Loew's Capitol Theater

1328 F Street NW,
Washington, DC 20004

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Showing 26 - 49 of 49 comments

bruceanthony on May 7, 2008 at 6:23 am

Would love to see more photos of this beautiful theatre. This is almost a forgotten theatre, but its was our DC’s flagship theatre and was first run until it closed. brucec

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 14, 2008 at 6:41 am

Here are new direct links to opening ads for the Fox Theatre and the re-naming as Loew’s Capitol:
View link
View link

JackCoursey on February 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Here and here are recent photos of what remains of the Capitol Theatre.

stephen12 on December 12, 2007 at 3:03 am

I am new to this forum. I would like to know what other people knew about this theater. I got interested in this theater after taking a(local"washingtonwalks") tour and a guide told the group about the fantastic design and marquee outside of the theater. Which I had walked by a thousand times before but never ever had thought before that it was a movie theater at one time. I thought the building always had been an office building and the design was just their, before I went on the tour. I will say that the design is really beauliful and I so glad that it was saved. Please if anyone know anything more that they might like to share with me please pass the information along to me. I would like to know and learn.

Thank you
Stephen Hosmer

bruceanthony on October 16, 2007 at 6:04 am

If they hadn’t built the Kennedy Center which didn’t help downtown,the Fox(Capitol) would have made a great theatre for the Performing Arts and wouldn’t have been demolished.brucec

TheRealMcCoy on March 8, 2007 at 2:17 am

I believe she only had glass “transcription disks” popular in 1943 because of the unavailability of aluminum. The Library of Congress couldn’t help me. My grandmother never did anything outside of DC entertainment although she also had a 30 minute radio show on NBC. That is a lead I have yet to follow.

Thank you for your comments!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 8, 2007 at 1:36 am

First of all, did Lynn Allison actually make recordings? You should verify that first, and then contact the sound archives at the Library of Congress in Washington and/or the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in New York City. For photographs, I would start with the main public library serving Washington, D.C. If Lynn Allison had a national career, you should also check all the big libraries in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Online, you could check some of the stock photo providers, such as Corbis.

TheRealMcCoy on March 8, 2007 at 1:21 am

My Grandmother, aka Lynn Allison, sung with Sam Jack Kaufman at the Capitol Theatre for 7 years or so until about 1950. Does anyone know where I might be able to find old recordings or photos of her? The photos I have found online are low quality reproductions from The Washington Post.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 7, 2007 at 4:56 am

Here’s an ad for the original opening in September, 1927 as the Fox Theatre. President Grover Cleveland and wife attended the premiere. At the request of William Fox, “Roxy” traveled from New York to establish the Fox Theatre as a deluxe showcase similar to NYC’s Roxy Theatre, which was by then part of the Fox empire:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 28, 2007 at 8:42 am

Neglected to mention just above that the theatre first opened under its new name of Loew’s Capitol on August 14th, 1936. Here’s an advertisement: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/dccap36.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 28, 2007 at 2:59 am

Loew’s Capitol was the “people’s choice” as the new name for Loew’s Fox Theatre, according to a story in The Washington Post of August 4th, 1936. After more than a week of voting by 25,406 patrons, Loew’s Capitol emerged the clear victor with 8,638 votes. Loew’s President came in second, with 4,311 votes, followed by Loew’s Embassy, with 4,302 votes; The Marcus Loew, 2,456 votes; Loew’s Capital, 1,632 votes; Loew’s Congressional, 1,480 votes; Loew’s Diplomat, 1,160 votes; Loew’s Nation, 698 votes; Loew’s Federal, 426 votes; and Loew’s Union, 311 votes. The proposed names were also selected by patrons before the voting, and Miss Jean Allen of Washington, D.C., won $25 in cash plus a free trip to the Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland for being the first person to suggest the name that proved the victor.

