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 35 comments)

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.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Early `60’s photo added courtesy of the Hemmings Motor News Facebook page.

lvrepoman
lvrepoman on May 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

The Rockford episode you guys have mentioned was titled, “Roundabout.” I was a 6th grader at the time it aired and was very excited to see places I recognized as locations. Particularly, a big portion of it was filmed at Wayne Newtons place, back when it was waayyy south of town. Other scenes were filmed on LV Blvd. around Stewart, at what I still call the “Manpower” building. There is another scene filmed around The Peppermill on the strip. Back in those days practically every cop show filmed a show in Las Vegas at least once. Kojak was here all the time. I can’t believe the El Portal showed “Dirty Harry” all those years without me knowing about it. I saw it when it first came out on the big screen in ‘71 (I was eight), and never saw it that way again till college. And it was playing right under my nose all the time!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm

World Premiere of “Meet Me In Las Vegas” photos added. March 9th, 1956. Photo credit UNLV Libraries Digital Collections.

drifter
drifter on January 31, 2016 at 1:29 pm

heres a video clip taken 1957 of el portal at frank sinatras movie premiere of ‘the jokers wild’ you can make out some of the front entrance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQa58bVaSs hope this works

CharlesR
CharlesR on July 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm

The El Portal, along with the Fremont, are visible in the 1958 photo here: http://www.shorpy.com/node/21139

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

1968 photo added credit Felix Lenox.

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on August 29, 2017 at 12:21 pm

On August 20th during what I called my “Vegas Strip Side Trip 2017” I took the “Neon Boneyard” Tour at the interesting Neon Museum a few blocks from Fremont Street.

The Boneyard is an outdoor lot of historic neon signs from defunct Vegas casinos and businesses. A few are lit up at night. One laying on its side unlit formed the words “El Portal”. I asked the tour guide who told me it is most likely from the theater.

There are some photos of the sign in the Boneyard if you do a Google images search using the terms “Neon Boneyard El Portal”.

To me it looks like it could be the sign in the photos section in these older photos: one, two.

That could mean the similar looking sign on what is now an Indian/Native gift shop is a reproduction or a separate remainder still intact from its days as a theater?

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on August 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

Fremont Street is now a pedestrian only/closed to vehicles entertainment district called the Fremont Street Experience covered by the “Viva Vision” canopy video screen, three stages with live bands, some street performers, and a zip line called “Slotzilla” you can ride on between the street and the screen.

When I was there on August 19th and 20th of 2017 during my first trip to Vegas, I enjoyed the Linkin Park and Tiesto performances on the screen, the different live local bands, the people watching, and the neon lights on the remaining casinos with the feeling that there is still some history left. I liked it a lot more than The Strip.

I’ve since watched Youtube videos of what Vegas used to look like that left me feeling like I missed something that is now gone. I also would have liked to have seen Fremont Street when the cinemas were still operating.

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