Hollywood theater receives historical designation

HOLLYWOOD — City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has applauded the new historic-cultural monument designation for the Earl Carroll Theater on Sunset Boulevard.

The designation was approved by the Los Angeles City Council Dec. 7.

“This designation will help to ensure that another historic gem in Hollywood will be preserved and enhanced,” O’Farrell said. “This investment will continue to establish Hollywood as a world-class, transit-oriented community, while protecting and preserving our unique historical resources.”

O’Farrell’s office said the preservation deal was orchestrated by the councilman between property owner Essex Property Trust, Hollywood Heritage and the Los Angeles Conservancy.

According to a Los Angeles Department of City Planning report, the Earl Carroll Theater, which was completed in 1938 at 6230 Sunset Blvd., is “a notable work of a master builder, designer, or architect whose individual genius influenced his age.”

The theater was designed by Gordon B. Kaufmann, who also designed the Los Angeles Times Building, Santa Anita Race Track, Hoover Dam and Doheny Mansion.

The report also said that at the time of its completion, the Los Angeles Times declared the theater the “first of its kind in he nation.” It also said the building originally housed an opulent theater-restaurant complex that once featured a large, 24-foot neon sign on the front facade proclaiming, “Thru these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.”

The theater opened with the revue “Broadway to Hollywood” that featured the “Sixty Most Beautiful Girls in the World” who ascended 100 treads of stairs and were 135 feet in the air.

Many Hollywood celebrities were reported to be in attendance on opening night, including Marlene Dietrich, Dolores del Rio, Richard Barthlemess, Sally Eilers, Edgar Bergen, Claudette Colbert and Norman Krasna.

Since 1997 the Nickelodeon television network has leased the building.

“This has been a longstanding priority issue for Hollywood Heritage and we are genuinely thankful to have had such commendable preservation partners in the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Conservancy, and indeed the Essex Property team, all working in conjunction with Council member O’Farrell and his outstanding staff to achieve a fantastic preservation win, which will ultimately include the return of the building’s historic neon signage to the Sunset Boulevard facade,” John Girodo of Hollywood Heritage said.

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