What a Shame, But What Memories!
I was born on Commodore Sloat Drive in 1962. I didn't see the glory days of the '30s or '40s, but I do remember the premieres...most notably, The Beatles' HELP that my brother and sister raved about.
Also, it's a little-mentioned fact that there was a local market owned by our neighbors (Mr. & Mrs. Greene) on the grounds in front of the theatre. They had a butcher/deli that made amazing sandwiches (the best was a kaiser roll baloney with shredded lettuce, tomato and mustard!)
I remember a "Gone with the Wind" revival and the last film I saw on the marquee (for what seemed like a year) was "The Shoes of the Fisherman."
Then, the second big bummer of '69 (Manson was the 1st)...we watched and heard in shock as they took the wrecking ball to that great tower. I wish I'd grabbed some pieces now, if only to prove it was painted white...they're currently planning a re-make of the Carthay in the California Adventure space of Disneyland and I have a bet with friends that they'll paint it some "tuscan" shade...there's been a weird trend of coating all the great old buildings of our city for the last 5 years in different hues of dirt brown, like a bad Indiana Jones acid trip. It now gives the main streets an illusion that the buildings are falling in on you when you're driving.
After the theatre was leveled, an insurance building was planted on the site (which you can see under construction in Paul Mazursky's "Alex in Wonderland"...behind Donald Sutherland in a scene shot at my old Carthay Center Elementary).
Anyway, the theatre is gone, but then, so is the Helm's man that used to come down our street. They kinda went together. I feel very lucky to have been born there in that time and on that street.