Capri Theatre

1913 Elm Street,
Dallas, TX 75201

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Capri Theatre exterior

The Hope Theatre, on Elm Street in Dallas, opened in 1921. It was designed by W. Scott Dunne and Alfred Charles Finn. It was operated by First National Theatres and in 1922 it was renamed Loew’s Melba Theatre when Loew’s Inc. took over. It was taken over by the Interstate Theatre circuit around 1939. It originally had a 3/11 Wurlitzer organ.

The Melba Theatre showed the first 3-D movie, “Bwana Devil”, in 1953, and a year later, began showing Cinerama films, beginning with “This Is Cinerama”. From 1960 until closing in the 1970’s it was named Capri Theatre and has since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

matt54 on July 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Can anyone comment on when the Melba vertical sign came down? It was still up as late as 1942.

rivest266 on October 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

1926 and 1970 grand opening ads in the photo section for this cinema.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm

As this house was called the Capri Theatre for more than a decade, from 1960 until its closing in the 1970s, isn’t that how it should be listed? Almost nobody under 60 is likely to remember it as the Melba.

rivest266 on August 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm

December 25th, 1959 grand opening ad also in photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm

The July, 1922, of a trade journal called The Poster, touting itself as “The National Journal of Poster Advertising and Poster Art” ran a half-page article about the use of poster advertising by new Hope Theatre in Dallas, which it said had opened on the evening of April 26. There is also a photo of the theater’s entrance (scan at Google Books.)

According to the June 3, 1922, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review a novel feature of the Hope Theatre was the inclusion of a hostess on its staff. Her function was apparently to promote the theater to the women of various clubs and civic groups. The article includes a photo of a group of women meeting in what is presumably the theater’s lounge (scan at Internet Archive.)

DavidZornig on October 22, 2015 at 9:52 pm

1955 photo added, photo credit R.C. Hickman, courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

matt54 on March 7, 2016 at 5:28 am

Bryan’s intro on this theatre contains an error: it incorrectly states that Interstate took over this theatre and renamed it Melba; Loew’s was the second owner, taking over in 1922 from First National Pictures and their financial backer from Houston, Jesse Jones, whose mistress – First National Pictures star Hope Hampton, Jones named the theatre for. Loew’s renamed it Melba. Interstate assumed the lease in about 1939 or ‘40.

billinatlanta on July 30, 2016 at 8:57 am

My twin brother and I played the Wurlitzer organ at the Capri after it was restored by members of the local American Theater Organ Society. I don’t remember the exact year, but it must have been 1959-1960 ish. We were students at SMU, helped with the restoration efforts which would start after the last showing and go well into the early morning hours. Once the organ was playable, we would play between showings. I understand that one reason the organ survived the fate of many is that the Cinerama screen covered it up, and very few people knew it was there. Bill Thompson

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Linkrot re-repair: The May 9, 1960, Boxoffice article about the reopening of the former Melba Theatre as the Capri is now at this link.

DavidZornig on September 29, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Capri in 1970 at 1:09 in the video.

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