Capitol Theatre

310 N. Miami Avenue,
Miami, FL 33128

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rivest266 on January 23, 2020 at 6:49 pm

The Capitol Theatre opened with “The Midnight Sun” on June 25th, 1926 during the building boom.

Grand opening ad: Capitol theatre openingCapitol theatre opening Fri, Jun 25, 1926 – 19 · The Miami News (Miami, Florida) ·

David_Schneider on September 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Thank you, Cmanni.

Wow, did you work for WTVJ and/or the Capitol? How do you know so much about this theater?

Your description for photo #11 including that the floor for Studio A was built above what had been the floor containing orchestra seating explains why in the video I mention in my previous comment the studio floor is only one step above what had been the balcony. (They go to what had been the balcony, but not “up” to get there.)

What was under the floor that supported Studio A in the space between that floor and what had been the theater‘s floor?

I never got to see the outside of the Capitol/WTVJ cause I never had a “reason” to walk down that street before it was demolished. Also from the Metromover on my way to Bayside and such the glimpse I could get of the block didn’t look like much to me at the time in the 90‘s, then it was gone.

Yeah I forgot to mention that Andrew was in 1992 since here in Miami anyone concerned “already knows” that, while Cinema Treasures is worldwide.

In the 25th anniversary version of “Hurricane Andrew As It Happened” Tony says the Capitol was the first movie theater in Miami, but the book “Historical Sketches And Sidelights Of Miami, Florida” printed in 1925 says the first was Kelly’s Theater in 1906, later named The Arcade, for which I established a page on Cinema Treasures.

Btw, the Wolfson Archives website has some of their collection of Miami produced programming online, and sometimes local events to attend. I believe the Archives has a lot of WTVJ’s broadcasts in their vaults.

Cmanni on August 31, 2017 at 10:45 am

David – you are correct. The balcony risers and steps, which you can see in the top half of photo #11 under the projection booth windows, were converted to studio audience seating when the theatre was made over for television in the 1950s, and were placed behind large “sound proofing” windows, which can be seen along the left wall in photo #9.

By the 1990s, the window glass had been removed and replace with a wall, which Tony and Bryan reference in the YouTube video. Just this past week on The Weather Channel, during coverage of Hurricane Harvey, Bryan showed an extended video of their move to shelter in the Capitol Theatre/WTVJ Studio A in 1992.

David_Schneider on August 30, 2017 at 11:03 pm

In the 25th anniversary version I saw last week of the tv special “Hurricane Andrew As It Happened” Tony Segreto says the place where he, Bryan Norcross, and Kelly Craig famously took shelter to continue broadcasting and advising the public during the storm as WTVJ remained on the air was the balcony of the former theater.

Click here for a Youtube video from the Wolfson Archives showing them relocating from the broadcast desk to what I guess is the balcony stairs. Towards the end Tony has the camera pan around to show some equipment and their surroundings.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

What that 1929 trade ad fails to mention is that tourism could add hundreds of thousands to that population number.

Louis of Pompano
Louis of Pompano on June 2, 2012 at 12:36 am

I remember the Capitol Theater being west of 95. I want to say it was off 3rd Ct. somewhere between NW 8th Street and 3rd St. Wish I could remember the exact street. The other address off 14th Street had a theater there, but I don’t think it was the original Capitol. Channel 4 was east of 95.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

It was the Miami Harlem. The NYC was Capitol was already closed by the time blaxploitation hit Times square.

guarina on May 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

Didn’t the blaxploitation revival of the Capitol refer to the one at 1645 Broadway and 51st Street in New York?? I think.

guarina on May 17, 2012 at 5:22 am

In 1971 the Wometco complex at 316 North Miami Avenue was a group of old buildings (including what had been the original theater) connected internally, with the floor at different levels, termite-infested, claustrophobic, without windows, a veritable fire trap; there was an empty lot on the 3rd Street side for parking. I don’t recall it at any time looking like that drawing, that must have been only a proposed draftsman rendition that never materialized.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

We need a correction on the Overview.

The 1970’s blaxploitation revival of the Capitol was actually at the Skydome/Harlem on 14th street, and not here.

guarina on May 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Mitchell Wolfson and Sidney Meyer founded the Wo-Me-T(heater)-Co(mpany) in 1925 and opened the Capitol at 310 North Miami Avenue. Headquarters for Wometco Enterprises operated at 316 North Miami for many years. I worked there for 13 months. They owned the whole city block. They had the studio where they filmed the Skipper Chuck kids' show. There was a Goodwill store on the N.W. corner. The “New World Center” of Miami-Dade College was named after Mitchell Wolfson.

Cmanni on August 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

The original Capitol Theater building which was converted in 1946 to serve as the home of WTVJ-TV4 (the main studio was created out of the theater house and stage areas and was approx 90' x 90' x 35'h, with a single-purchase counter-weight fly system running the length of the studio) was demolished in 2000, along with other buildings on the west side of the theater containing film labs and support services, and was replaced by the US District Court building.

rivest266 on January 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

The Capitol opened on June 25th, 1926. The grand opening section starts at View link (some pages are torn)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Fantastic info, Willimd.

Please do tell us more about Wometco. There seems to be so little about this great pioneer Florida company.

willimd on September 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

The 1947 Polk Directory lists the address as 316 N. Miami Ave. I was inside in 1956 well after the WTVJ conversion and it wasn’t much of a movie theatre. The control room and technical area was where the balcony was/would have been; this allowed the control room to overlook the studio area on the old theatre floor, and I suspect some of the other commercial space on the block was used for offices. The reception desk was where the refreshment area should have been.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

The architect was E.T. Wells.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 30, 2009 at 7:38 pm

The intro should be altered as follows:

“The Capitol name came back briefly at the Harlem Theatre in the early seventies for a brief unsuccessful test as a blaxploitation house.”

Louis of Pompano
Louis of Pompano on April 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Was this theatre ever called the Carver Theatre?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 19, 2007 at 6:16 pm

The latest Google map shows it gone but the building on the corner is still there.

ghamilton on July 19, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Good shot,but my question of a year ago still hangs out there,what’s its current state?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 17, 2007 at 5:11 pm

I think this i sthis Capitol.

View link

ghamilton on July 9, 2006 at 7:42 pm

What is the current state of this structure?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 21, 2006 at 3:38 pm

George, I think you are correct and the Capitol at 322 NW 14th street was the early seventies incarnation of the Harlem, reopened by Wometco as the Capitol. Both of these locations are in what is now known as Overtown but WTVJ and the original Capitol were indeed at 310 North Miami Avenue. A separate entry will be needed for the Harlem.

steg on May 31, 2006 at 5:58 pm

You have the address wrong. The address you list was in what was called “colored town” and was for the Harlem Theater which was for Afro-Americans only. The Capitol Theater was located at 310 North Miami Avenue. After becoming TV station WTVJ, it never reverted to being a theater because its theater interior had been destroyed, and the neighborhood was not condusive to a modern movie theater.
George Stegmeir