Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 101 - 125 of 846 comments

BobbyS on October 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Wow!! I bet nobody forget that experience.. Thanks Tinseltoes for your updates. Just imagine, all that for a couple of dollars…..

Tinseltoes on October 14, 2011 at 7:36 am

Sixty-eight years ago today, Universal’s Technicolor remake of its silent Lon Chaney classic, “Phantom of the Opera,” opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre. Claude Rains played the title role this time around, with Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster as the singing romantic leads. Advertising described it as “The Picture That Has Everything,” but the Capitol’s stage show was even more outstanding, with Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, the Deep River Boys, Peg Leg Bates, Patterson & Jackson, and Ellington soloists Betty Roche, Johnny Hodges, and Ray Nance on the bill. A special added stage attraction was Lena Horne, “loaned” by MGM, which now had the rising star under exclusive contract.

AGRoura on September 6, 2011 at 6:42 am

You are right Tinseltoes.

Tinseltoes on September 6, 2011 at 6:39 am

The B&W photo displayed in the introduction could be of any theatre, and hardly does justice to one of the largest and most influential buildings of its type in the world. Many consider it the masterwork of Thomas W. Lamb, but I can’t find even a trace of that in the picture.

paula_eisenstein_baker on September 4, 2011 at 9:10 am

Hi Tinseltoes, thanks for the suggestions. I’ve been through the material at Lincoln Center, including the scrapbooks that the Capitol (NOT the Roxy!) kept, and I have read Variety, Billboard, many of the NY newspapers AND the papers devoted to the movies in the 1920s (as well as The Metronome, Musical Courier, Musical America, Musical Digest, etc.). Zeitlin was mentioned in a Capitol press release in 1927 (the text of which appeared in a number of papers), and his death, in 1930, was reported almost everywhere (from the NYTimes on down). So you certainly could have come across his name.

Zeitlin receives credit for a couple of his overtures in theatre programs that I have seen, but Yasha Bunchuk (the conductor at the Capitol, beginning in 1929) is credited with several others that (I think) may have been composed by Zeitlin. Hence my interest in finding programs.

Tinseltoes on September 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

Thanks, Paula! Over the years, I’ve seen mentions of Leo Zeitlin’s name, but I can’t recall in what context. Have you gone to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in NYC? You should begin by looking in the card catalogs for the music, theatre, and dance divisions. Also, the theatre division has a substantial collection of bound volumes of Roxy Theatre programmes from the start into the 1930s. Programmes for later years can often be found in the clipping files for the movie playing at the Roxy at the time. Also, from the time the Roxy opened, its stage shows were always reviewed at some length in the vaudeville section of weekly Variety. Lincoln Center & the Business Library at Madison & 42nd both have Variety on microfilm.

paula_eisenstein_baker on September 3, 2011 at 7:25 am

Thank you for writing, Tinseltoes. Sorry! The man’s name was Leo Zeitlin (1884-1930), and I’ve been able to document that he composed many arrangements for the Capitol from the playlists kept by WEAF in the 1920s. Most of his arrs were played on the Sun evening Capitol Theatre radio program (the playlists are in the Lib of Congress Music Section, Dept of Recorded Sound), but by 1929-30 he was also writing overtures for the theatre, and those MAY have been credited to him in the theatre programs, which is why I’m eager to find any that I can.

A colleague and I have published Zeitlin’s chamber music (I can provide information about that volume, if anyone is interested), and we are working on an edition of one of his overtures (from Sept 1929).

Tinseltoes on September 3, 2011 at 6:53 am

It would help if you actually named the man who wrote the musical arrangements. Or is that part of the question— to learn his name?

paula_eisenstein_baker on September 2, 2011 at 11:03 am

I’m writing about a man who composed musical arrangements for the Capitol Theatre between 1925 and 1930. Does anyone know of collections of programs from the Capitol for that period other than those at the Theatre Historical Society? I’ve found only one posted on the web. (This query is addressed especially to Tinseltoes and Warren G. Harris, if they are still reading this list.) If private replies are appropriate, use

BobbyS on August 6, 2011 at 8:11 am

It is so wonderful to read all of these dates and I enjoy them so. In many ways you keep the Loew’s Capitol stll “alive”. Thank you.

Tinseltoes on August 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

Fifty-eight years ago today, Columbia’s “From Here to Eternity” opened its world premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre, where the B&W drama was presented on the panoramic wide screen with stereophonic sound. Two of the film’s stars made guest appearances in the Capitol’s lobby to greet their fans and to hand out autographed photos—Donna Reed from 10 to 11am, and Deborah Kerr from 8:30 to 9:30pm. Co-stars Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra could not attend, and cabled regrets.

