by Steven J. Rose
The Culver Theatre is now officially the Kirk Douglas Theatre! The gala Grand Opening, held on Thursday, August 30th, 2004, was highlighted by the welcoming words of Mr. Kirk Douglas who accomplished what he said he would do at the 2002 ground-breaking ceremony on a cold Jan. day: to say the first words from the new stage of the theatre.
The renaming was in honor of Anne and Kirk Douglas’ donation of $2.5 million towards the total estimated renovation cost of $11 million.
The bonus highlight of the evening was the lighting ceremony of the revitalized Culver sign on top of the theatre. And the newly renovated marquee – in all white – stands as a reminder of days of old when the Culver Theatre was the movie house of a bustling downtown in post-war Culver City. It brings back an era of modern architecture and neon that marked the birth of a new peaceful America that was full of possibilities.
We, as members of the Society who hoped for fuller preservation, did not get everything we hoped for, but we did get the spirit of the old Culver Theatre – with the new Kirk Douglas Theatre, built from the skeleton of a movie house where Douglas’ movies appeared time after time throughout the years.
The Douglas family will carry on the style and culture that the owner, designer, and builders of the 1947 theatre dreamed and built for the people of Culver City and the Westside.