Teatro Excelsior

Del Parque Street,
San Juan

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El Josco Theater - 2011

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This movie theater was built next to the Radio City. They shared the same ticket box office and candy stand.

The theater was very small, but the screen was pretty big which made for quite an unusual viewing experience. One had to sit in the last couple of rows to watch the movie comfortably. The Excelsior also had a very small balcony section.

While the Radio City specialized in showing blockbusters, the Excelsior showed more specialized fare. From Fellini movies to sexy European flicks (ie: Sylvia Kristel movies), they were all shown at the Excelsior.

In the 1970’s, the Cinema Condado started showing the kind of films associated with the Excelsior and the theater started showing more mainstream Hollywood films.

As happened in the case of the Radio City, multiplexes at malls started attracting crowds from the Excelsior, and it closed down in 1983.

Years later it became a live theater-cocktail lounge. Its name was subsequently changed to El Josco theater. In 2001, El Josco closed down, although only briefly, since as of 2003, the Excelsior is once again a showcase for local plays. But once again in a cocktail lounge kind of setting. This means that both the Radio City and the Excelsior are back in business as live theater venues.

Contributed by Jose Mendez

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

cineast on December 1, 2006 at 9:17 pm

In late 1975 or early 1976, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s highly controversial final film “Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom” premiered at the Excelsior and scandalized the island. It is rumored that its world premier was in Puerto Rico at this theatre, since it was banned in most countries around the world and premiered much later in the U.S. Being a teenager at the time, while going to see the Hollywood blockbusters at the Radio City across the popcorn stand from the Excelsior, I witnessed a lot of walkouts from “Salo.” “Emanuelle” and “Emanuelle 2: The Joys of a Woman,” also played here. A knock-off of “Emanuelle” called “Emilienne” had a run here. Sometimes, besides the standard art house fare, mainstream Hollywood movies were screened here. Agatha Christie’s “Murder on The Orient Express” premiered here in 1974 and Mel Brooks' “Silent Movie” in 1976, among many. The Excelsior and Radio City were on a second floor and to get there you took escalators one flight up. The marquees were on Del Parque street, next to the escalators, and in the Ponce de Leon Avenue they had an extra marquee, much smaller, featuring the two posters of the films currently playing. The Excelsior was the smaller house of the two.

cineast on December 2, 2006 at 8:15 pm

The horror flick “Beyond the Door” played at the Excelsior in the late 70’s.

cineast on September 29, 2007 at 11:43 pm

I believe the 1975 film “The Day of the Locust” premiered at the Excelsior. Though not entirely sure. But I’m pretty sure I remember the striking movie poster in the Excelsior’s marquee way back then.

AGRoura on June 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm

The screen was too big and too close to the front rows of the orchestra for a small theater.
I always sat in the balcony, front and center.

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