Hitching Post Theatre

1448 4th Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Opened by February 1946 by A B C Theatres, the Hitching Post Theatre was their third theatre to operate which screened westerns, the other two were on Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. The Santa Monica location was originally retail space. It was sometimes known as the Western Theatre. In 1950 it changed to an art house policy and was renamed Riviera Theatre, which had closed by 1952.

The building was converted into a furniture store and has since been demolished. A parking garage now sits on the site.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 13, 2007 at 11:21 am

The Hitching Post was advertised at 1448 4th Street, Santa Monica in the LA Times on 2/11/46.

KJB2012
KJB2012 on July 22, 2007 at 1:20 pm

I’ve looked through Santa Monica city directories between 1920 and 1961 and I don’t find any mention of a Hitching Post theatre. I’ve found a Western theatre located at 1448 4th in 1947-48. Are you sure that the Pussycat location had been a theatre before its Pussycat days?

gugenheim84
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 In the 60’s it was not there anymore and if it had been replaced by an adult theater before 1964-65 I would have surly known about it.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.

cazia
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
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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2016 at 12:23 am

Addendum: Check Bill Counter’s Hitching Post page for an accurate history, including its brief listing as the Western Theatre and then Riviera Theatre before finally returning to its original name before closing.

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