El Portal Theatre

310 Fremont Street,
Las Vegas, NV 89101

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El Portal Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The El Portal Theatre was built on the site of the old Las Vegas Airdome. It opened on June 21, 1928 with a pre-release screening of Clara Bow’s movie “Ladies of the Mob”.

It was the first building in Las Vegas to install air-conditioning.

Closed in the late-1970’s, it became El Portal Gifts and now serves as an Indian Arts & Crafts store. Some of the decorative interior remains intact, mainly the ceiling beams.

Contributed by Scott Zimmerman

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

EricV
EricV on August 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

Trivia – The film “Meet Me in Las Vegas” with Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse had it’s premiere at the El Portal on February 21, 1956. The stars appeared that same night on Milton Berle’s color tv show direct from the Copa Room of the Sands Hotel. This was the first color telecast from Las Vegas.

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

From the 1940s a postcard view of Fremont Street along with the El Portal Theatre in Las Vegas.

coffee4binky
coffee4binky on May 13, 2012 at 2:08 am

Okay, I’ve been in this theater a lot, but only as the Indian shop. I wish it was a theater again instead.

RandNoel
RandNoel on February 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Saw “Gone with the Wind” with my folks here, I remember parking was difficult (There were no parking lots in those years) and during the intermission having a look around the theater for the 1st time. as I grew up it became a standard place to see many movies.

RandNoel
RandNoel on February 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

fyi Constructed in 1928 by Salt Lake City Builders Ryburg and Sorenson. Owners Ernie Cragin and William Pike spent !50,000.00 to build it.

StanMalone
StanMalone on June 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

During the first season of the TV show “Rockford Files” one of the episodes has Jim traveling to Vegas on a case. One of the interlude sequences that they always used to make the running time fit (usually a pointless car chase) had Rockford driving down the Fremont strip. There is a nice view of the Portal on the right as he drives by. The marquee showed that the current attraction was “Jeremiah Johnson.”

This episode was broadcast in the spring of ‘75 so it was probably filmed in late '74. In Georgia where I live, “JJ” was given a wide 4wall re-release in the spring and summer of '74. Since that short lived but very successful practice was usually done on a regional basis maybe it was the turn of the Southwest to get its run.

I will see if I can get the episode name and air date.

coyoteii48
coyoteii48 on July 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Stan, thanks for your input on the Rockford files, I’ve always been a Rockford Freak, to the point of stalking the Universal site to see his trailer and surviving cars; as well as the SAND CASTLE in Malibu, where I got insights from bartenders and waitresses on Garners, “down to earth” dealings with clientele, employee’s, cast and crew while OFF SET. I had forgotten his visits to Las Vegas while in character, would love to know episode and air dates. Now as for the illustrious “El Portel” in 1962 I was in 5th grade and the E.P. was the closet theatre to our house about 10 miles. I took many a bus ride to the E.P. which had a stage in front of the Screen and Saturdays @ 11am there was a frenzy of kids in groups of scouts boy and girl. One such memorable Saturday tickets were drawn from the tumberle drum, and the recipient was matched to a day spent with a Las Vegas or North Las Vegas City Officer ranging from Mayor to the Superintendent of Streets N.L.V. which was my position drawn, it was a long walk to the stage to redeem the official letter,as the kids laughed and jeered at my appointment. After, our “day on the job"and at our next Troop 99 scout meeting, I heard all the blah blah of the boring Majors, Administrators, Assessors, etc. the general picture was, Lunch, as the height of the day. My day was spent with a rugged blue jeaned "John Wayne type”, complete with cowboy hat, flying around in a two seater, no door, open willy’s jeep, bouncing from pavement to dirt, and stopping at jack hammering work sites, to concrete pouring, to sewer flushing and shovel flinging un blocking of poo! I really couldn’t tell ya where WE ate lunch that day. But it was a hella fun Time!

10 years later a Freshman at UNLV, The El Portel comes center stage in my life, as my Girl friend Kim, works the Ticket Booth for the summer and fall. Now you would think I saw a lot of different movies with such a hook up! But NO! Dirty Harry was a mainstay for what seemed forever! I can say that I saw the opening to that movie at least 50 times, picking her up on the final showing at 10pm. It didn’t “Make My Day”, but she sure Made My Nite!

El Portel- Bob Hope, take it away!

coyoteii48
coyoteii48 on July 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Picking up on an observation, Mr. Stan Malone, pointed out back on June 7th, about the El Portels Marquis, being an identifiable landmark, seen in one of “The Rockford Files” episodes, car chases scenes; and my dissertation answering remark, about my intrigue with the series, and actor James Garner: I return today, sadly, learning of his passing away yesterday July 19, 11 days after my post. His “Obit” herald all the accolades, re-enforcing his “down to earthiness ”, and I learned or had forgotten, he was born an “Okie"from Norman, as was my mother,Lucille, you can’t get much more "salt of the earth”, than those good folks. She witnessed my goings on, in regard to “Jimmy Rockford”, she loved Garner,as Maverick, back in the day! Well as James Garner “crossed over”, you can bet he got a big hug from an “Okie Gal”. Show him the ropes Mom, you guys enjoy! While, I dry my eye’s.

R.I.P.; Mr. James Garner, aka “Jimmy R”

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 21, 2014 at 7:51 am

I too am a James Garner fan. From ages 7 to 9 the highlight of Sunday evenings was watching Maverick on TV. It was a letdown when it was the turn of either Sugarfoot, Bronco, or Bart Maverick to get a show. I saw several Garner movies in the 60’s, but the only two I liked were Great Escape and Marlowe. I was lucky enough to catch most of the episodes of Nichols in the early 70’s.

In 1977, one of the factors that led me to spend $1200 (that would be twelve hundred 1977 dollars) on a cutting edge RCA Selectavision VCR was the fact that I would be able to record The Rockford Files every week. I had missed most of the first two seasons since I usually had to work on Friday nights.

I had the pleasure of running my two favorite James Garner movies, Murphy’s Romance and The Notebook so I saw them numerous times during their initial releases. I always felt that the Murphy character had to have been written with him in mind.

As for the Rockford Files episode concerning this page, the title of it was Roundabout, and it was first broadcast on 3/7/75. It is the last episode on disc 3 of the first season. One item to clear up, is that while it did contain the obligatory car chase, that came about later. The scene with the El Portal was early in the hour and was in a shot of Rockford driving down Fremont as he was arriving in town.

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