Thru these portals pass…

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

This week we make a departure from our normal preview of old Kansas City cards and take a look at a vintage Hollywood California postcard of the fabulous Earl Carroll Theater at Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle.

Fear not history buffs, this wonderful example of Art Deco Modernism is still standing and in largely pristine condition inside and out.

The linen postcard bears the description as “a gay night spot of Hollywood California.”

The Earl Carroll theater opened with much fanfare the day after Christmas in 1938. Carroll was a master showman and film producer whose credits included “Murder at the Vanities” (1933), “Stowaway” (1936), “Love is News” (1937), and “A Night at Earl Carroll’s” (1940).

The large neon face on the front façade of the theater is that of Beryl Wallace, one of the famous Earl Carroll Girls. Around the image of Wallace’s head is the phrase: “Thru these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world,” a testament to Carroll’s beautiful showgirls who danced in his theaters in Los Angeles and New York City. The exterior wall that fronts Hollywood Boulevard was known as the “wall of fame” and bore plaques that were signed by major stars such as Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers and Clark Gable.

Following the death of Carroll and Wallace in a 1948 plane crash, the theater was sold and fell on hard times. During the early 1950s it became the Frank Sennes Moulin Rouge Nightclub. During the 1950s it was used by various TV production studios, including the Ralph Edwards hit “Queen For A Day.”

In 1968, it was renamed the Hullabaloo Theater and was the venue for such rock and roll acts as Chad and Jeremy, Paul Revere and the Raiders and other 1960s pop icons. It even donned psychedelic paint and designs on its exterior for a run of the play “Hair.”

In 1997, the Nickelodeon Studios purchased the building and used it to produce shows such at iCarly. The missing plaques from the wall of fame were passed from collector to collector and were ultimately auctioned off in 1989 to1990. Two plaques, those bearing the names of Norma Shearer and Amos ‘n’ Andy, were given to the long-time caretaker of the building.

The lobby of the lavish theater was a stellar example of Art Deco architecture that featured mirrors, art and milk glass. Streamlined features throughout have been miraculously preserved and remains largely in original and pristine condition.
In 2016, the building received Historic Cultural Monument Status and is currently being restored, with completion projected by the end of 2019.

Comments are closed.

  • A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

    January 16th, 2019

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or […]

    Armour mansion an 1800s wonder

    January 2nd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When Kirkland B. Armour began construction of his palatial mansion on the boulevard that bears the […]

    Here’s to the New Year!

    December 26th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Here’s to a happy New Year! A year wise in its plans, persistant in its efforts, […]

    Clapsaddle’s sad demise adds value to her cards

    December 19th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This artist-signed Clapsaddle Santa postcard was sent to Ernest Julien of Amsterdam, Mo., on Dec. 23, […]

    At 101, bridge still carries heavy traffic

    December 12th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Max Bernstein pre-linen style postcard, circa 1925, was sent to Miss May Clifford, R.F.D. of […]

  • Newman Theater was a beauty downtown

    December 5th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The Newman Theater is shown on these 1919 postcards. It was the third and finest of […]

    Warneke’s TipTop: A Kansas City icon

    November 28th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When John Warneke arrived in Jackson County, Mo. in 1866, Kansas City’s population barely topped 15,000 […]

    Day of thanks develops into national holiday over 240 years

    November 21st, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News What we now celebrate as Thanksgiving is traditionally tied to a three-day feast involving the Pilgrims […]

    Mt. Washington still a peaceful respite

    November 14th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This postcard published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company shows a peaceful view of The Rest in […]

    Flood waters inundate city in 1951

    November 7th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Making the floods of 1903 and 1908 seem insignificant in comparison is the flood of 1951, […]

  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Victim identified in Northeast Kansas City shooting

    The victim in the January 11th shooting on Hardesty Avenue has been identified as Joseph Mason of Kansas City.

    The City will be removing downed branches after recent storm

    The City of Kansas City is hauling off downed tree branches after the recent storm!

    Northeast News Local Service Index