Meralta Theatre - Culver City

9632 Culver Blvd.    | map |

Culver City, CA   90232

Opened: The Meralta was opened in 1924 by two sisters, Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta.  Will Rogers was the MC for the opening. The feature film from Thomas Ince was "The Galloping Fish."

"Theatres in Los Angeles" reports that an Our Gang comedy was also on the opening bill and at one point the projectionist stopped the film and the cast "leaped through their on-screen likenesses."

Pearl was also in the real estate and insurance businesses, as well as a active on the school board. They lived above the theatre.

The earlier theatre in Culver City was in the first city hall on Main St. at Culver Blvd. (on the site of the Culver Hotel). It had a theatre on the first floor and office space above. In 1917 the city rented the second floor for $15 a month as the City Hall.

The city offices moved to Van Buren Pl. in 1924 when Harry Culver built the hotel (originally called  the Hotel Hunt). The hotel was designed by Claud Beelman, best known for the Eastern Columbia Bldg. on Broadway and the Pacific Electric Building at 6th & Main.

The east facade of the Culver Hotel
(1924), site of Culver City's first theatre.
full size view

A new building, the Meralta, was constructed on Culver Blvd. for the theatre and retail shops. By the early 30s, the theatre was being operated by Fox West Coast.

In 1943 the theatre had a fire and screenings were temporarily held in the second floor auditorium of the new City Hall (1928) at Culver and Duquesne. The booth they installed in the auditorium remained until the building was demolished (for yet another city hall) in 1995.

All that's left of the 1928 City Hall at Culver &
Duquesne.  If you were to turn around 180 degrees,
you'd be looking at the back of the Culver Theatre.
full size view

Architect:  The architect of the 1924 building is unknown. Clifford Balch did a remodel in 1935.

Seating: 1000. Perhaps 700 in later years.

Status: Closed in January, 1983.  The building was redeveloped into "Meralta Plaza" in 1983.

Also in Culver City: Culver / Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Palms Theatre.

More information: 

Check out our pages on the East L.A. Meralta and the Downey Meralta.

See the Cinema Treasures page on the Culver City Meralta. Some comments about this theatre are also on the CT page for the East L.A. Meralta.

Wikimapia has a page on the Meralta Plaza that replaced the theatre.

More on Culver City:

Wandering in L.A. has a nice post on the Culver Hotel. USC Archives has a great 1929 view of Culver Blvd. just east of the Culver Hotel. Photos of Los Angeles has a similar view from the 50s. 

The Culver City Historical Society has a website to browse. See the Wikipedia article on Culver City for a fine history.  Sony Pictures has a page on Culver City history.  The Culver Hotel also has a history page on their site.

Arcadia Publishing has two wonderful titles: "Movie Studios of Culver City" by Marc Wanamaker and "Culver City" by Julie Lugo Cerra.

    L.A. Public Library Collection

The facade of the Meralta in 1928. We're running
 "The Lovelorn" with Sally O'Niell (1927). 
full size view

Historic Culver City Theatres -- The Meralta

A 1971 view of the marquee from the Library's collection.
full size view

    Sony Pictures Museum

A look at the side of the first Culver City Theatre.
After 1917 it was also the City Hall on the 2nd floor.  
larger view

The photo used to be on Sony's Culver City History
page but vanished during a website makeover.

A tiny version of the photo appears on the City
website's City Halls page where they give it a misleading
caption that confuses it with the 1928 City Hall.

    Vintage Los Angeles

A look east on Culver Blvd. in the late 50s added by
Cindy Romo-Greene to the great archive on Vintage
Los Angeles. The Meralta is over on the right.
 full size view

The photo also appears on Mid Century Modern as a post
by Michael Snider -- with lots of interesting comments

A detail from the view above showing the Meralta.

The card is also on the website of
the Culver City Historical Society.

about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will
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Assume that all the images are subject to copyright
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question concerning reproduction or other use.

    American Classic Images

A 1983 look at the farewell screenings at the
captured in a view from American Classic
The final shows: "My Favorite Year"
 (1982) and "Honky Tonk Man" (1982).
full size view

Also see:
| January 1983 day view |

    Culver City   

by Julie Lugo Cerra, 2004
Arcadia Publishing | Google Books preview

A c.1957 look at the Meralta on page 30 of "Culver City."
 They're running "Omar Khayyam" and "The Seventh Sin."
 The photo is from the Freeman collection.
Here's a small color version of the photo above.
Thanks to Mark Smith for sending it our way.

    Culver City News

A look at the first Culver City theatre.
It's on the site's page about elections.

    Culver City Website

A 1918 look at the first Culver City Theatre --
with city offices above.
The site is now occupied
by the Culver Hotel (1924). The photo comes
from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

full size view

The city's website has a page about the history of the
various City Halls.
This photo isn't on it, though. They
once had it on a now vanished "then and now" section.

A look at the Meralta building in the 1970s.The theatre
entrance is off to the left.  Sorry there's no larger view --
it's vanished from the City's website.

    Mid Century Modern    

... and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

A 1963 view from the Culver Hotel looking west along
Culver Blvd. with Washington Blvd. veering off to the right.

The tower of the Culver Theatre is in the middle of the
photo.  The shot was added by Michael Snider to the
Facebook page started by the indefatigable Alison Martino. 
full size view | on the MCM page

City Hall, with the  "Culver City" roof sign is visible
on the left side of Culver Blvd.  The Meralta Theatre is
hiding just this side of City Hall.

    Theatres in Los Angeles    

by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper,
Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008. | google books preview

A 1924 look at the Meralta from Marc
Wanamaker's Bison Archives appears on
page 97 of "Theatres in Los Angeles."
full size view

The Meralta in 1947 in a Bison Archives
. It got a remodel in 1935 and
a rebuild after a 1943 fire.