The World premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs took place at the Carthay Circle Theater, located since 1926 on San Vicente Boulevard in Los Angeles, on December 21, 1937. The building has since been destroyed in 1969.

Distinguished guests

It is a great gala evening where the top of Hollywood is invited: Marlene Dietrich, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, George Arliss, Louella Parsons, Preston Foster, Bob Burns, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Helen Vinson, Claudette Colbert, Gail Patrick, Hedy Lamarr, Charles Chaplin, David Hand and of course Walt and Lilian Disney.

Among the actors present are the voices of Snow White and the Prince, Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell, who sing with an orchestra the songs of the film. Adriana later told that they had to sneak into the room without the ushers knowing in order to attend this historic event because they had not been given an invitation card.


Before entering, the crowd can admire an outdoor exhibit of the drawings and cels used in the production of the film, as well as a thatched cottage set with actors in dwarf costumes, accompanied by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck.

The Program

Once inside the theater, the guests are given a luxurious program (which was even reproduced for the 70th anniversary of the film). This program gives us information about the course of the evening: it seems that, apart from the film itself which was shown from 9.15 pm (the evening was supposed to start at 8.45 am), only the last newsreels of RKO’s “March of Time” were shown afterwards. It seems that the short film MGM A friend Indeed with Deanna Durbin was later added to the program for the rest of the initial engagement in this theater. This is according to the movie magazine The Playgoer.

Radio & Newsreels

The event is of course broadcast by all the media, starting with the radio thanks to NBC and the two presenters Don Wilson and Buddy Twiss who comment the entrance of the guests during half an hour before the beginning of the movie.

The RKO newsreels cover the event in America with the RKO-Pathé News entitled “Fantasy Filmland thrills to Snow White” commented by André Baruch, but the images are also exploited by Pathé in France as early as January 12, 1938, where the commentator celebrates the release of what he seems to take for an adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty” before its time. Watch the American version below.

NBC show of the Premiere of Snow White

The premiere on video