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El Capitan Theatre: street views 1925 to 1954


1925 -  Steel rising for the El Capitan. The photo appeared on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles, a post by Ken McIntyre. That's the Masonic Temple on the right.

Morgan, Walls & Clements designed the exterior, the theatre's ticket lobby, and the spaces in the six story building for Barker Bros. Department Store. G. Albert Lansburgh designed the theatre. 



1926 - Another construction photo from Ken McIntyre appearing on Photos of Los Angeles. It can also be seen on the website of the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection.

also from 1925 and 1926 in the Bruce Torrence Collection: construction view from the west | facade from the west | ... and many, many more. See page 2 of the the site's theatre section.

also from 1926 in the Los Angeles Public Library collection: drawing of the tower | office building entrance | facade detail | facade & marquee from the west | another view from the west | premiere view from the hills - Mott Studios - undated |



1926 - A luminous view of the El Capitan posted by Bill Caffrey on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles. There was also a a re-post by Craig McIntosh.  It's also been on Photos of Los Angeles where Ken McIntyre notes that it appeared in a newspaper's rotogravure section. 



1926 - The entrance to the El Capitan in a Mott Studios view from the California State Library collection. The attraction on the interesting vertical readerboards is "Castles in the Air." The photo is also in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. It also appears (with many others) in a 10 page article about the theatre in the February 1927 issue of Architect and Engineer, available on Internet Archive.



1927 - A Mott Studios view of the entrance from the California State Library collection. "The Shannons of Broadway" is the show. A slightly cropped version of the photo is in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. That's a floor of the Barker Bros. Department Store we see in the second floor windows.



1927 - A Mott Studios photo of the building from the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.

also from 1927 - facade from across the street - Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection | "The Show Off" - Los Angeles Public Library



 c. 1927 - A C.C. Pierce view looking east from the USC Digital Library collection. Note on the side of the El Capitan stagehouse we're advertising the Henry Duffy Players, a stock company that presented in many theatres up and down the coast.

Take a peek farther back at the blank brick wall of the Christie Hotel (now a building owned by Scientology) and look to the right. You're looking at the auditorium and stagehouse of the Egyptian Theatre.  

The view above is part of a panoramic photo that originated as six separate plates. On the USC site you can zoom in and move around to look at details.



There's also a strangely colored version of this panorama in the Huntington Library collection.
 


 c.1928 - A view in the Los Angeles Public Library collection looking west from the Egyptian Theatre at Hollywood Blvd. and Las Palmas.



1930 - The El Capitan facade as we look west on Hollywood Blvd. Ken McIntyre found the photo for the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. Note that Barker Bros. has added some signage on the corner of the building.



c.1931 - A premiere night postcard view from the collection of Michelle Gerdes appearing on the  Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.



 c.1931 - A slightly different version of the card is in Brian Michael McCray's amazing Hollywood Postcards collection. Thanks, Brian!  All his 400+ cards used to be on Picasa until Google discontinued that platform.



1930s - An early postcard view looking east along Hollywood Blvd. from Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles. Yes, that's the El Capitan on the right with the roof sign. Note the Barker Bros. signage across the top of the building.



1930s - An undated view looking east from the USC Digital Library. Note the roof tower on the right of the Barker Bros./El Capitan building. We also get a nice look at Grauman's Chinese on the left and, in the middle, the sprawling Hollywood Hotel. It's a photo from the California Historical Society. The play at the El Capitan is "Men in White."



1930s - A Frasher Foto Card in the collection of the California State Library looking east toward the Chinese and the El Capitan.



1936 - A look east toward the El Capitan from the Los Angeles Public Library. At the Chinese it's "The Unguarded Hour," a film that played from June 4 to 9.



1936 - A lovely view on Calisphere looking west toward the El Capitan. It's a Frasher Foto Card from the Pomona Public Library collection.



c.1937 - Looking west on Hollywood Blvd. in a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. It's by Herman Schultheis.



c.1937 - The vista toward the El Capitan and the Grauman's Chinese. It's a Los Angeles Public Library collection photo by Herman Schultheis.



