Ocean Park Arena

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Ocean Park, CA, USA

  • Boxing venue from at least the late 1920s to the mid-1950s. Its capacity was 2,400. Its address was 140 Pico Boulevard.
  • Mike Hirsch was its promoter
  • Joe Waterman was a matchmaker here for awhile
  • Babe McCoy was also the matchmaker here for a time

Ocean Park Arena shows were typically held on Mondays throughout its run. It did compete for a brief time on the greater Los Angeles weekly boxing calendar during the mid-1940s with the Whittier Arena in Pico. It lasted as a regular boxing club until April 16, 1951, when it was shut down due to declining attendance by Mike Hirsch.

Second Run (1954-55)

Boxing would return to Ocean Park on October 5, 1954, this time under the promotional direction of Mike Hirsch's 25-year old son Harry Hirsch and Irv Berman, a Los Angeles haberdasher, who had managed Keeny Teran. Mike Hirsch remained as the owner of the facility, as he worked on booking wrestling talent in Los Angeles with Cal Eaton. Another son, Ralph Hirsch, also appears to have been involved, and is mentioned as the promoter in pre-fight pieces found in the Los Angeles Times. The Hirschs promoted their shows on Tuesday nights, the former night used by the Olympic Auditorium, which was then showing on Mondays (later Thursdays). Prices for the venue were $2.50 for ringside seats and 65 cents for the gallery seats. The shows, which were not televised, often drew between 1,700 and 2,000 fans, which would often surpass attendance at the Olympic Auditorium, when the Olympic was headlined by a main event that did not have popular attractions.

Ocean Park's second run would last until August 23, 1955, when it put on its final boxing show. It is not known why it shut down, as it was reported in the Los Angeles Times, prior to a presumed August 30th show, that they would be dark that week, but would be returning. It continued to put on wrestling shows until August 1958. Later in October, Hirsch announced that the arena was going to be converted to a bowling alley. It was subsequently reported that the arena's site was part of a $2 million project, which included a bowling alley (Civic Lanes), and the Santa Monica Civic Club, as well as another project at a different location in Santa Monica. Ralph Hirsch was also reported as an investor in this project

Other Notes

The May 3, 1955, the Los Angeles Times reported that the 48-year old Mike Hirsch had divorced his wife, and reached a settlement in which she was paid $100,000 outright, as well as $550 a month in alimony.

Sources

  • "Ring Warfare Resumes at Ocean Park", Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1954
  • "Ocean Park to Be Pin Center", Los Angeles Times, October 6, 1958
  • "$2 Million Program Set For Santa Monica", Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1959