Jubilant over Jubilee
Kudos to Charly Shelton for his three-part series on the diamond jubilee festivities at Disneyland (“Disneyland 60th Celebration,” June 11-25, 2015).
“The 60th anniversary is all about looking back where Disneyland came from,” he wrote. “It is really nice to see the nostalgia brought to vivid life with the new technologies available to us.”
To me, nothing says nostalgia like a dazzling replica of the long-lost Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood, which opened at Disney California Adventure in 2012.
Built in 1926, Carthay Circle Theatre opened with the world premiere of “The Volga Boatman,” directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Its long association with Walt Disney began in 1929 with the animated cartoon, “The Skeleton Dance” (which no other theatre wanted), followed by the animated features “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia.”
In 1939, Carthay Circle Theatre hosted the West Coast premiere of “Gone With The Wind,” as well as its 1967 revival. Shortly after the last screening of “The Shoes of the Fisherman” in 1969, the iconic theatre, deemed seismically unsafe, was demolished.
Forty years later, Disney architect Coulter Winn incorporated designs for Carthay Circle Theate, with its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and octagonal bell tower, into plans for the 1920s-era Buena Vista Street at California Adventure. Although it is not a working theatre, the new Carthay Circle features a lounge and private club on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor.
For a real adventure, take a nostalgic ride on a vintage Red Car to Carthay Circle Theatre, where a legend was reborn.