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The historic Avalon Theater is one of the nation's first art deco movie houses designed to embrace the advent of talking motion pictures. Built in 1929 to encompass the entire first level of the famed Catalina Island Casino Building, the theater has been preserved to share a bygone era with guests who can still view first-run movies there every night. Friday and Saturday nights offer pre-movie concerts on the theater's historical Page Pipe Organ. One of only four like it in the world, the organ offers 16 ranks of pipes, with an average of 80 pipes per rank concealed in the ceiling lofts of the theater.
The theater is beautifully decorated both inside and out. Murals designed and painted by John Gabriel Backman, of Mann's Chinese Theater fame, adorn the outer walls, interior, and main drape of the theater. Art deco furniture and historic lighting fixtures grace the lobby, which is constructed from more than 45,000 linear feet of exposed walnut finish work. A specially constructed concession stand offers classic movie popcorn and refreshments.
With a capacity of more than 1,100 seats, the Avalon Theater is also equipped for live stage performances, offering a full orchestra pit, fly rope ceiling, dressing rooms, theatrical lighting, and more. The stage of the theater often serves as an ideal location for splendid wedding ceremonies and special presentations. Once per year the Avalon Theater is host to the Catalina Island Museum's popular Silent Film Festival.
During the day, the theater is a magnificent portion of the Casino Building tours offered to the public through Discovery Tours.