Capitol Theatre

204 Dundas Street,
London, ON N6A

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gordonmcleod
gordonmcleod on January 27, 2014 at 3:15 am

The HillGreen Lane organ is now in a church in Ingersol Ontario but very much altered

vic1964
vic1964 on February 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

Here is a new and topical letter to the Editor!
Detroit got it right
Regarding Em touts Chrysler in Super Bowl ad ( lfpress.com,Feb. 7), Eminem doesn’t just park outside “a theatre” displaying the message “Keep Detroit Beautiful.” That theatre is the Fox.

The Fox is a cousin to London’s Capitol Theatre, demolished to make way for a parking lot. Both theatres were designed by the renown theatre architect C. Howard Crane.

There is something very telling in the fact that Detroit, known for urban decay, a declining population and a shrinking tax base, was able to save the Fox and its magnificent hall while London lost the Capitol, except for a bit of the facade. We don’t even have the marquee left to post the message “Keep London Beautiful.”

POSTED BY: Ken Wightman, London
POSTED ON: February 11, 2011

EDITORS NOTE: As published in The London Free Press on Feb. 11, 2011.

vic1964
vic1964 on April 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm

You are the best! Lost Memory!

vic1964
vic1964 on November 30, 2007 at 6:41 pm

city hall
Capitol theatre
It is very simple,Shmuel Farhi demolished Londons last downtown movie palace 15 months ago,NOT years ago as he likes to say,which sounds like someone else did it!The theatre auditorium was in excellent condition and at least 2 different groups wanted to restore its former glory.This rescue mission was moving forward until Farhi out bid us because he wanted a parking lot.The city could have stepped in to save the Capitol at this point which is normal in other cities.Instead they handed out a demolition permit under condition the facade be preserved.Yes you may destroy 95% but not the 5% we care so much about.So now he offers ownership of this 5% Capitol facade to the city for free but council rejects it.I predict a gap tooth or a facade of the facade in the future.Most Londoners think the Capitol is still 100% reopening soon so a gap tooth solution might make them think we have a growing sinkhole problem downtown!We cant have that.Poor city council,what to do?

POSTED BY: victor liorentas, london
POSTED ON: November 29, 2007

vic1964
vic1964 on November 18, 2007 at 8:17 pm

Captain Crunch. The city of London has been not very fortunate. Maybe TG can take credit for the “ongoing of the city (sic)” over the last 20 years. There isn’t a thinking person in London who isn’t looking for an explanation for why London sucks so much. London sucks…TG was in charge for 20 years…you do the grade one math. Captain of the Titanic maybe.
POSTED BY: J Murray
gosnell tom gosnell is an idiot!I’ve listened to him numerous times in council, and out.I’ve heard his snide remarks in public'and overheard him in private. tom gosnell serves nobody but himselfand his golfing buddies in the developement industry!
POSTED BY: k jones
Gosnells expertise Gosnell brings “ a wealth of experience, expertise and good practical solutions” to aid the destruction of communities, families, and the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protesant species, or WASPS for short.
POSTED BY: B.J. Rowe

vic1964
vic1964 on November 13, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Intact behind the white metal is a wonderful terra cotta stone and windows with curtains still hanging!It was covered over in 1976.

vic1964
vic1964 on November 10, 2007 at 4:04 am

Hello Lost Memory!Yes indeed it is whats left of the Capitol.The new owner who demolished the auditorium wants to destroy the facade as well and so he lets it sit there and decay.Before the demolition he called the Capitol an eyesore but over a year later it looks even worse.

vic1964
vic1964 on October 30, 2007 at 3:28 am

The main point of the above posts is how a once great downtown lost most of the magic needed to be a real downtown.It was overseen by one man more than any other.He and many others have let London down!BIG TIME!

vic1964
vic1964 on October 16, 2007 at 7:12 pm

London does need a new Performing Arts Centre; with affordable admission pricing so everyone may be able to enjoy the facility. While it seems less costly to revamp Centennial Hall the future cost to build a new centre would escalate. The time is now so we are no longer throwing good money after bad. In my opinion the centre should be located either in the downtown core or the Old East London area. These areas are looking for revitalization so why not erect a Performing Arts Centre in these areas to attract people and businesses.
POSTED BY: Eugene Dustin
performing arts Absolutely right but remember this is the city which allowed the demolition of its last downtown movie palace [the Capitol]without any regret,or sadness accept from a precious few real Londoners.This is after all previous theatres like the Loews and Odeon were wasted.Seating capacity at Loews 2000,Odeon 1800,Capitol 1400.
POSTED BY: victor liorentas

vic1964
vic1964 on October 16, 2007 at 1:35 am

performing arts
Performing Arts Centre
Leaving aside the debate can we afford a Performing Arts Center. The question being asked by Tom Gosnell is, where should it go? Where should it be built? Possibly at Western?

