Tuesday, December 21, 2010

73rd Anniversary: Snow White Premiere at The Carthay Circle Theater

Sure Hollywood Premieres are still a big deal, but back in the day...WOW! They were truly newsworthy events! One of the most popular movie theaters in Hollywood was known as The Carthay Circle. Located at 6316 San Vicente Boulevard, it opened in 1926 and was named after the Carthay residential district in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles, California. The Carthay Circle was part of the Fox Theaters empire.

On December 21, 1937, The Carthay Circle was host to the gala premiere for Walt Disney’s “Snow White.” Here are some rare photos from that evening featuring The Dwarfs, Donald Duck, and Mickey & Minnie Mouse.

Here, the #1 star in Hollywood at the time, Shirley Temple, is shown with the Dwarfs. Her parents stand in the background, smiling.

Here's the caption that accompanied this photo:

SHIRLEY TEMPLE SEES "SNOW WHITE" PREMIERE. HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.: (Above) Shirley Temple, juvenile screen star, is greeted by two of the "Seven Dwarfs" as she appeared to attend the premiere showing of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The affair drew many of filmdon's leading celebrities. 12-21-37

Shirley was also the one who presented Walt Disney with his Oscars at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1938. When she first saw the award featuring what appeared to be 8 male figures, this is what she hypothesized:

“I thought Snow White was overlooked. I thought it was an early sexist problem where they left her out. I thought that the big statue was for Walt and that the Seven Dwarfs were the little ones going down the side and that Snow White herself hadn't gotten anything, and I was worried about Snow White at the time that she hadn't gotten an Oscar. The big one is the one usually presented to who the person is. I mean Snow White wasn't there, not Snow White, and I know that there was a person that they copied, and that Marge Champion actually did all the dancing, and the moves. I went to the ‘Snow White’ premiere and participated in all of the fun and knew Walt Disney, and when I presented this to him it just seemed to me that he was getting the big award and that the 7 dwarfs were getting an award and that Snow White herself had been left out. But that's because I was 11 and what did I know anyway?”

Sadly, the Carthay was demolished in 1969, replaced by two low-rise office buildings and a city park. The final film that played there was “The Shoes of the Fisherman,” starring Anthony Quinn. Although the original Carthay no longer exists you can see a replica of it at The Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando:

The Carthay is also being recreated for Disney California Adventure; here is the rendering on display at the Blue Sky Preview Center:

View more Snow White photos at my main website.


Christopher A. Klingler said...

LOVE the old Shirley Temple pictures, too fun!

Wishing you & yours a most joyous holiday season!

Chris >:-)

Snow White Archive said...

I think if I were a kid at the premiere back then, I might have been a bit frightened by the dwarf costumes, not to mention Mickey and Minnie.

That's comedian Bob Burns holding one of the dwarfs.

Great pics Dave.

Connie Moreno said...

Oh, what a wonderful post!!

Major Pepperidge said...

Before Snow White was available on home video, they had a screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The line was so huge that they had to add a second showing later that night - that's the one I managed to get in, and it was great seeing it on the big screen with such an enthusiastic crowd.

Katella Gate said...

I hate to say it, but I think the instant availability of movies etc., has kind of diminished their preciousness.

I grew up in the middle of the famous "seven year release cycle" and let me tell you when those Disney films were re-released, you circled a date on the calendar and the world stopped to be sure you got to see it before it disappeared for another seven years, just like the Flying Dutchman's Ghost Ship.

Daveland said...

Sad to say that we often live in a very jaded world with everything so readily accessible.

Thanks for the info on Bob Burns!

Robby Cress said...

Great post! I really wish the Carthay Circle theatre was still around. Nice pics of the replica down at the Florida park. I used to work there (The Disney-MGM Studios as it was then called)several years ago before moving to Los Angeles and loved the feeling that park had because of these kinds of details.

CoxPilot said...

Great post Dave: We loved the Carthay Circle Theater. My wife and I would make the trip to L.A. about ounce a month to eat and see a movie. The big theater experience was unparalleled. And, of course, a good meat at DuPar's or Caplan's would make it the best day ever.