El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 226 - 250 of 306 comments

tomdelay on January 4, 2006 at 10:39 am

The organ is superb. It bears little tonal resemblence to its Fox days. The obvious reason for this is the size difference/accoustic environment of the two theatres—FOX 4700 seats vs. the El Cap at around 1500.

The crew taking care of the organ at the El Cap. did a wonderful job of bringing the organ’s voices together for a fine Wurlitzer ensemble.

If in the area, the El Cap and the organ are a MUST SEE-MUST HEAR. The organ will be presented in a short concert for people attending the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society (LATOS) “Wurlitzer Weekend” early Saturday morning January 14, 2006 with organist Jelani Eddington at the console.

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 8:56 am

Tom: Nice to read that the Disney Corp. was responsible for placing the former Fox Theatre/SF organ in the El Capitan.

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 8:54 am

Is there a photo of this theatre’s restored organ? I just learned of its prior theatre location in SF through the book, Cinema Treasures and while visiting the CT Fox Theatre link.

simpsonr on October 17, 2005 at 2:12 pm

Happy to see a picture of the Wurlitzer which was originally in the San Francisco Fox Theater. Looks like it has been totally restored!
Plan to visit and hopefully hear the organ next time I am in the area.
Robert Simpson

uncleal923 on October 14, 2005 at 5:36 pm

That’s why we need more theater restoration.

BhillH20 on October 14, 2005 at 2:00 pm

The auditorium was so run down by the 1980s. It really needed a major overhaul. I always wondered how it looked beneath that dreadful looking so-called modernized plaster job. Look what was uncovered and restored! What a big difference…

evidonr on October 5, 2005 at 3:55 am

With all due appreciation for the El Capitan’s fine restoration by Disney, does anyone else besides me remember how elegant the Hollywood Paramount interior was back in the 50s, before the series of increasingly gaudy renovations? It was my favorite movie theatre growing up in LA at that time (even more than the Chinese across the street, which was also much nicer inside then than it is now – with the original salmon-colored seats and gold-embroidered screen curtain). I still have fond memories of seeing such classics at the Paramount as Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Gigi (reserved seat engagement), The Nun’s Story, Sayonara, and a host of others. In its way, it was every bit as beautiful as the El Capitan is now and made every film seem a little better and more memorable.

Does anyone know of interior photos of the Paramount Hollywood from this time? I don’t believe it was part of a chain then. The marquee and exterior were also simpler and less glitzy than they became through various unfortunate transformations in the 60s, each seemingly uglier and more tasteless than the one before.

Bway on September 27, 2005 at 3:58 am

Yeah, unfortunately,I don’t remember if I took a photo the day I went by last year. If I remember correctly, “Pirates of the Caribbean” was the movie on the marquee, in the animated sign. I have to look through my photos.

Bway on September 27, 2005 at 3:32 am

Ah yes, just like I remember it. It is a sight to be seen. I love what they did with the marquee.

worstfilms on August 23, 2005 at 3:42 pm

The building to the right of the El Capitan was a Masonic Temple, and the building to the LEFT was a multi-storied office building that housed American Cinema Releasing. They distributed a lot of chop-socky in the late 70’s and early 80s.

And Fox rented out the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Blvd. (near the “world famous” Hollywood Palladium) for the short-lived Chevy Chase Show.

uncleal923 on August 4, 2005 at 5:21 pm

I live in New York, but managed to see what’s on Hollywood Boulevard on a recent California trip. Trust me, to an outsider it’s spectacular.

bruceanthony on August 4, 2005 at 9:06 am

The New Amsterdam is a landkmark due to the interior of the theatre. Disney did incoporate the 1940’s-1950’s marquee as part of the history of the theatre. The New Amsterdam is more historic than the El Capitan. I had a small part in helping get Disney to restore the El Capitan. The El Capitan is both a restoration and a renovation. The marquee is a new marquee which I love but it is not historic. It is quite beautiful at night and is a tribute to the marquee’s of the past using the technology of today. I wish the Nederlander’s would have restored all the flashing neon on the Pantagees when they restored the theatre a few years ago. I wish Paramount and Warner Bros would restore the Chinese Dragon neon marquee they had removed when they restored the Chinese Theatre across the street. I have attended all the theatres along Hollywood Blvd for the past 40 years.brucec

uncleal923 on August 4, 2005 at 5:30 am

bobt and RobertR;
The New Amsterdam Theater was not a landmark due to its atchitecture. The landmark is more theater history because that’s where Ziegfeld held his follies.

