Capri Theater

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

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dallasmovietheaters on January 7, 2016 at 3:13 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.

txstan on June 18, 2011 at 2:57 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).

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Great pictures and ads guys.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

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.

kencmcintyre on January 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

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

rivest266 on September 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

It’s a newspaper ad.

Mariusz on September 1, 2009 at 2:03 am

Cool flyer. Nice one, Mike.

rivest266 on August 31, 2009 at 6:05 pm

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

Mariusz on May 29, 2009 at 3:28 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…

txstan on May 29, 2009 at 3:00 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 10, 2009 at 5:11 am

Very cool, ken.

Cheers, m8.

kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Here is a December 1963 ad from the El Paso Herald-Post:

Mariusz on April 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the pics, Lost. Once again you’ve come through.

Cheers, m8.

Mariusz on April 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Thanks for the pic, Ken! Brings back many memories. I grew up in El Paso and saw MANY movies at The Capri. The sad thing is there’s not many pics of this movie house around. I’ve searched everywhere and yours is the first decent one I come across. I only wish there were pics of the interior which I remember being quite nice. What I remember happening was that it was shut down due to the construction of The Plaza hotel which still stands in downtown El Paso. It’s a shame because the Capri was a treasure. It even had a balcony which is where I used to sit all the time. Awesome pic. Thanks, man.

hondo59 on April 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

In the mid 1990s, the Capri house a clothing store.

Coate on April 1, 2009 at 11:38 am

The Capri was El Paso’s Cinerama theater. A complete list of Cinerama presentations in El Paso has been posted on this page.

Moderators/Contributors: I’d like to suggest Capri be added to the top of this page as an alternate name for this theater. Actually, now that I think about it, Capri ought to be the primary name and Ellanay should be the alternate name.

Cube on February 19, 2008 at 9:16 am

If I’m not mistaken, the theater was also once known as the Capri. I believe it was in the area that is now the parking lot for the Chase bank building downtown. This was the theater that held the locally publicized premiere to the ill-fated movie “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. The movie was a total turkey and everyone hated it. Around 25 years later it would be featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Comedy Central and would go on to become a cult favorite. Go figure.

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm

I’ll take the washer/dryer.

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Just a guess – L&A? Perhaps the owners of the theater?