Avalon Theatre

1 Casino Way,
Catalina Island, CA 90704

Unfavorite 20 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 49 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Architect Sumner Spaulding’s middle name was Maurice. Walter Webber’s middle initial was I.

CatalinaFF on January 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Please come see this beautiful theatre at the annual Santa Catalina Film Festival held every May. This year there are a lot of amazing guests lined up to come.

Go To: www.CatalinaFF.org for more information.

Tock11 on July 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

What is the definition of “atmospheric”?

Considering the ceiling—even minus clouds and a bordering Spanish village—could this be called an atmospheric?

gman99 on November 5, 2009 at 3:55 am

Hey, does anyone have any further info on the “Silent Movie Festival” mentioned above??

Have only been there once…but loved it. Especially since during the tour, we were privileged with a screening of a Buster Keaton short….definitely the true genius of the Silent Film era.

ERD on November 1, 2009 at 10:41 am

A unique and beautiful interior and exterior. I am glad the Avalon theatre is so well maintained.

spectrum on November 1, 2009 at 10:14 am

A couple links:

Casino Ballroom: avalonball.com

Avalon Theater: View link

kencmcintyre on June 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Here is a 1929 interior photo from the LAPL:

vokoban on August 26, 2008 at 11:57 am

I sat in the seats last weekend and they are very comfortable and new feeling. I’m sure they replaced the original seats with these at some point and put fewer than original to accommodate the continuously expanding exteriors of the American public. They did a really nice job because the sides of the seats look original, at least on the aisle.

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2008 at 11:25 am

It shouldn’t say Catalina Island. Atlantic City is on Absecon Island. Shouldn’t all theaters in Atlantic City be listed as Atlanic City, Absecon Island, NJ, by your rationale? Avalon is the city, CA is the state. Catalina Island is not part of the address.

vokoban on August 26, 2008 at 11:18 am

Isn’t that the address listed?

kencmcintyre on August 26, 2008 at 11:12 am

Address should be 1 Casino Way Avalon CA 90704.

vokoban on August 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

Here’s an article about the opening of this theater from the LA Times:

(Feb. 24, 1929)
Grand Opening of Amusement Center Set for June 1
AVALON (Catalina Island) Feb. 23.-The $1,000,000 theater and dance palace under construction by William Wrigley, Jr., scheduled to open June 1, has so increased in cost that it now has passed the $2,000,000 mark. Steam shovels this week are making the immense building visible from the sea by leveling a cliff which now hides it. The granite composing the cliff is being hauled out to a submerged reef several hundred yards distant.
The Catalina theater building is of circular typed of enormous size. A total of 10,000 sacks of cement was required for the concrete work; 1500 tons of structural steel for 28,222 separate pieces for braces; 422 tons of reinforcing steel and 25,000 yards of sand and rock for the foundations. The roof requires 105,000 Catalina red curved tile.
The theater auditorium, on the main floor, is 115 feet in diameter. The full dome ceiling is forty-five feet high and the theater will seat 2500 persons.
The ballroom on the floor above is said to be the largest in America. It is 18,000 square feet in area and large enough to accommodate 5000 persons. The floor is laid on floating cork and felt. There are o supporting pillars on either the dance floor or theater auditorium, for the building is braced horizontally and vertically, involving new engineering principles. An indirect lighting system will be used.
Gabriel Beckman, mural artist, is in charge of decorating nine panels depicting a sequence of submarine scenes.
Webber & Spaulding, Los Angeles architects, designed the building. Tom White, lessee, will operate the theater. He has charge of the opening, June. 1.

TheaterBuff1 on May 23, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Given how the average movie length is 90 minutes, if a vacation is planned out right, what does it take to squeeze that 90 minutes into the course of a day? That is, if the resort that one goes to vacation at is planned out right. Isn’t the ideal vacation one where you get to spend quality time getting back with nature each day but it’s also such that you get to take in a great movie in a great theater each day? That just seems like such a great combination to me, provided the movies in question are excellent to great, and the theater in question is along the same lines as the Avalon Theater on Catalina Island, California.

kencmcintyre on May 23, 2008 at 11:35 am

I agree. If you’re spending the fifty bucks to go to the island, you probably aren’t going to spend the afternoon inside watching Spiderman 8.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2008 at 7:29 am

Fortunately, there would be no market for that many screens on this tiny island.

markp on May 23, 2008 at 7:25 am

Amazing to see a huge auditorium like that still intact in 2008. Everywhere I’ve worked, that would have been carved up into 4 or 6 screens by now. Truly a gem.

kencmcintyre on May 22, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I like Catalina, but I haven’t been there since I got married. My wife gets seasick. There used to be some interesting hotel remains a bit north of the theater.

