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 857 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

to AL A-

you are always quite helpful with my questions. to which could you please go to the Strand/Warner Cinerama page and see if with your font of knowledge you can answer my question about The Greatest Story Ever Told which opened at that theater Feb. of 1965. thank you.:–)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Hello-

thanks for the info on Cheyenne Autumn. another question. from when i went with my parents to when i started going by myself one thing i always liked about reserved seat engagements was buying the souvenir program in the lobby during intermission. i have approx. 135 in my collection most of which i bought at theaters. others were purchased in memorabilia stores. which is where my question comes in. did Cheyenne Autumn have a souvenir program? i can’t imagine a big epic like CA with a big director and big stars released on a reserved seat engagement not having a souvenir program. yet in all memorabilia stores i have been to and all the online memorabilia sites i have looked at i have never seen one. in fact there are a few others big even award winning reserved seat films i have never come across a souvenir program for. i always thought roadshow engagements and souvenir programs were inseparable like peanut butter and jelly.

Bobb
Bobb on June 30, 2014 at 10:16 am

I just wanted to announce that my father managing director for the Capitol during the 60’s and 70 s. just had his 100 birthday were we honored him for being our Dad (Edward Brunner) but also for his 45 years with Loews Corporation including being manager of Valencia, Queens and the Loews New Rochelle, NY. He started as an usher for the Loews 83rd Street and remember leading Babe Ruth to his seat giving my father a tip. Ushers had to wear gloves.

This was the start during the depression for his career. I spend all my weekends as a kid going with my Dad to work and hanging our with the managers along Broadway.

I went on to both Graduate from the American Film Institute and then make documentaries for the U.S. Navy.

Bob Brunner

William
William on June 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

Bob , Congrats on your fathers 100th birthday. But the Capitol Theatre did not make it into the 1970’s. It closed in 1968 with the film “2001” (24 week run at the Capitol). “2001” moved over to the Warner Cinerama to finish the run that started at the Capitol.

Bobb
Bobb on June 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

You are correct. It was 1959-1966. He then became a district manager. Thanks for the correction.

Bob

Bobb
Bobb on June 30, 2014 at 11:08 am

I saw comments on the Screen at the Capitol. It was also perforated and I was in the theater when they installed it. It was strips of material so it could hung from top to bottom and be able to have a curve. Before the Cinerama was installed. David Selznick visited the Capitol. He wanted to do a stage production of “Gone with the Wind” and discussed with my Dad his plan for placing equipment in do be able to show the burning of Atlanta. Mr. Selznick produced the original Gone with the Wind for the Screen.

The Capitol had a great stage.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Hello-

a further question about Cheyenne Autumn. was the engagement of the film which opened Dec. 1964 a traditional 2 shows during the week and 3 on the weekend roadshow engagement?

William
William on June 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

The film previewed at 179 minutes, but audience reaction was poor and the studio recut the film to 158 minutes for the roadshow engagements. The general release version runs 148 minute. On the west coast it roadshowed at the RKO Pantages Theatre, but that run was just 8 weeks. Their next roadshow was not till July just like the Capitol. I don’t have a number for the roadshow run at the Capitol. It may have a low number of weeks too.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

to William-

thanks for the info. as you state the 179min. cut was just used in previews and was cut to 158mins. for the premiere roadshow runs like the one at the Capitol. so however long the film’s roadshow run was at the Capitol the Dodge City sequence was intact the entire run and was only cut for the general release prints which went to neighborhood theaters around NYC.

William
William on July 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

The NYC roadshow run of “Cheyenne Autumn” was also about 8 weeks too at the Capitol theatre.

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