Catalina Island!

This past week, Marcel and I went on a short trip to Catalina Island - a beautiful island located about 22 miles south of LA. We stayed at Avalon - a tiny city which was incorporated in Catalina Island.   The weather was warm and sunny. The beach had beautiful white sands. The people were friendly. Good food, good time. Wish we could've stayed longer!
Mr Wrigley (the chewing gum mogul!) traveled to the island in 1919, fell in love and bought the entire island in 1919. He built the beautiful Art Deco-inspired Avalon Casino and dedicated the island to the federal government as a military zone and training during the World War II. In the 1930s, Catalina Island was a favorite vacation spot for Hollywood movie stars and was also a filming location for dozens of movies! Today, a majority part of the island is a natural conservancy.
We'd love to return to the island soon! (perhaps for a swing dance fete at the Casino!)!

Welcome to Catalina Island!!

Marcel and I on the warmest day of our visit.... nice day on the beach!

What a breathtaking view ....

A view of the Pacific Ocean.... So Surreal...

We love the 1950s coach bus that took us inland and up to the island's airstrip!

Me inside the bus

Catalina Airport - Back in the day, Mr Wrigley used this as a hangar for his private plane

Just arrived - fashionably in Catalina style!

Ahem... Hello there Captains... 


Traveling in style...


The tall columns and ceilings a the Avalon Casino - which houses a theater on the lower level and a ballroom on the upper level (the term Casino was meant for an entertainment venue for large gatherings - there was no gambling. This predates Las Vegas!)


One of the beautiful murals in the casino - designed by John Beckman, who also designed the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and also created a set design for Bogart's Casablanca.

Getting all dressed up for the casino --- me with my 1960s beaded cardigan and floral dress

Fancy some cocktails?? What a swanky art deco bar! Okay, back then, it was the prohibition era, they only had soda fountains!

Look at this beautiful lighting ornaments in the ballroom. This also serves well as an air ventilation for the cavernous ballroom - no need for air conditioners!

 Also, the casino is so well-insulated, When you're watching a movie in the bottom-level theater with 1,153 other audiences, you won't hear any noise from the top-level 6,000+ dancers in the ballroom - and vice versa. Quite an advanced architecture!

Here's a shot of the ballroom

I wish today's bars look as cute as this -- Art Deco Fish Murals!

Inside the circular theater - John Beckman's beautiful murals with spectacular lighting. You see the dots in the dome -- those are supposed to light up and when it's completely dark, you will feel like stars are above you!

The theater was designed to accommodate talking movies in 1929 - when the casino's construction was completed. The circular dome had a perfect acoustic effect -- you don't need any microphone and people can still hear you when you talk normal voice from the other end of this 1,154 seat theatre! 
NYC's Radio City Music Hall was created using inspiration from the theatre's design!

That's what we're talking about - Dancing in the Casino Ballroom!!

Havin Fun

Catalina also made beautiful tiles!

And look at these....The most beautiful public restroom I have ever seen!

Catalina o Catalina

In All the World -No Trip Like This!!

1 comment:

Tam Francis said...

Wonderful pictures. I was looking for pix of the powder rooms in the Casino Ballroom for a scene I'm writing in my novel The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress (www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com), and I came across your blog. I didn't know about the vintage buses. I will have write a scene in them, they are so cute. It's been years since I've been there, but I knew my characters just had to dance there. thanks for the great inspiration :)


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