El Portal Theatre

310 Fremont Street,
Las Vegas, NV 89101

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

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.

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.

Tinseltoes on July 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

Modernization described in this 1961 trade article: Boxoffice

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.

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.

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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 14, 2009 at 6:06 am

Here is a night version of the 1973 street photo.

kencmcintyre on April 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I think I liked Fremont Street better without the canopy. The light show is not too interesting after you see it a dozen times.

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

The theater can be seen in this 1950 photo from the LAPL:

DonSolosan on January 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

To be fair, LawMann, it wasn’t a theater back then. All you would have seen was the blade sign and marquee. That’s all I saw, and I never guessed that it had been a theater.

LawMann on January 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I was passing through Downtown Vegas' Fremont St eight years ago after getting off a bus at the Greyhound depot on my way to the bus stop on the Vegas strip and I missed seeing this theatre.

Manwithnoname on January 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Sad to see the blade sign as the only remaining part of the marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 3, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Richard D. King was apparently not the architect of the El Portal. A Southwest Builder & Contractor article from May 13, 1924, said that he was designing a theater and office building for Las Vegas, but that was four years before the El Portal opened. It’s pretty much certain that the architect of the El Portal was Charles Alexander MacNelledge, as the plaque on the building (seen on this page) says. I don’t know if King’s 1924 project was carried out or not, but if it was it has to be some other theater.

An extensive remodeling of the El Portal in 1961, including enlarging the lobby, some alterations to the auditorium, the installation of a new marquee and vertical sign, and redecoration throughout, was handled by architect J. Maher Weller, according to an article in the August 21 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year.

kencmcintyre on August 8, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I’m in front of the El Portal right now. The Fremont light show is going on.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 9, 2008 at 7:22 am

Here’s an image of the El Portal’s single-floor auditorium. Note that the last four rows comprised a “loge” section, with larger and plusher seats than those in front of it. The loge tickets were almost certainly priced a bit higher than general admission, and may also have included the right to smoke during performances:
View link

barrygoodkin on April 8, 2008 at 8:20 am

I was in error regarding the Wurlitzer organ. It was an original installation, Opus #1854, shipped from the Wurlitzer factory on March 8, 1928.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 8, 2008 at 6:58 am

Gambling didn’t become a major industry in Las Vegas until 1931, when it was “legalized.”

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm

An appropriate movie to open in Vegas.

barrygoodkin on April 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

The El Portal opened on June 21 ,1928. The architect was Rishard D. King of Los Angeles and the contractor was Ryberg-Sorensen. When the El Potal opened, Cragin & Pike closed the Majestic theatre. It appears that the Wurlitzer organ was moved from the Majestic to the El Portal.
The opening film was “Ladies of the Mob” starring Clara Bow.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 26, 2008 at 9:22 am

The 1943 Film Daily Year Book gives a seating capacity of 700 for the El Portal Theatre. Judging from the photo in Classic Images, it was a single floor auditorium, with no balcony.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 26, 2008 at 9:16 am

The March 2008 issue of Classic Images Magazine has a wonderful B&W photo of the El Portal’s original auditorium, as well as information about the theatre’s history. The article also includes some newspaper advertising from October 10, 1952, showing theatre ads for the El Portal, Huntridge, Palace, Fremont, and Motor Vu Drive-In, as well as ads for some of the hotel nightclubs.