Weekend Escape

by Jo Anne Disney
September 12, 2013 • 357 views

The El Capitan Theatre


The El Capitan Theatre is located in Hollywood and has been certified as a national historical site. The El Capitan Theatre first opened on May 3, 1926 with the play, “Charlot’s Revue,” which starred Jack Buchanan, Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie.

This decorative theatre was designed by the “architectural firm of Morgan, Walls and Clements.” It had a “cast-concrete Spanish Colonial exterior and on the inside one of the most colorful and lavish interiors ever seen, featuring an elaborate $1.2 million East Indian design, created by San Francisco architect G. Albert Lansburgh.”

Records reveal that between 1926 and 1936 more than 120 live plays were produced at The El Capitan Theatre. Some of the plays included such greats as “Anything Goes,” and “No. No, Nanette.”  And, the stage of the El Capitan served many legendary performers such as Clark Gable, Orson Welles and Will Rogers. Then in 1941, “after the successful screening of Citizen Kane,” The El Capitan Theatre closed for remodeling. A year later it was reopened as the Hollywood Paramount, a new “art modeme” movie house.

Then in 1989, The Walt Disney Company joined with Pacific Theatres to begin a 2-year restoration of this “legendary palace.” Thanks to the efforts of many renowned individuals and “under the supervision of the National Park Service’s Department of the Interior,” this grand theatre was reopened to the public in June, 1991 with “the world premiere of Walt Disney Pictures, The Rocketeer.”

Currently, The El Capitan Theatre is used exclusively for “first run Walt Disney Pictures as well as hosting live stage shows, world premieres and other special events.” It has definitely contributed to the revitalization of Hollywood Boulevard, along with the Kodak Theatre becoming the permanent home of the Oscars. The corner of Hollywood and Highland has become one of the most exciting places to visit.

Inside the theatre you will find the newly installed spectacular 4/37 Wurlitzer. This wonderful musical instrument “is the last of 5 magnificent ‘Fox Specials’ built in the 1920’s, and is considered the top of the line in theatre organs and designed with all the ‘bells and whistle’ for movie palaces.” It was restored by G. M. Buck Pipe Organs located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Currently at The El Capitan Theatre their house organist is Rob Richards, who was recently chosen “ATOS Organist of the Year!”

If you have never visited the El Capitan Theatre, you are in for a real treat. As you enter the theatre you can feel the history all around you. The El Capitan Theatre is fun for the entire family and is located at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard.

Beginning September 13th thru October 13th, The Little Mermaid 3D will be showing along with a live stage show. Then the Nightmare Before Christmas 4D will be showing from October 15th to November 3rd.  For more information call (818) 845-3110. For tickets call (800) 347-6396.

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