El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 151 - 175 of 312 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 28, 2008 at 10:04 am

This is a long string. So forgive me if this has been posted.

I went looking for a photo taken after the 40’s conversion, and found this:

View link

Photo is about halfway down on right.

unihikid on February 27, 2008 at 6:35 am

i remember when they were remodeling it.my mom worked in the office building next door to it and we would go to hamburger habit for lunch.the last movie i saw in the paramount was “the new pippi long stalkings”(i think,i was only 9),after resto i saw a screening of dumbo,we sat in the balcony.now lets hope someone does something like this with the warners/pacific 123!

JohnMessick on January 24, 2008 at 11:33 am

Hollywood90038…great pictures, thanks for posting them.

William on January 24, 2008 at 10:16 am

Kirk, the move-over for “Earthquake” from the Chinese was to the Paramount Cinema as what the ad that Ken MC posted on Nov. 21, 2007 for March 1975.

Bway on January 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

Ironic you should post these photos….I saw 101 Dalmations on the marquee….and that’s the movie I saw in the El Captian, the only time I was ever inside….only difference was it was the “live” version of 101 Dalmations. This has to be almost 10 years ago or so.

KJB2012 on January 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Earthquake with Heston did open in Nov 1974 but at the Chinese across the street.

kencmcintyre on December 1, 2007 at 10:51 am

I tried that. After a few minutes, it switches to another page with no photos. This is the only way to do it.

kencmcintyre on November 28, 2007 at 7:01 am

Here is a view of a 1956 premiere at the Paramount:

kencmcintyre on November 21, 2007 at 8:39 am

Lorne Greene played Ava Gardner’s father. I think they were about five years apart. A classic.

kencmcintyre on November 5, 2007 at 7:15 am

Here is a June 1934 ad from the LA Times:

exit on October 22, 2007 at 9:46 pm

It’s a kind of soap bubbles. Very very light, they burst on contact and they’re gone. Disney uses it in the Holiday Fireworks at Disneyland. Just like a rain effect, the stuff shoots upward, then breaks up and scatters as it falls. If you look carefully you can see where it shoots from. This is an easy way to create a goosebump inducing effect, like blasting confetti, sparklers, or streamers. Pretty much every stage show at the El Capitan uses some form of this, except the sparklers and snow don’t require any cleanup.

silver on October 22, 2007 at 9:05 pm

When Chronicles of Narnia was playing, during the pre-show presentation, I remember the El Capitan had “snow” fall from the ceiling over the main floor. And with the theatrical lighting it looked very impressive.

Anyone know did they did the effect? The “snow” never reached the floor (at least nothing fell on me in my seat’s location), so I don’t think it was real man-made snow.
Maybe tiny particles of dry ice that completely evaporate while falling? (I’m assuming some standard theatrical showcraft technique)

terrywade on August 26, 2007 at 10:42 am

Thanks for some history on the CineMiracle system. I am so glad I got to see all the 3 proj Cinerama films in San Francisco at the Orpheum Theatre and some at the Warner Hollywood. At least like the El Captian these theatres are still around. Now lets get someone with a lot of $$$ and buy the Warner Hollywood from the Formans at Pacific Theatres and put back in Cinerama/ Todd AO and show all the 70mm roadshows with new prints for the out of town tourists that go by the chained up Warner. What a place for Cinema history. The tourists have money to spend in Hollywood and are tired of what is out on the streets of Hollywood in 2007. Bring back the 50’s experience for a new generation that is getting bored staying at home watching DVD’S. Bring on the Cinerama Pink curtains and put in the largest curved screen in the world in Hollywood. The out of town tourist crowd walks past the Warner Hollywood most don’t even go down to the Cinerama Dome complex or even know about the Dome Theatre on Sunset Blvd.

veyoung52 on August 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm

sorry about that last snip of this posting…

Terry: “Cinerama Stanley Warner was so upset that someone came along ‘National General’ and made a better Cinerama type system.”

That began way back in history. In brief: originally, the patents for the CineMiracle camera optical system were offered to Cinerama, Inc. which didn’t have the $ to pay (this was before the C'rama Inc, C'rama Prod., & SW-Cinerama trio was formed). On the projection side, R. McCullough of Nat'Gen'l who held the patent for a CineMiracle mirror-type projection had borrowed Act 2 of “This Is Cinerama” to run his projector tests. All was happy and Cinerama wasn’t too concerned about a future rival when, at the LA preem of “Cinerama Holiday,” Louis deRochemont, who had produced “C..Holiday,” got into a shouting match between the C'rama folks and the Nat'l Gen'l people and decided to take his next project over to the CineMiracle camp, claiming that the latter process was superior to what Cinerama could offer. This project is what eventually became “Windjammer.” When Cinerama’s 4th outing “Search for Paradise” tanked at the boxoffice, and “South Seas Adventure” was not yet ready for release, everybody concerned kissed and made up, and petitioned the Dept. of Justice to allow leased Cinerama houses to run non-Cinerama films, namly the CineMiracle “Windjammer” now “presented in Cinerama;” and over the next few years Cinerama incorporated a lot of CineMiracle’s innovations, particuarly on the projection side.
As for your next item, “…people brought the new DVD and didnt know about the preshow music,” in the Ziegfeld Theatre pages there’s a post about one customer at the “Lawrence” showing last year who complained to the
manager during the overture that the sound was on but there was no picture.