TheaterBuff1 on June 14, 2007 at 3:09 am

And I consider it wonderful that the U.S. still has a theater as well run as this within its boundaries. For in the age America has entered into now it is a true rarity. So by all means, cherish it for all it’s worth, and don’t take it for granted.

Amphitrite on June 12, 2007 at 12:27 pm

This is my absolute, all time favorite theater. I went to movies here in the 60s as a child whenever I was lucky enough to get to Catalina, and on visits over the years I have endured whatever movie is playing, just to sit in this gorgeous theater! I highly recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance. For me it is completely magical.

TheaterBuff1 on January 24, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Oh there’s no doubt the folks of Catalina Island are good people. It’s just that so much of the rest of the U.S. has forgotten that it’s supposed to be great, too. Right now it’s all turned inside out from what it’s supposed to be. But then again, what do I mean by “right now”? For it’s been that way since the 1970s. Too much emphasis on people while everyone’s forgotten that the land’s supposed to be the ultimate star. Next, the buildings and other infrastructure built in homage to that land. And then maybe, maybe, some of the people if they’re truly worthy. But right now we’ve got so much land across the U.S. that once was beautiful but is no more, nonstop urban sprawl in place of once great architecture and other wise planning, and people seated atop that hideous, man-created crown in me! me! me! fashion who we’re praising when we should be cursing, people now heading towards their cushy retirements as if they actually deserve them. It’s what I call the “You blew it” generation in need of a serious makeover of becoming the “give it all back” generation. If nature had her ultimate say I wonder what kind of retirement she would give them? The finale of the 1950s movie “War of the Worlds” comes to mind…

blefever on January 23, 2007 at 4:16 pm

I have been going to Catalina Island for over 40 years and for myself and my family, the Avalon Theater is always a treat to see in a sunny spot, and I like to think we are good people.

TheaterBuff1 on October 1, 2006 at 8:29 pm

This theater does indeed sound very beautiful going by all your descriptions of it. And I found out about it today because I got one of those Cinema Treasures e-mails sent to me today saying “Somebody just replied to your comment” (or something to that effect.) Needless to say, I never posted any comment at this page, but that technical glitch happens once in a while.

Anyway, now that I’ve learned of this beautiful theater — located 22 (or 26!) miles out on California’s scenic Catalina Island no less! — while I’m greatly enamored of the surface things being said of it, at the deeper level I’m wondering, is this yet another one of those sunny entertainment venues for the pleasure of shady people? For there seems to be an awful lot of that these days. Since it’s assumed we’re all movie buffs here, we all remember that movie “The Dirty Dozen,” right? Particularly that scene where the Nazi officers and their associates, wives, mistresses, etc., are in attendence at that gala ball that the dirty dozen are assigned to target? If you recall, without their awareness, everyone inside the bunker (or wherever the ball is being held) is sealed in and then a series of explosions is set off once they’re fully trapped. What follows next could be described as a scene of great horror. But we hardly view it that way, given how it’s Nazis plus those who religiously support the Nazi cause being killed. In brief, it’s a sunny place for shady people that suddenly becomes a not very sunny place for anyone to be trapped inside of.

Now I’m not saying that a dirty dozen be newly formed to do in the many sunny places for shady people that are in such vast abundance throughout the United States today. But I am greatly troublied that in today’s America there are scant few (indeed if any) sunny places for good people, while at the very least I would like to think that the Avalon Theatre on Catalina Island is such.

Catalina Island is uniquely beautiful, and certainly there’s no practical way to bring every single spot throughout the U.S. to being just as beautiful. However, there’s no intelligent or morally right excuse for not having theaters every bit as beautiful as the Avalon easily accessible by good people all throughout the U.S.

As some of you reading this might know, I myself reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where over a year now I’ve been campaigning heavily to bring at least one or two of our historic cinemas back to life as full scale movie theaters once more, but have been slammed hard in my efforts at every single turn, even by those allegedly trying to bring the Boyd Theatre — Philadelphia’s last standing movie palace — back to life. For around here the thought of having anything uplifting for good people — as opposed to those who are shady — is treated as if “unthinkable,” and to many privileged folks in these parts, even as “offensive.” Such is the new America, or this part of it, at least.

Anyway, over a year into my campaign, maybe it’s desparation, I don’t know. But I do have to wonder, is it more than mere coincidence that by some technical glitch my attention was brought to the Avalon Theatre on Catalina Island?

MagicLantern on January 31, 2006 at 11:16 pm

Brilliant, Jake! I do appreciate it.

JakeM on January 31, 2006 at 3:02 pm

I found this page with a calendar listing including shows at the theatre: http://www.ecatalina.com/calendar.cfm

MagicLantern on January 31, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Ken, do you have a link to a page with showtimes for the Avalon?