Catalina’s Legendary Avalon Theater To Close! Is There A Savior?

Catalina Island’s Legendary Movie Theater Will Close!

Shockingly sad news to report: the company that owns Catalina Island’s iconic movie theater is planning to close it!

The Avalon is a 1,184-seat movie palace, built in 1929 as part of the Catalina Casino and as reported by The Los Angeles Times, it was the first cinema in the world designed for talkies!

Screen legends like Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe used the theater for glitzy movie premiers, but changing fortunes have spelled its imminent demise.

For those unfamiliar with Southern California, Santa Catalina Island sits 29 miles off the coast of Southern California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. The island is 22 miles long and eight miles wide, and the most popular destination is the bay of Avalon, where the gorgeous Catalina Casino sits…

As The Los Angeles Times reported:

At the end of this year, the Avalon will stop showing first-run films for good, ending a 90-year tradition. The Catalina Island Co., its owner and operator and the main landlord around town, plans to continue daily tours and offer up the theater for special events like the long-running Catalina Film Fest and Silent Film Benefit.

Chief Executive Randy Herrel said not enough people attend the new flicks to make the Avalon financially viable. He said it needs at least 137 theatergoers every night to break even; average attendance this year, excluding blockbusters like the live-action “Lion King” remake, is just 37.

The LA Times article includes plenty of comments from locals, who don’t see the closing as being fair to their community, but as Herrel told The Times:


“It’s not going to get any better for our movie theater,” he said. “What small town that has 4,000 population has a 1,000-seat theater that’s still open?”

Whether the company is acting in haste or not, the sad fact is that single screen movie palaces are almost all gone – either closed or turned into multiplexes…

You can read more of the LA Times reporting here:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-01/avalon-theater-catalina-island-hollywood?fbclid=IwAR1AwDSmFZjAN43e9j1RDRiyeTmvyJ3cz4kuKPiIfMNSPAHpluyNiAxsMAo

Unfortunately, I’ve had to report on far too many classic Hollywood landmarks that have shuttered – in the town that creates movies, there are few movie palaces remaining.

It’s a reminder to support classic businesses to help ensure their survival.

Happily, the iconic restaurant Musso & Frank in Hollywood just celebrated its 100th birthday and its still going strong!

Quentin Tarantino filmed scenes there for his brilliant movie “Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood” – and I ate there recently as well!

See the incredible menu – including their legendary Martinis by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2019/09/28/hollywoods-legendary-musso-frank-gets-a-star-on-the-walk-of-fame-iconic-restaurants-100th-birthday-celebration-is-on/

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

https://johnrieber.com

Let’s hope there is a compromise that will allow The Avalon to continue to entertain Catalina…



Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Movies, Pop Culture, Real Estate, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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7 replies

  1. That is a great pity. Unfortunately people would rather stay in the comfort of their homes and stream their films to watch.

  2. IT will be a tragedy indeed when it closes. But that is the hard reality of streaming services, and films on demand. Let’s hope someone finds a reason to keep the building in public use in some form.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Looks like a beauty! Too bad about it closing but at least they’re not planning to tear it down. Seattle has kept a couple of the old movie palaces – though not nearly as grand – like the 5th Avenue Theatre used for live productions. Catalina Island looks beautiful too. I’d love to visit someday, maybe on a cruise.

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