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Mural artist John Gabriel Beckman, already famous for his work at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, was hired to design all of interior and exterior artwork. Beckman wanted his exterior images to be executed in tile. However, he ran out of time, so they were painted. A contemporary restoration of entrance saw his feature mural of Aphrodite rising from sea finally executed all in tile.
Wrigley’s budget for design and construction of Casino was $600,000, but he ended up spending $2 million. He must surely have been committed to keeping Ada and her sisters happily dancing.
A theater was also designed for lower level of casino. Its walls sport art deco murals of Greek goddesses and gods such as King Neptune and his son Triton, but also much of Southern California and island history. While waiting for classic 1929 theater pipe organ to play, you could gaze at Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo, who discovered island in 1542. Or you could point out to your children trees and animals native to island.
The Avalon Theater was first theater specifically designed for new sound movies, “talkies". The domed ceilings of both theater and ballroom make for perfect acoustics; no electronic amplification needed. A tour guide stands on stage and speaks in a normal voice; we hear her perfectly in last row. Behind her is original fire curtain from 1929 Casino opening. The title of mural on fire curtain is “The Flight of Fancy Westward".
Avalon Casino and Museum Open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. Adults $14.50; Seniors $13.; Children $7.25 Museum alone Adults $4.00; Seniors $3; Children 6-15 $1.00.
We are treated to a viewing of a Buster Keaton silent short, “The Boat". A musician accompanies film on organ, so that we can imagine what it must have been like in 1920s to see a silent movie in this beautiful theater. Today, Avalon Theatre is still only movie theater on island; this week’s show w hile I was on island is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy".
2005 marks 75th y ear celebrating Casino’s
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Carolyn Proctor, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
Carolyn Proctor, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com