Carthay Circle Theatre

6316 San Vicente Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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Donald John Long
Donald John Long on November 12, 2002 at 11:53 pm

When I was a young lad in the early 1950s, my family lived in Culver City and my dad worked at Helm’s Bakery Factory. The Carthay Circle was the most spectacular movie palace in the entire area and rivalled the Grauman’s Chinese Theater for cinema history and movie premieres, even in the 1950s.

I recall going there one evening in 1952 to see “Singin' In The Rain”, the first Technicolor MGM musical I had ever seen, at age 5.

It was located near Loyola University, and I was impressed by its Spanish Mission-style tower which matched the similar architecture at Loyola nearby.

My family often went there to see first-run blockbuster movies, even after we had moved away to Inglewood, and the last movie I saw there was MGM’s “RAINTREE COUNTY” in 1957. The Carthay Circle Theater was part of the Hollywood experience in the Fifties and it was near the MGM Studios lot on Washington Blvd.

We would often drive by the MGM front gates to look at the movie billboards before going to the Carthay Circle Theater. It’s a sad tragedy that now both are gone, but not forgotten.

TonyConverse on November 11, 2002 at 11:20 pm

The Carthay Circle was a legit theater for several years in the 50’s, operated by Henry Duffy who had a legit theater chain on the West Coast in the 20’s & 30’s.

William on October 4, 2001 at 6:16 pm

The Carthay Circle has been demolished since around 1970. The last film to play the Carthay Circle was “The Shoes of the Fisherman”. The Carthay Circle’s style was mission revival, it seated around 1500 people. This theatre and the Chinese held more premieres than any theatre around. Gone With the Wind held it’s big west coast premiere here. If you cross the street going north, you will see some California Gold Rush miners in a small grassy traffic island, those were in the theatre’s forecourt. Carthay Circle was located in a strange area. It was about 3 blocks south of Wilshire Blvd. near Crescent Heights. All around this theatre are homes and a school on its south side. Carthay Circle was one of a few theatres that had large roof top signs:(Fox Ritz, Fox Belmont[LA], Fox Mesa, Fox Uptown, Fox Figueroa,)(ALL RAZED), But you can still see the signs at the Fox Fullerton,Fox Highland and the old Fox Westlake theatre. Note: they still light up the Westlake’s sign every night. The Carthay Circle was a first run, road show house. In the mid 50’s Los Angeles had 3 TODD-AO house. (#1 Egyptian with the opening of “Oklahoma”, #2 Carthay Circle with the opening of “Around the World in 80 Days”, #3 United Artists Downtown). Other theatres would do the installations soon after. The Todd-AO (DP70) projectors were installed in the Bruin theatre in Westwood in 1978. In 1994 the number 2 machine was changed out.