Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Capitol Theatre

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

Opened October 24, 1919 with Douglas Fairbanks in “His Majesty, the American” plus on stage Ned Wayburn’s ‘Demi Tasse Revue’. The Capitol Theatre was taken over by Loew’s Inc. in 1924 and became the flagship movie palace for MGM Films. The 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, 25 foot x 60 foot wide screen was installed for the June 1953 engagement of “Never Let Me Go” starring Clark Gable.

In 1959 the Capitol Theatre was ‘modernized’ and re-opened as Loew’s Capitol Theatre with “Solomon and Sheba”. The movie palace became a Cinerama showplace.

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 was never twinned or divided into more than one theatre. 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 687 comments)

DavidZornig on May 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

1945 photo added courtesy of the Fifties Fun Facebook page. Capitol blade sign lit at night.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 15, 2015 at 7:22 am

Happy “2001 at the Capitol” anniversary to me. 6/15/1968, 47 years. Heading toward the big 5-0.

vindanpar on December 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Very odd that for the big 50 for Dr. Z there hasn’t been much of a flurry. Nobody thinks about it anymore though for many years it was considered a classic? No listing of premiere engagements? No restored print theatrical showings? It deserves better. Though I do think it was a crime not filming it in 70MM. Penny wise pound foolish.

vindanpar on December 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

And Bill if there’s anyone I envy it’s someone who saw 2001 at the Capitol. Perhaps the ultimate movie experience? Though seeing it at the Rivoli in ‘76 was pretty stupendous. I was completely floored.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on March 11, 2016 at 6:07 am

On this eleventh day of March in 1943, the Capitol Theatre resumed the stage/screen policy that was dropped in 1935 due to Depression conditions. With the wartime boom in attendance, the Capitol had been losing patronage to rivals with stage presentations— Radio City Music Hall, the Roxy, Strand, Paramount, and Loew’s State. The resumption of stage shows at the Capitol lasted until 1952, when the theatre switched back to films only.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 25, 2016 at 7:37 am

All six of MGM’s “Tarzan” adventures with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan had their New York premiere engagements at the Capitol Theatre. Ads have been posted in the Photos Section…After “New York Adventure,” MGM sold its rights to independent producer Sol Lesser, who made a distribution deal with RKO starting with “Tarzan Triumphs.”

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 3, 2016 at 7:15 am

All six of MGM’s legendary “Thin Man” features with William Powell and Myrna Loy had their NYC premiere engagements at the Capitol Theatre. Ads have been posted in the Photos Section.

DavidZornig on May 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

July 20th 1944 photo & copy added courtesy of The Flickers Facebook page.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

Time for my annual post remembering the one and only time I saw a movie at the Capitol. 48 years ago today: “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

vindanpar on August 18, 2016 at 11:49 am

Bill you only post this to make us jealous.

Well I saw it at the Rivoli in ‘76 and it was pretty fabulous there!

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