But first, I certainly understand Tom Gosnell the fiscally wise budget chief’s desire to find a possible financial partner such UWO.

Tom you should take much pride being part of those that made excellent decision to re-focus the cities efforts with respect to the Downtown.

The millions spent in the past 10 years to build the JLC, Library and Covent Garden Market have proven their value to the City as a whole, and all are doing very well.

The Performing Arts Center would be another piece in the puzzle in the ever improving Downtown.

It’s not time to abandon the Core. The synergies of a performing Arts Center in the Core (Downtown) with current amenities make it the only sensible location.

Let’s remember that if UWO was to be a partner that would be wonderful, if they were partners in the Downtown.

UWO is already a great asset to the City and in the Downtown with its Campus at Galleria.

Let’s keep focusing on the core, the job of rejuvenating it is not finished.

I guess the real question should be can we afford not to build a Performing Arts Center in the Downtown if we truly want to be a world class city.

POSTED BY: Bob Usher, Chair London Downtown Business Association, London
POSTED ON: October 5, 2007
Comments
World class city? Dear Mr Usher I dont think Mr Gosnell had a thing to do with the JLC or Covent garden market but he did play a big part in building the Galleria mall which has been bad for downtown.He was happy to do nothing to save the Loews and Odeon as mayor in the late 80s.I recently visited the world famous Fox theatre in Detroit,5045 seat movie palace designed by architect C Howard Crane.Some staff i spoke to knew of London Ontario and the demolition of the Capitol because he was also the architect of our last downtown movie palace.When the curtain was falling on the Capitol, you went right along with it.It upset me because i was trying to save it.So it is difficult to have much sympathy for your fight of what is left of downtown but i do and i agree with you but for me downtown is forever lost.
POSTED BY: victor liorentas

vic1964
vic1964 on September 29, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood!It says RIN TIN TIN above,wrongly.Sorry.

vic1964
vic1964 on September 1, 2007 at 3:39 am

More films i remember seeing at the Capitol before the 1976 twinning.THE GREAT WALDO PEPPER,MOTHER JUGS AND SPEED,BRANNIGAN,starring John Wayne.RIN TIN TIN with Madeline Kahn.SONG OF THE SOUTH,THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG,THE ARRISTOCATS.I remember my brother telling me he just watched a movie twice in a row something he had never done,it was ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST!

vic1964
vic1964 on August 9, 2007 at 3:19 am

I wrote this August 2 after our deputy mayor called London a laughing stock for holding back developers,he called the opposition a socialist cabal!
Subject: Laughing stock indeed!
Letter: Dear Mr Gosnell
You once said "just because it is old doesn’t mean we should save it"You were speaking to the activists who begged you for help in saving the Loews theatre in 1989 when you were mayor.Under your watch downtown lost all of it’s movie palace heritage which does indeed make London a laughing stock!Your stupid master plan of the Galleria mall destroyed the old downtown.You and members of council who handed your developer friend a demolition permit like candy to a child so he could destroy the Capitol theatre,[our last downtown movie palace], owe Londoners an explanation and an apology

vic1964
vic1964 on August 9, 2007 at 2:58 am

Then i wrote this letter.Friday February 23 2007 would have been the 87th birthday of the Capitol theatre in downtown London if it had not been for ,well, no wisdom whatsoever from those in charge of running this city.A visit to the Cinema Treasures website shows how competent cities in North America save these gems and actually have knowledge of there own history.I trusted city hall to know better.If i could go back in time i would do anything to save that wonderful theatre.In 1976 when the Capitol was subdivided,it was done so it could be reversed one day!It was waiting to be restored and assist with downtown revitalization.It would have been the heart and soul of downtown.So like Hayley Mcphail i must say thanks for nothing Tom,Bud,Russ and Gord

