Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 151 - 175 of 857 comments

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


AlAlvarez on May 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Although I think Wikipedia is always suspect, their simple description is pretty good.

Coate on May 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

AGR: The 70mm information for Vertigo is in reference to the film’s 1996 re-issue, not its original release. VistaVision was a 35mm process. Deal with it.

AGRoura on May 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I had seen that before. Look at this part, and I quote:
“Using whatever sources were available, the restoration team created a new 35mm 8-perf negative from which a 65mm inter positive was generated. Although not noticeable on the screen, some elements were as many as eight generations away from the original negative. Both 70mm and 35mm prints were then made for theatrical showing.”
65mm interpositive — 70mm prints for soundtrack etc. — doesn’t that makes it a 65mm process? It was probably that way for the original Vertigo which is what they are talking about. I think it is very simple explanation. Anyway, I am not going to spend the rest of my life discussing if VV is 65mm or 100mm or whatever. Over and out.

Coate on May 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

AGR, you’re not even close!

I find it too difficult to explain aspect ratio and film gauge concepts with words alone; I think it best to use visual examples for the concept to really sink in. Check out Page 5 of the VistaVision wing of the WidescreenMuseum for some VV frame samples that might clarify things for you.

View link

AGRoura on May 2, 2011 at 9:49 am

OK, technically VV was 70mm since it was a horizontally filmed two 35mm frames. But if a theater showed the horizontal print, the film image in the double frame would be 65mm since the other 5mm were for the sprockets and soundtrack(s), just like ToddAO and other 70mm systems. Can a CT commenter who is a projectionist or film technician clarify this? Or can you be more specific, Michael? I will appreciate a more detailed response.

Mark_L on May 2, 2011 at 9:16 am

The unique Vistavision Framing Guide appeared at the start of the reel after the changeover.

View link

Coate on May 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

VistaVision was not 65mm!!!

BobbyS on May 2, 2011 at 8:15 am

Thanks so much for the link. Enjoyed reading. I lived around the corner from the B&K Paradise in Chicago. The theater installed a taller screen, not cinemascope size to present VistaVision films I believe in the 1950’s. The Marbro theater around the corner got a huge Cinemascope treatment with “The Robe” and was the talk of the neighborhood. It didn’t make much difference for the Paradise was closed and razed in 1956, much to my distain!

AGRoura on May 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

Bobby, as I said on the March 30 post above, all VistaVision films were shot in 65mm, and only 1 or 2 theaters in NY and LA could show the 65mm horizontal prints, all other showings were in reduced 35mm prints and theaters did no have to use a different projector. The “changeover” signal at the right top of the screen indicated to projectionists the width of the projected film they could use depending on the size of the screen since main action was usually centered when shooting the film. Recommend you take a look at the VistaVision page on the American WideScreen Museum website. Here is the link:
View link

BobbyS on May 2, 2011 at 12:01 am

Thanks for the information about VistaVision. I often wonder why in some theaters I would watch “White Christmas” in wide screen and other theaters it seemed smaller. Did it depend if the theater had the right projector? Could it be the same movie was filmed in different formats at the same time?

Tinseltoes on April 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

After resuming stage shows in 1943 due to a wartime demand, the theatre often advertised itself as the “Star Spangled Capitol” to demonstrate the strength and power of its programming. Opening on screen 68 years ago today was MGM’s B&W musical drama, “Presenting Lily Mars,” with top billing for Judy Garland that suggested that the young star was rapidly developing into “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.” Headlining the Capitol’s stage show was Jimmy Durante, whose “Nose Knows No Equal,” with support from trombonist Sonny Dunham & His Orchestra and tap dancer Harold Nicholas. Popular/classical singer Marta Eggerth, who also had a featured role in “Presenting Lily Mars,” provided an extra added stage attraction.

Tinseltoes on April 20, 2011 at 8:46 am

Seventy-seven years ago today. “Tarzan and His Mate,” MGM’s second B&W jungle epic with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre. The stage show was a simulated radio program, with all talent provided by NBC, inclduding distinctive-voiced announcer James Wallington as emcee. Tenor James Melton shared top billing with Richard Himber & His Orchestra. Also on board were crooner Joey Nash, the Three Pickens Sisters, Beauvel & Tuva, and the “Sisters of the Skillet,” who were actually two male comedians who dished up fanciful reciptes.

