drawing carthay circle

The 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.[1] The architects were Carleton Winslow and Dwight Gibbs.[3] The iconic octagonal tower was placed in the front corner spandrel space left between the circle and the square. The auditorium’s cylinder-shaped wall was raised up above the roof line, to create a parapet visible from the outside that resembled a circus tent. “Simple, massive and dignified, the building stands out for its intrinsic beauty,” raved The Architect and Engineer.[1] Pacific Coast Architect wrote that it was a theatre “masked as a cathedral”.[1]

There was a drop curtain that featured an homage to the pioneer Donner Party, which perished crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Bronze busts of Native American leaders and photographs of Lillie Langtry and other 19th century actors adorned the lounges and lobbies. Murals of historic scenes forty feet tall graced the walls, painted by Pasadena artist Alson S. Clark.[1]

via Carthay Circle Theatre – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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  1. June 18, 2013

    ‘Theatre masked as a cathedral’ … how curious. Why? Pictures, theatre are the new gods?

    • June 18, 2013

      Now I think you could only call them gods of commerce, but then… in 1926, bigger than life, transporting you to worlds unseen, where you could “worship” several times a week…

      • June 18, 2013

        Ah yes, gods of commerce; and theatres that are as dull and identical as fast food outlets. Sigh.

      • June 20, 2013

        In Christchurch, as well?

      • June 20, 2013

        Sigh, yes. Our older style theatres were trashed in the recent earthquakes. I think only one of them is restorable.

      • June 20, 2013

        Oh my, I had completely forgotten about that – the pictures from 2011 were shocking.

      • June 20, 2013

        Yes, but you should see the Isaac Royal Theatre now; in the throes of restoration but it looks so dejected at the moment.

      • June 20, 2013

        Ah yes a lovely happy face and a wonderful supporter! I went to see Miriam Margoyles last year; think it might have been a fundraiser. Great evening. She was performing her piece on Dicken’s women in a high school theatre. Thank goodness for the high school theatres around the city. They have provided valuable performance space.

  2. George Kaplan
    June 18, 2013

    In Los Angeles did Kubla Khan a stately picture palace decree… Such a magnificent building from a time when theaters really were thrilling edifices and antechambers to Dreams.
    Favourite phrases of the day: “whitewashed concrete trimmed in blue”, “iconic octagonal tower”, and “spandrel space”. šŸ™‚ In truth, I love the rhythm of the writing in this piece. Excellent and imagistic.

    (Bad Taste Comment: I hope the tribute to the Donner party didn’t feature illustrations of them eating each other… Oops)

    • June 18, 2013

      Good morning Mr. Kaplan! I have a picture of the Donner Party curtain and I will send it to you right now….

  3. June 21, 2013

    Very cathedral like indeed.At first glance one would be forgiven for thinking it was.Such a shame that it is now gone though.Well at least it once was there and we have the pictures.Better still however if it were still standing.

    I sometimes muse whether there is in fact some perverse architectual law that says-when you knock down a good building it must be replaced by something worse.I have certainly considered this to have a general applicability.It also seems to be true that almost inevitably the worse building that replaces the older one must be held to be a shining example of improvement that has torn away the past to replace it with something of our age etc.The curious assumption seeming to be that something of our age is invariably better without the need to prove it and despite the fact that self evidently it is not, we must accept it or be philistines who do not understand progress or even worse philistines who would stand in its way.

    I have long considered this not to be so much an arguement as name calling.I lose count of the times I have heard it however.

    • June 22, 2013

      What’s replaced it are two office buildings — very nondescript seventies architecture — I guess it’s better than a mini-mall?

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