On hot summer weekends, Martine and I frequently found ourselves in the coastal enclave of El Segundo. Its southern boundary is the huge Standard Oil refinery, the second (“El Segundo”) to be located in California, the first being in Richmond. North is Los Angeles International Airport, and east lies the Pacific Coast Highway and a commercial/industrial area. The western boundary is the Pacific Ocean.
Situated on Richmond Street half a block from the refinery is the Old Town Music Hall, a former silent movie theater built in 1921. In 1968, it was re-opened as a repertory film theater and concert venue featuring a Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
A typical film screening features old classical films, opening with a Wurlitzer organ concert, followed by sing-along slides of old musical favorites and occasionally a short film. In October, we saw three films of a Halloween horror film series, including the original Frankenstein and Dracula as well as The Black Cat, which starred both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. There are also programs featuring classical musicals and short comedies and cartoons.
In addition, there are occasional live music concerts, which we have not attended.
The theater is run as a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3). There is seating for only a couple hundred people, so profits are pretty much out of the question. The whole operation is clearly a labor of love.
We’re looking forward to a program of Laurel and Hardy shorts to be shown next weekend.