Friday, December 30, 2011

Coming Soon! The Carthay Circle to DCA!

The Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles was of course home to the 1937 world premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Built in 1926, the theater's...
...exterior design was in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, with whitewashed concrete trimmed in blue, with a high bell tower and neon sign that could be seen for miles. From the book, Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles

Vintage Carthay, circa 1926. Courtesy of vokoban.


Sadly, by the late 1960s, the Carthay could no longer compete with the more modern suburban cinemas of the time. The once grand Golden Age movie palace was demolished in 1969 to make way for office buildings.

The yellow square on this satellite image below marks the spot where the theater once stood...

Modern day satellite with 1927 overlay. Image courtesy of vokoban.


It was 1994 that Disney theme parks first celebrated this historic icon with the expansion of their Sunset Boulevard at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando. A replica of the facade was built to house one of the gift shops along this street.

In 2007, the $1.1 billion expansion plan was announced for Disney California Adventure. Among the many new additions to the park would be a centralized replica of the theater facade. Set as a visual anchor at the end of the entry plaza on Buena Vista Street, the Carthay Circle Theatre would again find a home.




Early blue prints showing the Carthay Circle Theatre and its plaza. A fountain will be placed in the center with the "pump house" set across the street...





April 2011 - Construction framing...


Images copyright Loren Javier. Creative Commons License.


May 2011 - Construction framing...

Image provided by TokyoMagic! of Meet the World.


Images courtesy of Original D.


July 2011 - Construction tarps...

Photo by Andy Castro via MiceAge.


August 2011 - Construction tarps...

Image courtesy of Original D.


August 19-21, 2011 - Model on display at the D23 expo, Anaheim Convention Center...



September 2011 - Construction videos from the Disney Parks blog...




October 2011 - Construction tarps, cupola in place...

Image courtesy of Connie at Life is a Journey.

October also saw some new Carthay display items at DCA's Blue Sky Cellar, including the scale model building set within the park entrance diorama...





Blueprints on the table...



Photos on the wall...



And posters up above...



Reproductions of a page from the original 1938 pressbook + the Carthay Circle playbill...




Another 1938 pressbook page reproduction...

Images courtesy of TokyoMagic! at Meet the World.


December 2011 - These shots were taken December 16th...



The left side facade is out from behind tarps and looking mighty fine...






The tower and right side remain mostly covered...





Across the street from the "theatre" is a small building with a matching facade. This is the "pump house" mentioned in the blue prints above. Currently, it's an information booth, but word is that it will also serve as the actual pump house for the plaza fountain...




On December 23rd, the tarps were removed from around the top portion of the theatre tower. On Christmas Eve, even more of the tower was revealed...


Above December shots all generously provided by TokyoMagic! of Meet the World.


And on the 28th, the tarps are nearly gone from the right side too...

Image courtesy of Connie at Life is a Journey.


The memory of the Carthay Circle Theatre will be forever linked to Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And while this Golden Age movie palace may be long gone, thanks to theme park imagineers, it won't soon be forgotten.

So what's going to be inside? We'll find out in 2012!

13 comments:

  1. P.S. A friend of mine used to work in the office building that replaced the Carthay Circle Theater. He said somewhere on the property there is a plaque that explains what used to sit there.....wouldn't it be nicer to have the real thing instead of just a plaque?

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  2. I've heard about a Club 1901 (the date of Walt's birth)as an expansion of Club 33 ...
    Do you know more about it ?

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  3. So cool. The Disneyland Gazette mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Club 1901 would be a membership only club. Those currently belonging to Club 33 were given the option to upgrade their memberships for this new restaurant. I gotta find a way in!

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  4. Tokyo-- Yes, a ride of some sort would be best. Ever since first hearing about the new Carthay Circle, I thought something like the Hall of Presidents would be cool, but of course not animatronic presidents, but an animatronic premiere night. Walt and Lilly, the animators and all the "hollywood brass" and reporters would be there. It would be a reenactment of the 1937 premiere. But maybe that's just something a Snow White nut like me would enjoy. :)

    DSK and Connie-- Yes I've heard about a new members-only thing like Club 33. Pretty sure that is going to part of the new Carthay, although I don't think it's going to take up the entire space. Another restaurant of course is a possibility for the general public. I personally would like it to be something more since they went to all the trouble of creating this spectacular building.

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  5. Being a fan of classic theaters, I'm eager to see the DCA Carthay. The animatronic premiere night or a ride would be very cool, but I'd be happy if it just turned out to be a theater with Disney films showing throughout the day. ;-)

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  6. LJR-- Totally. If they made the Carthay an actual theater, I'd be thrilled!

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  7. Great research, and a great post! We live right around the corner from the site of the Carthay Circle Theater, and we rue the day they demolished it every time we walk by. I'd always assumed the theater fronted San Vicente/Eulalia, so it was great to see the overlay map of the theater's actual location.

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  8. Yeah, it would be great if it was an actual theater attraction of some sort. The Sci-Fi Drive-In is so popular at Walt Disney World.....why couldn't they have the building be a restaurant, but show vintage clips while people are eating? They could show vintage trailers for early Disney films INCLUDING Snow White. OR, since the original Carthay Circle theater auditorium was in the shape of a perfect circle, why couldn't they put screens all the way around the restaurant and show America the Beautiful and other vintage CircleVision films? That would be a TRUE tribute to Walt Disney. They are really missing the boat on this space if they just make it a simple restaurant.

    I hope the exclusive 1901 club thing is going to be out of the way of the general public....hopefully on the second floor.

    Oh and I love your ride idea! It would have to include an A.A. of Shirley Temple, right? They could even have a curtain go up and you ride "into" the screen and from that point on they could use all the WDW Snow White ride figures and sets since they are closing their S.W. attraction down for good in a few months.

    Oh, the possibilities! But they would never do anything that makes sense like that. By the way, I was being sarcastic in my first comment from last night. I know that it is not going to be a ride. :-(

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  9. Carriatrick!-- Thanks. So glad you liked it. You live near hallowed ground. ;)

    Tokyo-- You should apply for an imagineer job. You know an animatronic Shirley Temple with a Walt is not that crazy of an idea. You are right...the possibilities are endless if the powers that be let their imaginations go.

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  10. Thanks, but they would never listen to me! After reading your idea again, I realized that it was for an A.A. theater show, not a ride....even better! The theater auditorium could be round (again like the original C.C. Theater) and it could revolve to each scene. That would be another TRUE tribute to Walt Disney. (Or the theater could rotate instead of revolve like the former "Meet The World" attraction did at Tokyo Disneyland.) Yep, the list of possibilities is endless, but a restaurant should NOT be on that list!

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  11. Awesome! My family and I are going in February - going to have to check out how the construction is coming along. The first thing that popped into my head was that they would be playing "Snow White" round the clock (similar to "Steamboat Willie" on Main Street) but of course an animatronic premiere night would be awesome, as would a ride. Thanks for sharing! P.S. Here is a link to my disney pinterest board in case you're interested. http://pinterest.com/metenney/disney-fun/

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  12. Thanks Megan! Love your pinterest board. And have fun in February. DCA should be getting closer to completion. :)

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