tomasej on April 11, 2006 at 6:47 am

Very interesting info about Capitol. I only know it from 1957 until I left for Air Force in 1960. I remember a fellow worker and ballet lover telling me that since the National Theater stage wasn’t big enough, the Bolshoi Ballet played the Capitol. Truly, it was a huge theater !

tomasej on April 11, 2006 at 6:47 am

Very interesting info about Capitol. I only know it from 1957 until I left for Air Force in 1960. I remember a fellow worker and ballet lover telling me that since the National Theater stage wasn’t big enough, the Bolshoi Ballet played the Capitol. Truly, it was a huge theater !

rlvjr on September 20, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Before 1953, a few stage shows during the stage-and-screen years were PATTI PAGE, JOHNNIE RAY, JONI JAMES, other top popular stars. The post-1953 stage shows were BETTY HUTTON, MARTHA RAYE and a CALYPSO show, all with stage-and-screen policy, meaning 4 stage shows a day. The JUDY GARLAND stage show was reserved seats 2-a-day. In addition, the METROPOLITAN OPERA played 2 days each year and occasionally a famous ballet troup such as SADDLER WELLS.

Ron3853 on August 10, 2005 at 11:09 pm

The two weeks marked as “Stage Show” in the listing of films that I provided are instances where the theater was used either for a touring legitimate show or possibly something like a ballet or orchestra. In those days the big legitimate theater was the National Theater on Pennsylvania Avenue, particularly for future or past Broadway productions on the road. Washington was one of the cities that Broadway producers used for previews prior to taking the show to the Great White Way. Occasionally the National may have already been booked and a downtown motion picture palace was used instead.

rlvjr on August 10, 2005 at 9:18 am

Thanks to Ron for the list of films playing Loew’s Capitol. Too bad it only goes back to 1957. It was 1953 and before when Loew’s Capitol was in its glory. They usually played one of the best MGM or FOX First Runs plus a stage show (about 35 to 45 minutes) with Sam Jack Kaufman and his orchestra hosting popular music stars like Patti Page, Johnny Ray, Joni James, Tony Bennett, et cetera. Motion picture show times were 11:00, 1:45, 4:30, 7:15 and 10:00 almost always. A late show added on Saturday. First show Sunday at 1:45 pm.
Sometimes they’d have an oversized epic such as Cecil B. deMille’s “Samson and Delilah” and STILL have a stage show, with variation to the otherwise reliable show times. Admission to Loew’s Capitol during the era of stage shows was about 5% to 10% more than other first run theaters; a bargain.

Scott on May 20, 2005 at 3:35 am


I can understand why you still dream about the Capitol (or Fox, really). It was an incredibly beautiful theatre. In my view, it’s the most underappreciated Rapp and Rapp theatre. I don’t know why it isn’t more well known.

rlvjr on May 19, 2005 at 7:36 pm

The stage shows in 1960 was BETTY HUTTON and in 1962 MARTHA RAYE with Dick Shawn. A year or so later it was JUDY GARLAND. Just one or two other stage shows appeared in the final years. Many “World Premiere” events were staged here in that era. GLENN FORD, KIRK DOUGLAS, others. JOHN WAYNE came with a small troup for HATARI, called the Hatari Safari. I fondly remember taking Diane here to see GONE WITH THE WIND on their giant screen during the 1954 reissue. I often revisit the CAPITOL today in my dreams. They amputated the CAPITOL out of the National Press Building in 1964 and just 4 years later the Washington, DC 1968 King Riots destroyed downtown’s theatre district for 20-odd years. NO, I haven’t forgiven the vandals. The CAPITOL was so richly endowed that paintings and brass art, light fixtures, et cetera are still in use at BLACKIE’s House of Beef (primarily) and elsewhere as well.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 4, 2004 at 6:23 am

Would it be too much to ask what the “stage shows” of 10/12/60 and 11/14/62 consisted of? Were no movies shown, not even to fill time between the “live” performances?