RobertR on August 4, 2005 at 2:22 am

You bring up a good point, with all the money Disney put into the New Amsterdamn they pretty much left the old marquee. It’s not that it’s so nice that it’s considered a landmark.

BobT on August 3, 2005 at 11:52 pm

I visited this treasure only once in the summer of ‘96 to see the Disney’s yearly animated musical “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame”. Got there early but was still all the way around the block. By the time I got it seat it was the nosebleed balcony but it was still a fine sightline. With the film they had a stage show featuring Disney characters. I’ll assume there was no backstage at the time because there were large tents in the back of the place for the performers. I worked for the company that did all the menu signs and mylars for theatres and it was very cool to see the beautiful candy stands with my work hanging there. The marquee, even before the new animated panels was the most beautiful I have ever seen. In fact I was hoping for something as spectacular when Disney restored The New Amsterdam in New York. Alas, as amazing as that restoration was, the marquee was the only letdown. The El Capitan is everything this website is about.

uncleal923 on April 18, 2005 at 8:28 pm

I was talking about the LCD Screen Technology. It looked great under those lights from the earlier times, and added a nice modern touch.

JimRankin on April 18, 2005 at 6:27 am

Animated marquees are indeed wonderful things, and I fervently wish more theatres/cinemas had them! But it is a sad commentary about our society when we are marveling at an invention of 1900, now 105 years later, only because such artistry has all but vanished from our lives, lo these many years now.

uncleal923 on April 17, 2005 at 8:09 pm

Glad you were Bway

Bway on April 17, 2005 at 8:03 pm

It is. It’s been a few years since I have been inside. I was last in there for the live version of “101 Dalmations”, whenever that was out a few years ago. The inside was beautifully restored. As you were, I was also quite impressed with the animated marquee.

uncleal923 on April 17, 2005 at 7:15 pm

Last month I was in California and stood in the area around Grauman’s Chinese and the Le Capitan. I saw the marquis of the El Capitan and found it delightful. I never saw an animated theater sign before. I did not go inside, but I’m sure that old theater is as spectacular as that marquis.

GeorgeStrum on April 14, 2005 at 7:35 pm

The Theatre Historical Society of America will be visiting this theatre on June 22, 2005.

unihikid on April 6, 2005 at 8:29 pm

the old el capitan is known as the palace if that helps.i worked for pacific theatres “the grove” from 01 to 03,and they own the el capitan consession stand which i think is odd.after every two hours the whole staff gathers around and they read the “numbers” and they always take the count for the el capitans numbers.this may have been changed since the arclight is closer and is also owned by pacific.

trooperboots on January 10, 2005 at 9:22 pm

Sorry, one correction… the Montalban Theater was a movie house in the early 1930s, not 20s.

trooperboots on January 10, 2005 at 9:21 pm

The “other” El Capitan no longer goes by that name. The original El Capitan above was built in 1927 as a live theater. A few years before, the “Hollywood Playhouse” opened on Vine Street also as a live theater (it has always remained a live theater to this day). When the original El Capitan above became a movie palace instead of a live theater, (the late 1930s, if memory serves me) it was renamed the PARAMOUNT. It was around that time the Hollywood Playhouse on Vine Street became the new El Capitan.

Sometime in the 1940s, the Vine Street El Capitan’s name was taken back to be the “Hollywood Playhouse” and has remained that name ever since (except in the 1960s, when it was known as the “Hollywood Palace” because of the TV show which was broadcast from there).

The original El Capitan was renamed it’s original name by Disney when they bought it a few years back. This grand theater was mainly purchased as a venue for DISNEY premiers, which are a regular event these days. The theater is restored and glorious. There are some live events there, some are in conjunction with the films shown there, I am told. Check to see with the theater to be sure.

So when you visit, there will only be ONE El Capitan…. the original. The Hollywood Playhouse on Vine street is mainly for live popular music acts, from what I understand. Fortunately, it has remained largely intact over the decades, although showing it’s age. Neither of these theaters is to be mistaken for the Ricardo Montalban Theater (which they often are) on Vine Steet one block to the south. That was a movie theater in the 1920s, and so it has a link here on cinema treasures at /theaters/9863/

Here is a photo of the El Capitan theater (above) when it was brand new in 1927… notice the Roosevelt Hotel, where the first oscar ceremony took place, under construction a block further……

Here is a photo of the Hollywood Playhouse, which for a while was called the El Capitan (I believe the 1930s)… but today is a live music venue….

This is as much as I know. Hope it solves the confusion. Perhaps someone can go into greater detail on these 2 great theaters? Both have a great history.