El Capitan Theatre
2353 Mission Street,
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The El Capitan Theatre was built in 1928 for the Ackerman & Harris circuit, opening on June 29, 1928 with George Sidney in “We Americans”. This large 3,100-seat theatre in the Mission district offered a downtown stage and screen policy at neighborhood prices. It opened with 5-acts of vaudeville and Mel Hertz opening the 3 manual 11 ranks Wurlitzer (Style 235) pipe organ to accompany a silent film. The interior was a beautiful example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture while the outside was built with a splendid Mexican Baroque facade. It later became part of the Fox West Coast Theatres chain and operated into the 1950’s.
Although the auditorium is long gone, the facade and attached hotel still stand, with the Moderne style marquee standing guard over the entrance to the theatre’s new use as a barren parking lot.
The demolition of all but the decorative facade and the gutted foyer of the El Capitan Theatre in 1964, remains one of San Francisco’s major losses.
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