Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.13 at 21:48
Current mood: optimistic
Jack Albin took this photo of Carole Lombard in September 1937, awaiting Clark Gable to finish his rehearsal of “Cimarron” on “Lux Radio Theater.” (I initially was informed this pic was from 1939, but a check of the covers of Screen Book and Hollywood, featuring Barbara Stanwyck and Dorothy Lamour respectively, showed both were October 1937 issues.)
Carole was sitting at the Music Box theater on Hollywood Boulevard (now known as the Henry Fonda), where “Lux” broadcast from its arrival on the West Coast in June 1936 through 1940 — and she spent plenty of time in theaters all over southern California. Did she ever have reason to visit this theater, perhaps for a sneak preview or for some other reason?
We don’t know…but it appears that sometime before the end of 2015, you may be able to.
The theater in question is the Rialto in South Pasadena, which we’ve written about before (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/701357.html). The venue, which opened in 1925, hasn’t shown movies since 2007 and has been shuttered since March 2010.
But a figurative knight in shining armor has come to the Rialto’s rescue — Izek Shomof, who purchased the theater late last month. Shomof has a strong track record when it comes to rehabbing old buildings; he’s renovated about a dozen vintage buildings in downtown Los Angeles and is on the board of LA’s Historic Core Business Improvement District.
According to Shomof, several firms wish to convert the 1,200-seat, single-screen theater into a cinematic brew pub, although some of the seating may be removed as part of the process.
The interior is a blend of Moorish, Egyptian and Spanish revival typical of theater design at the time, and it is hoped much of that atmosphere will be preserved:
Some contend parking could be a problem, and the Rialto is nearly a half-mile from the South Pasadena station on Metro’s Gold light-rail line. But it is hoped the theater, when renovated, will be able to again show films as it did in its heyday…and wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a Lombard gem or two on the schedule?