Avalon Theatre, Catalina Island, CA, 90704

Excerpts from Exhibitors Herald-World, May 10, 1930:

“Overlooking the bay of romantic Avalon, metropolis (for it is that) of Santa Catalina Island stands the latest of William Wrigley Jr.’s magnificent gestures to wholesome pleasures, a building of steel and stone which yet has all the gossamer unreality of a fairy queen’s palace. It is called the Casino and it houses a fully equipped motion picture theatre and ballroom.”

“The architecture of the exterior is of a Mediterranean pattern, a style that is followed throughout the foyers and corridors inside. It is within the theatre itself that all traditional manners are flung aside to create an original environment in the essential Catalinian spirit-that of make-believe.

“The walls of the theatre, which is located on the first floor, start converging toward the center of the ceiling and stage, almost but a few feet from the floor, and upon them is painted an impressionistic representation of Man unfettered amid a boundless Nature. It is allegory. It is history. And it may be hope. One assumes that it is also Catalina.

“The auditorium, thus brightly painted in an original allegory and of atmospheric design, is broad and long, but it contains no pillars. There are about 1,300 seats, over 200 of them being luxurious three-wing back loge chairs. Seating is by the American Seating Company. The lighting is indirect, being projected upward from a false half-wall just inside the wall bearing the murals, which are thus illuminated.

The ballroom is located above the theatre. It is estimated that 2,000 couples can dance there at the same time.

“The Casino cost $2,000,000. The architects were Weber and Spaulding.”

For more on the Avalon  Theatre

Official Website

Postcard from the Theatre Talks collection. Please ask permission to use.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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