Tinseltoes on April 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

Sixty-two years ago today, the Capitol Theatre opened its 1949 Easter holiday show with the NYC premiere engagement of Universal International’s “City Across the River.” With Stephen McNally topping the cast, the B&W melodrama had no major stars, but its expose of Brooklyn street gangs was in the same realistic style as UI’s “Naked City,” which had broken boxoffice records at the Capitol the previous year. Heading the Capitol’s stage show were Art Mooney & His Orchestra, whose single recordings of “Four-Leaf Clover” and “Baby Face” had been recent best-sellers. Also on the bill were singer-pianist Rose Murphy, aka “The Chee Chee Girl,” and, as a special added attraction, the revered vaudeville, stage, and radio star James Barton.

Tinseltoes on April 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

Seventy years ago today, MGM’s “The Bad Man,” with Wallace Beery as a fictional spin-off of the character he portrayed in “Viva Villa,” opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre. The B&W western’s supporting cast was topped by Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, and a future President of the USA (borrowed from Warner Bros.). Still being managed by Major Edward Bowes but now in a “screen only” period, the Capitol supported “The Bad Man” with a compilation of all major newsreels, plus an MGM Technicolor cartoon and the latest episodes of MGM’s “Pete Smith Specialty” and “Crime Does Not Pay” series.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 1, 2011 at 8:32 am

43 years ago today at the Capitol: the press screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, with Stanley Kubrick in the projection booth.

Paul Noble, who was there, posted the following 3 years ago:

Three nights in advance of the NY premiere, I attended the first press screening of 2001 at the Capitol at its full-length. I believe it clocked in at 161 minutes. The place was packed, but after intermission several hundred people were missing. During the closing credits, there were just two of us left, the other being Gene Shalit who was “conducting” “The Blue Danube”. I turned around at the end and waved to Kubrick in the booth and gave him a thumbs up. In the lobby, I joined a heated conversation with Judith Crist, Bruce Bahrenberg and other critics, who were loudly putting the picture down. I told them about “The Sentinel,” the landmark Clarke short story, and what the possible meaning of the picture was. They laughed me out of the lobby! The director cut the film, supposedly on the print, over the next few days, and the shortened version was the one which opened at the premiere. I’m still a great fan of 2001 with its enormous impact on future motion pictures, and the Capitol Cinerama as it was on that night with that gigantic curved screen, even in sharp focus from my third row seat!
posted by PaulNoble on Apr 3, 2008 at 1:54pm

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Sorry for the intrusion, just want to re-link to notifications on this page. The Widescreen Museum site is endlessly fascinating, by the way. I could (and have) lost myself for hours within its pages.

AGRoura on March 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Mike: In the VistaVision section of the American WideScren Mujseum look at the ad for Strategic Air Command’s LA opening which will give you an idea of the screen Paramount Pictures' VistaVision used for the proper horizontal showing of this process. Here is the link:

View link

AGRoura on March 30, 2011 at 11:58 am

Mike: VistaVision was a 65mm process in which the film was filmed and projected horizontally and the image projected was taller than CinemaScope. Only a few theaters had 65mm horizontal projectors, I think in NYC only the Paramount and Radio City had it. The general releases were 35mm prints projected vertically in regular wide screens, if it was a scope screen it only covered the center part of the screen like any other 35mm wide screen film. However, the fact that VistaVision films were shot in 65mm, the reduced 35mm print was very sharp. The “change” signal at the right top of the screen indicated to projectionists that the projected film could be bigger or wider, since main action was usually centered when shooting the film. Recommend you take a look at the VistaVision page on the American WideScreen Museum website.

Mikeoaklandpark on March 30, 2011 at 10:39 am

I have a question. What was Vista vision? Was that another name used instead of cinemascope?

Tinseltoes on March 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

Fifty years ago today, Paramount’s eagerly-awaited “One-Eyed Jacks,” which starred Marlon Brando and also marked his debut as a director, opened its NYC premiere engagement at Loew’s Capitol. Photographed in VistaVision and Technicolor, the epic western was presented at the Capitol as a semi-road show. Performances were continuous, and regular prices prevailed, but tickets could be purchased in advance for up to seven days. Advance tickets guaranteed a seat, but not a specific location. The advance tickets could be purchased not only at the Capitol, but also at all Loew’s circuit theatres in the Greater New York area. Tickets for current performances were sold only at the Capitol.