Tinseltoes on July 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

Seventy-eight years ago today, the Capitol made history by presenting the incomparable Ethel Barrymore in her very first engagement on the stage of a motion picture theatre. With a hand-picked supporting cast, Miss Barrymore performed James Barrie’s famous one-act play, “The Twelve Pound Look.” Preceding the playlet was a variety bill with dancers Harrison & Fisher, singer-composer Harold Arlen, and Phil Spitalny & His Orchestra. On screen in its NYC premiere engagement was MGM’s B&W melodrama, “Storm at Daybreak,” starring Kay Francis, Nils Asther, and Walter Huston.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 18, 2011 at 7:11 am

BobbyS: It was the most incredible movie theater experience I’ve ever had, before or since. The size and shape of the Capitol screen, combined with the greatest science-fiction movie ever made – nothing else will ever come close!

BobbyS on June 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Bill. It must have been something to see at the Capitol. Going to see a major motion picture in a one screen palace really made the whole experience something special!!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 15, 2011 at 7:48 am

43 years ago today – a life-changing event. I saw “2001” at the Capitol. I try to commemorate it every year here on this page.

Tinseltoes on June 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Status needs to be changed from “Closed” to “Demolished.”

Coate on May 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

AGR, there’s nothing wrong with thanking someone for a comment you appreciate, but in this case you look like a fool for having stormed off in a huff only to reappear a day later. And where’s the apology for your nutty YELLING claim of my ignorance? (Don’t you feel like an ass now that you realize I was correct all along?)

AGRoura on May 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

Michael, I was not commenting or giving an opinion, just wanted to thank REndres. Anything wrong with that? He deserves my thanks for the detailed explanation, period.

Coate on May 4, 2011 at 9:02 am

AGR, you’re back. What happened to “OVER AND OUT”?

AGRoura on May 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

REndres, thanks for the detailed explanation.

BobbyS on May 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

Did the Capitol or any theater other than Radio City or the Roxy have a chorus line on the payroll?

RobertEndres on May 4, 2011 at 5:47 am

I’m sorry, but the urge to weigh in on the VistaVision discussion is irresistible for an “old timer” who’s been hanging around projection booths from B.C. to A.D. —“Before CinemaScope” to “After Digital”. Not only was I very much aware of the VistaVision process when it started in 1954 with “White Christmas”, I was later to spend 25 years in the theater that first ran it in New York, Radio City Music Hall, and was a VistaVision dailies projectionist for three features: “Men In Black”, “Michael” and “Jungle 2 Jungle” all of which used VistaVision plates in their production.

The confusion above is thinking that two frames of 35mm equal 70 or 65 mm image size. Since VistaVision is a horizontal process, the frame width of 8 perfs is less than two normal 35mm frame widths. If you hold 8 perfs of 35mm up against a 70mm frame, they will cover about 2/3 of the width. While a few theatres did run VistaVision on horizontal machines, most of the prints were reduction prints to 35mm as noted above. In 1954 the non-anamorphic ratio of 35mm could vary anywhere from 1.5 to one to 2.1 depending on the amount of cropping of the frame by the aperture plate in the projector, thus the multiple framing reference marks at the start of each reel of a VistaVision release print made in conventional vertical orientation.

In 1954 CinemaScope had been introduced,and Paramount decided to go for a less radical image in terms of width, and with better resolution than could be obtained with the anamorphic lenses used for CinemaScope at the time. As a know-it-all 15 year old I remember commenting to the manager of our local theatre that someday someone would combine the width of CinemaScope with image clarity of VistaVision, and a year later they did with the first 70mm Todd-AO releases of “Oklahoma” in 1955 and “Around The World In 80 Days” in 1956.

The horizontal VistaVision print of “White Christmas” at the Music Hall was run with an interlock sound track printed on conventional 35mm and played on the Hall’s normal 35mm projectors,as were the mag tracks for the dailies I ran starting with “Men In Black”. Running VistaVision is a trip since it is still running at 24 frames per second and thus the film speed is 180' a minute, twice the normal speed and faster than even a 70mm print.

One more note to fire up even more heated debate: the argument might be made that Super Technirama is the equivalent of 70mm in terms of image size. Technirama is an 8 perf horizontal system with a 50% anamorphic squeeze. Thus the image unsqueezed is equal to 12 perfs of 35mm film. If you hold 12 perfs of 35mm against a 70mm image, you’ll find that they match almost perfectly (try it). The process was used as recently as Disney’s “Black Cauldron” and yielded the 70mm release print we ran at the Hall.

(And yes, hdtv267 this really does have very little to do with the Capitol — sorry about that!)

BobbyS on May 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I do not believe VV was 65 or 70MM. I considered it more a 35mm stretched. I saw many films in VV in the theater presentations in the 50’s and they were never the same size as a cinemascope release!

AlAlvarez on May 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm


I think you are simply wrong and need to stop now.

AGRoura on May 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm