Our Local Theater Was Great For SciFi Movies

God gave us memories that we might have roses in December. ~J.M. Barrie

The Meralta Theaterlt



The Meralta in 1947

The Meralta Theater (in Culver City CA) opened in March 1924 in a building that fronted the 9600-block of Culver Blvd. Other businesses in the block included a sweet shop, a drapery, Western Union, and a second-story hotel. The ceremonies were hosted by Will Rogers and the movie shown was "The Galloping Fish", produced by Thomas Ince at his local studio.

The theater's name derived from the two owners, Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta; they lived upstairs in the building and were also connected to the Meralta Theater in the city of Downey. Pearl sold real estate and later insurance in town, while Laura was a seamstress at the movie studios. This connection led to many klieg-lighted premieres of films by Charles Chaplin and others being held at the Meralta.

A fire during World War II halted operations for a while, due to wartime restrictions on construction, but arrangements were made to relocate to the second-story auditorium of City Hall until the theater could be rebuilt.

The films exhibited in later days at the Meralta were restricted to non-R-rated fare, since the two ladies still lived upstairs, and had a huge one-way-mirror plate glass window (perhaps 4-feet by 6-feet) in the living room of their apartment that looked straight at the screen. The window could be seen to the right [east] of the projection booth.

Operations continued into the 1980s, but under other management: the theater showed third-run features for a while, then movies made in India. After the death of both owners, the building was torn down and replaced with the Meralta Plaza office complex, which opened in 1983.

There Was A Seond Theather in Culver City; 500 Feet Apart

The Meralta Theater in Culver City, California

The Culver Theatre began construction in 1945. It was built in the late Modern style, and like the Meralta, was a source of jobs for local youth. The theatre received Historic Landmark status from the city. As the need for single theaters and ushers with flashlights declined, the Principal Theater was sold and reconfigured into a triplex. The Culver underwent changes of ownership, as the Mann chain purchased the theater in the early 1970s, and later Great Western Theatres, Inc., and NCC Theatre Corp. In 1985, the Culver City Redevelopment Agency bought the theatre. The Culver ceased operations in 1989. Some might remember Ad Chamberlain's print shop located in the back of the theater as well.

Today it is called the Kirk Douglas Theather.

The scariest movies in town came to this theater and Buster Crab rode rockets all over the galaxy right inside this building.

What We Saw Was Blood Curdling

The Meralta Theater in Culver City, California       The Meralta Theater in Culver City, California
Terrifying movies...