Ron3853 on September 3, 2004 at 4:16 pm

Part of the history of a great theater is the films that played there. Listed below are the films and opening dates which played the Capitol Theater in DC from 11/20/57 until its closing in August 1963. Research is from microfilms of The Washington Post and Variety. The dates are the Wednesday of the week in which the film first opened as in those days, movies usually premiered on a Wednesday instead of Fridays as they do now.

11/20/57 Les Girls
12/18/57 Don’t Go Near the Water
01/22/58 Legend of the Lost
02/05/58 The Seven Hills of Rome
02/19/58 The Gift of Love
02/26/58 The Lady Takes a Flyer
03/05/58 Underwater Warrior
03/12/58 Saddle the Wind
03/26/58 Merry Andrew
04/16/58 Paris Holiday
04/30/58 The Long Hot Summer
05/21/58 The Sheepman
05/28/58 This Happy Feeling
06/04/58 High School Confidential
06/18/58 Thunder Road
06/25/58 The Bravados
07/09/58 King Creole
07/23/58 The Badlanders
08/06/58 Twilight of the Gods
08/20/58 The Hunters
09/03/58 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
10/22/58 Torpedo Run
11/05/58 Party Girl
11/19/58 Tunnel of Love
12/17/58 tom thumb
12/31/58 Some Came Running
02/11/59 These Thousand Hills
02/18/59 The Journey
03/04/59 The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw
03/11/59 The Night of the Quarter Moon
03/18/59 Some Like it Hot
06/10/59 Warlock
06/17/59 The Mysterians
06/24/59 Ask Any Girl
07/08/59 Say One For Me
07/29/59 Last Train from Gun Hill
08/19/59 Holiday for Lovers
09/02/59 Blue Denim
09/16/59 The Blue Angel
09/23/59 A Private’s Affair
10/07/59 The Tingler
10/21/59 Tamango
10/28/59 Five Gates to Hell
11/04/59 The Best of Everything
11/25/59 Beloved Infidel
12/09/59 Duel in the Sun
12/16/59 Journey to the Center of the Earth
12/30/59 Never So Few
01/20/60 The Story on Page One
02/03/60 Pretty Boy Floyd
02/10/60 Toby Tyler
02/24/60 The Last Voyage
03/09/60 The Gazebo
03/23/60 Heller in Pink Tights
04/06/60 Anatomy of a Murder/Room at the Top
04/13/60 Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
05/25/60 Giant of Marathon
06/01/60 Five Branded Women
06/08/60 Crack in the Mirror
06/15/60 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
06/29/60 Bells are Ringing
07/27/60 The Bellboy
08/17/60 Murder, Inc.
09/24/60 Let’s Make Love
09/21/60 High Time
10/12/60 (STAGE SHOW)
10/19/60 Ruby
10/26/60 September Storm
11/09/60 Where the Hot Wind Blows
11/16/60 North to Alaska
11/30/60 Esther and the King
12/14/60 The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
12/28/60 Where the Boys Are
01/25/61 Village of the Damned
02/15/61 Circle of Deception
02/22/61 Gorgo
03/01/61 Cry for Happy
03/15/61 The Crowning Experiment
03/22/61 The Millionairess
03/29/61 Gone With the Wind
05/10/61 Atlantis, the Lost Continent
05/24/61 The Big Show
05/31/61 Two Loves
06/07/61 Gidget Goes Hawaiian
06/14/61 Wild in the Country
06/21/61 Snow White and the Three Stooges
07/05/61 Homicidal
07/12/61 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
07/26/61 Francis of Assisi
08/09/61 The Honeymoon Machine
08/23/61 The Pit and the Pendulum
08/30/61 Ada
09/13/61 A Thunder of Drums
09/27/61 Scream of Fear
10/04/61 Bridge to the Sun
10/18/61 Imitation of Life/Operation Petticoat
10/25/61 Twenty Plus Two
11/08/61 Mr. Sardonicus
11/15/61 Bachelor in Paradise
12/13/61 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/Gigi
12/20/61 Flower Drum Song
01/24/62 Sail a Crooked Ship
02/07/62 The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
03/07/62 Colossus of Rhodes
03/14/62 Battleground/Go for Broke
03/21/62 Sweet Bird of Youth
04/18/62 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
05/09/62 Ride the High Country
05/16/62 All Fall Down
05/23/62 The Last of the Vikings
05/30/62 The Cabinet of Caligari
06/06/62 It Happened in Athens
06/13/62 The Magic Sword/The Mighty Ursus
06/20/62 Reprieve
06/27/62 Hatari
07/25/62 Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
08/08/62 The Notorious Landlady
08/29/62 Tarzan Goes to India
09/05/62 The 300 Spartans
09/19/62 Father of the Bride/Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
09/26/62 The Tartars
10/03/62 No Man is an Island
10/17/62 Almost Angels/Lady and the Tramp
10/31/62 Escape from East Berlin
11/07/62 Fancy Pants/The Seven Little Foys
11/14/62 (STAGE SHOW)
11/21/62 Period of Adjustment
12/12/62 King of Kings
12/19/62 It’s Only Money
12/26/62 The Lion
01/16/63 The Hook
01/30/63 Sodom and Gomorrah
02/13/63 Samson and the Seven Miracles
02/20/63 Follow the Boys
03/06/63 Show Boat/The Great Caruso
03/13/63 Papa’s Delicate Condition
03/20/63 The Swordsmen of Siena/Cairo
03/27/63 War and Peace
04/03/63 Madame
04/10/63 My Six Loves
04/24/63 Nine Hours to Rama
06/01/63 Ben-Hur
05/08/63 Corridors of Blood/Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory
05/15/63 Cattle King
05/22/63 In the Cool of the Day
05/29/63 Hud
06/19/63 The Nutty Professor
07/03/63 Jason and the Argonauts
07/17/63 A Gathering of Eagles
07/31/63 Flipper
08/14/63 Captain Sindbad
08/25/63 A Ticklish Affair

