RKO International 70

18 S. Broad Street,
Trenton, NJ 08608

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LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

On Tuesday 26 December 1950, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at the RKO Capitol. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show or has photos of Lugosi related to this show, please contact Bill at I already have the ads, photos and articles published in the local newspaper of the time. Thanks in advance for any assistance!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

RKO’s Capitol Theatre was enlarged following the 1931 fire. The August 6, 1931, issue of The Film Daily ran the following item about the project:

“Trenton, N. J.— The Capitol, RKO house, will have its seating capacity increased to 1,850. Plans also call for a cooling system and fireproof roof, in addition to the rebuilding of the interior.”

rivest266
rivest266 on October 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

August 26th, 1921 grand opening ad has been posted in the photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

The “Encyclopedia of New Jersey,” edited by Maxine N. Lurie and Marc Mappen, says that the Taylor Opera House was built in 1867, and had been designed by architect Henry E. Finch. Within twenty years of opening it was remodeled, the roof being raised to accommodate a second gallery.

An item datelined Trenton in the February, 1918, issue of construction trade journal The Bridgemen’s Magazine might be about a remodeling of the Taylor Opera House. It says: “Taylor Opera House, South Broad street, having plans prepared by W. A. Klemann, architect, First National Bank Bldg., for theater. About $100,000.”

Then the March 9, 1918, issue of trade journal Domestic Engineering said that construction bids were being requested for a “…$100,000 theater, Trenton, N. J., Taylor Opera House….”

It’s possible, though, that the project was not a rebuilding of the Taylor, but the construction of some other theater. An item in the August 14, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World mentions the Trenton Theater Building Company, owners of the Taylor Opera House and Trent Theater in Trenton. As the company already owned two theaters, it’s not impossible that they were adding an entirely new third house to their holdings.

jim78609
jim78609 on June 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm

In the late 60’s the Capitol also hosted rock ‘n’ roll shows, like James Brown, the Diana Ross and the Supremes, etc. It had a great stage, back from the days it was the Taylor Opera House.

RickB
RickB on February 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Theater was gutted by a fire on May 2, 1931, during a showing of “It’s a Wise Child” starring Marion Davies. Reproduction of newspaper story here.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

As Taylor’s Opera House, the Capitol in Trenton is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. Ormond Butler was the Mgr. The seating capacity was 1,765 and ticket prices ranged from 25 cents to $1. The theater was on the ground floor and there were 8 musicians in the house orchestra. It had both gas and electric illumination. The proscenium opening was 33 feet wide X 39 feet high, and the stage was 38 feet deep, 35 feet of which was behind the curtain line. There were 3 daily newspapers and 2 weeklies, and 4 hotels for show folk. The 1897 poopulation of Trenton was 90,000.

Rifkin
Rifkin on September 23, 2009 at 7:15 am

As a youngster I recall going more times than I can remember to The RKO Capitol in Trenton. My folks and I lived across the Delaware river over in Yardley,PA and my mom and I would ride the bus to Trenton all the time to shop for clothes, go to the book store, have a pork roll for a quick lunch, a visit to the Planters Peanut Shop and catch a movie. The Capitol was a favorite of mine because it always showed the Horror and Action movies and outside around the box office the Posters and Lobby Cards for these exciting films always thrilled you as to what you’d be seeing that day and what thrills were coming up next week. I remember seeing a few of the 3-D classics there. One was the western titled “Charge At Feather River” in 1953. Wearing the 3-D red and green cardboard glasses the indian arrows flew off the screen at you. I also saw the classic horror film “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” in 1954. I saw from behind my fingers as I hid my eyes my first horror film in Colour(British spelling)The very frightening at the time “The Curse of Frankenstein” from Hammer Films in 1957. Also after leaving the theatre I could stop just up the street at possibly the largest newsstand in Trenton to buy all my DC Comics and Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine. So The RKO Capitol will always have a special place in my heart and my early cinema going days.
By the way nowadays I still act in the movies but unfortunately I’ll never see myself at The RKO Capitol.
Richard

ediemer
ediemer on June 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

The International 70 was closed by RKO in October 1972-the chain closed three additional NJ houses that month: Lincoln and Trent Theaters in Trenton, and the State in New Brunswick. (Boxoffice [Eastern Edition] October 30,1972 p.E-7) The “International 70” name was given to various RKO theaters around the country that were remodeled and equipped for 70mm projection.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 10, 2009 at 9:36 am

This site has a photo of the International, circa late 70s or early 80s:
http://tinyurl.com/d7ym4a

teecee
teecee on January 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm

1934 Program:

cover

View link

inside:

View link

itswagon
itswagon on June 26, 2007 at 2:29 pm

One more thought, I am pretty sure that the Keith name associated with the Capital referred to the Keith Vaudeville Circuit that eventually merged with the Radio Corporation, and the Orpheum orgnization (also a Vaudeville organization). The eventual firm name is Radio Keith Orpheum or RKO.

itswagon
itswagon on June 26, 2007 at 2:26 pm

The Capitol Theatre lobby featured a large mural of George Washington Crossing the Delaware. If memory serves me the auditorium had pillars. I believe toward the end of its existence it featured a super-wide screen that extended beyond the prosenium and the Todd (Mike, an Elizabeth Taylor husband) AO system, it was called Todd AO (American Optical).

