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History Summaries
Palms, Los Angeles 90034

The Palms Theater
3751 Motor Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90034

by Vaughn Aubuchon

Mom used to go to the Palms Theater as a young girl - she was born in 1921, four blocks away at 3345 Mentone Ave. I went during the early 1950's.


Palms Theater, Motor Ave. Los Angeles - 1928
Click on Photo for larger image

Palms Theater, 1928
Motor Ave, Los Angeles

Too bad this is a double exposure.
The MGM silent feature film "Love" was playing, with John Gilbert and Greta Garbo, who had a real-life "thing" going on at the time (1927).
Later, Greta got cold feet, and dumped him at the altar. Good move. He was a dipsomaniac.


The huge MGM Studios are just 2 blocks south of here, on Washington Blvd. in Culver City, where they have always been. MGM was never in Hollywood, as has been claimed. If you look straight down Motor Ave. toward Venice Blvd., from the new Post Office location, the
MGM giant water tower is visible, and has been for over 95 years.

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Palms Theater Location shown in yellow
on 1939 WPA Map
1939 WPA map Showing Palms Theater
Click on Photo for larger image
Scale: 1 inch = 300 feet

The Works Progress Administration was created by the Franklin Roosevelt presidency,
to get people back to work during the depression.
Not only did they build dams and reservoirs all over the place, but they also MADE MAPS! Such as this one.


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The Palms Movie Theater - 1954

Old Palms Theater Seating, Los Angeles
3751 Motor Ave.
Click on Photo for larger image

(This is my best recollection - might not be quite right.) The orange seat is where I usually sat.

On most Saturdays circa 1952, I used to go to the matinee at the Palms Theater with my buddy, Don McCuaig, who lived at 3401 Mentone Ave.

The Palms Theater was located
at 3751 Motor Ave. at Venice Blvd.
Inexplicably, I still remember the owners - Jim Allen and Merritt Stone.
I always used to sit in the orange seat above.
I watched many movies here.
My favorite was the Rocket Man serial.

The old bicycle shop across the street is still there. And it's still a bicycle shop,
Palms Cycle
at 3770 Motor Ave.!

Across Motor Ave., down at the corner with Venice Blvd., still stands the

Palms Post Office in 1941,
which is now The Surplus Store,
at 10341 Venice Blvd.
In the 1930's, it was a bank. There was a robbery there in 193?. I believe the culprits were arrested in Santa Monica (check online newspaper archives).



Movies I Saw at the Palms

1951 - The Day the Earth Stood Still
1952 - High Noon (I was 8)
1953 - Abbott and Costello
        - Hopalong Cassidy Serial
        - Laurel and Hardy
        - Our Gang
        - Rocketman Serial
           (rocket on back, dials on chest)
        - Shane
        - Superman Serial
        - The Three Stooges
        - War of the Worlds
(Don McCuaig moved away)

1954 - Creature from the Black Lagoon
        - Rear Window
        - River of No Return
        - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
        - Them
1955 - Blackboard Jungle
        - Rebel Without A Cause
1956 - Giant

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 The Palms Theater - 1928
Palms Theater, Motor Ave., Palms, CA - 1928
Click on Photo for larger image

Image from "I forget where".
Online LA County Library, possibly ?


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 The Palms Theater - 1960
Palms Theater, Motor Ave., Palms, CA 90034 in 1960

Image from

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 The Palms Theater - 1985Palms Theater, Motor Ave., Palms, CA in 1985 - Don Nakagiri
Image from
Palms theater manager Don Nakagiri, from 1985.
Check out the new Caddy.

Historical comments from
a former Palms Theater
projectionist, Bill Gabel,
can be seen at
Cinema Treasure - Palms website -

"... 1951- Jim and Merritt take over from Ralph Hines
1960- Remodeled- indoor box office
first recorded phone messages (VE 7-7171)
1962- Ralph Hines retires- Bob Lumpkin projects
1969- Lumpkin leaves- Mike Schleiger projects
1974- Schleiger leaves- J and M lease to Great Western
1980- J and M sell Palms theater to the USPO . . ."

198? - Palms Theater demolished (anybody?)
198? - New post office is completed (anybody?)

Read another Palms Theater remembrance at povonline

Shalom, Bubala)
Sorry. This link no longer exists.
This info has reemerged at


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Palms, CA Post Office (was Palms Theater)
Click on Photo for larger image

The Palms Theater - 2006
(See me in the window reflection? Neither do I.) You saw the "Then" above - here is the "Now".
It has been the new Palms Post Office since the late 80's.
A 60-year old early Palms historical icon was obliterated for the sake of the future - great progress!
Where are the photos? Just in the minds of us old folks.

In the future,
all the kids of today will look back to their youth and remember ...
a post office.
It's just not the same.
But then, I didn't get to see
Will Rogers performing in a circus at the corner of Motor Ave. and Woodbine St., either.
It's all relative.


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Vaughn's Other
PALMS, CA 90034 Related Pages

* 3345 Mentone Ave.

3559 Veteran Ave.

Aubuchon Photos

Charnock Rd. School

Doris Stephens

Hamilton High

Hamilton Old Yearbooks

Old Packer Family Photos

Old Palms Theater

Old Central Palms, CA Map

Old Palms, CA Phone


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Vaughn Aubuchon Author Bio

Vaughn's Summaries
©2005, 2018 Vaughn Aubuchon
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This Vaughn's Palms Theater, Palms, CA history
page was last updated on 2018-12-08.