Capri Theater

107 S. El Paso Street,
El Paso, TX 79901

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Capri Theatre 1962

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ellanay Theater dates back to at least 1918 when a Wurlitzer theater organ was installed. In 1957 the Ellanay Theater was operated by the Trans-Texas Theatres chain. Later renamed Capri Theater, it was showing movies at least through to 1966. Eventually the building became a clothing store which closed in 1983, and the building was subsequently demolished.

Photos show pressed tin patterns on walls, a later dropped ceiling and some ornate columns and decorative plaster, with many layers of white paint.

Contributed by Lost Memory, David A. Litterer

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

txstan on May 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

I was watching a Tarzan move at the Capri (then Ellanay), with Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan. The movie was stopped and there was an “on-screen” announcement that World War II had ended. This had to be August,1945.

Mariusz on May 29, 2009 at 9:28 am

That’s an amazing story, Clyde.

That’s way before my time. I was going to The Capri towards the end of its life. late 70’s – Early 80’s. I remember seeing a lot of horror and grindhouse films there. Lots of double features. I always used to sit in the balcony. Loved it up there. I wish they’d never knocked it down…

rivest266 on September 1, 2009 at 12:05 am

Capri Grand opening in February 24th, 1961 at View link

Mariusz on September 1, 2009 at 8:03 am

Cool flyer. Nice one, Mike.

rivest266 on September 24, 2009 at 11:39 pm

It’s a newspaper ad.

kencmcintyre on January 11, 2010 at 5:12 am

Here is a June 1974 ad from the El Paso Herald-Post:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

A book called Spirits Of The Border: The History And Mystery Of El Paso Del Norte says that the Ellanay Theatre opened November 8, 1918, with a seating capcity of 940. The original owners were J.M. Lewis and Victor Andreas.

The following quote comes from a 1918 issue of the trade journal “Architect and Engineer” under the headline “Unique Terra Cotta Work”

“The Los Angeles Pressed Brick company is finishing a unique piece of colored terra cotta work for the Ellanay Theatre at El Paso, Texas. It is a decorative panel, 14x25 feet, to be installed in the vestibule over the main entrance. The panel was molded in two sections, later to be cut into subdivisions before burning. It is a portion of two carloads of terra cotta which the company is furnishing on this contract.”
I believe that the remains of this terra cotta panel can be seen in this photo from the time of the theater’s demolition (this is one of the 14 photos Lost Memory linked to in the sixth comment on this page.)

The fact that a Los Angeles tile company was chosen for this project suggests that the architect of the building might have been a Californian familiar with their work. The Los Angeles Pressed Brick Company was the leading producer of face brick in Southern California during the early 20th century, but the product itself was produced by many companies throughout the nation, including Texas. A Texas architect would probably have been more likely to use a closer source. So far I’ve had no luck tracking down the name of the Ellanay’s architect, though.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Great pictures and ads guys.

txstan on June 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

Candy, soda and popcorn was sold to the right as you entered the theatre. There was also another entrance on El Paso Street with a small area and counter where one could buy without going into the theatre. Guys would go in that entrance to talk to the girls who worked there. To keep the guys out, the manager finally put up a sign which said “If you have nothing to do, please don’t do it here”. (It did not keep the guys out).

dallasmovietheaters on January 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm

The Ellanay was probably best known for its striking Terra Cotta exterior known for its bas-relief visualization entitled, “The Dance” as architected by H.M. Bentell.

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