Did you know that the word ‘casino’ does not actually denote a place of gambling? Or at least it didn’t until quite recently. When Catalina Island’s Casino was commissioned by William Wrigley Jr, the word in Italian simply denoted a place of gathering, a meeting place for entertainment and dancing. Wrigley intended it to be THE place for entertainment and dancing on Catalina Island. And it was! Benny Goodman earned his reputation as the “King of Swing” in the massive top floor ballroom which is surrounded by the columned portico in this photo that offers 365 degree photos of Catalina Island, the town of Avalon and the Bay. Cecile B. DeMille once screened his latest films in the Wrigley’s private viewing room at the Casino. The green rooms hosted Errol Flynn, Cary Grant and more. Even now, the Avalon Theatre on the ground floor still shows first-run movies nightly at 7:30 p.m. and while the latest tech plays those movies now, the projection rooms still house the original state-of-the-art equipment that was installed in the early 1900’s to usher in the era of talking pictures under a ceiling of the most stunning Art Deco murals completed by John Gabriel Beckman. 24 karat gold stars add to the feeling of Hollywood glamour that still seems to infuse the whole building but they’re mere icing on the cake when you consider all the history the Casino has been a part of since it was completed on May 29, 1929. It was then, and still is, one of the most important buildings on Catalina Island & I really enjoyed learning about it through my hosted ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour with @visitcatalinaisland. 90 minutes flew by way too fast for me and I was glad I’d opted for the longer tour over the 45 minute version. I could have lingered up here for 90 minutes alone. From where I took this photo, I could even see bright orange Garibaldi fish swimming in the deep teal waters of the Bay and a lone seal poked its head out as if to say “hello 👋🏼”. 2019 marks 100 years since Wrigley fell in love with the island ended up investing in it, from up here, it was so easy to see why. Pure magic! ✨ #visitcatalinaisland #voyagersincatalina #wrigleycentennial

Avalon Casino Movie Theater