Loew's Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb, John J. McNamara

Styles: Adam

Previous Names: Capitol Theatre, Loew's Cinerama

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Loew's Capitol Theatre

The Capitol Theatre was located where the Paramount Plaza stands today, directly across Broadway from the Winter Garden Theatre.

Opened October 24, 1919 with Douglas Fairbanks in “His Majesty, the American” (United Artists first production) plus on stage Ned Wayburn’s “Demi Tasse Revue” which featured Mae West early in her career. It was equipped with an Estey pipe organ which had a 4 manual console and 35 ranks opened by organist Dr. Mauro-Cottone Melchiorre. The Capitol Theatre, operated by Major Edward Bowes was initially not a great success and closed on June 1, 1920. It was taken over days later by Samuel Goldwyn who installed S.L. ‘Roxy’ Rothafel to program the theatre and it reopened with a Goldwyn picture “Scratch My Back” starring T. Roy Barnes. In July 1923 the Estey organ console was replaced by one with illuminated stops and a horseshoe design and 12 more ranks of pipes were added to the existing 35 ranks. It was advertised as ‘Broadway’s Finest Organ’.

It was taken over by Loew’s Inc. in 1924 and became the flagship movie palace for MGM Films. The Loew’s Capitol Theatre hosted world premiere’s of many now classic films. The theatre presented movies and stage shows except from 1935 to 1943 when no stage shows were included in the program. The shows were too expensive to produce during the Great Depression and were only revived when World War II brought an economic boom. In 1952 stage shows ceased to be held. A larger, 25ft x 60ft wide screen was installed for the June 1953 engagement of “Never Let Me Go” starring Clark Gable.

In 1959 the Loew’s Capitol Theatre was modernized to the plans of architect John J. McNamara and re-opened on December 25, 1959 with Yul Brynner in “Solomon and Sheba”. The movie palace became a Cinerama showplace in 1962 with a huge 33ft x 93ft wide screen.

World Premieres of 70mm films included “Cheyenne Autumn”(December 23, 1964), “Doctor Zhivago”(December 22nd, 1965), “The Dirty Dozen”(June 15, 1967) and “Far From the Madding Crowd”(October 18, 1967).

The Loew’s Capitol Theatre auditorium was never twinned or divided into more than one auditorium. In 1968 the Capitol Theatre was playing the Roadshow engagement of “2001:A Space Odyssey”. The movie was transferred to the Warner Cinerama Theatre, and the Loew’s Capitol Theatre closed, and was demolished.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 1,053 comments)

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 24, 2022 at 10:26 pm

Bigjoe - they decided to spend the money to scan and restore the original negatives. Watch their intro to the recent MOMA screening CLICK HERE/

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on February 24, 2022 at 11:41 pm

Hello-

to Peter A.- thanks for the link. what I’m still a tad confused by is if the water damage was as severe as originally reported won’t that still appear to some degree even on a “restored” blu-ray disc?

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 25, 2022 at 3:29 am

Digital clean up tools have improved greatly since 2008. There will be a 40 minute extra on the Blu-ray detailing the restoration: “One of the main extras will be a very detailed documentary look on how the film has been completely rescued from original Cinerama damaged negative elements.”

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 25, 2022 at 3:50 am

Thank you for this PeterApruzzese.

Cinerama
Cinerama on March 13, 2022 at 1:58 pm

More info on The Wonderful World of The Brothers Grimm - https://incinerama.com/wwotbg.htm

More info on the Loew’s Cinerama Theatre - https://incinerama.com/ctlowes.htm

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 6, 2022 at 11:33 pm

Considering how badly damaged it was, it’s almost miraculous how beautifully Brothers Grimm turned out. It’s more than a restoration - more like a resurrection.

vindanpar
vindanpar on April 6, 2022 at 11:34 pm

Surprised people haven’t been posting on the Brother’s Grimm bluray release which was March 29 when people have been discussing the possibility of it never being restored for years the MGM vault flood having done too much damage to the original negative.

Watched it a couple of nights ago in the Smilebox version purposely not watching any of the documentary on the restoration efforts because I wanted to see the film fresh. Don’t know where it had it’s official world premiere only could see it was previewed in Denver and at the Capitol it was a ‘Gala’ premiere.

Anyway get it. It is remarkable. I’m just sad it will never be seen in Cinerama again.

Also I wish they had interviewed Barbara Eden, Claire Bloom and Russ Tamblyn for this release.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 7, 2022 at 12:27 am

Hello-

I guess great minds do think alike. I was just about to post my review of the beyond stellar blu-ray of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. it was quite nice to get it in both Letterbox and Smilebox versions.

as vindanpar said since Eden, Bloom and Tamblyn though older are alive and well why weren’t they interviewed?

vindanpar
vindanpar on April 7, 2022 at 2:13 am

Gee Bill Huelbig and I posted at exactly the same time. I removed my post to edit it which is why it’s a minute later.

Well anyway he was in the Capitol and I wasn’t so I’ll be eternally jealous.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 7, 2022 at 2:43 am

I met Barbara Eden at an autograph show in 2010, and I asked her if she thought Brothers Grimm would ever be released on home video. This was 2 years after the Smilebox release of How the West Was Won. She said probably never. I hope she has her copy of it too!

All the people who worked so hard on this project really did beat all the odds.

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