Loew's Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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paullewis on February 14, 2015 at 3:45 am

Apologies for going somewhat “off topic” as this is a site for the “Capitol” not RCMH !!

paullewis on February 14, 2015 at 3:44 am

It would be great if RCMH still had the odd movie shows as I’m certain they would pull in the crowds if they advertised the fact of being able to see a film in a way that has disappeared now. In spite of improvements in seating comfort and sound (and that’s debatable) there is a generation out there who has simply no idea of what it was like going to the movies before the demise of the “palaces” and I’ll bet there would be some real (pleasant) surprises from the younger generation!

BobbyS on February 13, 2015 at 9:45 pm

I find it strange that Radio City stopped showing first-run films into the late 70’s. Whenever I visted NY, I always went to RCMH and during the week they had great crowds and not just for the christmas & easter shows. The stage shows were wonderful and plenty of tourists. The huge curtains closing after the film was over and then re-opening for the stage show was a delight!

theatrefan on February 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm

That’s also why when the big Palaces that still show movies, we should make an effort to go and experience what it’s like to see a wonderful movie in a real Movie Palace. Most people in our society today think the plain Jane nondescript box they see movies in at their local multiplex is how people have always experienced movies, boy are they wrong!

bigjoe59 on February 13, 2015 at 5:35 pm


as a fellow poster said these large theaters cost way to much to heat during the winter and cool during the summer. plus the last nail in the coffin for these large theaters was the end of exclusive first runs whether roadshow or continuous performance and wide or showcase releases. for the Roxy the cost of heating it nowadays would be astronomical and far more than any hit film could bring in.

paullewis on February 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

I take your point about location but that makes the loss of the Roxy in particular even more bizarre when you see the puny nondescript building that replaced the “Cathedral of the Motion Picture” If that was torn down tomorrow no one would even notice or even remember what was there, it’s that forgettable!

theatrefan on February 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Also don’t forget about the change the in exhibition landscape, the end of exclusive roadshow runs for these big theatres and the beginning the the showcase neighborhood engagements – where the same motion picture opened everywhere simultaneously, also must have hit these big houses very hard. They must have had a lot of empty seats unfortunately, and still had to pay to heat, cool these auditoriums no matter how may patrons were watching films/

MarkDHite on February 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Location, location, location. Broadway and 7th Avenue real estate is just too valuable to expect much in historic preservation there. The Loews Wonder Theatres have all survived in part because of their less lucrative locations. The Palace survives because it’s a Bway theatre and protected as such. And makes money.

paullewis on February 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Yes it’s unfortunate for us that owners back then lacked the foresight to consider other uses as we have seen with the remaining palaces. Or maybe it was just simply the “quick buck” mentality. I still find it hard to believe that a city the size of New York could not have a viable large auditorium theatre for movies when you consider the additional amount of visitors every year. Of course the majority could not survive but a special case should have been made for the Roxy at least and also the Capitol though of course it was nothing like it’s original appearance by the time it closed.

theatrefan on February 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Yes, and if the ones that survived had not become “Houses Of Worship” or “Performing Arts Centers” they would be unfortunately no longer be with us as well.

bigjoe59 on February 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm


on this site’s pages for many of the late but great beloved movie palaces people are always lamenting their demolition. but as grand and glorious as these movie palaces were by 1959-1960 they had become just plan economically unviable as single screen 1st run movie theaters. in fact even as revival theaters they would have been even more economically unviable. people forget its called show “business” not show philanthropy.

theatrefan on February 13, 2015 at 9:41 am

paullewis- you make a valid point, the list for never should have been allowed demolition should also include the State, Rivoli, 72nd Street, & Triboro. But in a way having the Plaque outside the multiplex auditorium can perhaps get a curiosity seeker who never knew the Capitol ever existed want to find our more about it & perhaps in a way that helps it live on in our collective consciousness.

paullewis on February 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

Whether it was 1967 or 1968 is, I’m afraid, irrelevant now. The sad fact is that it’s gone at it’s like will never be seen again though the recent reopening of the Brooklyn Kings (though not for movies) is a cause for great celebration as it could have so easily gone the same way. IMO naming a multiplex box after this greatest of “palaces” is almost like an insult. It should NEVER have been demolished in the first place.

theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Yes, they have incorrect information for the year it was demolished, it was 1968 not 1967.

bigjoe59 on February 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm


that is most certainly true but those plaques honoring former Loews theaters are in many cases wrong. for instance the one for the Capitol says it was torn down at the end of 1967 which we all know is not true.

theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 9:50 am

Auditorium #6 in the Sony/Loews Theatres Lincoln Square complex on New York’s Upper West Side is named in honor of this former Loew’s Motion Picture Palace.

bigjoe59 on February 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm


i thank my fellow posters for their replies. I still would love to know why Paramount chose not to open it on a roadshow engagement.

also I wonder what the audience’s reaction was
in 1956 to seating thru a 3hr. 28min. film with
no intermission.

Stephen Paley
Stephen Paley on February 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

“War and Peace,” which opened at the Capitol on August 22nd, 1956, following an invitational VIP screening the previous evening. It was treated as a “normal” release, with no roadshow or reserved seats, and at the Capitol’s regular price scale of $1 to $2.50 tops (depending on time of day). Though running time was 3 hours and 26 minutes, “War and Peace” was shown at the Capitol without an intermission to enable four performances per day.

jamestv on February 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Are we talking about the same War And Peace? If this book says that War And Peace from 1956 was one of the last roadshow runs in Manhattan, then where does that put all the roadshow runs that came after it!

bigjoe59 on February 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm


the book I mentioned does in fact state that W&P’s run at the Capitol was a roadshow engagement. in fact one of the last roadshow runs in Manhattan The Trojan Women starring Katherine Hepburn played the Fine Arts Nov. 1971 is mentioned nowhere in the book. in my review on Amazon where I bought it I suggested the author do a revised edition to correct all the factual errors.

three quick questions about War and Peace from 1956.

*it was a large scale historical epic the typical roadshow material and just about 3 and a half hours. so why didn’t Paramount choose a roadshow run for it?

*since it was 3hrs. 28mins. did it at least have an intermission? eventhough as you say it was run on a continuous performance basis I can’t believe they’d run such a long film straight thru.

*since it was a prestigious exclusive 1st run engagement did it at least have a souvenir program?

patryan6019 on February 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm

bigjoe59…Does this book say where W&P played as a roadshow? It’s first engagement was in NY at the Capitol where the 8/22 ad states — “Regular continuous performances start TODAY. Doors open 930 am. Come anytime between 10 am and 845 pm and see a complete showing of the picture”. It was the same in Hollywood(Paramount) and Chicago (State Lake) — markets 1, 2 and 3. Also Boston (Metropolitan), Toronto (Imperial),DC (Capitol) and at least 9 others I checked. For a movie to be a roadshow ads must say “All Seats Reserved” or “Reserved Seats Only” and sell first tickets by mail order starting at least one month before opening. This is the one unique requirement. It doesn’t have anything to do with length, intermission, souvenir programs, process, etc. This picture was not a roadshow. The book is wrong.

bigjoe59 on January 26, 2015 at 11:00 am


thanks for your reply. according to “Movie Roadshows” by Kim Holston is was a roadshow run. 3hrs. 28mins. seems awfully long certainly in 1956 for a continuous performance film without an intermission.

patryan6019 on January 25, 2015 at 10:49 pm

bigjoe59…Simple—it doesn’t have an intermission because it wasn’t a roadshow. You always ask questions but never answer any. Your “rather large collection of souvenir programs"should answer my questions of Sep 14 on the Embassy 1,2,3 page. Can’t you help me with this?

bigjoe59 on January 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm


this past Tues. Paramount Home Video released a blu-ray disc of War and Peace from 1956. to which i have two questions.

*the blu-ray disc has a running time of 3hrs.
28mins but there’s no intermission. i can’t
believe the film didn’t have an intermission
during its roadshow run.

*i have a rather large collection of souvenir programs. now in all the years i’ve been collecting them and in all the memorabilia shops i’ve been in i have never come across a souvenir program for War and Peace. did it not have one?

William on July 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

The NYC roadshow run of “Cheyenne Autumn” was also about 8 weeks too at the Capitol theatre.