Day 231. July 12, 2012


I was driving through Los Angeles today and noticed how artistic and fantastical the buildings are.

Movie still?


We’ve transported to the 1930’s.

This looks like a painting.

Have you ever been to The Los Angeles Theatre? Here is a link and a blurb about the opening night!

Los Angeles Theatre

The theatre was built in less than six months. In August of 1930 there was only an excavated hole in the ground, and in January of 1931 the theatre had its grand opening. Lee speeded construction by having the plaster ornamentation fabricated off-site and then brought to the building and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Most other theatres of the day had their decorative plaster molded and finished in place, with artisans working on scaffolding.

As opening day approached the Depression deepened and Gumbiner began to run out of money. Like all theatres, his Tower and Cameo theatres were not generating the income they had in the twenties. Gumbiner had already contracted with Charlie Chaplin to open his new theatre with the premiere of Chaplin’s “City Lights”. It is said that Chaplin invested his own money to finish the theatre in time for his film’s premiere. Some extra features were eliminated in the name of saving money including a music room off the basement lounge, an infirmary, and two other periscope projection systems for the music room and the outside lobby.

Opening night was a glittering affair, with Chaplin in attendance, scores of dignitaries, and even Albert Einstein. Outside, a crowd estimated at over 25,000 thronged Broadway to get a glimpse of the celebrities. The Depression brought a tinge of irony to this celebration of sumptuous luxury, as part of the crowd outside waited in a bread line across the street.

Gumbiner was justifiably proud of his new theatre, and unintentionally angered Chaplin when he interrupted the showing of “City Lights'” to point out some of the beautiful features of the auditorium. The two men had very different emotions that night as Chaplin waited anxiously to gauge the audience’s reaction to his new silent film with recorded sound accompaniment, and Gumbiner reveled in the audience’s awe and delight in his new movie palace.





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