Loew's Capitol Theatre

1645 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Loew's Capitol Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 45 ranks opened by organist Dr. Mauro-Cottone Melchiorre. The Capitol Theatre 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”. 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 45 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 and re-opened 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 925 comments)

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 23, 2018 at 6:04 am

For those of you who were going to the Capitol in the ‘60s being that the Capitol was converted to 3 strip Cinerama and then was pretty much a single 70MM/Cinerama house I was wondering when they presented a film like Sergeants 3 or In the Heat of the Night was the Cinerama screen simply using black borders made smaller according to whether it was in Panavision or 1:85.1 ratio? Also did they install a new screen screen change when they went from 3 strip to single lens Cinerama? Thank you.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 23, 2018 at 6:22 am

I was wondering a similar thing. When a 70mm blowup like Doctor Zhivago played the Capitol, did it fill the entire screen space the way 2001 in 70mm Cinerama did?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 23, 2018 at 6:25 am

I’ve seen photos of the Capitol screen when The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm played there in 3-strip, and I’m pretty sure it was the same screen on which I saw 2001 in 70mm Cinerama.

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

From photos that screen looks humongous. I’d like to know the measurements. I also wonder how grainy Zhivago was as a blow up on that screen. Anybody see it there?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm

years ago, I put the screen sizes in the Intro above.

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 24, 2018 at 1:17 am

I haven’t read the intro in a while. Thank you. Was that NY’s widest screen? And I thought the Warner Cinerama was impressive at about 81 feet. The Rivoli was small in comparison. Anybody know the sizes of the 70MM screens of the DeMille, Loew’s State before twinning and Criterion? And what about the size of the screen for Windjammer at the Roxy?

Still would like to know how more modest 35MM films played at the Capitol.

MarkDHite
MarkDHite on June 24, 2018 at 2:22 am

The Roxy’s Cinemiracle screen for “Windjammer” was reported to be 100 feet wide. But it was in use only for a few months and was removed immediately following the 23-week run of that movie. The Roxy’s regular wide screen, initially installed for “The Robe”, was 68x24 feet. This screen was able to be flown out and allowed the stage to be used for the Roxy’s stage shows.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 25, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Hello-

I apologize if this question has already been asked. the recent 50th Anniversary 70MM print of 2001 was of the 2hr. 25min. cut ever knows. if I am not mistaken the only time the original 2hr. 40min. cut was used was for the World Premiere engagement at the Uptown in D.C.. now was it ever written about what the cut 15mins. contained?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 25, 2018 at 2:37 pm

The new print is the same length since Kubrick himself made that cut, NOT any restored footage that was cut after world premiere. As to the cut footage, http://www.slashfilm.com/17-minutes-lost-2001-space-odyssey-footage/

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 25, 2018 at 3:49 pm

The long cut also played at the Capitol for a couple of days. Kubrick shortened the film in New York City, in the basement of the MGM building, about 7 blocks from the Capitol.

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