Mayfair Theatre

214 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Additional Info

Architects: Henry C. Hollwedel

Functions: Retail

Styles: Spanish Colonial

Previous Names: Santa Monica Opera House, Majestic Theatre, Mayfair Music Hall

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News About This Theater

Majestic(Mayfair) Theatre...Santa Monica California

This theatre opened as the Santa Monica Opera House on December 12, 1911. Presenting legitimate theatre and movies, it was soon renamed Majestic Theatre.

In 1967, it became the Mayfair Theatre and closed as a movie theatre in July 1973. It became the Mayfair Music Hall and can be viewed along the popular 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Sadly, the theatre was damaged in the Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994, and sat empty and unused until January 2011, when it was demolished, leaving only the fa├žade standing.

At the time of closure, it was used for comedy and music acts.

It was one of four theatres in downtown Santa Monica, others being Fox Criterion Theatre, El Miro Theatre and the Hitching Post Theatre.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 79 comments)

LarryDickman on January 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

re: postings of rigoldst on 12/24/04 and mv on 2/6/05:

Even as pre-teens in the late ‘60s, we kids knew the Mayfair wasn’t up to par with the other local theatres like the Criterion, Wilshire and El Miro. For one, the screen seemed so much smaller, even smaller than an elementary school auditorium screen. Once, at intermission, we counted the rows of seats and I believe there were 15, maybe 20 at most. So of course films like “Marooned” and “The Battle of Britain” had much less impact than they would have at another, larger venue. (Unlike mv, I was too young to catch grindhouse fare like “Night of the Living Dead” and “The Corpse Grinders,” which probably would’ve made the Mayfair my favorite neighborhood theatre!) Other films, like Hitchcock’s “Topaz” and the Burt Reynolds missing link drama “Skullduggery” seemed duller than perhaps they really were. But the Mayfair definitely had a friendly, small-scale charm about it, especially for younger viewers. It was the first theatre I’d ever visited that had a restroom vending machine that sold magic tricks, rubber spiders and other novelty items…and where can you find that nowadays?

ChasSmith on November 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

I just uploaded a flyer for a small Hitchcock festival in August 1972, my introduction to the Mayfair. I have Joseph Cotten’s signature on another part of it, which he graciously gave while chatting with people outside following “Shadow of a Doubt”.

The theater was indeed tiny. I enjoyed the films from the small balcony and the place felt ancient and almost rickety even then. But it had charm, too. The earthquake damage must have been inevitable, but I’m sorry to see it go.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 20, 2011 at 7:18 am

Is the facade still standing, and if so, what is being built behind it?

ChasSmith on November 20, 2011 at 8:41 am

Google Earth and Google Street View show the facade with the destruction behind it. (Bing Maps still shows the complete building!) Someone out there will have to update us on this.

DonSolosan on May 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I think it’s covered in the older comments, but this is yet another mixed retail/residential building that will keep the facade of the theater. The building is almost done. The last time I went by, the facade was in good shape, but all the signage, etc., had been stripped. I don’t know what, if anything, they are planning on putting back.

DonSolosan on June 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I went by the other day. The construction barriers are still up. There’s a marquee and blade sign (no name) on the front of the building now, but I’m not sure where they came from. Maybe they found the blade sign somewhere in the building; it wasn’t hanging up before this conversion. Also, the marquee is different (original 2-sided, now 3-sided), and the “Box Office” and “Alumni Bar” signs that were on either side have not returned.

DonSolosan on February 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

There’s just a fence around the front of the building now. No retail yet; don’t know if the residential portion is available for rent…

kfogg on September 29, 2015 at 10:49 pm

I worked as an usherette in full uniform with flashlight at the Majestic Theater in Santa Monica in the summer of 1958. It was my first job and I was 15 yrs old. The place was impressive, smoothly running, and fun to work at. The only time I hated it was when they showed the film “Hot Rods from Hell” The sounds drove me crazy. I had to listen to those films over and over all day.

DonSolosan on February 10, 2016 at 2:40 pm

A shoe store has moved into the downstairs retail. The blade sign says “Shoe Palace” on it, with logos on the marquee.

LouRugani on October 29, 2020 at 10:03 pm

The Mayfair Theatre auditorium was the location venue for the “Putting On The Ritz” scene in “Young Frankenstein”.

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