Carthay Circle Theatre (Demolished) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo from Security Pacific Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

Carthay Circle Theatre (Demolished)

Near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and San Vicente (which was then considered both "the western gateway of the city" and "the sticks"), the Carthay Circle Theatre was received with great interest and fanfare when it opened in 1926.

Despite criticism of the theatre's distance from most residential neighborhoods of the time, shows consistently sold out, from the first screening, The Volga Boatman by Cecil B. De Mille.

The theatre was envisioned as a tribute to the founders and pioneers of California. It was designed to recall the state's mission heritage, including an illuminated Spanish-style tower and paintings depicting the progress of California. The theatre became known as "The Showplace of the Golden West."

Premieres at the Carthay Circle evolved into major Hollywood sensations, with lines of cars turning off Wilshire onto McCarthy Vista under weaving spotlights. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Gone With the Wind, and Fantasia debuted there to huge crowds of onlookers.

Despite its endurance as a showplace for grand films through the 1960s, the Carthay Circle Theatre was demolished in 1969 and replaced with an office building, presumably because it was no longer profitable.

Photo by Don Barrett on Flickr

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Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

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