HOLLYWOOD — Thaddeus Hunter Smith, the entrepreneur behind the Music Box Theatre @ Fonda, and his business partner, real estate investor and billboard entrepreneur Brian Levian, have signed a lease to take over and revitalize the world-famous Earl Carroll Theater on Sunset Boulevard.
The pair plan to transform the Carroll Theater, which most recently served as the Nickelodeon studio, into a new 38,000 square foot entertainment complex in the heart of Hollywood.
The new project will celebrate Carroll and his long-term affair with partner Beryl Wallace, capturing the spirit of love that enveloped the original theater. The 1930s-40s-era supper club-theater, designed by architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, originally presented shows on a massive stage with a 60-foot wide double revolving turntable and staircase plus swings that could be lowered from the ceiling. The revues, which rivaled the Ziegfield Follies in scope and opulence, featured a chorus of 60 girls singing and dancing while patrons dined in style.
The theater also featured 6,200 feet of blue and gold neon tubing and 30-foot columns of light flanking the stage, much of which is still extant today. The theater’s original motto, “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world” will once again welcome guests.
“We are looking to bring glamour and sensational entertainment back to Hollywood,” Smith said. “We’re thrilled to be revitalizing the theater, returning it to its original Streamline Moderne design, and bringing all kinds of wonderful entertainment experiences to locals and visitors alike. Not only will this project restore one of Hollywood’s crown jewels, but we believe it will spur the revitalization of the entire area which, ultimately, is our dream.”
“We can’t wait to bring this landmark back to life,” Levian added. “We look forward to working with preservationists and Hollywood historians to return the theater back to its original look and usage. We also can’t wait to celebrate the life and love of its creator, Earl Carroll, and his paramour. The project is a labor of love for us all and we’re thrilled to embark upon this amazing journey.”
In addition to being an entertainment center, the revitalized theatre also will be available to the public for neighborhood meetings once work has been completed.
Independent Staff Report