In late June 2021, TikTok user @hahaahahahumadornah posted a video that showed a “goth CVS” building that appeared to have been constructed decades ago.
The video was hashtagged “#gothcvs.” The top comment, with more than 40,000 likes, read: “GOTH CVS.”
omg look what we found #gothcvs
The seemingly odd choice for a CVS building left a lot of commenters wanting to know more. The most asked question was about where it was located.
According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, the building was once the Golden Gate Theater, which began construction around 1927.
The site of the former Golden Gate Theater was “the first building in East Los Angeles to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.”
The Spanish Churrigueresque-style theatre was designed by William and Clifford Balch, who also participated in the design of the El Rey Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard and the Fox Theatre in Pomona.
The Vega Building, a historic retail building that once surrounded the theatre, suffered severe damage from the 1987 Whittier Earthquake and was demolished in the early 1990s. The theatre sat vacant until it was adapted for use as a CVS retail pharmacy in 2012.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported on a hearing of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission. Two sides provided arguments over whether to restore it as a theater or to turn it into a CVS. Obviously, the CVS idea won.
According to the Los Angeles Evening Express, the Golden Gate Theater officially opened on Sept. 21, 1928. When it began performances, it had 1,700 seats. A check of several old Los Angeles-area newspapers showed that its name was spelled “theater,” not “theatre.”
As with a lot of internet comments, the remarks on the video ranged from high praise to negativity. “Kind of a waste of a nice building LOL,” one person said. Another commenter posted something similar: “Aw it’s sad such a beautiful building is a CVS now.”
There were also plenty of jokes, as usual. For example, one commenter remarked: “Goths at a regular CVS was already such an iconic aesthetic. This has shaken me.” Another joke went: “Just imagine how long a receipt you get there.” (This referred to the unusually large size of CVS purchase receipts.)
Additional Video and Story
The Mady Main YouTube channel posted a video showing the inside of the store, as well as what it used to look like.
Getty Voices also published a story about the building. Comments under the article included remembrances from theater guests before it became a CVS.