1937 - A Christmas time view that looks like the work of Herman Schultheis. It once appeared on a Facebook page that no longer exists.



c.1938 - A Christmas view looking west. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1938 - A facade view discovered by Ken McIntyre. It was a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



1938 - A look at the El Capitan that Ken McIntyre added to the Photos of Los Angeles page on Facebook. The photo also appears (in a less cropped version) in Marc Wanamaker's collection on the Hollywood Historic Photos site.

Also see another "Good News" shot taken from farther west in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection.



1939 - Thanks to Tommy Dangcil for this postcard on the SoCal Historic Architecture Facebook page. The show at the El Capitan is a stage version of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," later made into a film the same year.



c.1939 - A wonderful shot looking east on Hollywood Blvd. from the USC Digital Library collection. In the shadows on the right, note the original El Capitan marquee -- but with added neon. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo. The banner in front advertises a KNX Screen Guild Show.



c.1940 - A view looking east from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. This one has a 1947 postmark, but it's a pre-42 image -- the tower still says El Capitan. The letters came down during the remodel that turned it into the Paramount.  Thanks, Elizabeth!  Versions of the card also appear on Vintage Los Angeles and Photos of Los Angeles.



c.1940 - A Christmas postcard on Vintage Los Angeles from Brian Michael McCray's collection. We're looking east toward the Chinese and the El Capitan. The card also appears in Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards set on Flickr.



early 40s - A fine Frasher Foto Card looking east on Hollywood Blvd. toward the Chinese and the El Capitan. Vicky Valentine had added the card to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page but it seems to be gone now. The photo was taken before the Paramount remodel -- those El Capitan letters are still up on the roof sign.



1941 - "It's Terrific!" A view of the extensive work done on marquee for the run of "Citizen Kane." It was the last booking before the Paramount remodel -- and a rare film engagement for the theatre up to this point. The photo is from Marc Wanamaker's Hollywood Historic Photos collection -- although it now seems to be missing from the website. The film also played the RKO Hillstreet downtown and later did a moveover to the Hawaii Theatre.



1942 - "Reap the Wild Wind" was the first attraction to play the theatre when it reopened after its remodel as the Paramount. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. It's also in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection.



1942 - Another photo from the run of  "Reap The Wild Wind" -- at popular prices! Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles. A less cropped version of the photo appears in the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection.



1942 - The Paramount's new signage at night. It's another post on Photos of Los Angeles from Ken McIntyre. The photo also appears on the website of the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. You'll also find it, along with a number of other El Capitan/Paramount views in Martin Pal's fine Noirish Los Angeles post #22621.



1943 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles for this photo of the Paramount running "Dixie" -- and a Puppetoon! As we can see in the lower right, it's from the collection of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.



1944 - Thanks to the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection for this moody view of the theatre running "Uninvited" and "Memphis Belle." You'll also find the photo in Martin Pal's Noirish Los Angeles post #22621.  Also in the Torrence collection see another view taken during the same engagement that shows the whole facade..



1940s - A nice postcard view looking east from Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles. That's the El Capitan/Paramount over there on the right and the Chinese on the left.



1940s - Thanks to Gianpiero Leone for this shot he posted on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. Note the signage indicating that the theatre at the time was under the "direction Fanchon & Marco" and they were calling it "America's Most Distinctive Theatre."



1946 - Looking west toward the Paramount during the Christmas season in an uncredited Los Angeles Public Library photo. Note the sign in the upper left for "Blue Skies," a 1946 Paramount release with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Joan Caulfield.   



c. 1949 - A view west at Christmas time from the collection of Gianpiero F. Leone. The photo appeared as a post he did on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. He also added it to the Vintage Los Angeles page. A cropped version appeared on Photos of Los Angeles from Bill Gabel.



c.1952 - A wonderful view looking east toward Highland. Don Sherman added this one to the Photos of Los Angeles page on Facebook. Note above the entrance of the Paramount that they're running something in 3-D. Perhaps "Bwana Devil." The photo is also in Richard Wojcik's collection and appears on Vintage Los Angeles.



1954 - A view of the premiere of "Sabrina" with Humphrey Bogart. Thanks to Woody Wise for the post on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. The photo also appears on the Facebook page of the Humphrey Bogart Estate.

Pages about the El Capitan: El Capitan overview | back to top - street views 1925 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | ticket lobby | lobbies and lounges | auditorium | backstage |

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