In 1926, the Carthay Circle Theatre (which was known as being one of the most prestigious movie palaces of Hollywood's Golden Age) opened its doors in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles.
The building stood for the next 43 years until 1969, when some “brilliant” developers decided that building a hideous, cardboard box-like monstrosity would make more sense than refurbishing the dilapidated (yet historic) structure.
While the original building has now been gone for nearly as many years as it stood, a replica of the theater is currently being built at the end of the new entryway of Disney's California Adventure. Last Wednesday, construction crews worked throughout the night to secure Carthay's iconic cupola (also known as a “high bell tower” for all us non-fancy types) into place.
Read more about the original Carthay Circle Theatre and its replica after the jump.
In 1937, Walt Disney premiered his first feature length film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Carthay Circle Theatre. Back then, the southwest corner of San Vicente Boulevard and Carrillo Drive looked a lot like this:
Today, sadly, it looks like this:
But a replica of the theater is now being rebuilt in California Adventure at the end of the park's new entryway. The entryway, which will be called Buena Vista Street when it opens next spring, will lead visitors straight to the theater, much in the same way that Main Street leads visitors straight toward Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
If you've been in California Adventure recently you know that much of it now stands behind large construction barriers. The entrance alone is like a maze for mice, with visitors being herded directly toward Soarin' Over California. But all of the construction will be worth it when the park (and it's highly anticipated 12-acre Cars Land) debuts next year.
Construction crews are hard at work (mostly at night once the parks are closed) to keep California Adventure's renovation on schedule. Last Wednesday night, crews secured the Carthay Circle Theatre's iconic cupola tower on top of the structure's frame.
Check out this video of the crew putting it into place:
When completed, the building will be a great nod to an era of Hollywood that Walt helped build. Hopefully the replica won't someday be replaced by a gray, cubicle-crammed office building. We have more than enough of those already.