Meralta Theatre

10912 Downey Avenue,
Downey, CA 90241

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Additional Info

Architects: Evan Jones, Clarence J. Smale

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

Meralta Theatre exterior

Opened in 1926, the Meralta Theatre served Downey, Norwalk, Lakewood and Paramount with first run movies. There was no need to drive into Huntington Park because the Meralta Theatre was showing the same film that was either at the California Theatre or the Warner Theatre in Huntington Park.

The Meralta Theatre was a great place to see a movie on a Sunday afternoon and I did many times over the years. I remember a little lounge area where one could sit down before the movie or during intermission.

It also had a lounge that was upstairs where women could go with there babies and watch the movie. For an extra 25 cents you could sit in plush red upholstery seats that rocked. During the Summer it offered I belive Wednesday matinees for kids that featured an older movie and cartoons.

I believe the Meralta Theatre closed in the early-1970’s, not sure. I remember seeing “I Never Sang For My Father” there in 1970. The theatre was demolished in 1978 and a parking lot is there now. If I close my eyes I can see it like it was just yesterday.

Contributed by DAVID SWAIN

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

mr3d on November 14, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Great stuff. I started working at the Meralta/Avenue in 1964. The manager was Frank Kovilets (spelling wrong, I’m sure). I lived three blocks away, and had the “fun” of changing the marquees, hauling the prints upstairs to the projection booth, etc. But I’d tended to hang out in the booth and hear tales of the silent days from the old projectionist. That experience helped lay the foundation for my working in the film biz.

kencmcintyre on November 14, 2008 at 10:53 pm

I put the 3/14/08 photo on my desktop as a screensaver. That marquee looks fantastic.

mr3d on November 15, 2008 at 12:24 am

Some LCD’s DO need a saver as they can “burn.” :o)

mr3d on November 15, 2008 at 12:41 am

Different but same result. I have two Viewsonic’s that PERSIST so far permanently. Newest models (past two or so years) don’t seem to have the issue.

richjr37 on February 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Growing up in nearby Cudahy,i saw many movies here.

Before moving to Texas with my parents in 1977,the last thing i remember seeing here was “Silver Streak” on a double bill with “Phantom of the Paradise” in ‘76.

This was the place to see Disney movies,as well

drb on April 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Here’s another completely different look for the Meralta:
View link

Gonzo_Greg on July 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Saw a lot of films there when I while I was matriculating through Warren High School as a VERY fat GUY…which I WAS, back in the ‘60s.

It was a great refuge for a lonely kid. They should never have closed it.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on January 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

This photograph of the Castle Theatre was taken by George Mann in 1926.

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