The busts along the side of the old California Theater look as though they’re ready to hurl objects at random passers-by.
You may notice that one of the statues is missing an arm. In general, the building is in sad shape, as it has been standing vacant for over twenty years. Just last year, the marquee was removed, lest it collapse on unsuspecting pedestrians. A sad state for what was once a regal cinema. The California Theater was built in 1927, and featured restaurants, shopping, and even a modest office tower. Of course, its focal point was its lavish 2,200 seat auditorium, which some called a “movie cathedral.”
As with the El Cortez, the theater’s glamour faded and it changed hands several times. The theater closed for good in 1990. It has since been designated historic. However, it is rumored that the interior deterioration is so severe, that restoring the theater to any kind of operational state would probably never be a profitable investment. If that is true, then the California Theater will undoubtedly stand empty for a long time.