Capitan Theater

1001 Shaw Avenue,
Pasadena, TX 77506

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Help us make this street view more accurate

Please adjust the view until the theater is clearly visible. more info

Capitan©..Pasadena Texas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Capitan Theater was opened in December 1949 by Isley Theatres. Located in the Pasadena district of Houston, it has a tower feature on the left of the facade, with a nautical mural on the face of the facade. Internal murals on the auditorium side-walls were by Nat Smythe. Seating was provided in orchestra and balcony levels.

The Capitan Theater was closed in 1969. Plans for renovations were announced in 2003, but to-date, have come to nothing. The exterior is beautiful, especially with the neon lit up.

It holds many wonderful memories for us Boomers…and before!

Contributed by Rebecca Jolly

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm

A photo set of the Capitan taken before and after its restoration.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm

From the early 1970s a newspaper ad for the Capitan Theater in Pasadena.

jefferyintexas
jefferyintexas on February 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Don,
Are you from the Houston area?
Thanks,
Jeff in Texas

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

West Texas is home jefferyintexas.

Don…

jefferyintexas
jefferyintexas on February 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Don, My late father was from Post 1919-1939. I was able to visit Post some years after my dad died. Got a couple of theater pictures there. I have not yet checked to see if they are posted…but I would imagine you have beat me to it! Thanks for the reply. Jeff

Theaterbug
Theaterbug on October 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Great building. This link includes historic photos of the theater: http://www.houstondeco.org/1940s/capitan.html

snelson
snelson on September 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

My father was projectionist here during the 50s & 60s. I used to ride my bike there every Saturday and spend the matinee there with him in the booth, where he taught me to splice film and use the equipment. I had free passes to give away which made me pretty popular. I remember the manager, other projectionists, the lady selling tickets, the huge speakers behind the screen…pretty cool to a 12 year old boy! Sam

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on January 12, 2015 at 7:49 pm

The first phase of the Corrigan Center was built in 1948 from 1001 Shaw Ave. to the Capitan Theater’s 1045 Shaw Ave. address in the north section of Pasadena. Architected by Raymond F. Smith, the Capitan would open Nov. 19, 1949 by Phil Isley of the Isley circuit and who would open the very similar Granada Theater in Houston. The first films were “Impact” and “San Antone Ambush,” with star Monte Hale of the latter film in attendance. The murals by Colville Smythe of L.A.’s Nat Smythe & Son had oceanic-themed walls with Neptune on a sea horse and Europa riding a bull among the dolphins while the ceiling had a giant mermaid and compass. Seashell-themed carpeting and a spacious and inviting lobby had to be a pleasant surprise for moviegoers. The 11,529 square foot theater was quite a jewel for Pasadena.

Just across the way in 1956, the second portion of the Corrigan Center opened so that in addition to the Capitan, adding a J.C. Penney’s, a W.T. Grant five & dime variety store, and an A&P supermarket. The Corrigan Center had become the economic center of Pasadena and the 1,600 seat theater was a major focal point despite playing mostly second-run fare. But by the end of the 1960s, the Gulfgate Plaza had become the Gulfgate Mall and the Almeda Mall opened six and twelve miles away, respectively. Times were changing quickly and audiences were driving to the General Cinema Gulgate Cinema I & II and the AMC Almeda 4 to see the latest releases. The Capitan was in trouble along with its neighboring Pasadena single screeners. So in 1970 — during the porno chic era of movie exhibition — the Pasadena would switch to X-rated films and – because the city’s Red Bluff Drive-In was also in that space – the Pasadena would even show XXX fare, as well, and would also try Spanish language films before stopping film exhibition around 1976.

The Capitan became a church for a period in the 1970s and when that ended, new theatrical life came from Hispanic film exhibition in the 1980s. That would be the last film projected in the theater. The three-time loser combined with the economic downturn of the Corrigan Center area left the theater in deep trouble and boarded up. In a last ditch effort to salvage the theater, the City of Pasadena bought the Corrigan and devoted $190,000 to fixing the exterior of the theater which remained beautiful from the outside from 2000 to 2014 awaiting a new owner. But the city’s gamble didn’t pay out as the interior of the theater deteriorated and the city’s economic fortunes weren’t too bright. Given the theater’s dismal track record over the past 45 years, the city sold the Corrigan Center for a loss in July of 2014 to a chemical company based in New Jersey. Just prior to the announcement, the theater’s marquee, theater boxes, doors and many other elements were stripped from the premises. There was little doubt that the theater – though still standing in 2015 – would be a casualty in the near future barring an a miracle by Neptune, Europa, or a contemporary capitalist.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Linkrot repair: The February 4, 1950, Boxoffice page about the Capitan Theatre can now be found at this link.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater