El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 176 - 200 of 316 comments

haineshisway on August 25, 2007 at 7:47 pm

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 6:59 pm

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 5:34 pm

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 4:29 pm

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.

William on August 25, 2007 at 2:30 pm

I’ve been back there, when I worked for Mann Theatres and also down under the stage areas.

KramSacul on August 25, 2007 at 4:59 am

The sound at the El Capitan is indeed good even if it’s a little low (probably not to scare the kids). I’m curious how big the screen speakers are as they have to be hung behind the screen to accomadate the various stage shows.

I think the stage at the Chinese was taken out or reduced decades ago sometime in the 50s. Anyone been back there?

William on August 25, 2007 at 1:50 am

Disney/Pacific knowns how to run a good show and the sound is good in that house. Disney has Dolby in for a sound call on all openings of films and their studio tech staff is outstanding, having worked with them on many film openings. The theatre projectionist does not change the levels of the surrounds as Terry thinks. Having worked the theatre in the booth, the only control the projectionist has is the main fader in the booth. The SPL on the main channels should be 85dB and like 82dB for the surrounds. Some people like to run their surrounds above the normal level and think its the right way.

Well the Chinese can’t have a stage show because they have no stage left there, it’s the THX speaker wall and storage.

kencmcintyre on August 25, 2007 at 1:31 am

This ad for Citizen Kane, playing at the El Capitan, was dated June 1, 1941. If you’re familiar with the film, you will recall that RKO was under a lot of pressure from the other studios to destroy the negative and in fact was offered a sizable amount of money to do so:

terrywade on August 16, 2007 at 12:34 am

The stereo surrounds are never up. They are on so low you won’t hear them. Turn down the stage speakers and turn up the surrounds. As you know surround sound speakers are never to up to hi, they are just a effect channel. But on many Disney movies the whole surround experience is lost, is the theatre to wide for you to hear the surrounds if your in the middle? Please Pacific/Disney bring in some Dolby THX guys and do a sound balance. Don’t let the surrounds not be heard. I can’t believe at a a big opening some of the Disney sound guys must be in the house, they worked hard on the stereo soundtrack, don’t they notice things are off at this Disney showcase. Probably some old lady complained the surrounds were to loud and some projection guy turned them way down. This is a class showmanship Theatre. Look across the street and the poor Chinese can’t compare. No stage show at the Chinese, sometimes they don’t even close the Chinese main curtain, Mann theatres is to busy running boring adds up to feature time. Long live the El Capitain, turn up the surrounds!, and don’t forget the balcony surrounds!

exit on August 4, 2007 at 12:10 pm

William, if you find those pictures, I know where they can find a proper showcase…

Lost Memory, Nice picture… has anyone posted yet about where the Marquee is programmed? I’m told It’s run from the studio in Burbank. The theatre itself has no control over the sign except maybe turning it on and off.

William on July 24, 2007 at 6:37 pm

I have some from the earlier eras of the Paramount before the Disney remodel. I just have to find time to scan them. There from before the 40’s and the 60’s timeline.

arclight on July 16, 2007 at 4:11 am

Found this brief video that shows the interior of the theatre.


evidonr on April 21, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Does anyone know of photos of the Hollywood Paramount auditorium in the 50s and early 60s (I’ve asked this before), the era of Sayonara, Vertigo and Gigi, before the unfortunate gold-glitz job that was finally (fortunately) obliterated in the theatre’s El Capitanization? For those of us who spent many happy hours during those years in that elegantly draped venue, which complimented and enhanced any film (only the Chinese during the same period, before its “refurbishment” and the late, lamented Carthay Circle were comparable), the memories are indelible.

evidonr on April 21, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Does anyone know of photos of the Hollywood Paramount auditorium in the 50s and early 60s (I’ve asked this before), the era of Sayonara, Vertigo and Gigi, before the unfortunate gold-glitz job that was finally (fortunately) obliterated in the theatre’s El Capitanization? For those of us who spent many happy hours during those years in that elegantly draped venue, which complimented and enhanced any film (only the Chinese during the same period, before its “refurbishment” and the late, lamented Carthay Circle were comparable), the memories are indelible.

exit on April 21, 2007 at 3:32 pm

Pacific is not known for stellar maintenance. Has anyone got photos of the Paramount’s interior from the sixties (after the wide screen was installed)? I’d love to see what the lobby and auditorium looked like in the DOCTOR DOLITTLE era. MAybe post them on CinemaTour.com where there are already plenty of nice photos of the El Cap today, but only one from the Paramount days.