“A Ticklish Affair” was the last film to play a first-run engagement at the Capitol. The very same week Loew’s opened a brand-new theater, the Embassy as its replacement. The Embassy was located at 1907 Florida Avenue. The Capitol was dmeolished in 1964.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 18, 2004 at 7:26 am

This should really be listed as the Fox, since it was built by William Fox and first opened as the Fox Theatre on September 19th, 1927. Fox dispatched “Roxy” Rothafel from NYC to supervise the opening and to establish a movie/stage policy similar to the Roxy Theatre’s. After “Roxy” returned to New York in November, the Fox switched to a more conventional type of vaudeville with “name” headliners. In 1932, when William Fox entered bankruptcy proceedings, Loew’s took over the theatre’s management. It was known as Loew’s Fox while litigation raged over its ownership. In 1936, Loew’s finally took title to the property and ran a contest to find a new name. The winning suggestion of Loew’s Capitol received a $25 prize. Because of its size and splendour, the Fox/Capitol was always treated like Washington’s #1 showcase. Loew’s continued the stage shows until the early 1950s, when they were ended at the same time as at the Capitol in New York City. First-run movies continued at the Loew’s Capitol, with CinemaScope making its Washington debut there with “The Robe.” The theatre closed in September, 1963, with MGM’s “A Ticklish Affair” as the final booking. Before the theatre was demolished in 1964, the entrance to Loew’s Columbia figured in an exterior scene being filmed for the WWII movie, “A Bridge to the Sun,” with the marquee’s attraction board changed to the way it looked on December 7th, 1941…The Fox/Capitol’s most unusual architectural feature was a huge oval lobby with 24 marble columns, gold ceiling and crystal chandeliers. When you entered from the street, you were actually on the mezzanine level and had to walk down a grand staircase to get to the main floor seating. The auditorium was described as French baroque and reminiscent of Rapp & Rapp’s later Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, but with more upstairs seating.

William on November 20, 2003 at 2:40 pm

The Loew’s Capitol Theatre seated 3432 people.