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 712 comments)

vindanpar on September 1, 2016 at 5:40 pm

I couldn’t believe my bad luck.

When I was finally old enough to go on my own to roadshow films(my parents thought people were crazy to pay those prices when you could fill up the station wagon and take the entire family to a drive-in with kids getting in free-think the perfect drive-in double bill: My Fair Lady and For Those Who Think Young) I got stuck with Fiddler at the Rivoli, oy, and Nicholas at the Criterion.

And flame throwers couldn’t get me into Tora Tora Tora or Florence Henderson in Super Panavision 70.

Then they bring back Lawrence and put it in the Rivoli. Perfect right? No. They show the cliff notes version.

Life, as they say, is not fair.

Coate on September 1, 2016 at 7:54 pm

FWIW, “Ryan’s Daughter” actually was a roadshow in some locales. In most major markets it was a reserved performance engagement (including the NYC run), but it played with reserved seating in markets in which it was booked into a Syufy theater (i.e. San Jose, Orange, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, etc.). And in Chicago the engagement at the Michael Todd switched to a reserved-seat policy a few weeks into the run.

patryan6019 on September 1, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Ryans was a very limited roadshow because most engagements were not using 70mm prints, a sign of the impending end of the real processes being replaced by blown up 35mm that in no way could compare to those images and actual 6 channels of sound.

bigjoe59 on September 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Hello to All-

to patryan6019- i have souvenir programs for all the films you listed except Last Tango In Paris, Young Winston, The Last Valley or Ryan’s Daughter. in fact i don’t think LTIP had one. and eventhough i saw TLV in its first run engagement at the Rivoli twice i never remember seeing one for sale. also i saw RD at the Ziegfeld twice and again don’t remember a program being sold.

to Coate-

i am aware several other theaters in Manhattan hosted roadshow engagements. in fact i went to all the ones you listed. what i am trying to find out is if any of the roadshow engagements that played the 7 big theaters in the Times Square area i listed in my original post did not have a souvenir program.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm

A quick check on ebay shows programs on sale on all those titles, bigjoe59, although the TANGO program is Japanese.

bigjoe59 on September 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Hello to All-

I thank everyone for their replies but the central question I asked in my original post still hasn’t been answered. of the 7 theaters in the Times Square area the studios used for most of their roadshow engagements(Criterion,Loews State, RKO Palace, Demille, Warner, Rivoli and Loews Capitol)does anyone know of a roadshow engagement at one of those 7 theaters that did not have a souvenir program? thanks in advance for any info.

patryan6019 on September 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm

bigjoe59…There were no programs sold in the US for Patton.

vindanpar on September 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

I know I’m the last person in the world who should be asking this question bigjoe59 but why in the world in 2016 does this matter?

For what it’s worth when I saw MFL in Jan of 71 at the Criterion though it was a Super Panavision 70 print it was continuous perfs without intermission and the souvenir program was a flimsy flyer compared to the hardcover edition of the original run.

bigjoe59 on September 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm


to vindanpar- in answer to your pointed “why does it matter in 2016” question the answer is simple. i have a decent sized movie memorabilia collection a big part of which are movie souvenir programs. to which there are a number of the big roadshow films which played the 7 Times Square theaters i mentioned in my original post that i have never come across a souvenir program for. so though ever roadshow film i went to had a souvenir program i wondered if some for whatever reason didn’t.

to patryan6019- thanks for the info about Patton. that was a big highly promoted roadshow film so i
am quite surprised it did not have a souvenir program. i wonder what Fox’s reasoning was. also for this theater i have never come across a souvenir program for Cheyenne Autumn which opened here Dec. of 1964 on a roadshow engagement.

vindanpar on February 15, 2017 at 6:24 pm

When I saw Nicholas at the Criterion I could swear there was no souvenir book. As soon as I went to a theater back then it was the first I looked for.

However the film does have a souvenir book so I don’t know why it wasn’t being sold. The Criterion had men in tuxes hawking the souvenir books.

Earlier in the year when they had the reissue of MFL they had a soft cover abridged version of the original hard cover which I bought.

When I got to finally meet Jeremy Brett after Aren’t We All(this was right before his sensational portrayal of SH so there was only one other person there. After I’m sure nobody would have been able to get near him)I presented him with the program to sign. Fortunately he did not look for his bio because it had been deleted in the abridgement.

Radio City did not have the souvenir book for Happiest Millionaire though they had a comic book based on the story! Go figure.

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