El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 301 - 312 of 312 comments

William on November 12, 2003 at 12:37 pm

The El Capitan originally opened as a legitimate playhouse , the theatre was built by prominent Los Angeles developer Charles E. Toberman. Toberman was the first to see the potential of a mixed use retail and theatre district on Hollywood Boulevard that was largely residential and agricultural at the time. His obervation of the success of this mix in downtown Los Angeles led him to believe that a theatre district could be key to Hollywood’s evolution as highly successful commercial district of Los Angeles. Some of his early projects include the Egyptian Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, The Roosevelt Hotel and the Mosonic Temple.
Toberman hired renowned theatre architect G. Albert Lansburgh to design the exotic East Indian interior of the theatre. Some of Lansburgh’s other buildings include the Orpheum Theatre, Wiltern Theatre, Warner Hollywood Theatre and the Shrine Auditorium. The Los Angeles based firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements created the Spanish Colonial exerior.
The theatre opened to live performances May 3, 1926 with “Charlot’s Revue”, a song and dance variety show starring Jack Buchanan, Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie. Rave reviews called the El Capitan “Hollywood’s New Temple of Spoken Drama” and one of the most palatial structures in America. The theatre established a firm reputation by producing a series of shows that attracted widespread support in the entertianment community. Over 120 live productions including “No, No, Nanette”, “Abie’s Irish Rose” and “Of Mice and Men” starred such famous performers as Joan Fontaine, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lon Chaney Jr., Joe E. Brown, Buster Keaton, Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Will Rogers.
About 80% of the restored ceiling is original. This giled and hand painted ceiling had more than 70 holes punched through the plaster to permit the suspension of a drop ceiling in an earlier remodeling. It was styled after the gilded ceilings of the Venetian Renaissance era that inspired the baroque gilded ceilings of Italy, France and Spain. The El Capitan’s original lighting fixtures were taken out in a 1942 renovation. these chandeliers were reproduced from photographs.
“Citizen Kane” had its world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on May 9, 1941. The brother and sister producing team Fanchon Wolff Simon and Marco Wolff convinced Paramount Hollywood Theatre Corporation, who by this time had taken over the lease of the El Capitan, to assign 50% of its lease to them. Fanchon & Marco were noted for their circuit of touring road shows for movie houses and had established themselves at the downtown Paramount. They closed the theatre and did extensive renovations. The theatre reopened as the Paramount Theatre in March 1942 with Cecil B. DeMille’s “Reap The Wild Wind” It was obvious that a great deal of work had been done. The exterior face above the entrance contained a brightly lit marquee. The outer ticket lobby and main lobby were updated, resulting in a modern streamlined look that included much neon decoration. Lowered ceilings were put in place throughout. In the outer lobby terrazzo replaced stamped concrete on the floor. The walls were eventually covered with mirrors. one of the exotic features of the remodeled theatre was a coconut milk abr in the location of this current snackbar. It featured bamboo furnishings, fake palm trees and even a two-tone carpet patterned to simulate a shadow pattern under each tree.

frenchjr25 on October 20, 2003 at 2:57 pm

Thanx so much for clearing up the confusion over the other El Capitain theatre. In many large cities there have been many theatres with more than one name, and one name can end up being used over time for many different places.


HarryLime on October 19, 2003 at 4:35 pm

The Hollywood Playhouse (1927 – 1945), located at 1735 North Vine Street, recently The Palace and now The Avalon Theatre (a Clear Channel operation), was formerly the El Capitan, and the Jerry Lewis Theatre

unknown on October 19, 2003 at 3:30 pm

This is true about the Hollywood Palace.

To further confuse things, there was also another “El Capitan Theatre” name applied to another theatre
on H'wood Blvd. “This Is Your Life” was b'cast from there and about 1954
Laurel and Hardy were saluted on this program for their comedic efforts during the preceeding 30 years.

DennisPierce on October 18, 2003 at 2:44 pm

Hollywood Palace was on Vine Street a block north of Hollywood & Vine and across the street from the Capitol Records building.

Manwithnoname on October 18, 2003 at 4:20 am

The Hollywood Palace was a different building. As far as I can remember, this theater has always shown movies.

frenchjr25 on October 17, 2003 at 7:20 pm

If I am not mistaken, this is the theatre were many of Hollywoods greatest TV shows were broadcast. Texaco Star Theatre came from here as well as many others. I know that they came from the El Capitan Theatre in the LA area. It should be the same theatre that was renamed the Hollywood Palace for the TV show of the same name in the 1960s.

Manwithnoname on February 5, 2003 at 10:33 am

Disney may have renovated the theater, but they need some serious work on how they operate this theater. On visiting one afternoon with my daughter, I was accused of sneaking in even though I produced ticket stubs! The accusation occurred as the show was starting. Will never set foot there again.

tomdelay on September 26, 2002 at 9:55 pm

The El Cap also now contains the famous 4 manual 36 rank Wurlitzer from the late, great San Francisco Fox Theatre (1929-1963. Cheers to the Disney Corporation for placing this magnificent instrument in the El Cap!

BHousos on February 24, 2002 at 9:22 am

Building architects were Morgan, Walls, & Clements. Theater opened on May 3, 1926. Theater architect was G. Albert Lansburgh.

William on October 4, 2001 at 12:48 pm

The El Capitan was remodeled in the early 40’s, and renamed The Paramount it had an Art Moderne / Art Deco look. That remodel would remain till the Disney remodel. As the Paramount theatre it had one of the BEST waterfall curtains in town. From the mid 60’s this theatre was run by Loew’s then Century Theatres, Statewide theatres, a short time with GCC, then SRO theatres, then Pacific theatres. Before Pacific theatres ran the Paramount, SRO had the theatre, They were thinking to do a restoration at one time. But found it would have cost a lot of money at the time, so they dropped the project.

Bill on March 8, 2001 at 12:39 pm

Disney uncovered the original walls that were covered up with plaster and restored the El Capitan to its original splendor. The exterior is Spanish Colonial and the interior is East Indian. The theater seats 1,550.