Capital Theatre

1237-45 N. 52nd Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19131

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One of Philadelphia’s last neighborhood theaters, the Capital survived into the 1990s and even managed to snag a few first-run bookings in its final years. Thalheimer & Weitz were the architects and it appears that the theater was originally named the Apollo. Real estate records currently show the building as retail space.

Contributed by RickB

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

dsrgrs on February 25, 2007 at 5:07 pm

some of my memories include going to the Capital on the weekend during the summer. My brother and i used to take the 15 trolley to 52nd and Girard Ave. I remember one easter me and my friends all went to see Friday 13th Jason Lives when it first came out. We came in late..unlike now a days when u had to wait until the theater was cleaned. Anyway, we watched the end of the movie then watched the second movie Rush i think. Then we watched the main film again until the part that we saw. As a teen it didn’t matter much to me about the cleanliness and the fact it was one screen. All i cared about was the movie on the big screen. We would then proceed to spend all of our money on video games at the corner store.

finkysteet on July 14, 2008 at 12:57 am

That was the beauty of growing up in West Philly during the late ‘60s thru mid '70s — The Capital. It was “the place to be” for good movies especially if you didn’t want to travel to Center City. I lived one block away on 53rd & Thompson. The big neon “CAPITAL,” the unusual zigzag auditorium, the wondrous curtains, the popcorn, the cheesy Kung Fu flicks (Enter The Dragon!) Yeah, sweet memories!

My mom and I were there one day in the early ‘70s and my neighbor had to buy a ticket just to come get us because our washer overflowed and water seeped over into their house. The last movie I saw there was “Scarface” in '84.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

The Apollo can be seen on the left in this 1956 photo:

Kaliymah on September 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

Can someone please tell me what was the last movie that played at the Capital? My family and i have been disputing this for years now!

kencmcintyre on September 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

If it did not survive past this June 23, 1992, “Class Act” would have been the last feature.


The Capital Theater in West Philadelphia – the last surviving soldier in a battle between city neighborhood theaters and the big chains – has closed. Unless beleaguered owner Paul Klieman can arrange new business terms with the major movie distributors, the landmark theater at 1237 N. 52nd will have shown its last feature, “Class Act.” If the Capital remains closed – and Klieman said he is not hopeful of recovery – Philadelphia will have said goodbye to an era of…

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Here is a circa 1960s photo from the Irvin Glazer collection:

kencmcintyre on February 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Here is a good view of the theater building:

eball on February 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I am looking for the trailer prevues they use to play just before the martial arts trailer in the 80s…..

TheALAN on February 22, 2014 at 7:28 am

Thank you TheaterBluff1 for the history lesson and your lecture on morality. Also for your insight on what Dr. King would have to say if he were here today.

TheALAN on March 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

What happened TheaterBluff1, you removed your comment on the Capital Theatre?

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