Meralta Theatre (I)

9400 Culver Boulevard,
Culver City, CA 90232

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Culver City Theatre

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The Los Angeles Herald reported the opening of a new theatre in Culver City on June 1, 1915. Erected by Fannie A. Henderson, the 500-seat theatre had a foyer elaborately finished in white tile and marble with stores and offices included in the building. The architects were Lawrence Bolton Valk and Arthur Lawrence Valk.

By 1919 the Meralta Theatre was operated by Laura Peralta and Pearl Merrill, former vaudevillians known as Ella Fant and Miss Kito (or Elephant and Mosquito). The ladies, who had combined their names for Meralta, also operated the Meralta Theatre, Boyle Heights, the Meralta Theatre, Downey and Culver City’s Palms Theatre in the 1920’s.

When the first convention of the Motion Picture Theater Owners Of America opened in Los Angeles May 31, 1926, at the Ambassador Hotel, the Los Angeles Times listed Pearl Merrill as treasurer. Still a vaudevillian at heart, a photograph of Pearl was shown dressed as a nurse taking the temperature of a hospitalized member.

The first Meralta Theatre closed and the new Meralta Theatre opened April 25, 1924, with the Hunt Hotel, now the Culver Hotel, opening on the site of the old Meralta Theatre September 4, 1924.

In 1927 Pearl and Laura turned over operations of their theatres to Sol Lesser’s Principal Theatres and in the 1950s to Phil Isley Theatres.

Contributed by OCRon

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2022 at 1:25 pm

My mother’s family moved from Phoenix to Culver City when she was about six or seven years old, which would have been 1921 or 1922. She remembered going to both the first and the second Meraltas. As she remembered it, theater owners Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta were sisters, but she was apparently mistaken about that. Pearl and Laura must have been close friends as well as business partners and a vaudeville duo, as they lived together for many years in an apartment above the second Meralta.

One thing my mom remembered from the Meralta’s Saturday matinees, was that the partners, one of them playing the piano, would lead the audience, mostly children, in community sings.

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