Every time I go to Hollywood, (which isn’t often enough!), I am in awe of The Pantages Theater. It stands as a historical landmark that reminds me of times much more glamorous than our own. The Pantages Theater stands n the heart of Hollywood, on Hollywood Boulevard, right down the block from Vine Street.
The Pantages opened on June 4, 1930. “The opening night audience couldn’t have been more impressed by the show than they were by the theatre. Alexander Pantages had conceived of this theatre, the last built to bear his name, as a fitting monument to his position in the entertainment industry. Although the Wall Street Crash occurred between groundbreaking and completion, no expense was spared in its construction. The cost of the Pantages Theatre itself, not counting the considerable expense of theatrical and projection equipment, was $1.25 million — the equivalent of about $10 million in today’s dollars.”
If you have ever visited the Pantages, you know the amount of detail that went into the design. The restrooms and lobby are so impressive, you almost want to spend your time there, rather than in the main theater. Every time I go, and use the lounge, I am reminded of the many starlets who had their cigarettes and powdered their noses there.
Howard Hughes, through RKO pictures, acquired the Pantages as part of his national chain of movie houses in 1949. At this time, the Pantages played host to Hollywood’s most spectacular annual event — The Academy Awards, which were handed out to lucky winners (including Humphrey Bogart, Vivien Leigh and Frank Sinatra) on its stage each year from 1949 to 1959. As you can see in one of the photos, in 1963, celebrity patrons were treated to a special screening of Cleopatra at $250 apiece, the proceeds going to the construction fund for the new Music Center.
The Pantages has since been remodeled and is now used for Broadway productions, including Wicked, The Producers, and many more. It has been restored to its original 2,691 available seats and still holds all the glory it once had. My favorite memory of the Pantages, is being there for the first time to see Phantom of the Opera and being in complete awe of the staircase in the lobby. What is your favorite memory of the historical theater? Here are some of the vintage pics I could find. Enjoy!