at 7:58 am

i went to carthey elementary in the early 90s.and in the main office they had a picture of a group of kids satnding in the lobby of the theatre in the 1950s.thats one of the things in la that shouldnt of been torn down,much like the pacific electric red line that ran in front of the palace.also this is the first time that ive see up close pictures of the tower.on the corner of cresent hieghts and olympic there is a church that has a very similar tower,who ever designed the carthey neigbrohood was smart.


evidonr on March 29, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Reading these comments almost brought tears of nostalgia. This was the most beautiful movie palace I’ve experienced in five decades of moviegoing in America and Europe. It became a kind of shrine when I was growing up in Hollywood in the 50s. My first film there was “Around the World in 80 Days” (which ran for two years), after the theatre was adapted for Todd-AO/70mm projection. What was especially striking was its interior design – perfect dimensions that made you feel enveloped by the giant screen and superb sound, wherever you sat. Even Cinerama and IMAX didn’t equal the impression. I also saw “The Alamo” and “Porgy and Bess” there in 70mm (both undoubtedly were made to seem better by the venue than they actually were) as well as “Mary Poppins” in 35mm (moveover run from Grauman’s Chinese, Hollywood’s second most beautiful cinema until the chintzy renovation that destroyed the breathtaking original color scheme and the magnificent screen curtain with a gold dragon embroidered into it). I once heard that Fox West Coast Theatres demolished its flagship Carthay Circle because it was supposedly too susceptible to earthquake damage. Never swallowed that. The company (then renamed National General) put up an office building on the site, if memory serves. What a tragedy.

Richard J.E.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on January 2, 2005 at 4:38 pm

In several books about Walt Disney and the history of animation, there are descriptions of the night in 1937 when “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater. Until that evening, the movie industry had been very negative toward a full-length animated fairy-tale. But the audience’s response and Walt’s emotional curtain speech surely place that event high on the list of reasons for the historic significance of the Carthay Circle.


trooperboots on January 2, 2005 at 4:22 pm

The following are some truly great photos of the Carthay Circle Theater in the 1920s, when it was first built…. these are in the archives of the Los Angeles Public Library….

These photos are from the 1930s and 1940s …..

In “Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park” in Anaheim, they have built a smaller replica of the Carthay Circle Theater that sells gift items…Here is a photo of it…

Hope these are enjoyable to those who loved this late, great theater……

trooperboots on January 1, 2005 at 4:16 am

The Carthay Circle Theater demolition is one of the greatest of needless losses of Los Angeles history. It rivals the demolition of the Fox in San Francisco and Roxy in New York. Senseless and unimaginably stupid. I remember this great theater and seeing “Around the World in 80 Days”. It was still grand the last time I saw it in 1965. The neighborhood association keeps the memory of this architectural masterpiece alive with their name and an image of the theater tower in their logo.

signjoey on December 7, 2004 at 1:42 pm

My aunt Mitze Hughes played the piano/organ at the Carthay Circle, in the silent era. She later married John Hughes, an art director for Harry"Include me out" Cohn at Columbia Pictures. They eventually moved to Vegas and were large point holders in the Sahara Hotel/Casino for many years. She said she also worked at the El Capitan(now the Hollywood Palace).

Joey C

Keithsb on November 8, 2004 at 11:14 pm

I was only at the Carthay one time and watched Around The World in Eighty days. We drove down one afternoon from Santa Barbara. Being about ten years old it was a fantastic never to be forgotten experience. Let me tell you, I had never enjoyed a film as much as that one in Todd AO. It was a mid-week matinee and there were only a hand full of people in the house. As mentioned in a previous comment the building was striking in the way that it was set back from the street. Analogous to standing back from a painting to admire it.

thomasl on September 22, 2004 at 12:49 pm

The term “movie palace” must have been coined by someone who had just attended the Carthay Circle Theatre. When I was a boy, growing up in the 1950’s, my family went to see the exclusive engagement of “Fantasia” at the Carthay Circle. My Dad was a sound engineer for a company called Westrex in Hollywood, which built sound equipment for the movie industry. That morning he told the family “today we’re going to the finest movie theatre in America”. When we arrived at the Carthay Circle, set back from the street on San Vincente, and got out of the car, I just stood there in amazement—I was six years old, and I didn’t know this style of architecture was called Spanish Baroque—what I did know was it was the most beautiful building I had ever seen. We returned to the Carthay Circle within a year or two to see “Around the World in Eighty Days”, and this time I got to see the “palace” all lit up at night. It was breathtaking. While we were lucky enough to go see other great films at Grauman’s Chinese, the Pantages, the Fox Wilshire (a few blocks away), and the Warner Hollywood (the original Cinerama), none of these could compare with the Carthay Circle.

Today an office complex built by National General (who took over Fox West Coast Theatre) sits on the property. And the entire neighborhood, built in the 1920’s, is known as Carthay Circle.

widescreen on July 5, 2004 at 11:26 am

Saw John Wayne’s THE ALAMO here in its original Todd-AO format when I was 8 or 9 years old (uncertain because it depends on what time of the year I saw the film). I agree that whoever tore it down either HAS a hole in the head or SHOULD have one added.

RickyofL on April 11, 2004 at 8:21 pm

I went to the Carthay Circle a few times for both films and for stage productions. I saw the L.A. Premier of “The Alamo,” the John Wayne version here. It might have been the world premier. I also saw the “It’s Magic” stage show here which was put on by Magic Castle owner, Milt Larson and some of his associates. It was a fine theatre, and a great disappointment to me when I discovered it had been torn down during a two year sojourn I had with the company I worked for in Washington, D.C. during the late 60’s. RickyofL

Orlando on March 10, 2004 at 6:03 am

The Carthay Circle can be seen in the 1967 movie “Caprice” with Doris Day when she is spying on Michael J. Pollard and Irene Tsu in the balcony of the theatre. After a ruckus ensues, Doris is shown dangling from the balcony and falling into the lap of an orchestrra patron. The theatre’s exterior and marquee are also shown and the movie playing is “Caprice”, after all, it was a spoof. There were drapes hiding the original balcony walls and a quick shot shows some of the ceiling. The scenes are noticeable in the letterbox version shown on Fox Movie Channel and not so much in the pan and scan version.

William on October 20, 2003 at 6:26 pm

When the Carthay Circle Theatre opened it had a Wurlitzer Theatre organ (opus#1308) style 235, it was installed 4/1/1926.

Miko on March 14, 2003 at 7:00 pm

According to “Los Angeles: Lost and found”, the Carthy Circle Theater opened in 1926 with the premiere of Cecil B. Demille’s “Volga Boatman”. If you look into the book, you will find the picture of exterior of the Carthy Circle Theater.

Denny on November 30, 2002 at 5:37 pm

Location was at 6316 San Vicente near Carillo Avenue, Los Angeles CA.