Catalina Island has served as the location for the filming of over 500 motion pictures, documentaries, television programs and commercials over the past 90 years. Beginning as early as 1911 and continuing with great momentum through the silent film era and the introduction of sound to motion pictures.
Many celebrities and actors worked and played on Catalina during the 1930s. Some developed life-long love affairs with the Island and its surrounding waters. Charlie Chaplin and his wife Paulette Goddard were frequent visitors and loved angling for marlin and tuna around the Island. James Cagney and his wife were known to anchor their yacht ‘Marian’ in Descanso Bay.
CASINO BUILDING HISTORY
The iconic Catalina Casino has been the focal point of Catalina Island entertainment and culture since it opened on May 29, 1929. For nearly a century, the Casino has been the venue of choice for great entertainers, Broadway productions, and special events.
The Casino exemplifies the style and romance of Catalina Island. It gets its name from the Italian language, where “casino” means a gathering place. There has never been gambling at Catalina Casino. Built under the direction of William Wrigley, Jr., the iconic building was designed by Sumner A. Spaulding and Walter Webber as the
first circular building of its time. Avalon Theatre is an architectural masterpiece, with its soaring murals, domed ceiling, perfect acoustics, and the original pipe organ. The ballroom retains its original romantic style – a lavish medley of rose-hued walls, an arching, fifty-foot ceiling with five Tiffany- like chandeliers, an elevated stage, raised seating areas around the dance floor, and a vintage, full-service bar in the back.