It is interesting how virtually all of the Trenton theatres featured Moller Theatre Pipe Organs and not Wurlitzers. The only one that I can recall seeing or hearing was the one at the Lincoln that resides, completely restored at the Trenton War Memorial.

HalWolverton
HalWolverton on December 14, 2006 at 4:03 am

Yes, that used to be the Korvette’s shopping center.

teecee
teecee on November 16, 2006 at 4:14 pm

Thanks for the clarification. Is this the old Korvette’s shopping center? Since you worked there and provided the clarification, why not post it as a new theater?

HalWolverton
HalWolverton on November 15, 2006 at 3:39 pm

To correct/clarify TC’s post of 3/2/2006:

The Capitol was as said on Broad St. in downtown Trenton. The GCC’s
Capitol Plaza Cinema was/is a different place. The GCC’s Capitol
Plaza Cinema started out as a one screen theater in the 60’s. I
vaguely remember an empty lot covering the whole area around 1960. I
believe it was still a single in Dec. 1971 when I saw Godfather there
on my first movie date. By the time I worked there in 1973, it had a
wall down the middle making it a duplex.

The theater was/is in the corner of a roughly L shaped strip mall on
Olden Ave. between Princeton Ave. and the Arctic Parkway. The “back”
of the Cinema faced Spruce St. and Princeton Ave. The marquee was a
big white rectangle way out across the parking lot by Olden Ave.
Changing that thing late on a Tuesday night in the winter wasn’t much
fun. Between the theater and the Sav-on Drug Store that was to the
left of it was a passage way through which you could access the rear
parking lot.

I worked there the summers of ‘73 and '74 and during college breaks
in between.

The manager back then was a fellow name Hank Czubach ( sp ? ) who
later managed GCC’s Mercer Mall Cinema, a four-plex a few mile away.

Last time I went by there, the building was still there but I didn't
look to see how it’s being used.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 8:55 am

Listed as the Capitol Plaza Cinema under GCC in the 1970 Film Daily Yearbook. Listed as the Capitol Plaza Cinema I & II under GCC in the 1976 International Motion Picture Almanac.

teecee
teecee on July 6, 2005 at 3:08 am

Taylor Opera House and the Trent Theatre were sold to Frank V. Storss of New York November 8, 1919, for the sum of $440,000.

teecee
teecee on July 6, 2005 at 2:53 am

Taylor Opera House, S Broad bel State, Montgomery Moses mgr

Taylor Opera House Block, S Broad bel State

listings from the 1920 Trenton City Directory.

teecee
teecee on July 6, 2005 at 2:49 am

This theater goes way back. Originally built as The Taylor Opera House and then renamed Keith’s Capitol.

“The coming of Taylor Opera House (opened March 18, 1867) meant the eclipse of both Temperance and Bechtel Halls as theatrical show places. The former went on for many years as a resort for lectures, fairs, etc., but Bechtel Hall was less adapted for such occasions and was advertised for sale in 1870.

It is an interesting commentary on the state of mind of the “unco guid” at that period that John Taylor who was the chief promoter of the modern playhouse here did not dare to advertise it as a theatre but placated public feeling by calling it “Taylor Opera House.” His fellow directors also yielded to public sentiment to the extent that a narrow twelve-foot stage was to be installed suitable only for concerts, lectures and other innocuous forms of entertainment, but Henry E. Finch, the architect, put in a stage 32 ½ feet wide and told the directors to place the blame on him for misunderstanding orders. A still more rigorous hewing of the line had attended Mr. Quintin’s opening of The Atheneum in 1857.

“The influence of the theatre,” commented the virtuous State Gazette, “is generally pernicious socially and morally. Nevertheless, we think a place of dramatic amusement can be maintained in this city without detriment, if it be carefully supervised.”

Taylor Opera House, which had cost about $110,000, was long the pride of local theatre-goers and not without reason, in view of the generous tributes paid to its modern construction, spacious auditorium and ample stage equipment. It was for a generation the home of the finest in dramatic performance that the country could offer. The greatest stars of the profession appeared here, tragedians, dramatic favorites, queens of the comic opera, with their perfectly trained, colorful supporting companies. To name them would mean merely a recital of the full roll of America’s celebrated artists before the -film seized popular favor.

Other Theatres

Trenton was growing at such a rate that it became necessary in 1887 to raise the Opera House roof and put in a second gallery. After a few years, the pressure for room manifested itself again to such an extent that when a banner attraction was booked, lines of speculators stood all night awaiting the opening of the box-office in order to reserve seats. …….

Meanwhile old Taylor’s had become Keith’s Capitol Theatre and has been remodelled into a gorgeous palace of amusement."

old sketch:
View link

courtesy of trentonhistory.org

++++++++++++++++++

A Moller organ, opus 2849, was installed in the Taylor Opera House in 1921.

teecee
teecee on July 1, 2005 at 5:29 am

Courtesy of RobertR’s post on the RKO International in New Brunswick, NJ:

View link

This theater was once known as the RKO International. Ad is from 1964 from the movies listed.

RickB
RickB on June 17, 2005 at 1:17 am

Demolished. Looks like there’s a parking garage on the site.