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Well of course the Capitol was for the middle class. The whole idea of the movie palace was to recreate an ambience of aristocratic refinement for working and middle class audiences. Some theatres may have been nicer than others but every movie theatre on Broadway (and elsewhere) was for the hoi polloi. The only real upper class moviegoing experience was that at a screening room in a private home or estate! The superior feeling that a loge seat at the Roxy or Criterion provided was just one more piece of the marketing genius of the movie moguls.
Notice that the photo of the entrance at the bottom of the page includes a banner promoting the Capitol’s closing night live gala show on 9/16/1968. It was hosted by Johnny Carson and featured Bob Hope and many other personalities from the Capitol’s heyday!
Here we go!
I think in the early 1960s when the theatre was renovated and redecorated (and the escalator installed in the lobby) the rear sections of the balcony were walled off, probably bringing the seating capacity into the 3000s. When the theatre was renovated again a few years later for Cinerama, the seats were removed from the rear orchestra under the balcony and actually replaced with a decorative Japanese-style garden and the front rows were also removed to accommodate the giant screen (never saw this but I remember reading about it and saw photos!). From this time until it closed the Capitol probably had about 1500 seats that were in use. I don’t know if the balcony was used at all at that time, maybe one of the CT members that post here would remember?
I think you’re probably right, Scott.
The rendering pictured in this recent article doesn’t seem to show a full-on restoration. More of an up to date renovation with the remaining parts of the original decor preserved and restored. Plus the organ will remain part of the new theater. But, it’s not much to go on. It’s anyone’s guess what the finished product will look like. Either way, it’s almost unbelievable that the renovation is even happening. Hats off to LIU and all involved.
Thanks. I’ll start looking around. I’m so jealous that you saw the original Follies! That’s awesome.
“Famous theaters” is just a brief selection of 10 theaters that are still here today and well known (except the recently closed and soon to be rebuilt Ziegfeld.) It’s an introduction and a place to start browsing for newcomers to the site. Actually its not even all that easy to find. You have to click on “more” for Popular photos and the the topic appears on the next page as “Photos of Famous Movie Theaters”.
I’d love to read more about Sondheim and the Roxy. Can you tell me where his comments can be found? Thanks!
All of the theaters in that section, with the recent exception of the Ziegfeld, are still in existance and functioning.
Also CT’s listings are often under the current or most recent name rather than the original name when a theatre has gone under different names. Can be confusing.
Agreed. Google is much more efficient and faster than CT’s own search engine.
Well, you know, “Barry Lyndon” – attracts a rough crowd.
And by problem I don’t mean him, I mean a top-down management problem that would result in one of their staff thinking it was okay to go off on a customer like that. And on a public forum. That’s one customer probably lost forever, plus everyone he tells his story to, and potentially anyone else who reads this blog.
Wow. That’s some tirade. Hopefully this person doesn’t really work for or represent the Kings. If he does I’d say they have a problem.
Fun to visit this movie that was beautifully restored by Disney. But very (very!) disappointed to find that the organ is only played on the weekend. Maybe everyone knows this but me, but it’s not mentioned anywhere on the website or ticket schedule.
Is “closed” the right designation for this theatre? Surely its active use as a church means it’s “open”, just not as an entertainment venue.
Featured in Season 2 Episode 5 of the Netflix/Judd Apatow series “Love”. How great that this cool neighborhood theatre is still going!
In May 2016 Billboard reported that renovations would get underway in 2017 with a reopening projected sometime in 2019.
This article from a few days ago refers to the Paramoun project as something imminent:
Of course that is how it would have been intended to be lit originally. An array of colors, with no white bulbs, amber being the brightest, displayed from recessed coves giving a luminous, atmospheric, and slightly mysterious glow to the auditorium. Dazzling and brilliant probably wasn’t what the original designers had in mind.
Gosh I think I saw all of those films first run. But not in NY.
I would’ve gone if I didn’t live 700 miles away.
I think he meant that the Star Wars films aren’t being shown on film there or anywhere. The Star Wars Trilogy Tour is on DCP. Will still be awesome, the tour is going to a number of former movie Palaces including the Kings, the Boston Opera House/Keith’s Memorial, and the Oakland Paramount. Great to see those films on the big screen in the kind of theatres they were meant for!
Is anyone familiar with the current status of the Beacon’s great Wurlitzer organ? Is it playable/actually played. I’ve read that the console has been buried underneath a stage extension since the 2008 renovation. (Not unlike the Beacon’s sister Roxy Theatre’s Kimball. Fortunately, the Beacon’s organ’s pipes speak from chambers above the stage, not below it as at the Roxy.) Thanks.
Another error about the Kings is that Barbra Stresand was an usher there in her youth. It’s a well known piece of trivia, but incorrect. Ms Streisand has said herself that while she attended the theatre many times, she never worked there.