The Santa Monica History Museum is participating in the year-long celebration of the Aero Theatre 75th anniversary with a tribute exhibition coordinated by exhibit designer Sue Slutzky. The exhibit will run from April 15 through May 27 at the museum (1350 7th St.).
Memorable moments/snippets throughout the Aero’s history will be highlighted via movie posters, news stories and photos, some recently taken at the Aero’s 75th kickoff celebration on January 30 when a filled to capacity audience was treated to a nostalgic screening of the 1940 Disney “classic” Fantasia.
Additional research and materials from the American Cinematheque’s archive from the past ten years were provided by Margot Gerber, Marketing and Publicity Director of American Cinematheque. The Aero originally opened on Wednesday, January 10, 1940 with shows running continuously on Saturdays and Sundays as well as on weekdays. Admission was 20 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
The Aero was built by aviation pioneer Donald Douglas, the founder of Douglas Aircraft.
Some 36 Oscar winning actors, 12 award-winning directors including Clint Eastwood and James Cameron have appeared in person at the Aero. The Aero is one of the few remaining single-screen neighborhood theaters in the Los Angeles area.
The theater with adjoining store-fronts was designed by architect R.M. Woolpert and was managed by Roy Cummings upon opening. James S. Rosenfield, President of a Santa Monica based Real Estate Company that specializes in renovating unique retail properties bought the Aero Theatre in 1997. In 2002, the American Cinematheque signed an agreement to operate the Aero Theatre on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica with Rosenfield and his partner, John Bucksbaum. American Cinematheque is a non-profit viewer supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the movie picture in all its forms. It owns and operates the Egyptian Theatre and expanded programming to the Aero Theatre in 2005