Avalon Hollywood has one of the richest histories of any venue in Hollywood. Located near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine across the street from the Capitol Records Building it has previously been known as The Hollywood Playhouse, The WPA Federal Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, The Jerry Lewis Theatre, The Hollywood Palace and The Palace.
The theatre has been a show business epicenter since it opened its doors on January 24th, 1927. One of the most historic acts at the Avalon what the Beatles first West Coast performance in 1964.
During the depression,the building was renamed to The WPA Federal Theatre, after the Works Progress Administration, and was used for government-sponsored programs throughout the Great Depression. In the 40s it was renamed again to the El Capitan Theatre – not to be confused with the El Capitan Theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which at that time was known as the Paramount Theatre. It was used by CBS to broadcast their network radio shows, as well as hosting a burlesque variety show called Ken Murray’s Blackouts.
In the 1950s, it was converted from a live playhouse into a television studio still under the name of the El Capitan Theatre. It brought icons like Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby to the stage, as well as playing home to television programs The Colgate Comedy Hour and This Is Your Life. On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon delivered his famous “Checkers Speech”.
The theatre was renamed again to The Hollywood Palace. ABC created a new variety show entitled The Hollywood Palace Variety Show that featured notable guest hosts like Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, and Joan Crawford. Many recording artists got their start on the show including The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5.
In 1978 the landmark theatre was restored and converted into a concert venue and nightclub. The name was shortened to The Palace. Thought the 70s and 80s the club gained notoriety as the hottest nightclub on the West Coast. It was called the West Coast version of the infamous Studio 54 in NYC. It became the epicenter of British Invasion, with first time US performances from Eurythmics, Culture Club, The Clash, Duran Duran, Erasure, Fine Young Cannibals, Madness and ABC.
The Palace became the Avalon in 2002 and is considered one of the “go to” places in Hollywood. It hosts Rolling Stone Grammy parties, movie premier events, and concerts several times a week. With the current revitalization of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avalon is likely to remain a star venue for a long time to come.
One thing to bear in mind though. It appears many of the former performers and patrons of the Avalon Hollywood loved it so much they never left… even after death.
For a list of upcoming shows and events visit Avalon Hollywood.