Capri Cinema

738 8th Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Capri Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Another of Time Square’s XXX cinemas. The site is currently a a parking lot.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Forrest136
Forrest136 on October 4, 2006 at 12:30 pm

The CAPRI was a great porno Theatre! I will always remember the great titles! The gal in the ticket booths name was ETHEL and had been in the business 30 years! Too bad it turned into a crack house!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 4, 2006 at 4:17 pm

Taking a lead from Lost Memory’s research for his June 13th, 2005, I found some more public-record details about the Capri:

*The building was a plain-jane multiple family dwelling by the time the mandatory C/O laws went into effect in NYC in 1938.

*By 1957, a C/O was issued for the conversion of the 1st and 2nd story to a restaurant.

*A temporary C/O for a theater with a capacity of 171 on the 1st floor and 66 on the mezzanine level (with projection booth) was issued in May of 1969, with a final certificate issued that September. The final includes a “caretaker’s duplex apartment” on the 3rd and 4th floors.

*By 1996, permits had been issued to demolish and renovate the 1st floor, remove the mezzanine and remove the storefront and marquee.

The owners at one point were “Capri Cinema Inc.” As Lost posted back in 2005, Euro Diner still occupies the former theater space. We can update the seating capacity above to 237 seats.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2006 at 5:14 pm

Here’s a current shot that depicts the buildings that formerly housed the three theaters that comprised Chelly Wilson’s porn monopoly of this block. The Venus was located in the light colored building on the right, which currently houses Daniela Trattoria. Skip a building to the left and you’ll see the former Eros Theater site, now occupied by Playwright Tavern and opposite the small parking lot is the Euro Diner in the building once occupied by the Capri Theater.

Props to Lost Memory, who posted some photos from this site on other pages here (including the Eros) and got me browsing for more. I also posted this on the Venus page.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm

This case, referred to by LM a while ago, states that the Capri initially showed Greek films (ironically) and then art films before switching to adult fare:
http://tinyurl.com/3695tk

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 3, 2007 at 4:18 am

I wonder about the definition of “Greek films” and “art films” in that document… and who provided the theater history. As far as I know, adult films – including the prototype nudies that preceeded the first hard-core films circa 1969-70 – were part of the Capri’s bill of fare since Chelly Wilson first opened the theater in 1968/69.

In any event, I think we should update the data at the top of this page to include a seating capacity of 230. Status should also be changed to “closed” and present function to “restaurant” as the building still stands and is now occupied by the Euro Diner.

Shade
Shade on October 21, 2008 at 12:05 am

The Capri is now fully dismantled. It’s air. The entire building is being removed. About 1/3 of the bed and breakfast portion of the building remains as of today.

woody
woody on May 7, 2009 at 6:12 am

seen here in 1992 in the distance behind its neighbours the Venus and Eros
View link

MDchanic
MDchanic on December 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm

The Health Department “code violations” from 1996, mentioned in the second post were probably violations of the City’s anti-AIDS law that targeted gay bathhouses and similar places where one might find quick'n'easy sex.

The expressions “Greek films” and “art films” were euphemisms from the days when it was a violation of the obscenity laws to show or promote porn.

A fascinating detail about this building – In the early nineties, while the theater was still in full operation, I had occasion, in a work capacity, to visit the upstairs “caretaker’s duplex apartment.” It was accessed through a very narrow, hidden-panel type door behind the box office, which led to flights of stairs. There I encountered an office-like apartment with a very integrated and cool 1960’s design, with a number of old-style 5-line telephones visible on end tables, etc. It was occupied by a pleasant, grandmotherly woman. Someone there said it was the apartment of the owner of the three theaters on the block (Eros, Capri, and Venus). I asked whether the elderly woman was the owner’s mother, and was told, “No, stupid, she IS the owner.”
True story.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm

There is a brief exterior shot of the Capri Cinema marquee in the Harrison Ford film “Regarding Henry”, circa 1991.
It can be found on YouTube sorted chronologically in parts.

Ford’s child like character is wandering the city unsupervised and enters one of the porno houses.
He is then shown to be uncomfortable in what he sees on screen.

The underside of another marquee is shown in the foreground, but the theater name is not visible.
The Capri however seems to be the establishing shot for the area he is in.

ShaunCostello
ShaunCostello on August 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

The Capri Cinema was opened by Chelly Wilson in either ‘68 or '69. She operated this venue for only a year before selling it to another Greek Immigrant, Teddy Kariofilis, who, with minor partner Tom Gioulous, operated the theater until the early Eighties. With his pockets filled with pornocash, Teddy Kariofilis left the theater in Gioulous’ hands and returned to Greece to his family’s sheep farm. Gioulous continued to operate the Capri, which had become a crack house, until it was finally put out of its misery, and blessedly closed. I made many of the films shown at the Capri from 1974 until 1978, and knew both Teddy and Tom quite well. The theater was a serious cash cow, and played continuous porn to full houses, with little or no advertising. I’ll paste in a link to my Blog, with a story about Teddy and Tom, and life on Eighth Avenue, way back when. http://shauncostello.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/113/

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