The Carthay Circle Theatre was one of the most famous movie palaces of Hollywood's Golden Age. It opened at 6316 San Vicente Boulevard in 1926 and closed in 1969 and was considered developer J. Harvey McCarthy's most successful monument, a stroke of shrewd thinking that made a famous name of the newly developed Carthay residential district in the Mid-City West district of Los Angeles, California. It hosted the official premiere of Walt Disney's first animated feature length film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).[1] For Disney's Fantasia (1940), the most elaborate audio system in use at the time, Fantasound, a pioneering stereophonic process, was installed at this theatre.[2]

In July 1994, a smaller-scale pastiche of the facade of the theatre (primarily the octagonal tower) was opened as the "Once Upon a Time" gift shop on the Sunset Boulevard section in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida. The store now sells clothing items for men and women.[3]

In June 2012, a fanciful larger-scale replica of the theater building was opened in the Buena Vista Street section of Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Although this replica is larger than the Orlando version, it is still slightly smaller than the 1926 original, and has a modified exterior footprint and interior floorplan. While there is no actual theatre inside, the building houses the "Carthay Circle Lounge" on the first floor, and both the "Carthay Circle Restaurant" and the members-only "Club 1901" on the second floor.[4] This structure is located on a circular plaza known as Carthay Circle, giving the impression that the theater is named for its location on a circular plaza. Also, the original's signature circular floorplan is absent from the replica building, and the circular parapet is squared off from the outside. These facts help to cement the confusion about the original meaning of the names "Carthay", "Carthay Circle" and "Carthay Circle Theater."

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Sources

  1. The March 2, 1938 edition of the Los Angeles Times reported that every Sunday afternoon at 5:00, a fully dubbed Spanish language version of Disney's Show White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was presented.
  2. Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles. Angel City Press, page 135–137. ISBN 1-883318-55-6. 
  3. DisneyWorld Official Site: Disney's Hollywood Studios Shopping
  4. Disneyland Official Site: Carthay Circle Restaurant
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