Palms Theatre

3751 Motor Avenue,
Culver City, CA 90034

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 31 of 31 comments

theprojectionist on August 15, 2005 at 8:46 am

This theatre dated from the mid-30’s. In 1951 it was taken over from the projectionist Ralph Hines aby Merrit Stone and James Allen. The first picture they played was “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. Over the years they built it up into the highest-grossing independent on the westside – remodling it in 1960 with one of the first indoor/lobby box offices. They also had one of the first recorded phone messages (VE 7-7171). Ralph stayed on as projectionist until he retired in 1962 when Bob Lumpkin came in – leaving in 1969 when Mike Schleiger came in and stayed until 1974 when Merrit and Jim gave it up and leased it to Great Western, they, running it into the ground until Stone and Allen sold the theatre and surrounding property to the post office in 1980. They took over the Meralta Theatre in 1968 where I was their projectionist that summer and fall before moving on.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 4, 2004 at 4:29 pm

I came across a photograph, in the Los Angeles Public Library photo database, of a Palms Theater in Palms, California, c1928. It is possible that this theater dates from that era. The neighborhood is quite old. My grandfather was a plastering contractor in the 1920s, and many of his jobs were in the Palms-Cheviot Hills area. It was pretty fully built up there before 1930, and could easily have supported a movie house of its own in the prosperous years before the depression, even with other theaters nearby.

fredpamh on November 21, 2004 at 8:00 pm

I would really like to get in touch with Joe who wrote a comment about this theater and mentioned he sold the Herald Examiner in front of Franks bar. I remember the bar well and there must have been three bars on that short block on Washington Blvd, across the street from RKO studios (Culver, Desilu, etc.). If anybody else would like to reminisce, please contact me.

fredpamh on October 3, 2004 at 2:35 am

The Palms Theater was the first time I was introduced to Our Gang Comedies and it was so cool because they were my age. Now I have DVDs of them and a lot of the pictures were made in Culver City since they were made at Hal Roach Studios which was directly across the street where I was born on Washington Blvd. In response to Joe’s comments, I also sold Examiner, Times Newspapers in that era and would like to get in touch with him since we most likely had the same boss. The Palms was an alternative theater when the Meralta burned down and then the Culver City Hall became a temp theater til the Culver Theater, with its statuesque tower opened up in ‘47 (I was there for its grand opening). The Kirk Douglas Culver Theater has just had a new grand opening. Cool.

gazpacho on November 28, 2003 at 7:18 pm

When the Miralta Theatre burned down in the late ‘40’s or early '50’s, the Culver City Fire Dept. was used as a temporary movie theatre. Then they built the “Culver”. The “Miralta” was right across and down the street from “Frank’s Bar”, where I sold the Herald Examiner paper on the corner as a boy. Both the “Palms” and the “Miralta” did in no way compare to the colorful and inticing grandeur of the “Culver”.

William on October 8, 2001 at 6:00 pm

The Palms was razed around the late 80’s. To make way for a new Post Office. The Palms ran 2nd & 3rd films in it’s later years. The Palms has been around since the early 40’s. and it seated 599 people. The Palms was a very popular theatre with the local people. About ½ mile away was the Culver theatre and around the corner was the Meralta theatre.