Capri Cinema III & IV

5306 Kingston Pike NW,
Knoxville, TN 37919

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 16 comments

tntim on June 17, 2014 at 8:04 am

Walter Morris who owned the original Capri Cinema, (former Pike Theatre), used the money from the sale of the Lenox,(former Tower Theatre) to build the first Cinerama Theatre in Knoxville. The new theatre was built on the west side of the Capri. Morris leased the Capri Cinema to the Simpson Operating Company who also leased the Lenox from Morris until TDOT took the land for the reconfiguration of Broadway. Simpson would also lease and operate the new Capri-70. At that point, Simpson was operating the Capri Cinema, Capri-70, and the Riviera which was downtown.

The Capri-70 opened on November 23, 1967 and had 709 seats. It is a Stran-Steel structure that measured 80’ wide x 160’ long and is 48’ high at the eves. The auditorium was designed to meet the specification of Cinerama with the screen 35’ high and 72’ across the front of the theater—it was curved, and if you stood down in the center, it was 21 feet into the screen. The lenses were special ground by Bausch & Lomb in California, just for that particular theatre. It was just as sharp from one side to the other and had six-track stereophonic sound.

The theatre was twined in 1985 with one side seating 500 and the other side 178. At this time the name was changed to the Capri Cinema III & IV.

On July 1, 1987 United Artists leased the theatre from the Simpson Operating Company. It then became a Regal theatre in January 1991 after the Regal/ UA merger. The entire Capri complex closed on September 29, 1992 after Regal and Simpson were unable to negotiate a new lease.

As Joe mentioned, this complex is hard to place in a category. Both Capri’s were freestanding buildings built side by side. They were not like todays multiplex which are single structures with two or more auditoriums inside. To make it even more complex, Simpson dropped the “70” from the name in December 1978 and the whole complex became simply the Capri Cinema. In 1993, the original Capri Cinema was demolished except for the rear 25% which is used for storage and the Capri-70 was completely gutted inside to accommodate the new art gallery.

So I guess there will always be a little confusion here on CT as to which theatre is which. Sorry Mike, “The Taming of the Shrew” and “A Shot in the Dark” both played prior to Nov. 1967 and should be posted on the Capri I & II page. I have also posted a newspaper article in the photo section.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

An article in the April 1991 issue of Boxoffice states that Regal Cinemas acquired the Capri from United Artists. Is that this Capri or the other one?

tntim on February 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

The world premiere of “A Walk in The Spring Rain” was held at the Capri-70 on April 9, 1970. I have posted pictures of the event in the photos section.

Gcaplan on November 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Very interesting forum do you guys have get togethers to discuss movies and movie theaters ? let me know

SeeingI on January 11, 2011 at 6:05 am

I can recall seeing Quest for Fire, Iceman, The Right Stuff and Ghostbusters at this venue. The “rocking chairs” were always a thrill for us kids. Very odd to see it turned into a home decor store now! Right across the street is the Capri Terrace (aka Terrace Tap House) which is a Knoxville landmark, or should be.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

You’re right Joe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2010 at 3:23 am

The theater’s aka should be Capri-70, not Capri 75. It was a 70mm Cinerama house. See the opening day ad on this web page.

It should probably also have the aka Pike Theatre, as the Capri 70 was an addition to the Pike, which was renamed the Capri Theatre when the second auditorium was built. Of course, that would create a problem with the “status” field, as the original Pike Theatre has been largely demolished, while the second auditorium building is still standing. I don’t think the status field was designed to display both closed and closed/demolished.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Oct 24 1964 and “A SHOT IN THE DARK” with Peter Sellers is on its 3rd big week.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

The Capri Cinema and Capri-70 Cinerama is how a Boxoffice article of March 26, 1973, styled this twin. The article was about the opening of the new Capri Terrace by the Simpson Operating Company, the same chain that operated the earlier Capri cinemas.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Sept.28 1967 Now showing Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Shows start at 2:30 at the Capri Rocking chair theatre, There was a no reserved seating.Tickets were $1.75 for evening shows and $1.50 for matinees.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm


tntim on April 18, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Photo of the Capri Cinema can be found here: View link The doors to the far right of the picture is the enterance to the Capri-70 which was the Cinerama house that was build in 1967. The window to the right of the photo was the boxoffice for both theatres.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on July 6, 2005 at 5:40 am

Apologies for a typo above: it should say “…formed a very EARLY 2-screen complex.” We need tntim to tell us the whole story here. His father was the projectionist at the Capri (I think) for the theatre’s whole existence.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on July 6, 2005 at 3:51 am

Jack, yes, that is the Pike – a.k.a. the Capri. Kingston Pike is the main street on the west side of Knoxville. That area has had the most growth since WWII and continues to expand at a phenominal rate.

JackCoursey on July 5, 2005 at 5:28 pm

I’ve got a listing from a 1952 directory showing a Pike Theatre at 4200 Kingston Pike. Is this the same as mentioned above? This Kingston Pike area appears to have the most growth in theatre construction in Knox County since the late 1960s.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on July 5, 2005 at 4:54 am

The Capri was built adjacent to and as part of the post WWII Pike Theatre. The Pike and Capri formed a very 2-screen complex. The Pike was a very ahem innocent little hall whose main claim to fame was that it was the first in an experiment in prefabricated construction techniques.

The Capri was built to present single strip cinerama with a deeply curved ribbon screen.

Both halls were subsequently twined to form a 4-plex. Long closed as a theatre, in the mid-1990’s the buildings were converted into an art gallery: the larger hall had its main floor leveled and a 2nd floor inserted into the auditorium space. The front +/– 1/3 of the older, smaller hall was torn down and the rear portion made into office and storage space.

The only realy memorable exterior feature was/is the two story window-wall which formed the front of the Capri’s lobby.