vic1964
vic1964 on August 7, 2007 at 2:57 am

Hayley Mcphail wrote a letter to the paper which says it all. Shmuel Farhi has demolished the Capitol theatre and what is now left on the table is the future of its facade.The wrecking ball went into this little known gem of downtown London on a Sunday afternoon a few months ago.Fortunately , a few remnants of its timeless beauty were retrieved by Aeolian Hall owner Clark Bryan and Ward 4 council candidate Greg Thompson. Despite their efforts,the loss of the Capitol theatre is a massive blow to the lip service paid to core revitalization. It is incredible even for the developer crowd at city hall to allow unabated levelling of heritage treasures in our core for, of all things,parking lots. I can’t fathom how board of control can act surprised (after they allowed the demolition in the first place) that Farhi now wants to finish the job and tear down the facade. Equally galling is that they are willing to placate a man with the audacity to threaten all of the property he owns downtown with destruction if he doesn’t get his way.The facade of the Capitol theatre does not begin to compare to what was destroyed. Downtown London lost another piece of its heart with that demolition.With the possible elimination of the board of control, i look forward to a day when developers are not at the helm of our planning decisions. Thanks for nothing,Tom,Bud,Russ and Gord.

vic1964
vic1964 on July 5, 2007 at 11:09 pm

This theatre lasted 86 years and became the last movie palace in downtown London,it was in great shape and a dream project for anyone who might have renovated it.[me!]Our so called city hall gave out a demolition permit like ice cream to a child,with the understanding the facade will be preserved.It was only when the developer wanted to remove it as well that it became an issue with council.We cant have a gap tooth downtown!

vic1964
vic1964 on June 15, 2007 at 12:33 am

In the 70s 4-track magnetic was installed in the main theatre 1.The booth from 1976 on was located in the center of the original auditorium.The stage half kept mostly intact but the back half altered mainly with drop ceiling hiding the ornate ceiling above.For 30 years of this new booths existence was the chance to look above the drop ceiling and see center auditorium ceiling preserved above.This devision was carefully executed to be undone one day.This June 25 is one year since demolition.The days leading up to it was the closest it came to restoration with most fake walls and drop ceiling removed,original booth exposed,port hole window glass and everything.It was an amazing site to see,but i was one of the few to see it.My eyes are watering even now.

vic1964
vic1964 on February 25, 2007 at 1:20 am

Today would have been the Capitol theatres 87th year.

vic1964
vic1964 on February 12, 2007 at 2:23 am

A couple more corrections. The Capitol had no balcony,it was twinned in 1976 keeping the stage front half mostly intact but with a normal modern screen,speakers behind the screen.D.T.S in both theatres.

vic1964
vic1964 on February 10, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Jack Warner of Warner Brothers was born in London Ontario Canada and this led to some films such as “The Sea Wolf"having special premiers at the Capitol.

vic1964
vic1964 on February 8, 2007 at 9:27 pm

Above i wrote “you tear it down feb 25…I should have June 25.It shocked me when i noticed the error,i had feb in my mind because it opened in February 1920.Where are my proof readers?

vic1964
vic1964 on February 8, 2007 at 1:04 am

In 1984 Purple Rain was playing at Capitol 1 ,All OF ME AT Capitol 2.Prince came to London to see All of me[Steve Martin].He was performing in Detroit and took a quiet night off away from the chaos,he visited the projection booth,not sure why. The projectionist Jack Moody said he was very polite.In the 60s Jerry Lewis made an appearance.I have a photo of that.

vic1964
vic1964 on February 4, 2007 at 4:02 pm

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid played here for 26 weeks, a house record.The Godfather,Godfather II,Serpico,The French Connection 1 and 2,The Chinese Connection,Enter the Dragon,Fists of fury,One flew over the cuckoos nest.I think Mary Poppins had 3 engagements and on its last run they had a banner up out front “HOME OF MARY POPPINS”.I look forward to other people sharing some Capitol memories.PLEASE!

vic1964
vic1964 on January 31, 2007 at 9:56 pm

The owner of the Capitol facade has agreed not to tear down any more of it for 8 months.At which time he will decide if he likes city councils bumbling progress of serving his every wish [he is very powerful and not to be crossed]The Capitol was our last movie palace downtown,now we have none left!A fair without a ferris wheel is not a proper fair.I am completely shattered and heart broken.I want to see the facade preserved but it will never be the same with a parking lot grave in the back.I wish this page could be updated to 1400 seats,opened in 1920 , architect C Howard Crane,and firm Allen theater company.I will at some point create a link with pictures.

vic1964
vic1964 on December 15, 2006 at 7:07 pm

It seemed odd to tear something down for parking and not use or even pave the the site for weeks on end.Now it makes perfect sence,you tear it down sunday feb 25 then in september bring the crane back and threaten to finish the job,do as i say or the the facade gets it.City hall council is now tripping over each other to stop Mr Farhi the destucktor from creating a gap tooth in the broken heart of downtown.He makes big demands and get a red carpet of wishes granted and the crane disapears after 4 months of sitting in one spot.