Capri Theatre

1913 Elm Street,
Dallas, TX 75201

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Showing 26 - 31 of 31 comments

legsdiamond
legsdiamond on November 7, 2005 at 12:42 pm

This theater was divided (I don’t really know how because I was never in the ‘big’ theater') and the whole complex spilled over into a building next door as a 6-screen plex that was billed as ‘the largest theater in the world’ on a big painted mural on the rear of the theater on Pacific St. I was always so impressed by that stat.

My fav. memory of the Capri 6 is that when I made my dad take me to see one of the sequels to the “planet of the apes' series in one of the smaller theaters, actors/ushers dressed up like apes walked up and down the aisle doing their ape thing. It made a big impression on a 10 year old boy in the early 70’s….

This 6-plex became the home for every blaxploitation picture that Hollywood ever made. Some you’ve heard of; some you never will.

This theater was owned by Gordon McLendon, as were many of the cities most interesting and comfortable theaters (Casa Linda, Park Forest, Preston Royal, and the crazy drive ins—-Gemini, Astro, Apollo, the list is long)…

He shoulda hung on to this gem, the Melba/Capri.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 3, 2005 at 9:25 am

The Hope Theatre became Loew’s Melba Theatre when that circuit took control in around 1926/27.

arapaho48
arapaho48 on January 9, 2005 at 5:36 pm

Thanks, Charles. Fantastic ads and photos, particularly of the Melba at night. I haven’t seen a photo of the theater in decades and it really took me back! You don’t happen to have any photos of the Rialto Theater, do you? (It was about four blocks down Elm Street, past the old Palace and next door to the Capitol.)

arapaho48
arapaho48 on January 8, 2005 at 10:52 pm

Sorry to differ, Mr. Van Bibber, but when Cinerama films were first being shown in this theater, it was still known as the Melba. I not only remember this personally, but I also have old archive copies of The Dallas Morning News that prove this to be true. The name was changed to Capri some time during the early ‘60s and it played the occasional Cinerama film after that — the original first Dallas engagement of “2001: A Space Osyssey” played there. Eventually the McLendon Corp carved it up into a multiplex in an attempt to lure moviegoers downtown, and when that tactic failed to generate business it was scheduled for demolition.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on November 28, 2004 at 7:22 pm

I think what is meant here when it is stated “on a 148ft curved…” is that it was a 146 degree curved screen. Same for “120ft curved screen.” This 2nd installation in fact had a 120 DEGREE screen measuring 76x30 feet.
Also, this is the house that gained some notoriety for instituting a policy that was doomed to failure. Located in a city where racial segregation was rampant, the Melbal instituted a policy where Thursday Cinerama showings were “For Negroes Only.” One of the many reasons that led to Cinerama’s financial downfall during the travelogue years was that there were a number of cities in the South with populations which could have sustained a Cinerama engagement but where at least half of the population was barred from going to the theatres. Cinerama showings in the South during the pre-MGM-Cinerama Inc-agreement years were available only in Atlanta. No wonder Cinerama played so well in Washington, DC.

rickeiff
rickeiff on June 22, 2004 at 2:23 pm

The Melba was originally named the Hope and was built by the Howard Hughes interests. It was opened as a legetimate house but later in the 1920s became an Keith-Orpheum vaudeville house. In the early 1930s, Interstate Circuit took it over and operated it as a “B' picture venue. It never turned a profit and was thought of as a "jonah” and was dark except for ocasional roadshows. After W War II, Interstate reopened it as a hold-over house for the first run Majestic, down the street. Due to the court order to separate the studios from their Theatres, the Mebla was sold to the Louis Novy interests and the name was changed to the Capri. The Novys later sold it to the Bart McClendon chain of theatres which operated it until it was demolished in the 1970s. The Wurlitzer organ was extensively used in the 1930s for the live radio WRR broadcasts of the WRR Kiddie Club.