Hitching Post Theatre

1442 2nd Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Opened in the late-1940’s, the Hitching Post Theatre is listed in the 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook at 1448 4th Street (same in the 1952 edition).

Later known as the Pussycat Theatre, this and the Sunset Theatre were the longest running Pussycat’s in Los Angeles area. The Sunset Theatre was the last one, with the closing of the Santa Monica Pussycat Theatre in 1999.

This theatre was razed and only the marquee was saved during its demolition in 2000.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

gugenheim84 on November 9, 2007 at 11:40 am

I distinctly remember a theater showing only Western movies (at least on Saturday’s) in that location in the very early 50’s and there was an authentic Hitching Post in front of the entrance. The actual name of the theater I’m not sure, but my brother and I called it The Hitching Post. In the 60’s it was not there anymore and if it had been replaced by an adult theater before 1964-65 I would have surly known about it. Santa Monica had a liberal reputation but an adult theater in the midst of all those merchants who’s business' catered to Mom’s and Family is quite unbelievable.

DonSolosan on February 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Ken, your second photo favors Rapp Saloon, the oldest building in Santa Monica (1875) and its first landmark. As well as a saloon, it functioned as storage space for Vitagraph (which had a building next door), and as city hall. Now it’s a part of the hostel behind it, and used for poetry readings.

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 7:23 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

William on August 8, 2008 at 7:51 am

Thanks Jay for that post on the history of the chain.

kencmcintyre on September 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Here is a August 1997 article from the LA Times:

The X-rated Pussycat Theater on 2nd Street has been purchased by a Santa Monica real estate company and will go out of business by the end of the year.

Calstar Equities, which bought the theater for about $1.5 million, said it may raze the theater to make way for a three-story office building.

City officials hailed the move. “Many people have been turned off by the theater’s marquee and posters,” said Councilman Ken Genser. “We’re hoping this will fit into the overall scheme of downtown improvement.”

kencmcintyre on January 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Here is part of an LA Times article dated 9/19/95:

The Pussycat Theater is back, much to the dismay of Santa Monica officials. The adult theater closed for a month and was replaced by a foreign-film operator. The theater shut down after a Beverly Hills chiropractor took a three-month sublease on the theater space, a block west of the Third Street Promenade. Since mid-August, Dr. Shahin Ravery had been showing Iranian films at the theater, which he renamed Asia Theater. But problems with the sound system and foul smells inside the building forced Ravery to close.

Last week, the X-rated Pussycat reopened, but city officials want to see it closed. The city says the 30-year-old business, which was exempt from a 1981 ordinance banning adult theaters, is now bound by the law because it is considered a new business in the wake of its reopening. There are no other adult movie theaters in Santa Monica.

cazia on April 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm

My buddies and I would go to the Hitching Post every Saturday morning during the late 40’s and very early 50’s. They showed nothing but “B” Westerns and weekly Serials. I remember they had a sign stating “Check Your Guns At the Box Office” And of course the only attendee’s were very preteen boys. I was raised in Santa Monica and have many fond memories of some of the theatres found on this site. Just found the site today and plan on spending many enjoyable hours here!

KenJr on October 15, 2010 at 11:04 pm

My friends and I used to go to the Hitching Post Theater in Santa Monica every Saturday in the 1940s (I lived just down the street at 4th and Pacific). They played all Western movies, double features .. Lash LaRue, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and on and on. The only exceptions to the Westerns I remember were the Three Stooges shorts and the cartoons. I should also note that the ushers would get up on stage between features and throw out Double-Bubble gum and various candies. It was a great way to spend Saturday afternoons.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 16, 2010 at 4:56 am

We have an identity problem. The very reliable web site Los Angeles Theatres says that the Hitching Post and the Pussycat were two different theaters (turns out Kirk Besse was on the right track in his comment of July 22, 2007, above.)

Much of the information on the L.A. Theatres Santa Mocia Hitching Post page matches information I posted some time ago on the Cinema Treasures page for the Beverly Canon Theatre, which was once the Hitching Post Theatre in Beverly Hills. My source was Boxoffice Magazine, and I have no doubt the additional information from L.A. Theatres is correct.

The Hitching Post was at 1448 4th Street, not 1442 2nd, which was the address of the Pussycat Theatre (for which L.A. Theatres also has a web page.) The Hitching Post opened in the 1940s, was closed briefly in 1950, then reopened as the Riviera Theatre, an art house, though it probably continued to run westerns at matinees on weekends. The Riviera was apparently closed by 1953, and in 1954 the building had become a furniture store.

The Hitching Post/Riviera had been closed for almost two decades by the time the Pussycat opened, so it isn’t surprising that someone would mistake the Pussycat’s location for that of the long-gone Hitching Post, which must be what happened when William submitted this theater. The description above should be changed to correct the errors, and the Pussycat should probably get its own page.

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