Carthay Circle Theatre
6316 San Vicente Boulevard,
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The Carthay Circle Theatre opened May 18, 1926 with Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Volga Boatman” starring William Boyd. By 1927 it was operated by the L. Lou Bard chain Far West Theatres Inc. Designed by architect A. Dwight Gibbs, the theatre had painted murals depicting scenes of early-California by artist Frank Tenney Johnson, which included a huge painted fire safety curtain. Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937. “Fantasia” was presented in ‘Fantasound’ an early stereophonic sound process and the Carthay Circle Theatre was one of only a few theatres to be equipped with this process. Walt Disney’s “Dumbo” had its Hollywood premiere here, and on December 28, 1939 the West Coast premiere of “Gone With the Wind” was a major coup for the theatre. It was the site of innumerable premieres over the years and was one of the jewels of the Fox West Coast Theatres empire.
It was at the Carthay Circle Theatre where Mike Todd showcased “Around the World in 80 Days” on December 22, 1956. Unfortunately some of the interior of the auditorium was destroyed to accommodate the huge new Todd A-O screen and a new projection box was built at the rear of the orchestra seating area. Other 70mm roadshow presentations were “Porgy and Bess”, “Can-Can”, “The Alamo”, “El Cid” and “The Agony and the Ecstasy”.
The final film to play the Carthay Circle Theatre was “The Shoes of the Fisherman” starring Anthony Quinn in 1969. It was demolished later in 1969 and replaced by an office block. The painted fire safety curtain was saved and installed at the rear of the stage of the downtown United Artists Theatre which became a church for several decades. Now the Ace Theatre on S. Broadway, it has been removed and put into storage until a new home can be found for it.
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