Palms Theatre

3751 Motor Avenue,
Culver City, CA 90034

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Located in the Palms district of Culver City. A post office now stands on the site.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

Blofeld on November 12, 2006 at 6:25 am

Last Detail is the one I remember the most, seeing there. I forgot about the clock, “Belfast Water” wasn’t it? We loved this little hole in the wall; the programming seemed to be a bit more ambitious than some of the surrounding theaters, like the Culver and the Meralta (and we can see from the photo of the Meralta what a second to third run theater it was…)

EllaJade on November 13, 2006 at 6:42 am

I don’t recall if it was Belfast Water or not, but it could very well be. Did it look anything like the following – View link – Seems like the Neon was blue and the second hand had a small crescent on the end of it. The photo of the outside makes the theatre seem so much smaller than I recall, but I was much smaller myself. Prior to going to the Palms, my brothers and I used to go to the FOX Venice (when we lived in Venice). After moving to Culver City, we went either to the Culver or the Meralta depending on what was playing there. Sad to see that they are all gone now, but that’s how it goes.

rlgoldst2 on May 4, 2007 at 6:56 pm

My first date was at The Palms in the late ‘50s. I was in 8th grade, she was in 7th. The Saturday matinee was “St. Francis of Assisi,” shown 2nd or 3rd run. We sat in the back. I had my arm around her throughout the film; when St. Francis experienced the stigmata, my date cringed closer to me and then I kissed her. Years later, I took my high school sweetheart to The Palms, and even though she laughed at the comedy we saw, she told me never to take her to The Palms again. Snooty young lady that she was, she only liked the 1st-run houses in Westwood & Hollywood. We broke up soon after. In the early '70s my wife & I saw The Godfather at The Palms. The place was packed; we enjoyed it. … The Palms had a strong community feel to it. The owners were convivial gentlemen who greeted the patrons coming and going; they innovated recorded phone messaging. It’s a shame to lose that in this age of home video.

georgepeter on May 29, 2007 at 7:05 pm

I remember seeing A Clockwork Orange there. It was a very cool place to see a movie.

greg6363 on August 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm

I remember seeing Flashdance at this theatre when the film opened in early 1983. It actually opened day and date with Westwood Village which amazed me. When calling the theatre, the guy who did the recording always ended the message with “Shalom”. Quaint theatre. Fun times.

nightfly on August 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm

This was where I went to see movies as a young child — everything from “The Music Man” to Disney flicks. By those days, it had been “modernized” by draping curtains all over the interior. What I mainly remember was the screen curtain in broad vertical stripes of primary colors. There was a big fire at the theatre in ‘62-'63, and it was closed for awhile. When it reopened, it had a new, solid-gold curtain. The last film I saw here was “Lilies of the Field” in late '63, just before our family left L.A.

nightfly on August 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm

A follow-up: that last time I went there was December 14, 1963, because it was the day of the Baldwin Hills Dam collapse and flood just a few miles away. The incident took place while I was at the Palms with my aunt, and we didn’t find out about the disaster until we got out of the theatre. It was quite a time — three weeks earlier, JFK had been murdered, and, three weeks thereafter, we left L.A., where I had lived all my young life, and moved to Europe, where my father had been transferred. Tumultuous times, indeed.

ChasSmith on November 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm

If memory serves correctly, the Palms advertised real buttered popcorn, a rarity in those days.

In 1981-82 I lived around the block and had the pleasure of just walking around the corner to see second-run films at the Palms. A few that come to mind: “Fame”, “The Competition”, “On Golden Pond”. But my best Palms memory of all — an evening I still recall as one of the standout experiences ever with a movie AUDIENCE — was “Blazing Saddles”. A full house, the perfect audience, and a purely great night at the movies in a nice neighborhood theater.

JohnCl on January 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Lots of memories of the Palms. We all went to the Palms on Saturdays.
Ralph and Margaret Hintz owned it and the family ran it. During WWII it was said that the theatre was open 24-7 to patrons working in the war plants.

Jim Allen and Merrit Stone always hired ushers from patron families. I started in 1961. Jim and Merrit were great guys. They “funded” my education at UCLA with no interest loans that I paid back each summer. Jim and Merrit were both members of the actors guild and we often had name actors come by to see a movie. After graduation from UCLA and after starting my professional career, I worked most of every week for the next 6 or 7 years. The owners and ushers were family! I met Miss Karen there in 1967. We have been married for 42 years. Three of the ushers at the Palms were ushers at our wedding. A lot of us are still in touch. Both Merritt and Jim have gone on to their rewards. Jim and Merritt took a run down theatre and turned it into a safe, family oriented, theatre with many first run-city wide released through the years.

ScottyA on June 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Wow. I literally have no memory of the inside or outside of this place. But I do know that in 1975, my sister’s 11th birthday party was there, and we saw a double feature of “Smile” and “Funny Lady”!

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