veyoung52 on August 25, 2007 at 7:06 pm

to the
manager during the overture that the sound was on but there was no picture.

terrywade on August 25, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Veyoung. I heard the Cinerama people when they bought out the CineMiracle system destroyed most of the photos of the 3 or 4 USA installations. You never see any photos of the CineMiracle curtains or screen anywhere around. You can see some photos of the CM booth setup in old Boxoffice mags. Can you imagine the El Capitan/ Paramount Hollywood from it’s 70mm Roadshow days with a big wrap around curved screen. The El Cap doesn’t seem as wide or deep as the guys across the street at the Graumens Chinese Hollywood. The only way they can do it is start the big curve more on the stage then bring out a little to the sides. I hear from a friend Ted from THS he saw the CineMiracle set up at the Chinese in 1958 and it was so big and curved he said that it took along time just for the curtains to open. Must have looked nice. Someone has photos; one of these days they will turn up. Cinerama Stanley Warner was so upset that someone came along ‘National General’ and made a better Cinerama type system. To bad they ran out of money and had to sell out fast with only one film.‘Windjammer'ended up at most Cinerama Theatres after the CineMiracle limited run. In off Disney times the El Capitan needs to run a 70mm week of films and curve the screen a little. Bring back the Roadshow days for a new generation to see. Gone are the days of 6 Track Mag Sound, Intermissions, Programs, and Pre show music on the film track with Exit music. I can’t believe the people at Sony just released a DVD of Columbia’s 'Funny Girl’ taken from the Roadshow print I guess; and they go and put 3 or 4 minutes of BLACK screen over the new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix open Overture. Why didn’t they put in some curtains at the start of the video and open them like they did when the movie played at the theatres. I know a lot of people bought the new DVD and didn’t know about the pre show music open and tried to return the DVD saying it was bad. No picture but had sound at the top. Wake up Sony! Go out and film some Theatre curtains (If you can still find some) and re do the opening on some of your roadshow Columbia prints to video. At least the new younger crowd that buys a DVD can see what went on in the 50’s and 60’s In the Roadshow Theatres like the El Capitan. I will never forget the time I saw ‘Funny Girl’ on the new big curved D-150 screen down the street at the Egyptian. I think It was a 70mm scope blowup and looked and sounded great.

haineshisway on August 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Memory playing tricks then – thanks for the info. It still didn’t seem to come close to the excitement I felt at Cinerama, though.

veyoung52 on August 25, 2007 at 11:58 am

Three projectors…had to have 2 join lines. One join line means two projectors, and you could have seen that theatrically the same year in San Diego in “Thrillarama Adventure,” which, believe me, was singularly unimpressive.

haineshisway on August 25, 2007 at 11:47 am

I saw Windjammer at the Chinese – I’m sure my memory is playing tricks on me, but I could swear there was only ONE join line instead of two like Cinerama. I’m sure that’s must mis-memory, though. I don’t remember caring for Windjammer very much or thinking it that impressive. For me, impressive was Seven Wonders Of The World, which I saw down the street at the Warner Cinerama around the same time.

HowardBHaas on August 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

I think Terry’s recent comment refers to the El Capitan in its pre-restoration years, as the Paramount. A photo of its exterior is depicted here:

View link

I’m not in Los Angeles, but there used to be a display of photos from when El Capitan was the Paramount (including the above photo) outside the theater. Those photos include the auditorium. Are those photos online anywhere?

veyoung52 on August 25, 2007 at 9:34 am

Terry, I’ve been looking for decades for photos of the Chinese during the CineMiracle period, especially since whatever they had there was easy enough to remove in two days' time after “Windjammer” to make way for “Auntie Mame.” FWIW, one film technician reported on rec.arts.movies.tech some years ago that the downstairs booth at that time still had the floor plates in which the CineMiracle mirrors were fastened.

terrywade on August 25, 2007 at 8:29 am

William can you tell me why when I saw the Pirate movie at the El Capitan the surrounds didn’t have any volume to them. I sat downstairs in the mid section? But up in the Bay Area I saw the same movie in two mega multiplex theatres and the surround was up and clear with great split surround effects. I don’t think the projection people turned up the surrounds at these theatres but the balance was better then at the Hollywood El Capitan; they seem to have all the sound from the stage speakers and not from the effect surrounds. The balcony surrounds are even lower. The Chinese still can have some pre show entertainment even if it doesn’t have a stage. They can put something up on the right and left sides or put something in front of the screen that goes up and down. Iam sure Warner Bros or Paramount (The Mann People) can go to Las Vegas and see what they do with moving stages. I don’t think they want to spend any money to make money. They are only interested in the candy counter $ that’s why they wrecked the whole back of the downstairs to make the refreshment stand and lobby bigger. You can see the great lights that used to be in the back of the Chinese now above the popcorn machine. At least they have some color lights in them as the same lights in the main theatre when the movie is dark. Are they trying to save money by not having any color lights on low during the film showing? A few little blue/green or red lights on the ceiling or sides would look great. Does anyone have any photos of the Cinemiracle curved screen at the Chinese from 1958? I saw many 70mm prints shown at the El Capitan but the screen seemed flat or may have had a slight curve to it. The old projection booth at the El Capitan was way up above the balcony at that time of roadshow 70mm films with a long way down to the Cinemascope screen. They still run video at times from the original booth; but most films or video are projected downstairs with no keystone.