Capital Theatre

1237 N. 52nd Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19131

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Additional Info

Architects: Clarence Stern Thalheimer, David Daniel Weitz

Firms: Thalheimer & Weitz

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Apollo Theatre, New Apollo Theatre

Nearby Theaters


One of Philadelphia’s last neighborhood theatres, the Apollo Theatre was opened on December 26, 1913, it was entirely redecorated in October 1915, reopening as the New Apollo Theatre. In 1917 it was equipped with a Kimball organ. It was closed on April 3, 1960 with Burt Lancaster in “From Here to Eternity” & Humphrey Bogart in “Sabrina”.

It reopened as the Capital Theatre on May 23, 1961 with Lee Remick in “Sanctuary” & Burt Lancaster in “The Unforgiven”. It managed to snag a few first-run bookings in its final years and closed on June 21, 1992 with Christopher Reid in “Class Act”. Real estate records currently show the building as retail space, known as Song’s Capitol Discount Store.

Contributed by RickB

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

finkysteet on July 14, 2008 at 12:57 am

That was the beauty of growing up in West Philly during the late ‘60s thru mid '70s — The Capital. It was “the place to be” for good movies especially if you didn’t want to travel to Center City. I lived one block away on 53rd & Thompson. The big neon “CAPITAL,” the unusual zigzag auditorium, the wondrous curtains, the popcorn, the cheesy Kung Fu flicks (Enter The Dragon!) Yeah, sweet memories!

My mom and I were there one day in the early ‘70s and my neighbor had to buy a ticket just to come get us because our washer overflowed and water seeped over into their house. The last movie I saw there was “Scarface” in '84.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

The Apollo can be seen on the left in this 1956 photo:

Kaliymah on September 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

Can someone please tell me what was the last movie that played at the Capital? My family and i have been disputing this for years now!

kencmcintyre on September 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

If it did not survive past this June 23, 1992, “Class Act” would have been the last feature.


The Capital Theater in West Philadelphia – the last surviving soldier in a battle between city neighborhood theaters and the big chains – has closed. Unless beleaguered owner Paul Klieman can arrange new business terms with the major movie distributors, the landmark theater at 1237 N. 52nd will have shown its last feature, “Class Act.” If the Capital remains closed – and Klieman said he is not hopeful of recovery – Philadelphia will have said goodbye to an era of…

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Here is a circa 1960s photo from the Irvin Glazer collection:

kencmcintyre on February 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Here is a good view of the theater building:

eball on February 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I am looking for the trailer prevues they use to play just before the martial arts trailer in the 80s…..

dallasmovietheaters on March 17, 2022 at 4:48 pm

Charles Segall opened the New Apollo Theatre in October of 1915. It had a 45 year run under that name closing on April 3, 1960 with “For Here to Eternity” and “Sabrina.” The theatre was overhauled under new owner, Paul Klieman, becoming the Capital Theatre with a preview opening on May 23, 1961 and grand public opening the next night both with “Sanctuary” and “The Unforgiven.” Klieman defied the odds operating the aged movie house as an independent, single-screen operation for 31 years. It closed June 21, 1992 with “Class Act.” It was retrofitted for other retail purposes.

ROCKER4EVER on June 5, 2024 at 8:15 am

I remember as a young teen we passed this place after taking the wrong turnoff from the expressway(?) anyway I love old theaters and film posters and I remember some blaxploitation films were there at the time,wish I could remember what ones

Mikeoaklandpark on June 5, 2024 at 1:07 pm

We would pass this on the way to the Philadelphia zoo

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