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El Capitan Theatre
L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument  #495
El capitan theatre.jpg
El Capitan Theatre is located in California
Location: 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates: 34°6′4″N 118°20′23″W / 34.10111°N 118.33972°W / 34.10111; -118.33972
Area: Hollywood
Built/Founded: 1926
Architect: G. Albert Lansburgh
Stiles O. Clements
Designated as LAHCM: 1990[1]
Governing body: private

El Capitan Theatre is a fully restored movie palace at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. It is owned by Pacific Theatres and operated by The Walt Disney Company. It serves as the venue for many of Walt Disney Pictures' movie premieres. It is currently for sale at an asking price of $31 million dollars (US).



1926 opening and early years

In the early 1920s, real estate developer Charles E. Toberman (the "Father of Hollywood") envisioned a thriving Hollywood theatre district.[2] With Sid Grauman, he opened the Egyptian (1922), El Capitan ("The Captain") (1926), and Chinese Theatre (1927).

El Capitan, dubbed "Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama," opened as a legitimate theatre on May 3, 1926 with Charlot's Revue starring Gertrude Lawrence and Jack Buchanan.[2] The design featured a Spanish colonial exterior designed by Stiles O. Clements of the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements, and a lavish East Indian interior by G. Albert Lansburgh. For a decade it presented live plays, with over 120 productions including such legends as Clark Gable and Joan Fontaine.[2] By the late 1930s, El Capitan felt the economic effects of the Depression, showcasing fewer and fewer productions. This period saw a cycle of experimentation with entertainment. In an effort to boost attendance to the theatre, its management attempted to lure revues, road shows and benefits. Despite these efforts, business was faltering. When Orson Welles was unable to locate a theatre owner willing to risk screening Citizen Kane, he turned to El Capitan, and in 1941, Citizen Kane had its world premiere there. The theater then closed for one year.

1942 renovation and renaming the Hollywood Paramount

The builidng was remodeled in the moderne style, and reopened on March 18, 1942 as the Hollywood Paramount Theatre. Its inaugural film presentation was Cecil B. DeMille's Technicolor feature Reap the Wild Wind, starring Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard and Raymond Massey.

Inside Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store, 2007.

The theater remained the west coast flagship for Paramount Pictures until the studio was forced by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the antitrust case U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, et al. to divest itself of its theater holdings. After this, the Hollywood Paramount was operated by United Paramount Theatres for some years, then by a series of other companies, culminating with ownership by the Pacific Theatres Circuit in the 1980s.

1991 reopening with name El Capitan

By the late 1980s, movie studios were once again being allowed to own theaters and in 1989 the Walt Disney Company entered into a lease agreement with the Pacific Circuit for the Paramount and in the smaller Crest Theatre in Westwood.[3] These theaters became the Disney company's flagship houses. They spent $14 million on a complete renovation of the Paramount, restoring much of the building's original decor as well as the theater's original name. El Capitan reopened in 1991 with the premiere of The Rocketeer. In recent years, many of Disney's feature films have premiered here as well as the debut of Walt Disney Animation Studios' first made-for-TV special Prep & Landing, and most movies are accompanied by live stage shows. Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which airs on Disney-owned ABC, originates from a TV studio next door to the El Capitan.

The refurbished theater features a giant Wurlitzer Theatre organ originally installed in San Francisco's Fox Theatre. Below the theater is a small exhibit space, often used to display props from the films, such as costumes or set pieces. Next door is the adjacent Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store, where patrons can purchase ice cream themed to the film currently playing in the cinema next door. A wide variety of Disney and movie merchandise is available there.

See also


  1. ^ Los Angeles Department of City Planning (February 28, 2009), Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments, City of Los Angeles,, retrieved 2000-03-02  
  2. ^ a b c Lord, Rosemary (2002). Los Angeles: Then and Now. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press. pp. 90–91. ISBN 1-57145-794-1.  
  3. ^

External links

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