Filmarte Theatre

Casanova Street,
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

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Built in 1922-1924 by the Carmel Club of Arts & Crafts, this house originally presented plays, as the Arts & Crafts Theatre. In 1929 it was purchased by Edward G. Kuster, operator of the rival Golden Bough Theatre.

After it was bought by Kuster, the Arts & Crafts Theatre became the Filmarte Theatre, a movie house operated by partners Dick Bare and Bob Edgren. As the Filmarte, it catered to the sophisticated tastes of the dominant population of Carmel-by-the-Sea, which by then was Northern California’s largest art colony. Among the movies presented at the Filmarte was the 1933 Hungarian film “Ecstasy”, featuring then-scandalous (and still famous) nude scenes of Hedy Lamarr.

In 1935, when his original Golden Bough Theatre burned down, Kuster booted out his cinematic tenants and re-converted the Filmarte to a stage theatre, eventually renaming it the Golden Bough Theatre. This theatre, too, was destroyed by a fire, in 1949.

The site of the Filmarte, on Casanova Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, is now occupied by the 99 seat Circle Theatre, a legitimate house operated by Pacific Repertory Theatre. The current Golden Bough Theatre, completed in 1951 and also operated by Pacific Repertory, is adjoined behind it, and fronts on Monte Verde Street.

Contributed by Joe Vogel
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