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The Million Dollar Mermaid marquee was for Mambo Kings, set in the early 50’s.
Michael Coate is correct. The theater opened in December of 1962 with BARRABAS, as the Stanley-Warner La Mirada Theater. I know, because I was there.
It is so great to hear from someone who actually managed the old Norwalk, though my memories are about 20 years earlier. I’ll always remember the coffin in the lobby for HOUSE OF USHER. Also, in those late 50’s, early 60’s years, they did kiddie matinees in a big way – with printed flyers the week before, made a real production of it at 25 cents a head. Glad to hear it never went porno.
I only wish I did know more about the Norwalk Theater. I attended it many times in the mid fifties to early 60’s. It seemed pretty old then and may have been built in the late 30’s or 40’s. Whoever managed the place had a sense of showmanship. I remember coffins in the lobby for FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, telephone showtime recordings with screams and creaking doors in the background, fake cobwebs in the ticket booth, etc. Most of the William Castle, Blob, sci fi movies from my childhood I saw at the Norwalk Theater. I remember glancing into the manager’s office to see he had hung pictures of Academy Award winning actors around the room, and a sign: “There’s no business like show business.” Whoever he was, he loved his job. The theater was torn down in the late 70’s, I think, after a stab at turning it into a twin. Randy Henderson
I remember seeing many films at this theater in the early to mid-70’s, including “Chinatown” and “Funny Lady.” The management tried to pull a fast one by breaking “Chinatown” in the middle for an intermission it otherwise would not have had, presumably to see more popcorn and JuJuBees. I think Pacific Theaters stopped them from doing this.
I believe this was once a vaudeville house which saw an appearance of the Gumm Sisters (Judy Garland) in the early 30’s.
In its pre-Pussy days, this theater was The Sunset. A friend of mine who is the nephew of the Sunset’s owner tells me that he saw Bob Hope there. I’m told that Marlon Brando and Bobby Kennedy also came to see the “art” films. It went Pussy Cat in late 1962/early 1963.
Well, it wasn’t always a revival house. I knew someone for whom it was the neighborhood theater during the 40’s.