William on April 21, 2007 at 1:13 pm

The Paramount’s old auditorium still looked good in the 80’s before the Disney make-over. Pacific/SRO put little money into the house before Disney transformed it. The only problem I did not like about the Paramount’s look was those large mirror balls under the marquee.

exit on April 21, 2007 at 1:45 am

I saw MEET THE ROBINSONS here. They have replaced the gold satin countour curtain with one that’s a bit redder and looks like it’s made of parachute fabric. The pre-show organ music was fun as always.

Though the silver screen is now behind the silver curtain, there wasn’t the usual nifty opening curtain/light show. Contour curtain rises on a blank screen, two trailers, contour comes down, and… this had to be the lamest pre-show I’ve ever seen here – two rubber head “characters” from the movie walk up the aisle, stand on the stage and gesture a song, then came the inevitable confetti blast, and they just walked offstage.

The picture was quite nice, but no, not bright enough to be run on two projectors. They should try doing that at the Dome, which needs all the light it can get.

Musik222 on April 15, 2007 at 2:42 pm

First of all let me say that I take offense to the statements that the 60’s renovations to the theater were gaudy & in bad taste,that was the style for those times.My father Sully Altieri was the managing director at that time for Statewide theaters.and let me tell you they dumped a ton of money into that place.It was a wreck when they took it over.From what I remember and I have the pictures and letters to prove it,all the studios wanted their premiers at the Paramount.While the latest restoration is beautiful,that is a sign of our times “Retro”.

Coate on April 8, 2007 at 6:16 am

El Capitan is one of the few large, single-screen venues showing “Meet The Robinsons” in digital 3-D. Has anyone seen it there? Has anyone been able to determine if they are showing it using two projectors to improve the light output on the screen? (There were some reports that Disney screened “Chicken Little” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” there and in some other large-screen, major-market theatres using the dual-projection technique.)

Oh, and if any readers missed it in the news report posted last week, here is a link to the theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada showing “Meet The Robinsons” in 3-D:

View link

gunrob on April 8, 2007 at 4:08 am

We just returned from a trip to Los Angeles. Caught the opening of the latest Disney 3-D feature, Meet the Robinsons, at the El Capitan theatre. We had not been inside before and we were totally awed with what we experienced. The El Capitan is not a huge movie palace but impressive nonetheless. The movie wasn’t that great but the pre-film organ concert was a wonderful treat.

Bway on February 18, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Here’s an aerial view of the Theater, “Stich” is on the marquee….

View link

BhillH20 on January 1, 2007 at 5:30 am

Now that’s more like it…

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 30, 2006 at 5:21 pm

Based on the context of Simon’s post, I figure he meant to type “terrific” instead of “horrific”.

exit on December 30, 2006 at 9:01 am

Simon, why do you call the El Cap’s restoration “horrific?”

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on December 30, 2006 at 4:56 am

As a new “cast member” of the El Capitan, I’m truly proud to work in a real movie palace and enjoy the hubub of guests excitedly listening to a magnificent pipe organ and oohing and ahhing as the grand curtain rises for a live stage show and movie.
My Santa Ana next door neighbor and dear friend is JOSEPH MUSIL, who was one of the instrumental key figures behind the El Capitan’s horrific restoration (also the CREST and FINE ARTS) of which is on display at his American Museum of Theatrical Design, downtown.
One of the best seats is DD107 in the balcony which has a brass plaque which aptly reads: “Joe, your dream came true."
What a tallented man… What an awesome theater… Long may they reign as giants in the world of showbusiness!