Capitol Theatre

121 W. Broad Street,
Hazleton, PA 18201

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The Capitol Theatre opened in September 1926. This was the largest and most ornate theater located in the area with 2,389 seats, 1,145 located in the orchestra, 976 in the balcony, 236 in the loge section and 32 box seats. All this was contained within a large five-story building with multiple storefronts facing the main street of the city. The exterior was done in light tan brick, had a large square shaped marquee and narrow vertical spelling out “Capitol Theatre”. The auditorium had a rather ornate balcony railing and large painted murals on the side walls.

Many famous actors and actresses played on the Capitol Theatre stage. Some of these included Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and Milton Berle.

The theatre switched to an all film policy in the 1930’s and was the most popular theater in the city for many years. It began to suffer with television in the 1950’s and management tried many ideas to once again fill the seats. The theatre closed officially in the spring of 1963 and was sold later that same year.

The lobby was converted into storefronts, while a neighboring furniture store extended its second floor showroom into the area in front of the balcony and over the stage. Those familiar with the theatre building often remarked how the balcony was left totally intact, complete with seats and chandeliers, now facing the new drywall put up by the furniture store.

The building survived like this into the mid-1980’s when a fire destroyed it all. A one-floor office building now sits in its place.

Contributed by Bob

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

RJS
RJS on July 18, 2005 at 5:17 pm

Here is a photo showing the original marquee and exterior.

RJS
RJS on July 21, 2005 at 9:22 am

Here are a few additional images showing the Capitol Theatre.
This image shows the original marquee. View link

This image shows the final marquee.
View link

DavidD
DavidD on February 1, 2006 at 11:11 am

My father,Tony DeCosmo,was the Chief Projectionist at the Capitol Theater for many years and worked there till it closed in 1963.I remember the ladder that lead to the roof of the building.We watched John F. Kennedy campaign in front of the Altamont Hotel (just a few doors away) from the Capitol roof.I believe the company that actually owned the theater had some sort of clause that prohibited the building’s use as a theater after the Capitol closed.In fact I’ve got hundreds of memories of the Capitol,most of which are very good.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Listed as a Comerford-Publix theater in the 1945-46 International Motion Picture Almanac. The architect was likely Leon Lempert, Jr.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

The August 23, 1926, issue of The Scranton Republican said that Michael Comerford’s new Capitol Theatre in Hazleton was scheduled to open on Labor Day. That would have been Monday, September 6. Jack Theakston is right about the likely architect. Every house built by Comerford in the 1920s that I’ve found attributed to an architect in newspaper or trade journal items has been attributed to Leon H. Lempert, Jr., or the firm of Leon H. Lempert & Son.

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